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Eight things we learned in UK’s win over Montevallo

The Montevallo Falcons came into Rupp and gave Kentucky all they could handle on Monday night. Afterwards, John Calipari said that the team “has a ways to go” before it can compete with the big guys, but for now, let’s look at eight things we learned from Kentucky’s 95-72 win over the fighting DeWayne Peevy’s.

1. These babies are sloppy

Remember how bad the Cats looked in the first half against Transy? Well, that lackadaisical performance carried through to tonight. Montevallo came out fast, surging to a 9-2 lead before Cal was forced to call a timeout at the 17-minute mark. The Cats struggled to get into flow on both sides of the ball, and once again, the opposing team seemed to want it more. Kentucky was way too sloppy tonight, racking up 16 turnovers to Montevallo’s 10.

What’s the difference between the Kentucky team that thrilled at the Blue/White scrimmage and the team we’ve seen the past two exhibition games? They’re missing their point guard. Andrew Harrison sat out tonight to fully recover from his knee injury, leaving the point guard duties to Jarrod Polson. Back at shooting guard, Harrison had a good line–10 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and no turnovers–but Calipari says he wants to see more hustle from him. As he put it, “It’s like we’re playing without our quarterback. Good news is his backup looks just like him. But he’s not him.” The other good news is Andrew will return to practice on Wednesday in hopes of being ready for the season opener.

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

2. Julius Randle is the rock

Even though he’s just a freshman, Julius Randle is the leader of this team. It was Randle who stepped up and kept UK’s offense going when it stilled in the first half, hitting shots with such ease that we coined the term “Auto-Randle” on the live blog. He logged his second straight double-double of the season so far and led the team in scoring with 21 points and 11 rebounds. We sound like a broken record when we praise Randle at this point, but his efficiency and consistency are remarkable, especially when you consider he’s only 18-years-old. Randle does ridiculous things with such ease that you just have to shake your head and smile. When asked how to stop Randle after the game, Montevallo’s Troran Brown said it wasn’t possible: “You can’t. Real talented, strong, nice lefty. I like his game. Number one pick in the draft.”

3. James Young had the shot of the night…for the other team

The shot that everyone’s talking tomorrow about won’t be an Alex Poythress dunk or Aaron Harrison three. It will be an underhand own goal by James Young off a Willie Cauley-Stein block. Words really can’t describe it, so just hit play above.

Young’s shot was pretty much all anyone could talk about after the game, and John Calipari said that it made him laugh, but turned it into a teaching moment for his young squad: “You don’t throw the ball back at their basket. You throw at our basket and we might get a layup.” Looking back at the replay, Cal’s right–UK would have had three players off to the races had Young tossed the ball their way and not in the opponent’s basket.

Oh yeah, and when he’s not scoring baskets for the other team, James Young can still dunk, too:

4. Alex finally roared

One surprising development tonight was the inspired play by Alex Poythress. Poythress woke from his slumber and roared, reminding fans of just how good he can be. The sophomore finished with 10 points and four rebounds in 17 minutes, and could have done more if not saddled with foul trouble. Cal was pleased with his performance: “”I thought Alex played as well as I’ve seen him play. There were five possessions he gave up on, but that used to be fifteen.”

Cal said that the staff is trying to get Alex to focus on finishing plays instead of starting them: “We’re just trying to get him to be a finisher. Forget about being a play-starter, we’ve got enough of those.” Part of that is offensive rebounding, which Cal says should come natural to Poythress, whom he called the “strongest player in our gym.” Yes, stronger than Julius Randle.

5. Willie remembered how to block

Willie Cauley-Stein didn’t have a great first half. As a result, he got quite the talking to from John Calipari at halftime. That seemed to do the trick. WCS became Willie Blocking-Stein at the beginning of the second half, swatting balls like the Wildcats of yore. When asked if he felt like Anthony Davis, Willis said not exactly: “No. I felt like a dude who got his butt chewed at halftime.”

