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(H/T @UKGymnastics)

UK Gymnastics places third at Ozone Invite.

(H/T @UKGymnastics)

(H/T @UKGymnastics)

The UK Gymnastics team placed third tonight in Knoxville, Tn at the Ozone Invite against #6 Nebraska and #3 Alabama. The meet was a homecoming for UK’s Knoxville native and last season’s conference all-around title leader, senior Audrey Harrison who competed at Premier Athletic Club as a Level 10 gymnast before coming to UK. Nebraska won the meet with 196.250, Bama placed second with a 196.050, and Kentucky finished third, scoring 194.650.

The Cats competed in the Olympic Rotation as usual, starting off on vault with a rotation score of 48.750. Marissa Beucler had a career-high tying night on the apparatus, posting a 9.725, while Audrey Harrison, Kenzie Hedges, and Shelby Hilton all contributed a 9.75. Holly Cunningham posted a solid 9.775.

Kentucky scored a 48.400 total on the uneven bars tonight, led by Kayla Hartley’s 9.725 and Audrey Harrison’s career high of 9.75. Kayla Sienkowski and Amy Roemmele both contributed a 9.70 while Shelby Hilton gave the Cats a 9.525.

From the bars, the Cats moved to beam where Knoxville native Audrey Harrison nailed a 9.825. Kayla Sienkowski and Marissa Beucler both posted season highs of 9.725 and 9.675 respectively, while Amy Roemmele scored a 9.675 on her beam debut and Shannon Mitchell contributed a 9.725.

On the final event of the night, Kentucky scored a team total of 48.875 which sealed their third place fate. Harrison and Hartley both achieved a season high of 9.85 while Shannon Mitchell tied her season high of 9.75. Shelby Hilton posted a 9.65 and Kenzie Hedges contributed a 9.775.

A delayed broadcasting of this meet will air on Comcast Sports South on January 24th at 9 pm. Kentucky will once again be on the road Friday at Missouri who is coming off a loss at home to Arkansas. The meet will start at 7:30 pm est. After facing Mizzou, the Cats will visit the Georgia Gym Dogs on February 1st. UGA is currently ranked ninth and downed #2 LSU last night in Athens. Kentucky will finally return home to Lexington on February 7th to welcome in the defending national champion Florida Gators. That meet will start at 7pm. Come out and support the girls in what is sure to be a challenging meet against the Gators in Memorial Coliseum!

In the meantime, follow me on twitter! @JC_KSR

 


The Conference Championships Sunday News and Views

I find it hard to believe that we only have two Sundays of real football left before the pigskin retreats back into hibernation until next fall but here we are. Tomorrow will bring about the NFL conference championships and decide which two teams will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy in two weeks. On one side we have the two elite quarterbacks of the past decade in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Both are first ballot hall of famers and both have been in this game several times before. The AFC looks like it will be decided by which of the teams can overcome the constant injuries that have plagued them all season. My vote is for the stable of former Cats with the Broncos. On the other side you have the changing of the guard quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Both guys were never even expected to be playing on the football field let alone leading the two best teams the past two seasons. Both guys look like they are going to be exactly what makes football so great and should come down to the final seconds. I can’t wait.

Who do you pick in tomorrow’s conference championships? Now on to the news and views:

James Young Putting The Cats Up 4

The Cats took on the UT Volunteers today in Lexington and as expected it was a knock down drag out fight for the majority of the game until Kentucky finally took control. The biggest story of the game was the play of Andrew Harrison who apparently has decided to show up against our biggest rivals. After a poor showing against Arkansas, Andrew Harrison responded with his best game yet, posting a career-high 26 points, 3 assists, and zero turnovers against the Vols.  He was 7-13 from the field, including 2-3 from behind the arc and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Who did the game impress most? Perhaps it was his own brother who tweeted this shortly after the game:

 

Or maybe it was Coach Cal who simply stated “That’s our point guard”

-Early in the game though it was a one-on-one affair between Jarnell Stokes and Julius Randle trying to one up each other. Stokes appeared to be a rebound vacuum grabbing every ball that seemed to bounce in his direction. Julius though was a force on the offensive end as he scored the opening 7 points for the Cats, including his first 3, en route to finishing with 18. At this point you just know Randle gonna Randle.

