Basketball Season Coverage
Sacha Killeya-Jones wasn’t on the N.C. State sideline Wednesday night when the Wolfpack hosted Syracuse down in Raleigh. After the game, N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts was asked about Killeya-Jones’ surprise absence from the bench.
Keatts said, “Sacha is no longer on the team. That’s all I’ll say for now.”
A former Kentucky Wildcat for two seasons, Killeya-Jones is (or was) sitting out this season as per the NCAA transfer rule. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 48 career appearances in Lexington in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
The Kentucky Wildcats had one stolen away from them on Tuesday, and they’re looking to make up for it by stealing one away from their opponent next time around.
With the LSU Tigers in town yesterday evening, the Cats lost all their momentum down the stretch, taking a nine-point lead with just 16:51 remaining and coughing up the lead down the stretch. The team’s unravelling ended up resulting in a game-winning tip-in from LSU’s Kavell Bigby-Williams at the buzzer, leaving the Rupp Arena faithful dazed and confused.
While the Big Blue Nation ushered their way out of the stands, the Kentucky players remained angry. They said it shouldn’t have come down to the last play, but that doesn’t mean they’re not upset with how the game ended. It left a bad taste in their mouth, and it’s something they plan to fix when No. 1 Tennessee comes to town this weekend.
Kentucky forward PJ Washington flat-out said the way they lost on Tuesday night will leave them playing “pissed off” against the Volunteers on Saturday.
“I know it will (piss us off),” he said. “It felt like we should have won that game, and we didn’t make the plays to win at the end of the game. We’re going to bounce back Saturday.”
For Washington, it’s a game that’s going to linger with this group for a while. The Kentucky star forward says the final result was “unacceptable.”
“We’re definitely going to remember it,” he said. “We felt like we should have won this game, and it just hurts that we lost it, especially at home. I think we have a good team that pays attention to detail in practices. But, to come out here and perform like that was unacceptable.”
Like Washington, freshman point guard Immanuel Quickley assures fans they’ll turn things around and put on a performance that will make everyone in that sold-out Rupp Arena crowd proud.
“Really tough loss,” he said. “Credit to LSU. They have a really good team. We just did not execute really in the second half and do what we needed to do. But, we will bounce back.”
Washington said he’s not going to get too high or too low when they take on the Volunteers with ESPN College GameDay in town for the second time this season. He knows it’ll take a complete team effort, but the 6-foot-7 sophomore forward is confident in his team’s ability to pull off the upset victory.
“We look at every game the same and try not to underestimate anyone,” he said. “We’re going to come out our hardest and just go out and try to get a win.”
Kentucky head coach John Calipari said they have to head back to the drawing board and figure out why they let their foot off the pedal and struggled so much down the stretch against the Tigers. He wants everyone to know that while they will likely play their toughest game of the year against Tennessee, this is a very good Kentucky team and he likes where they are overall.
“We’ve got to figure some of (our problems) out,” he said, specifically mentioning the team’s effort on the glass down the stretch, among other things. “But I like this team. We’re good. I mean, this is a tough game and we’ve got another tough one, and the ones that are left from here on in on the road are tough. It’s going to be a struggle.”
With their 10-game winning streak now over and their loss dropping them back to No. 3 in the SEC, the chip on the shoulder they once had several weeks ago is now back.
It may have been a deflating loss for the Kentucky fanbase, but the players are confident they’ll be able to convert this disappointment into a massive victory against the top-ranked team in all of college basketball on Saturday.
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.
KEVIN KNOX ? ON SIMMONS pic.twitter.com/HfGTHhcdqF
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 14, 2019
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:
On HIS HEAD ?? https://t.co/3iCXx1Rrsd
— Paul Washington Jr (@PJWashington) February 14, 2019
OMG ? https://t.co/I66VjKpZ8x
— Nick Richards (@iamnickrichards) February 14, 2019
Knox by 90 and Cats > Tigers.
By Maggie Davis on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
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.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
What was happening in the world on this day in 1994? Well, for one, John Chaney threatened to kill John Calipari.
