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WATCH: Kevin Knox wrecks Ben Simmons

(Photo via NBA.com/Knicks)

Kentucky may have fallen to LSU Tuesday night, but Kevin Knox just reminded everyone who owns the professional league. The former Cat absolutely destroyed Ben Simmons, who played for LSU before being selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

Yikes. And remember, Ben Simmons didn’t even enjoy his one year at LSU, saying he didn’t really know what he learned, “financially or just being a person,” during his time with the Tigers.

The dunk video is blowing up on Twitter right now – a few of Knox’s former teammates even chimed in about the slam:

Knox by 90 and Cats > Tigers.


Kentucky struggled to grab rebounds against LSU – What happened?

John Calipari and his players agree: Tuesday night’s game against LSU should not have come down to the final play. The brutal tip-in (goal-tending or not) pushed the Tigers a mere two points ahead of the Cats just as time expired, but Kentucky’s entire second half was less than ideal. And while the Cats’ defense struggled to get a stop and the shooting was far from sharp, the Cats’ second-half rebounding may have been one of the biggest issues.

“We just have to rebound in the second half,” PJ Washington said after the game. “That was big for us, and we didn’t get the job done. They out-rebounded us and unfortunately won the game.”

The difference is staggering. In the first half, Kentucky brought in 23 rebounds (6 offensive; 17 defensive) while LSU had 14 rebounds (3 offensive; 11 defensive), meaning the Cats won the battle of the boards by nine.

But in the second half, it was a different story. Kentucky finished the game with 39 rebounds, while LSU had 32. So, yes, Kentucky still had a higher total. But if you look only at the second half, LSU won 18-16. The Cats were right at their season average for boards, but the real issue was allowing the Tigers so many second-chance points.

“They’re a really good team and they played well, but we just allowed them to get offensive rebounds, and that was the biggest thing coming into the game – not letting them get offensive rebounds,” Reid Travis said. “The last five minutes, that’s all they were doing. We feel like it’s on us.”

Coach Calipari was quick to notice the changing momentum after halftime.

“We beat them in the first half, and then, they beat us back in the second half the same way. So we kind of did it to each other,” Cal said after the game. “There were some rebounds late that we had to get and we just weren’t able to get them. A guy like Nick [Richards], with his size, you would hope that’s what he could do.”

Unfortunately for Kentucky, he didn’t. Richards finished with zero rebounds, and no Wildcat hit double-digits boards. Washington and Travis led the team with nine rebounds each.

“I think a lot of guys are just frustrated with the way that we played in the second half and the way we didn’t rebound and gave up point,” Travis said.

So what went wrong?

That’s effort on us,” Immanuel Quickley said. “Second half, we’ve got to be better. Down the stretch, we’ve got to be better. Just little things: hustle plays, fighting for loose balls, 50/50s… We just have to be better all around.”

They’ll have to be better against the Volunteers this Saturday. Entering the top-5 matchup, Kentucky is averaging 39 rebounds per game; Tennessee’s average is currently sitting at 38. Grant Williams runs the boards for Tennessee, averaging 7.3 per game; PJ Washington leads Kentucky with an average of 8.1 per game.

The GameDay matchup will be a physical one, and rebounding could make a huge difference by the end of the game. Let’s just hope the Cats will be in a different position by the time Saturday’s final buzzer sounds.


@MaggieDavisKSR


We have an early line for Kentucky vs. Tennessee

We have an early line for Kentucky vs. Tennessee

Kentucky’s loss to LSU makes Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee even more important. The actual point spread won’t come out until Friday afternoon, but late last week, Caesars included both games against the Vols in their advanced college basketball bets, with Kentucky favored by four on Saturday and Tennessee favored by four in next month’s contest in Knoxville:

 

Thoughts?


WATCH: Reid Travis, PJ Washington and Immanuel Quickley react to loss

Well, that was rough. Despite the Cats’ devastating loss to the LSU Tigers, three Wildcats still spoke with the media following the game. Here’s what Reid Travis, PJ Washington and Immanuel Quickley had to say Tuesday night:

Travis discussed the final play and what went wrong for the Wildcats:

PJ Washington touched on the final play, his team’s performance down the stretch, and why they’re ready to turn things around when Tennessee comes to town this weekend.

Quickley talked about what the team can learn from the loss, what changed the momentum in the second half and how the Cats can get back to the right mindset before Saturday’s game:


Today on KSR: That sucked

Today on KSR: That sucked

Does anyone feel better after a night’s sleep? Me neither. Kentucky’s 73-71 loss to No. 19 LSU stings in many ways. After playing some of their best basketball over the past month, the Cats reverted in the second half, blowing a nine-point lead at home to let the Tigers snap their ten-game winning streak and take sole possession of second place in the SEC standings. Not only did several players go missing in action, the Cats seemed to lose their identity, which bothered John Calipari the most in the postgame press conference.

“I mean, it’s stuff that we had gotten better at. They shot the ball 32 percent in the first half. They shot it 51 percent in the second half. That’s why you lose. We’re supposed to be a defensive team that rebounds. Well, obviously we weren’t.”

Kentucky’s inability to deal with LSU’s length and athleticism triggered flashbacks of another game we all had hoped we were past. In stretches, the Cats looked lost on offense, unable to drive the ball or score over LSU’s Nazr Reid or Kavell Bigby-Williams. On defense, Ashton Hagans, arguably Kentucky’s best defender, was unable to stay in front of guys, specifically Tremont Waters. Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and Reid Travis all made egregious errors down the stretch, leaving PJ Washington to carry the load.