-The Cats also got things done at the charity stripe for the first time this season as they went 23-24 from the line this afternoon for a whopping 95.8%.  You can thank the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle, and Alex Poythress for that mark.  They were the only players to go to the line today for the Cats. Let’s only have those four head to the line for the rest of the season.

-The Cats picked up a nice win over a bitter rival and now move on to face Texam A&M this Tuesday in Rupp. The Aggies dropped their first game of conference play today against Mississippi State in overtime. Without Elston Turner walking through the door the Cats should have no problem dispatching the team from College Station.

AROUND COLLEGE BASKETBALL

-Let us all take a moment and laugh at the Indiana Hoosiers who lost by 7 at home to Northwestern. I guess they were too tired after storming the floor celebrating a colossal win over the powerhouse known as Wisconsin.

-Shoutout to Providence for picking up a top-20 win over Creighton. Keep building that resume boys and making our win look that much better.

-You can tell it’s getting closer to March as Kansas nearly chocked and gave up a 17-point lead to Travis Ford and Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks won 80-78.

NBA CAT NEWS

-Scroll down the page a a bit to witness John Wall keep doing his thing and posterize Andre Drummond. The red hot Wizards dropped the game after winning 5 of 7 but they are still on track for a nice playoff seed in the abysmal Eastern Conference.

-Marquis Teague got dealt to the Brooklyn Nets for some guy I’ve never heard of, Toko Shengelia. Hopefully Teague will get a chance to develop and grow once Deron Williams returns potentially Monday. Teague kind of got a bad break in Chi-Town with D. Rose being habitually injured.

-Terrence Jones has gone for an incredible 34 points tonight and there is still a lot of clock left in the game. Anthony Davis is just behind him with 31. Brandon Knight has 26. The former Cats are starting to take over the NBA.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow for all your Sunday Funday Cats coverage. Until then enjoy your Saturday night and bask in the warmth of yet another Cats win. The team is finally looking like they get it.


John Wall With Authority

Last night we brought you John Wall throwing in an insane circus shot behind his back. Well tonight he was back at it again and the 6’4 John Wall doesn’t let a little height difference stand in his way. Watch him throw down against 7- foot tall Andre Drummond in tonight’s game against the Pistons.

That’s gonna be one nice poster on Wall’s…. Wall. Keep doin’ work young fella.


Ja’Merez Bowen to Cincinnati

(Photo from Rivals.com)

(Photo from Rivals.com)

Following football recruiting has come with a learning curve for most Kentucky fans.  I think the most difficult element to adjust to has been the fluidity of the process.  In basketball recruiting, words seem to signify a higher level of definiteness.  This isn’t the case in football.  When it comes to high-level football recruiting, a commitment is never solidified until the LOI is signed, a visit is never official until the guy sets foot on campus, and a planned commitment isn’t set in stone until the coaches are called and informed of the decision.

Ja’Merez Bowen, an offensive tackle out of Cleveland, Ohio is not the exception.  Although Bowen was scheduled to take his official visit to Kentucky next weekend, he has decided to pull the trigger for the Cincinnati Bearcats.  The offensive line is a priority for Stoops in closing out this recruiting class. Bowen was thought by many to be a likely candidate to help satisfy this need.  Luckily, since my first paragraph still applies, it is entirely possible that Bowen follows through with his visit – if he doesn’t, however, the cupboard is not yet dry.  Another Ohio offensive tackle, Josh Krok, is rumored to be on campus this weekend.  Krok is currently committed to West Virginia.  I told ya–football recruiting is a soap opera.