That’s right; today is the 25th anniversary of Chaney barging into Calipari’s press conference at UMass and screaming, “I’ll kill you” and “I’ll kick your ass” at him. It’s a classic clip you’ve seen plenty of times, so why not one more?
Amin Touri of The Daily Collegian has a great oral history of the fight out today, which includes an interesting note. The reason Chaney went after Cal was because he thought Cal was berating the officials after the game. Larry Lembo, one of those officials, insists that never happened.
Lembo: When I got home, my wife greets me at the door, and she says there’s like nine phone calls for me. AP, the Globe, every newspaper in the country was calling, and Mickey Crowley, who was the supervisor of the officials at the time, said “don’t speak to anyone until you speak to me.” And I was befuddled, like, what the hell’s going on? My wife told me what had happened, what they showed on TV, was that apparently Chaney went into Calipari’s press conference, and made some threatening remarks of some sort.
And I said, why? My wife didn’t know, so I called Mickey, and he gave me the background, and he said someone had said something to Chaney, that Calipari was outside in the hallway berating the officials.
And I said, that never happened!
LOL. All these years later, Cal’s able to laugh about it, giving Chaney a birthday shoutout on Twitter last month:
My friend John Chaney turned 87 today. I know everyone still remembers when I tried to choke him — or wait, did he try to choke me? I can’t remember. LOL. A true Hall of Fame basketball coach but even better at developing young men. I miss our battles. Happy birthday, Coach!
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 21, 2019
More on the feud at the link below.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
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:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 11:10am
How good has PJ Washington been lately? The sophomore is one of 30 players on the midseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy, given annually to the national player of the year.
PJ leads Kentucky in scoring (14.4 points per game) and rebounding (8.1 rebounds per game), and has scored 20 or more points in six of the last seven games. During that stretch, he’s had three double-doubles and is shooting 52.0 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from 3-point range.
Washington is one of only three players from the SEC on the list along with Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams.He’s also one of 10 midseason finalists for the Karl Malone Award, which honors the nation’s best power forward.
Here’s the complete list of candidates:
|Nickeil Alexander-Walker||So.||G||Virginia Tech||ACC|
|Phil Booth||Sr.||G||Villanova||BIG EAST|
|Ignas Brazdeikis||Fr.||F||Michigan||Big Ten|
|Jordan Caroline||Sr.||G/F||Nevada||Mountain West|
|Chris Clemons||Sr.||G||Campbell||Big South|
|Jarrett Culver||So.||G||Texas Tech||Big 12|
|Mike Daum||Sr.||F||South Dakota State||Summit League|
|Carsen Edwards||Jr.||G||Purdue||Big Ten|
|Ethan Happ||Sr.||F||Wisconsin||Big Ten|
|Markus Howard||Jr.||G||Marquette||BIG EAST|
|Cameron Johnson||Sr.||G||North Carolina||ACC|
|Dedric Lawson||Jr.||F||Kansas||Big 12|
|Caleb Martin||Sr.||F||Nevada||Mountain West|
|Luke Maye||Sr.||F||North Carolina||ACC|
|Ja Morant||G||So.||Murray State||OVC|
|Eric Paschall||Sr.||F||Villanova||BIG EAST|
|Shamorie Ponds||Jr.||G||St. John’s||BIG EAST|
|Marial Shayok||Sr.||G||Iowa State||Big 12|
|Cassius Winston||Jr.||G||Michigan State||Big Ten|
The list will be narrowed to ten semifinalists on March 4. The four finalists will be announced on March 19 and the trophy will be awarded during the Final Four.
By Maggie Davis on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 10:45am
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:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 13th, 2019 @ 10:00am
While we were all processing Kentucky’s loss to LSU last night, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony released his latest 2019 mock draft, which includes four Wildcats. Tyler Herro and Ashton Hagans make their ESPN mock draft debut in the early second round:
12. Keldon Johnson, Miami
17. PJ Washington, Brooklyn
32. Tyler Herro, Philadelphia
38. Ashton Hagans, Sacramento
Givony writes that Herro’s high basketball IQ and instincts have him rising in the draft, but he must play with more consistency if he wants to be a first-round pick.
