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10 notes from another ugly SEC win


Kentucky improved to 12-3 on the season, 2-1 in SEC play tonight with a 56-47 win over Vanderbilt, but for the second game in a row, it was not pretty. It’s late, so let’s run through these takeaways and get to bed before the officials review another call.

Another slow start

I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing a pattern. Following the script of so many other games this season, Vanderbilt had the hot hand early, hitting three after three en route to a 16-4 lead. Not only were the ‘Dores making everything, they stymied the Cats on the opposite end with zone. Vandy led until the 1:50 mark of the first half when Tyler Herro tied the game at 28 and Kentucky didn’t take the lead until Keldon Johnson’s three with 18:48 to go in the second half. It was that kind of night.

Keldon, Ashton Hagans, and Immanuel Quickley scored 42 of Kentucky’s 56 points

If you guessed that this trio would combine for 75 percent of the Cats’ scoring tonight, I suggest you head to Las Vegas. Hooray for the guards?

Immanuel Quickley’s confidence continues to grow

One bright spot of Kentucky’s SEC play thus far has been Immanuel Quickley. The freshman guard turned in another impressive performance with 12 points, including three threes. Keldon was the only other Cat to score from the outside, showing that Quickley’s shooting is invaluable, especially when Tyler Herro is struggling. After scoring in double figures the last eight games, Herro was only 1-3 from the floor, 2-2 from the charity stripe for four points tonight; however, he had an impact in other areas of the game, grabbing six rebounds, dishing three assists, and blocking a shot. At least there’s that.

Keldon Johnson tried to take control

As previously mentioned, Kentucky didn’t lead until over a minute into the second half, when Keldon Johnson hit a three, his first since the Alabama game. Keldon did his best to take control at that moment, yelling, “Gimme that ****!”, but picked up his third foul less than a minute later. He didn’t come back in for another six minutes.

Ashton Hagans was great again

For the fourth game in a row, Hagans finished in double figures, with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 5 turnovers. He had to come out late in the game after falling awkwardly on someone’s foot and tweaking his back, but came back in a few minutes later. After the game, Calipari said Ashton is fine, which is great news because he’s Kentucky’s best player right now.

Reid Travis and PJ Washington worked the boards

Yes, Reid and PJ only combined for eight points; however, they also combined for 20 rebounds, more than half of Kentucky’s 38-21 advantage on the boards tonight. Calipari attributed PJ and Reid’s scoring struggles to the guards’ struggles against the zone; that being said, this feels like the third or fourth game in a row Reid’s been stripped or blocked on what should be an easy bucket, a sign he’s reverting to bad habits against athletic bigs in the SEC.

Nick Richards needs to play more

Once again, Richards didn’t play much, but contributed when he was in, scoring a bucket, grabbing a rebound, getting a steal, and taking a nasty punch to the face in ten minutes. Calipari said Richards made a “big difference” in the game and needs to play “another five, seven, eight minutes.” Baby steps.

Defense got better

While Kentucky’s offense only managed 56 points, by far the fewest of the season, the defense showed signs of improvement. After allowing Vandy to jump out to an early lead, the Cats held the ‘Dores to 17 points off 6-25 from the floor (24 percent), 2-14 from three (14.3 percent), in the second half.

A Guinness World Record was set

It didn’t come without some grumbling, but the Guinness World Record for most hard hats worn in the same place was set tonight after Bullard handed out free hard hats to the lower level:

Cool? Next year, Bullard should set another world record by giving them out to the entire arena.

Ugly win aside, Kentucky won

It was another wild day in college basketball, with Louisville beating North Carolina by 21 in Chapel Hill and Ole Miss knocking off No. 14 Mississippi State in Starkville. Had Florida State not left Cam Reddish wide open, Duke would have lost too. Complain about Kentucky’s ugly SEC wins all you want, but at least they are wins.

With that, I suggest you check out Dr. Mike’s photos and call it a night. On to Georgia.

The Cats overcame another slow start to come back and beat Vandy, as the Rupp Arena crowd set a Guinness Book of World Records mark for most people with a hardhat on in one place at one time.

Posted by Kentucky Sports Radio on Saturday, January 12, 2019

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

43 responses to “10 notes from another ugly SEC win”

  1. VirginiaCat

    If we continue to throw up bricks, perhaps hard hats should be issued for every game.

    1. shepdog3720

      You realize we shot 50% for the game?

    2. ClutchCargo

      No. There is no realization at all. Only mindless babble.

    3. UK Maine-iac

      Keep trying, Virginia. One day you’ll make sense, and we’ll all be happy for you.

  2. Ridge Runner

    Yes Ms T.. I will take an SEC win and that’s about all I’ll say right now.