 


Andrew Harrison finally getting it

Andrew Harrison finally getting it

andrew(CatPause)

Andrew Harrison surprised everyone when he stole the show this afternoon against Tennessee with 26 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.  What might be more impressive is Andrew made all 10 of his free throw attempts.

Andrew was 7-13 from the field and 2-3 from behind the arc. In the post-game conference Cal had nothing but nice things to say about Andrew.

“Andrew did an unbelievable job in free throws. What he did in pick and rolls is he got in the lane, he made the right plays, he had no turn overs and had big shots,” he said. “He played like a point guard. He got better today, he really did.”

Cal joked with media when asked what was different about free throw shooting, especially with Andrew.

“We did something unique. We went in the pool and put on pool baskets in, it worked,” he said. “And if you believe that I have got great land for you to sell”

It seems he is a little annoyed by all the free throw shooting questions. Those questions should be limited for now, however, seeing how UK went 23-24 in free throw shooting today.

Cal says he believes everything they have been trying to teach Andrew the past few months is finally coming together, stating that Andrew is a big guy and it always takes the bigger guys longer to learn.

“We have been trying to teach him the pace of the game and how fast you have to go off the screen.  He was messing with the ball and not covering any ground or putting any pressure,” he said. “And we’ve just been working for weeks on teaching him that.”

Aaron Harrison ‘saved the game’ after Julius Randle could not give the ball up quick enough due to so much coverage from Tennessee players. Because of this Cal decided to change the spread, and go to Harrison in the second half. Good thing his plan worked. Harrison scored 16 points in the second half alone to give him a career-high 26 points.

Even Tennessee head coach, Cuonzo Martin couldn’t avoid the topic of Harrison’s performance today.

“I have to give him credit for making the adjustment,” he said. “He made the plays that really got them over the hump.”

On the season, Harrison averages 11.5 points and 3.5 assists per game, but that number has increased over the past few games. When asked about his teammate Randle said he believes Harrison is finally stepping up, being a leader and helping the team.

While today’s game might have been his best, Harrison believes he still has work to do. Post-game he stated he wants to work on being more aggressive of a player.

@Sealey_KSR


Kentucky Basketball coaches already on the road again

Kentucky Basketball coaches already on the road again

caliparix-large
Coach Calipari, Orlando Antiqua and Kenny Payne never seem to get a break. A mere few hours after the Tennessee victory and the coaches are in Dayton to watch Tyler Ulis and 2015 recruit Luke Kennard tonight.

Luke Kennard is a 6-5 and 182 pounds Junior out of Franklin, OH.  The five-star recruit is high on UK’s radar and Cal wants him bad. Other schools in the early running for Kennard are Duke, Louisville, Michigan and Ohio State, although Kentucky looks to be his favorite.

Read his profile on 247 Sports here.

@Sealey_KSR


Darrell Bird | Cats Pause

UK Basketball’s Theme of the week: “Clutter”

Cal wiht Twins
(H/t UKathletics)

Throughout the entire week Cal has been talking about clutter in the minds of the players. In his eyes there are two types of clutter, but both of them are equally bad.

Earlier this week he talked about clutter in Alex Poythress’ mind. Cal feels Poythress was finally starting to learn to deal with judgment from fans and media.

“You can’t deal with the clutter. He had to deal with clutter such as ‘He likes him more, if you did this and that’ and no one in that clutter makes these kids take responsibility.” Cal said. “At some point, you’ve got to be a man and man up, and it isn’t about another player on the team. It’s not about the coach. It’s about me. And I’m going to change this.”

However it’s not just the judgmental clutter affecting the players. Some other clutter has the possibility of causing players to be over confident. Cal said some clutter allows players to make excuses as to their performances.

“They’ve got to get the clutter out of their minds. You can’t play basketball with all kinds of things in your mind. The clutter becomes the people around them never truly take responsibility,” he said. “And they need to block the clutter out. You need to own the performance. Say it was me, no one else.”