“The next step in elevating his draft stock into sure first-round territory will be finding more consistency on the offensive end, as he has been very streaky with his jumper (35 percent from 3), even if his scoring sparks are vivid. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him ride a couple of big scoring outings in March to the NBA draft if things come together for him at the right time. But he could also look at how much a second season in college benefited his teammate PJ Washington and decide to try to make a run at the lottery in 2020.”
Speaking of PJ, his impressive run of games has Givony projecting him on the cusp of the lottery.
“He has shown significant improvement in every facet of the game, particularly his rebounding (11.5 per 40 minutes, up from 8.3), 3-point shooting and overall energy. His ability to play on the perimeter (both as a shooter and ball handler) has improved Kentucky’s spacing tremendously, giving him much more versatility projecting forward fitting into the modern game. He’s now a potential SEC Player of the Year candidate.”
As for the rest of the mock, it has all the usual suspects, including Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett go No. 1 and No. 2. After watching Zion dent a fully-inflated basketball last night, who am I to argue?
Zion Williamson had 27 PTS, 12 REB, 3 STL, 1 BLK & almost 1 popped ball during Duke’s 23-PT comeback win against Louisville! pic.twitter.com/3z9YSYgrTF
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 13, 2019
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:
FYI: Here’s what I asked an SEC basketball spokesman, and his response, after learning that league officials aren’t made available for comment. pic.twitter.com/6OxtIwZF3r
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 13, 2019
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.
The fix? If you have a MANDATORY review of last second, game deciding shot, use it for anything else you see BUT ONLY AT END OF GAME OR OT. Easy fix. Pretty sure you’ll see a rule change. @wildcatnews @bigblueinsider1 https://t.co/QxC6DIQoEP
— John W. Adams (@jwasports) February 13, 2019
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
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|
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:
Things are not going as planned for Michigan in Happy Valley. ?
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 13, 2019
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:
She is BIG MAD pic.twitter.com/TdyMsQvnxD
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 13, 2019
Radio in an hour.
All of the talk after Kentucky’s surprise home loss to LSU is about the goaltending or the stupid rule that prevents the officials from reviewing the play to make the correct call. If Joe Lindsey is allowed to review the tip-in and correctly call basket interference, the game goes to overtime and may the best team win. Instead we’re left with a screw-job that could have a huge impact on SEC Tournament seeding, and in turn, Kentucky’s shot at a No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance.
It’s easy to blame the final split second of the game for the loss, but much more went wrong in the defeat of the Wildcats. Had the initial layup gone in at the buzzer, we’d be talking about these 10 things that played huge roles in the sad ending.
1. Keldon Johnson got torched.
It’s easy for Kentucky fans to complain about the basket interference (and it was basket interference) but the play went wrong when Keldon Johnson got burnt by a crossover that freed Skylar Mays to attack the rim. With Johnson in Mays’ dust, PJ Washington and EJ Montgomery had to meet Mays at the basket, which then left Kavell Bigby-Williams wide open and untouched to clean up the glass with the game-winning tip-in. The whole controversy could’ve been prevented if Johnson had played better defense and stayed in front of his man.
2. Reid Travis’ turnover ruined a great opportunity to win it in regulation.
Reid Travis pulled down a huge offensive rebound that should’ve given Kentucky the final shot in regulation in a tie game; however, he got pinned by LSU’s length and turned the ball over while trying to get the ball out to a guard to reset the offense. It’s hard to be critical of the turnover after he hauled in what should’ve been a game-changing rebound, but it turned a no-loss scenario (at least in regulation) into Tremont Waters taking the ball the other way.
Speaking of that rebound…
3. How did Keldon Johnson’s shot not go in?
Johnson’s floater to give Kentucky a two-point lead with under 30 seconds to go touched every part of the iron before rattling back out. How did that not drop? If that shot goes down, Kentucky needs one stop to escape with a victory, instead we have the Travis turnover and LSU going the other way.
4. Tyler Herro made two really bad plays in the final 30 seconds.
First it was the foul 40 feet from the basket that sent Waters to the foul line for two free throws to give LSU a two-point lead with 20 seconds to go. It was a heady play by Waters to draw the foul on Herro, but he has to know better than to put himself in that position so far from the basket.