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

6. The Lob is a work in progress

Five of 16 UK’s turnovers came off failed lobs. For the Cats, the lob is clearly a work in progress, something that Cal says he doesn’t mind because he knows they’ll get the timing right eventually. Having their starting point guard back will help, too.

7. Troran Brown is good

Montevallo just wouldn’t die tonight. Led by Troran Brown, the Falcons were feisty (perhaps bolstered by the return of their mascot, Freddie), and got within 11 points of the Cats several times in the second half. Brown had 30 points in the game, afterwards, told reporters that he’ll tell his kids one day about his experience in Rupp–if he has any.

8. There’s a lot to do until we play Michigan State

Kentucky plays Michigan State one week from tomorrow. Raise your hand if you gulped after reading that. Kentucky has A LOT to do before then if it wants to knock off the Spartans. As Calipari put it, “We’re not a good team right now. We’ve got a nice collection of guys, but we’re not a good team.” It’s like making cornbread for the first time. You may have the finest flour, cornmeal, free-range eggs, organic milk, etc., but without the right measures, it doesn’t come out exactly right, especially if it’s missing the part that holds it all together. Andrew Harrison returns Friday night, and with him at the helm, we’ll likely see a very different Kentucky team.

The Cats have two warm-ups left in UNC-Asheville and Northern Kentucky before next Tuesday’s big test against Michigan State. Ready or not, as Cal put it, it’s on:

“So basically it’s on. And whether we’re ready or not, and we’re not, the bus is taking us to the games and the plane, and we’ve got to play games. So we’re going to have to learn as we go.”

Fall fast, and get up and watch Trey Lyles commit to Kentucky tomorrow at 12:50 p.m. ET.

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.

47 responses to “Eight things we learned in UK’s win over Montevallo”

  1. Paducahfan

    I would like to forget about recruiting and concentrate on learning to play with the guys we have.

  2. Cuzino

    Isn’t Randle 19?

  3. tdogg40330

    Tuesday’s rotation will be 7-8 players and Andrew will be playing, the lob will be in full effect. CATS will look like the #1 team in the country on their way to victory

  4. CrimsonCee

    That’s a good team you guys have but the hype was way too much. They’ll improve but that’s last years NIT flameout with Randle – not the best college team ever. I thought you guys would smash IU if you played them, but…nope. It’d be pretty close. You guys can have Lyles…his dad is an NCAA violation waiting to happen. IU wouldn’t pony up but you will. Maybe he’ll get the meaningless hype machine rolling next year. Michigan State will beat that team by 20. Flame me, but deep down you know I’m right. So does James Blackmon, Jr. Fear not, a beast rises in Bloomington. Enjoy your 10-loss season. The Cal experiment is coming apart and it should.

  5. HillbillyInBC

    Eggs? You making cornbread or cake?

  6. Billy Ray

    We learned that Matt Jones has been blowing smoke about this awesome team. We also learned that hyped up teenagers does mean they will be great.

  7. bigredbleedsblue

    Sorry Crimson I couldn’t hear you over your teams irrelevance.

  8. gokycats33

    Just saw the James Young shot at the beginning of Sports Center!

  9. Jeremy San Diego

    Over the last 3 years I’ve been able to watch every UK game on espn3 and for some reason that changed this year. I have fox sports south but came home today to see the channel was blacked out in my region. It’s absolutely ridiculous that I don’t have a go to option for every game. Any suggestions?

  10. mashburnfan1

    TT you have to look back to see what a dumb play that was by Young. I taught that to 10 year olds. Always throw the ball on a save to your end of the court. Stupid thing is our idiot fans gave him a standing ovation, I thought BBN knew the game better than that.

  11. We Hang Banners

    We beat Michigan State by 20! Watch.

  12. tdogg40330

    4) one word to describe you …… IDIOT !!!!

  13. Linda Taylor

    Oh joy, Crimson Cee and his candy stripe pants are back. You would think his team’s flame out with 2 top five draft picks last year would have shut him up but no he can’t help himself, he’s obsessed with us.