  3. michaelb

    We’re relying on 3 freshmen guards for all of our scoring . That’s a scary reality . Shaky shaky .

  4. nellis234

    I like how they gave the hard hats to everyone in the lower bowl except the student section…

  5. dballrb

    A win is a win..

  6. Smyrna_Cat

    Could KSR writers cool it a bit? You don’t have to call every game an “ugly win” just because we don’t blow a team out. We played bad but fought hard to come back and win on an off night. That should count for something.

    1. dcforuk

      Cal in his postgame interview with Pratt himself referred to the game as ugly.

    2. brian

      KSR writers are absolute trash now. This post could have been worse if Nick wrote it.

    3. BigolBlue

      It was ugly smyrna. Just like our coaching staff

    4. catsarerunnin

      And you Slater

  7. blueblood4life

    People keep complaining about Kentucky playing ugly! The SEC has stepped up last few years a win is a win in the sec keep grinding cats!

    1. No more excuses cal

      The sec has stepped it up in the past 2or3 years but cal has also let the Kentucky program slip but hey we PLAYERS FIRST can’t wait for the June draft

    2. bigbluebanana

      You’re really going all in with this players first thing huh?

    3. catsarerunnin

      I’m all in with PLAYERS FIRST since players play the game. Without players there wouldn’t be a game.

    4. Blue Bill

      Maybe we should just say screw the players, put those low life’s last. Oh, wait… PLYERS win the damn games fool.

    5. blueblood4life

      You are a complete dumb Ass! Who’s your coach o smart one!

    6. BigolBlue

      Haha! Vandy is so bad

    7. Skooms

      Still won the game BOB, AND by more than you thought they would. Actually you called a loss.

  8. ClutchCargo

    No win is ugly, they all count the same.

  9. J. Did

    GO CATS!

  10. dcforuk

    “UGLY” can actually be a rather objective description. But, UGLY can also be a beautiful thing. If Cam Reddish’s three pointer against the Seminoles yesterday was a banked three instead of a Joe Dean string music three, it still (ONLY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A dUKe FAN) been a beautiful thing (AGAIN, ONLY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A dUKe FAN)! So, UGLY can be objective, subjective, ugly and beautiful all wrapped into one. Clear as mud?

  11. CahillsCrossingNT

    I would take any win this team can earn anywhere because they are likely to lose 7-9 more games.

  12. dcforuk

    Back when my life felt like it was my own (which is a myth anyway) and I played golf, we used to say that there was no description on a scorecard. Some of my most beautiful pars were of the variety that did not even require the flatstick to be pulled from the bag.

    1. henderblue

      Being a golfer myself, I like that analogy. And a good miss, usually turns out to be a pretty good shot. So an ugly win is still a good win. I’ll take an ugly win at Georgia Tuesday night

  13. dcforuk

    Just a friendly reminder that the 2010-2011 team was 2-6 on the road in SEC play. I had a co-worker then that hated that team for losing so many close games on the road. I seem to recall how much he enjoyed his early April 2011 weekend stay in Houston that year. Oh, that’s right. The final four was in Houston that year.

    1. henderblue

      That’s a nice birdie right there ^^^^

  14. dcforuk

    It’s not a “FAN’s” job to necessarily treat a team as they can and should be but it is a coach’s job. “Treat a person like they can and should be and they (MAY) become like they can and should be.” You know the other saying about nothing is guaranteed except for _______ and ________!

    1. Jiminy Crickets

      If you watched the Duke/FSU game, the fight, energy and great coaching on both sides. Duke on the road at #13 team in country without Zion. If you watched, you could see the coaches in telling RJ to drive lane, and pump fake. The ball inbounded, RJ drive lane and pump faked, got two guys in the air and got fouled. If you watch the last play, Coach K drew a inbounds play on the dry erase board, they lined up and he called timeout, sat down and erased it and drew up a second. When breaking, the assistant coach put his finger in Redfish chest. He knew FSU would chase RJ, so he ran him to the corner and had two screens set for reddish to drift wide open. FSU didn’t “leave him” wide open, it was a designed inbounds play.
      Then you watch UK/Vandy, UK at home against an NIT hopeful, and no fight, no energy, and our coach still talking about “our guys aren’t doing what we’re telling them”. “Every huddle, we told them, they just didn’t”.
      Yes a win is a win, but there’s more wrong with this team than slow starts. PJ and Travis have looked disinterested in last 4 games, we can’t hit wide open jumpers (quickley has been hitting) and our offense is stale. Big guys never move, guards never move, ball goes around perimeter before a drive to rim or a contested 3.

    2. catsarerunnin

      Yes Jenny clearly Cal isn’t in the same class as Coach K or Leonard Hamilton or you….