Cal said his players leave Kentucky knowing they cannot make excuses. He used Willie Cauley-Stein as a prime example. WCS hasn’t been playing the best lately, but Cal explained why he is okay with it.

“He owns his performance. There’s a difference in what we are trying to teach our players here.  Sometimes we do it nicely, other times we don’t. They have to own their performance,” he said. “They can’t be thinking it was someone else’s fault.”

Cal also said that at Kentucky we all get caught up in one thing, winning, but then went on to say we can’t get caught up in it. By getting caught up, we often forget how young the players are.

We don’t care that you’re 18, you’ve got a Kentucky Uniform on,” he said

He said all we should worry about is that the players are getting better.

@Sealey_KSR


Matt Elam gets advice from former Alabama star

Matt Elam gets advice from former Alabama star

matt elam with coaches

Matt Elam tweeted about talking to a former Alabama star this afternoon.

Matt Elam T Cody

Terrence “Mount” Cody currently plays nose tackle for the Ravens and he played for Alabama for the 2008 and 2009 season. The 6-5 and 372 pound Elam has been a prime focus of Alabama football because they want to groom him to the player they once had in Mount Cody.

No one knows what is going on it Elam’s mind but him, so take the tweet however you will. However, I can tell you he hasn’t forgotten about Kentucky fans either. Elam retweeted a few Kentucky fans afterwards.

One thing is for sure, Elam has perfected the art of playing mind games.

@Sealey_KSR


Watch Avery Williamson play at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at 6 on ESPN2

Watch Avery Williamson play at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at 6 on ESPN2

Avery team photo

Former Kentucky linebacker, Avery Williamson, will compete in the 2014 NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl today at 6 on ESPN 2.

This is only the third year for the game. This year they have change the rules and it is only open to draft-eligible seniors. Current and former NFL players have attended events this past week to share their NFL experiences with the players to give them a little taste of what they can expect in the years to come. The players also get to spend time with other senior college players as well.

Williamson has taken full advantage of that opportunity  by networking with former NFL players:

Avery and TO

and with his fellow players:
blocked own guy

This game also gives prospective NFL players an opportunity to show their talents to fans and NFL teams across the nation. Williamson caught the NFLPA’s eye when he completed his career with nearly 300 tackles. Williamson is the second Wildcat to participate in the NFLPA game. Last year kicker, Craig McIntosh, participated in the game.

@Sealey_KSR


Indiana drops another game at home

Indiana drops another game at home

naked fan

Indiana just dropped another game at home after losing 54-47 to Northwestern. Indiana falls to 12-6 on the season and have dropped half of those six at home. While there was a glimmer of hope for the Hoosiers after they beat undefeated #3 Wisconsin, basketball fans were reminded today, nope. It was just a fluke.

I just hope none of their fans had a mental breakdown because of the loss like this girl.

@Sealey_KSR


Bulls looking to trade Teague

Bulls looking to trade Teague

Teague
(H/t CatsPause)

Rumors have emerged that the Chicago Bulls are finalizing a deal that would send Marquis Teague to the Brooklyn Nets for Toko Shengelia. Brooklyn would also send Tyshawn Taylor to New Orleans for cash.

Teague was drafted by the Bulls in 2012 as the 29th overall pick. This season he spent a few weeks playing in the D-league with the Iowa Energy. With the Bulls this season, Teague has been averaging 12.7 minutes in 19 games for the Bulls. He has only been shooting at an average of 24.2% for the Bulls as well.