  14. bigredbleedsblue

    Mashburnfan1, we are the most educated fans in college basketball! I am not sure what level you coach at, but the kid threw in the ball the wrong way while barely staying in-bounds. You might want to chill out and just appreciate a crazy play in a meaningless tune-up game. Yep it was a mistake and we all know that, but it was still something you just don’t see everyday.

  15. yargamel

    Young just forgot what game they were playing for a second and busted out his patented game-ending H-O-R-S-E shot.

  16. Blue Jesus

    10. Come on, I think you ask any UK fan in the stadium or watching the game on TV and they will tell you that he should have thrown the ball down court. That isn’t why he got the ovation. You seem to be implying they gave him the ovation because he did something good. In what scenario is scoring in your own basket ever going to be a good thing? Even non-sport fans could know that wasn’t a positive play. Again, that’s not why he got the ovation.

  17. catfarfromhome

    I never comment on articles but find it hilarious that other team’s fans are on OUR site. I can not begin to imagine ever wanting to get on a site of another fan base. I think that just shows the envy other fans have and also the fact that they must not have a great site, like our site, to go to. I have to go to our site because watching the games live is not a possibility in Iraq. This site, OUR site, is what gets me through having to miss the games I cherish.

  18. fff

    God you bbn people or whatever are hilarious. Your comments are so bipolar

  19. Bunny

    The ninth thing we learned is that we don’t have a “lock-down” defender. Troran Brown lit up both James Young and Aaron Harrison like roman candles…

  20. UKBlue

    As sloppy as they look on offense & especially defense, really wish this Mich St game wasn’t so soon. It’s like no one has ever talked to these kids about defense or free throws.

  21. haha

    Most people that comment on here are not the brightest…but a fan of another team reading a UK blog, then commenting on it, that is a different level of stupidity. Jesus. And the cats will be fine. There’s a reason they play exhibitions. O yea, and WCS has the lowest bball IQ of any UK player I’ve ever seen. He continues to do some of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. He’s also a selfish player, albeit a freak athlete

  22. We know what those initials stand for

    “fff”-Thank you for you astute comments. How brilliant!. Not.

  23. Really?

    “CrimsonCee”-Ridiculous name. And how you can even mention last year, is beyond belief. I still remember the way you Loosiers folded like a cheap tent against the Syracuse zone. What a joke.

  24. TimothyMcClintock

    I’ve been a Kentucky fan for more years of my life than Matt Jones been employed by the state. What I want to know is why KSR continue to reemploy a liberal turncoat like him, even after all the crazy things he has says online and when he openly admitted to supporting the liberal in the white house live on radio and was proud of it. If Matt Jones like liberal lifestyle so much, maybe he should move to Washington DC to hang out with his liberal buddies like Obama and smoke pot with Obama. Seems like this country is going down in flames like in that old war movie, and Matt Jones is riding the charge that will end it all.

  25. TimothyMcClintock

    I also think if people like Matt Jones find God in their hearts, they will find religion and be forgiven. That’s one of the things the young generation has lost contact with their Christian roots and respect for the savior and what He has given up for you.

  26. tdogg40330

    19) that’ s funny, Brown is a good ball player, but he took 34 shots to score 30 pts. UK does need to tighten up the defense and they will, but I wouldn’t say Brown “lit up” anyone.

  27. greg

    9) We ain’t going undefeated

  28. Duuuuuude

    @#24…….. Matt owns this site, so I suppose he can write what ever he wants.

    A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind. (Proverbs 18:2 NASB)

  29. 10th Thing

    We don’t block out and rebound. Too many times we were just standing there watching and let their guys just blow by and get the put backs.

  30. Tony

    The 10 things I took out of this was…….. UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    UL by 20
    and last but not least UL by 20

  31. Goose

    I wonder, does U of L have a blog similiar to KSR? Do Kentucky fans troll the site? Do they realize U of L trolls seem to have the brain capacity of a 12 year old? I hope our fans dont do this.. it is a pathetic means of following and supporting your team.