    3. dcforuk

      You know that bumper sticker that says if you are not the lead dog the scenery never changes (that is a paraphrase). I think that the dynamic that the team is trying to figure out is how heavy a “scoring” role does Hagans need to have. From watching the highlights, it does not seem like he forced things which is good. I have missed much of the last three games. I do think we have enough talent and continue to solidify roles.

    4. bigblue2284

      Could agree more cricket. I also watched coach K’s demeanor and He doesn’t scream and stomp like child the was Cal does. Is it really a wonder player prefer K?

    5. catsarerunnin

      So how about you become a dUKe fan and simplify your life?

    6. bigblue2284

      How about took be objective once and a while. Would you rather play for a coach who berates you or one that teaches you? It’s not about UK it’s about Cals style, notice how he recruiting has went since he coached the USA team? Yea maybe guys realized he isn’t the type of coach they want to play for.

  15. dcforuk

    Hopefully, this team is still a little like looking too closely at a painting. Perhaps as we continue to step back and away from the micro-critiques then the painting will come into more clear of a view. On the flip side, the only mistake is the mistake not learned from. Therefore, it’s certainly ok to wrestle and discuss defining the problems, quantifying the impact and identifying the solutions. I, as a FANatic, am not always rational as I do those three things!

    1. CATandMONKEY

      Good take. Think that what is frustrating is that we have seen so much better from these guys and backwards travel seems apparent.

      The overriding theme that seemed to define the team yesterday was ” lack of coordination.”
      Missed alley-oops, how many passes off the hands? Bumbled bounce passes…

    2. Wade

      We won but The slow start is bc of hagans (guys a beast and most improved by light years)Reid and and pj starting together imo. Very slow lineup ,small with 1 shooter and herro has been streaky. Kj hasn’t been inserting himself early and don’t get it and pj has been a confusing! Being a good teammate but not player!small ball has shooters and they are not. Do we want to spot 10 to start games in the tourney? I think you start to build confidence and the flow so we should use hagans(can guard anybody) quickley herro keldon pj/nick to start then rotate baker ej and Reid around ????? Reid is too slow and getting burned tooo much. Box out rebound get positiion be a wall! He’s not nba bound so he needs to be told and become a role player for us to win(eloy Vargas)

    3. dcforuk

      I was pubering last night (parent ubering) during the game and unless it is a really high profile game I typically don’t DVR and watch after the fact. Therefore, I can’t speak with credibility to the details of last night’s game. I am still very hopeful for this team. I really do think they have the potential to make a FF run. Those observations you note can be very frustrating to watch. I do think it was good to have Keldon score more. Ever since the 2nd half of the UofL game he seemed off with his shooting. I think season is full of 2-3 game pockets of momentum where different guys develop. Quickley has been that guy recently which will be good down the road. We have so many guys who can legitimately score. I really think UK is poised for a run depending on if they run up against one of the hottest teams in the tourney or not. This team seems to have the talent to even overcome that but as you indicate must be more coordinated!

  16. makeitstop

    I’ll say it again – EJ will be the key. If he develops like Cal seemed to think he could early on then this team has another gear. If not, it’s hold ur breath and hope 2 of the 4 guards are hot and the big guys come to play on the glass, and given our 3 point struggles that’s not a risk I want to take. If EJ can add an active scorer from 8-15 feet he’ll loosen them up in the paint for the kind of interior passing that made us look great against UNC, who Praise God, is having its own struggles. (Couldn’t happen to a better group)

  17. BluKudzu

    The game is won with defense and rebounding, having a major dude in the post. Until someone steps up, this is what you will get the rest of the season.

  18. Wildcat_blues1029

    Yes I agree that our team present and past continues to get off to these UUUUUGGGGGGLLLLLLYYY slow starts against weaker teams and players have their career years. BUT let’s look at this from a fan stand point. When going to games at Rupp and compared to majority of the country we have absolutely no Home court advantage. Let’s be honest as a player there’s no excitement what so ever from our crowd before tip and at the beginning of the game to have our guys amped to even play at home. Why else do away teams come in and always shoot way better at Rupp then anywhere else majority of the time. Playing at Rupp is not a advantage at all. For goodness sakes we need to honestly start putting more students in these lower seats and really build up the atmosphere. All do respect it’s sad to see that 75% of our lower arena is 65+, barely able to stand up or see. The games are supposed to be cheered and create a wild and crazy environment to help our guys but that will never ever be like that as long as the lower levels are being bought out to our great-grandparents and grandparents. Don’t even compare us to Duke or Kansas 2 of the toughest places to play. Compare us to Arizona St, Florida st, your other solid SEC teams and my case is made.