Herro’s second bad play was the contested three-point try with 11 seconds to go and UK down two. He tried to rise up over two outstretched LSU defenders and the shot clanked off the rim. Luckily, Reid Travis was there for another one of those big offensive rebounds to keep the dream alive. Herro’s shot shouldn’t be excused, though, because it was a very selfish shot attempt. Hero ball, one might say.
5. Ashton Hagans had another bad game.
Hagans had a tough assignment in Tremont Waters, one of the best players in the SEC, and his team needed him to show up. Bad news: He did not show up.
Coach Cal said afterward, “Ashton didn’t play well today. Didn’t play well at all… Ashton couldn’t stay in front of anybody, so every time they ran downhill, they got whatever they wanted and they were doing it to him.”
His poor defense earned him more bench time than he’s used to getting. He played only 21 minutes, his lowest since the Monmouth game back in December, while Immanuel Quickley played more than he’s played since mid-December, also with 21 minutes.
6. Papa John was sitting behind the bench.
Need someone to blame? Blame Papa John, who sat directly behind John Calipari. It’s all his fault. Go back to Louisville.
7. LSU out-rebounded UK late in the game.
Kentucky owned the glass before halftime, but it was LSU that dominated the boards in the second half, including six big offensive rebounds. LSU had zero second-chance points in the first half and then 12 second-chance points in the second. Calipari said they simply didn’t block out as well toward the end of the game.
8. PJ Washington’s fourth foul hurt.
Things really changed when Washington went to the bench with nine minutes to go. LSU had already made it a game at that point with Washington on the floor, but the Tigers really took advantage of Washington on the sideline. EJ Montgomery didn’t play particularly well, Nick Richards played only three minutes and Reid Travis struggled with the Tigers’ length and athleticism. Kentucky needed PJ Washington at all times and foul trouble sent him to the bench at a pivotal point in the game, although he did come back in to keep the fight alive until the end.
9. Hagans and Quickley had one assist each.
Those are your point guards and they have to do better than a combined two assists.
10. Kentucky blew a nine-point lead at home.
Above all else, the reason Kentucky lost is because Kentucky couldn’t seal the deal when it had LSU down. The lead got up to nine points early in the second half and the Cats let the Tigers back in and failed to get it done on their own floor. You can point the blame to individual mistakes in the final minute, basket interference, a stupid rule against monitor reviews or Papa John, but the loss ultimately falls on Kentucky getting outplayed in the second half in Rupp Arena. There’s the story.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 12th, 2019 @ 11:30pm
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.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 12th, 2019 @ 10:36pm
On a night where so much went wrong, does it provide any solace that PJ Washington stepped up and made big shots down the stretch? Probably not, but PJ’s play deserves praise. The sophomore big man finished with 20 points, seven in the final three and a half minutes to help Kentucky stay in the game.
“He gave us a chance,” John Calipari said of PJ. “He gave us a chance.”
PJ also had nine rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 27 minutes. He battled foul trouble in the second half, but came back in and became Kentucky’s only offense towards the end of the game. With so many of his teammates flailing, PJ proved he can be the go-to guy, a role we’ve all been waiting for him to embrace. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough tonight.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 12th, 2019 @ 9:57pm
Coming into tonight, the marquee matchup was Ashton Hagans vs. Tremont Waters. Hagans was hampered by foul trouble in the first half, but in the second, struggled against the LSU sophomore, finishing with only four points and one assist to Waters’ 15 points and five assists.
When asked his team needed to do down the stretch, Calipari couldn’t help but mention Ashton’s poor play.
“You can’t, you know, it’s — if you think you’re going to win the game down the stretch like this as a team, I mean, Ashton didn’t play well today. Didn’t play well at all.”
With Hagans in foul trouble in the first half and struggling in the second, Immanuel Quickley provided valuable minutes on defense. Quickley had some issues on offense, but all in all, was more effective vs. Waters.
“I thought Immanuel played well. Really guarded and did a pretty good job, but Ashton couldn’t stay in front of anybody, so every time they ran downhill, they got whatever they wanted and they were doing it to him.”
If we’re going to do this, we need you, Ashton.