Losing always hurts, but it can be especially painful when it comes on a buzzer-beater or at the hands of an official. For Kentucky, both of those things happened in Saturday night’s defeat in College Station.
What was an exciting game for 44 minutes and 51 seconds took a bizarre turn when referee Pat Adams chose to call a technical foul on Isaac Humphries for celebrating with a heat-of-the-moment ball spike. Had Adams let the harmless spike go without penalty, Humphries is going to the line with a chance to extend Kentucky’s lead to three.
Adams did call the technical, though, leading to a tie game and a final possession for A&M to win. The Aggies capitalized on the good fortune, winning the game by two on a buzzer-beating putback basket.
The story of the game is Humphries’ technical foul, unfortunately.
Isaac Humphries played his best game yet and he did it when Kentucky needed him the most. The freshman big man was forced into action with Alex Poythress out, Marcus Lee in foul trouble and Derek Willis in the locker room with a twisted ankle, and he was outstanding in his increased role in the frontcourt.
Humphries finished with a career-high 12 rebounds and he hit two very clutch free throws to give Kentucky a lead with under two minutes to go in overtime. It really is a shame his performance is being overlooked by the costly ball-spike that landed him a technical foul with nine seconds remaining, which opened the door for A&M to steal the victory.
Humphries tweeted, “I will learn from this.”
I will learn from this #BBN
— Isaac Humphries (@IsaacHumphries7) February 21, 2016
Poor kid must be heartbroken right now for costing his team the game.
Let’s not ignore the fact Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere got torched on the final play.
First, Murray lost Danuel House on the inbounds, allowing House to drive directly into the lane for a decent look at a game-winner.
House’s shot didn’t fall, and A&M’s Tyler Davis cleared Skal Labissiere out of the way for the putback.
Very disappointing effort from those two on the final play.
Murray and Tyler Ulis combined for 43 points.
Aside from Murray’s defensive blunder, he played a pretty good game. He had 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting for his sixth consecutive game with at least 20 points.
Tyler Ulis was the Cats’ leading scorer with 22 points and 11 assists.
Those two did enough to keep Kentucky in it when it appeared A&M could pull away.
ESPN’s Seth Greenberg did not agree with the technical foul call.
That action was not unsportsmanlike and after speaking to a number of Officals the feeling is you can pass on that call.
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) February 21, 2016
The Twitter consensus seems to be Pat Adams should’ve let Humphries’ spike slide.
Derek Willis’ sprained ankle is worrisome.
Willis rolled his right ankle in the second half of the game and his status unclear, though Cal said he thinks it’s a really bad sprain. Willis has become a vital piece of this team and Kentucky could be in big trouble if he’s unable to return soon.
Please, please, please, please get well soon.
Why is Isaiah Briscoe taking so many jump shots?
I’ll have to go back to the tape to see just how many times Briscoe threw up an ill-advised shot, but I can remember about a handful of them that clanked off the iron.
Briscoe does several things very well; however, shooting the ball is not one of them.
Kentucky got abused on the glass.
Texas A&M out-rebounded UK throughout the entire game, and if not for Humphries, the finally tally would’ve been much worse than 41-36.
The Cats gave up 20 — TWENTY! — offensive rebounds, by far the most allowed in any game this season. The Aggies turned those boards into 22 second chance points and it’s tough to win giving up that many second looks to anyone.
The loss isn’t the end of the world, but it creates a tight race for the SEC.
Kentucky is still atop the SEC standings, but A&M is only one game behind and now holds the tiebreaker between the two teams.
The Aggies’ remaining schedule is a fairly easy one with home games against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt and trips to Missouri and Auburn. That’s the three worst teams in the conference and a struggling Vandy team coming in on Senior Day in the regular season finale.
Kentucky controls its own destiny in its final four games. However, if the Cats slip up anywhere along the way, A&M can steal the regular season trophy by winning out.
All things considered, Kentucky is still a team that can make some noise in March.
In the wise words of Coach Cal, “I like my team.”