And then there’s the way the game ended. After Keldon Johnson tied the game at 71 with two free throws, LSU’s Skylar Mays drove the length of the court to score and missed, but Bigby-Williams was there to tip it in. He touched the ball above the cylinder, committing basket interference; however, under NCAA rules, that’s considered a judgment call and is therefore not reviewable, an absurdity made even more ridiculous by the fact that at the end of the Duke/Louisville game, the refs were able to go to the monitor to review a crucial charge call, which was reversed.

Calipari was flummoxed when asked why the refs couldn’t review the basket interference. The refs weren’t made available for comment, so Kyle Tucker asked SEC Basketball spokesman Craig Pinkerton about it. His response will make your blood pressure skyrocket:

Former coordinator of NCAA officials John Adams tweeted that he believes the rule will change as a result of last night’s debacle, which would be the second time that’s happened after Kentucky’s gotten screwed.

Ugh. Not even Louisville blowing a 23-point lead vs. Duke makes me feel better because it just showed good the Blue Devils are. And when they went to the monitor to see whether or not Cam Reddish’s defender was inside the arc on that charge call?

Again, ugh. But we’ve gotta move on. No. 1 Tennessee comes to town on Saturday and a win over the Vols will cure a lot of ails.

A look at the current SEC standings

TEAM CONFERENCE GAMES BACK OVERALL
Tennessee 10-0 22-1
LSU 10-1 0.5 20-4
Kentucky 9-2 1.5 20-4
South Carolina 7-3 3 12-11
Ole Miss 6-4 4 16-7
Alabama 6-5 4.5 15-9
Auburn 5-5 5 16-7
Mississippi State 5-6 5.5 17-7
Arkansas 5-6 5.5 14-10
Florida 4-6 6 12-11
Missouri 3-8 7.5 12-11
Texas A&M 3-8 7.5 10-13
Georgia 1-10 9.5 10-14
Vanderbilt 0-10 10 9-14

LSU is not only ahead of Kentucky now, they own the tiebreaker. The Tigers still have to play Tennessee, Florida twice, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so here’s hoping they slip up or we’re looking at the late Friday night slot in the SEC Tournament, which no one wants.

Here are tonight’s SEC games:

6:30 PM South Carolina No. 1 Tennessee SEC Network
8:30 PM Ole Miss Auburn SEC Network
9:00 PM Vanderbilt Florida ESPNU

No. 6 Michigan lost too

Another casualty of a wild night in basketball: No. 6 Michigan, who went down at Penn State in a game that saw John Beilein get thrown out:

The Wolverines have lost three of their past eight games, which is comforting since they’re also in the hunt for the top No. 2 seed.

Never change, Louisville

Even if Duke scares the crap out of me, there was one great image to come out of that game last night:

Radio in an hour.


Kentucky players say it shouldn’t have come down to the last play

After finding themselves up by nine with 16:51 remaining in the second half, the Kentucky Wildcats simply imploded down the stretch. Shots stopped falling, they were outworked for rebounds, turned the ball over, and defense was non-existent.

Kentucky’s nine-point lead quickly dropped to one in the span of just over four minutes. From there, LSU finally took over the lead with 8:15 to go and managed to hold it or keep it tied all the way through the heartbreaking final buzzer.

The focus is on the controversial no-call at the end, but the players believe it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. If they had taken care of business before then, the game wouldn’t have been left up to the referees to decide.

Kentucky forward PJ Washington said that final five-minute stretch is what really killed them.

“My view on the last play is that we never should’ve put ourselves in that position,” he said. “We had a lot of breakdowns in the last five minutes that… you can’t win games like that. We’ve just got to get back to practice and work on it. They’re a really good team and they played well, but we just allowed them to get offensive rebounds, and that was the biggest thing coming into this game, not letting them get offensive rebounds, and the last five minutes that’s all they were doing. So, we feel like it’s on us. We just have to rebound in the second half. That was big for us, and we didn’t get the job done. They outrebounded us and unfortunately won the game.”

We can’t control that, but we can control our effort on the boards and stuff like that. We’ve just got to stick to the gameplay.

For Wildcat guard Immanuel Quickley, he believes they left their fate out of their hands by not converting on their end of the floor and blocking out in the final seconds on the other.

“I think we just want to let other people deal with that,” he said. “What they decided is what they decided. You just have to come out there and win that game and try to find another way.”

Kentucky forward Reid Travis, who was on the bench during the buzzer-beater, said that it’s a tough call to make in the heat of the moment, but like the other players, he believes they should have executed elsewhere so the game wouldn’t come down to a final play.

“I was on the bench and it was kind of hard to see with all the chaos that was going on and I really didn’t get too good of a look at it,” he said. ” But I saw the replay. I think it’s a tough call to make in live action. Obviously, I can’t put myself in their shoes and make that call. We have many chances to win the game besides that so I think we do ourselves a disservice to get hung up on one call. We made a lot of mistakes down the stretch and it shouldn’t have come down to that so obviously it’s frustrating. Put ourselves in a great position and a call like that could go either way but at the end of the day we should’ve made more plays to where it wasn’t out of our hands at the end.”

 Travis said that while it may be deflating for a team riding a 10-game winning streak to lose in that fashion, it’s not something they can dwell on. They do have a pretty important opponent coming to town this weekend, after all.

“Everyone was on the same page with the fact that that play was not what we need to sit down and dwell on and I think a lot of guys are juts frustrated with the way that we played in the second half and the way we didn’t rebound and gave up points,” he said. “So I don’t think as much that we’re too hung up on that call. It’s tough and it’s a tough break but obviously there was opportunity to be there at the end and we would’ve loved for it to go the other way but when you look at the greater scope of the game and that wasn’t there.”