@Sealey_KSR


(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Eight notes from Kentucky’s 74-66 win over the Vols

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s a pretty familiar pattern by now: slow starts followed by second half rallies.  Kentucky finally put away Jarnell Stokes and the low down dirty snitches this afternoon by a final score of 74-66.  Here are my eight notes:

Andrew Harrison had his best game yet

After a poor showing against Arkansas, Andrew Harrison responded with his best game yet, posting a career-high 26 points, 3 assists, and zero turnovers against the Vols.  He was 7-13 from the field, including 2-3 from behind the arc and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.  Andrew has faced a lot of criticism lately, but after games like today, you can’t complain about Kentucky’s guard play. Cuonzo Martin said that Andrew’s adjustment of getting in the lane and making plays “got [Kentucky] over the hump” this afternoon.  As Aaron Harrison tweeted after the game, “That’s the Andrew I know.”  Calipari agreed, telling fans on the postgame radio show “That’s our point guard.”  Dakari called this Andrew’s breakout game.

Aaron also played well, scoring 14 points and chipping in two threes of his own (even if he was the one to break UK’s perfect mark from the free throw line, something he joked his brother will never let him live down.).  Together, the Harrison twins combined for 40 points, and shot a stellar 16-17 from the free throw line.  If you’re keeping track, Andrew is the fourth UK player to score 25 points or more this year.  Before the season, Cal predicted seven UK players would score 25 or more in a single game.  Over halfway there…

Photo © Mark Zerof

Photo © Mark Zerof

The slow starts are getting really old

For the umpteenth game in a row, Kentucky stumbled out of the gate, letting Tennessee storm to an 11-5 lead.  Doug Gottlieb tried to blame UK’s slow start on the early tip time, asking his colleagues during halftime “Who hasn’t woken up sloppy on a Saturday morning?”, but Kentucky fans know better.  The Cats haven’t really come out on fire for any game this season, and although Cal seems hesitant to shake up the starting lineup, it may be time.

UK only missed one free throw

To say the Cats have struggled from the free throw line is an understatement.  Kentucky’s free throw shooting woes were most glaring in the loss at Arkansas, where they were 26-40 from the line.  What a difference four days makes.  Kentucky was 23-24 from the line this afternoon for a whopping 95.8%.  You can thank the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle, and Alex Poythress for that mark.  They were the only players to go to the line today for the Cats.

After the game, Calipari pulled a fast one on reporters, telling them he had his players practice shooting free throws in a pool, which led to their improved performance.  Cal makes jokes! (Because he’s Italian.)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Dakari had quality minutes

Jarnell Stokes and his size 20 shoes owned Kentucky in the paint in the first half.  With Willie Cauley-Stein still in bed, Cal turned to Dakari Johnson in the second half.  Dakari answered, scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds.  Dakari held Jarnell Stokes to two points while he was in, whereas Stokes went for 18 when guarded by Willie. “Willie didn’t play as well as he’d been playing and we went with Dakari, and he was terrific,” Cal said.  Dakari said that he was just waiting for his turn:

“Yeah it is tough, but my mom told me to listen to the coaches and get better. I have been trying to do everything exactly as I am supposed to do it.  I am happy for my teammates when they were playing well. I just waited my turn. It starts in practice and has carried over to the games.”

Willie was a non-factor

For the second game in a row, Willie Cauley-Stein was a non-factor.  Willie was 0-5 with three rebounds in 19 minutes.  Willie’s cold streak had fans so concerned during the game that many live bloggers called for Willie to dye his hair blond again.  The only good thing about Willie’s bad game was that the Cats were able to win without him, thanks to a strong showing from Dakari Johnson.  Cal said after the game that Willie is “owning his performance” and not making excuses for his poor play, so there’s that.

Random celebrity sighting of the day

Photo @DansleyAnsley

Photo @DansleyAnsley

NFL great Tony Dorsett was in the stands today, and posed for this picture with UK cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley.