  32. Don't think so...

    @ Tony… We MIGHT lose to Mich St. and we Might even lose to NC…but we will NOT be losing on Dec 28th! You can count on that!

  33. Jeffrey

    So we have them all now, idiotic louisville, and indiana fans, and religious nuts. Great.

  34. RC

    November 5th

    That’s the date. Check your calendars if you don’t believe me.

    Chill. The. HeIl. Out!

  35. ukcatncarolina

    Can we please stop all the political crap. BTW Timothy McClintock, religion doesn’t save anyone, the Savior does. I come to KSR for, “University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.” Nothing more nothing less. If you don’t like what Matt does go somewhere else. I used to enjoy engaging with other Cats fans on the comment section but lately all that’s on here are trolls and negative people. Although this team is really raw, we are on the brink of a special season. Lets focus on that. Okay my rant’s over with can’t wait for Friday night. Go Cats!

  36. David270

    James Young’s shot was the coolest thing I’ve seen from the cats so far. Once Andrew gets back the team will come together. Did you see how the packers played with Aaron Rodgers? It’s a relatable situation. Their floor general is out, once he’s back the rhythm, timing and precision that typically comes with UK basketball will be there!

  37. AnthonyBBN

    Sloppy but effective offense, once it tightens up college basketball will tremble, I am hoping that they can turn around on defense, they have a very tiring schedule starting Friday, 5 games in 11 days with the one in the middle being the toughest challenge all season. Again, hope they can tighten defense up with the games against UNC-Ashville and NOrthern Kentucky before Michigan St. Still going to love this team and we will be a powerhouse before seasons end.

    Also the people talking about James Young’s play, they applauded the hustle and attitude not scoring for the other team.

  38. CATandMONKEY

    TimothyMcClintock: Dear..sweet…Jesus. UK is far better off without those of your ilk. You may be a fan of UK but please realize that UK offers numerous classes in English, composition and political science; all of which might help you express yourself in a less ridiculous manner.

    Tony, the one thing I took away from your post is that you are high.
    Long live the ad hominem. Sometimes it is the most appropriate response.

  39. BlueRedNeck

    Goose, my eleven-year-old would take exception to what you said. She has twice the mental capacity of all of the beaked trolls and Creapy Crean fans who troll this site.

  40. Tommy Crean

    I’ve been thinking about UK a lot. A whole lot. And so have our fans. We miss you all. You made us relevant. Please come back!

  41. Haters are funny

    UK plays bad in two games that mean nothing. Their starting PG didn’t play and white guys like Poloson, Hood and Malone are playing 20 minutes a game. Malone won’t play 20 minutes all season.

    UK is not Indiana. They don’t hang banners, hold marches and give out rings for beating Transy.

    UK is not Louisville. A fanbase that is absent during games until tournament time where they pretend to be loyal.

  42. Oldsarge

    The “Light Blue Nation” showed up. Why could I here sneakers skreatch on the floor more than fans cheering, just like last year. The” Light Blue Nation” Enertain me, not cheer for their team. That includes Football.

  43. Nashville Cat

    We learned that Alex poythtress is the new Darius miller

  44. Bluebloodtoo

    WCS – I love his personality, his belief in individualism, and his ability to be comfortable in his own skin off the court. However, basketball is a team sport. When he steps onto the court, he needs to be whomever his team needs him to be. I think he’s a smart enough guy to know that the NBA is going to ask the same thing of him so I’m betting he’ll get this figured out by the end of this year.

  45. KentuckySage

    As a 72 year old Big Blue Fan for 51 years may I respectfully suggest that all sports fans concentrate on the Sport and leave Religion and Politics to their Time and Place.

  46. L Denton

    Sage, as a UK fan for 67 years may I respectively suggest that you concentrate on what you please and allow every other fan the same privilege

  47. duh

    So the Falcons gave Kentucky all they wanted? Really?? At what point did you ever think UK was going to lose? UK may not have gotten the 30+ point blow out we all wanted to see but to say the Falcons gave Kentucky all they wanted is just nonsense.