It’s time for the players to “declutter” their lives

After the game, Cal went on a lengthy rant about his team needing to “eliminate the clutter” from their lives, and stop making excuses for poor play and listening to people around them who say they’re not getting enough playing time:

“See, there’s a difference, and what we try to teach our players here, sometimes we do it nicely, other times we don’t do it nicely, but they have to own their performance.  I’m talking clutter.  The clutter around them enables them.  In other words, it wasn’t your fault; he likes the other guy more; if you had as many shots as so and so.  You can’t ‑‑ look, own your performance.  Own it.  You did it, you own it.  Own your practice performance.  Don’t make an excuse.  Don’t alibi.  Own it, and then change it if you want to change it. “

Cal brought up clutter again later on after he was asked if Dakari’s taking longer to develop than other players:

“Big players develop later, but again, all these guys, they’ve got to eliminate the clutter.  You’ve got to quit ‑‑ own your performance, come in, practice and work.  And again, this is not a disrespectful thing, but you know how you get letters, and if there’s an addressed envelope, like I will never ‑‑ my secretary doesn’t give me any unaddressed letters.  They’re torn up, so I don’t even see them.”

Fail fast. Run blind. Eliminate the clutter.

Mark Stoops was today's Y and seems pretty happy about it. (Photo @mattstonephotog)

Mark Stoops was today’s Y and seems pretty happy about it. (Photo @mattstonephotog)

A good rebounding team was outrebounded

Kentucky’s calling card this season has been their rebounding.  Not so much today.  The Cats were outrebounded by the Vols 39-24 this afternoon.  A stat to make you grimace?  In the first half, Jarnell Stokes had more rebounds than the entire Kentucky team.  Cal said his guards didn’t rebound well, and in the second half, the Cats narrowed the margin on the boards, only grabbing two fewer rebounds than the Vols, as opposed to 13 fewer in the first half.

All in all, a good win for the Cats, who rallied to beat a very physical Tennessee team.  Free throw shooting and guard play were two of the biggest questions about this team coming in, and after a near-perfect performance from the line and a career day from Andrew Harrison, you can’t complain about that.


Brian Long carried Kentucky in the first seven minutes, per CBS broadcast

Brian Long carried Kentucky in the first seven minutes, per CBS broadcast

b-long

Brian Long came off the bench early in the game to score seven of Kentucky’s first nine points, according to the CBS broadcast. I must’ve missed Long’s three field goals, but congratulations to him on the new career-high.

The walk-ons have played big roles in Kentucky’s last two wins. Sam Malone scored 11 points against Vanderbilt last Saturday, if you remember. I don’t remember.

malone


Listen To The KSR Postgame Show

Listen To The KSR Postgame Show

ImageViaGetty

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Let us know by calling in to the KSR postgame show at 1-800-444-8484 or 502-571-8484.

You can catch all of the action by tuning in to 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP, or stream online to hear Matt and KSR nation talk about the brawl with the Vols.

Discuss the show below.


Dakari Johnson was “terrific,” said he’s just having fun

Dakari Johnson was “terrific,” said he’s just having fun

dakari

A second consecutive disappearance from Willie Cauley-Stein meant more minutes for Dakari Johnson — and he did not disappoint. Johnson’s four points and four rebounds don’t exactly jump off the page, but he played well off the bench in his 16 minutes, well above his season average of nine minutes per contest.

“Willie didn’t play as well as he’d been playing and we went with Dakari, and he was terrific,” Calipari said in his postgame press conference.

Johnson was able to bang inside with Tennessee’s bigs — man, they were big — and he provided a spark early in the second half when Kentucky made its run. I can remember one sequence in particular when Dakari got an offensive rebound, scored, got the defensive rebound on the other end, and led the break (for three or four dribbles) the other way. Andrew Harrison should’ve kicked it back to Dakari to reward him for his hustle running the flooring (and he was wide open) but Andrew drew a foul going against two defenders instead. Dakari waved his arms toward the crowd to fire everyone up after the run.

Dakari told us after the game he was just trying to have fun out there, following Cal’s message before they took the court. He wasn’t ready to call it his breakout performance — he said it was Andrew’s — but he said he has been working hard to stay active on the defensive end, and it showed.

Great game from Dakari, when UK needed him most. Gotta get more from Willie, though.