We have talked about some of the great halves of basketball UK has played because of games against UCLA and LSU this year. It brought up such classics as:
2014 UCLA (1st half)
1996 at LSU (1st half)
1994 at LSU (2nd half)
But those halves above, generally considered the 3 best halves of basketball UK has played in the shot clock era, only take into account Pitino and Calipari teams. Those teams, and the styles of play those coaches believe in, led to some seriously beautiful basketball when things click just right. Tubby Smith never had the reputation of coaching beautiful basketball. But as we head into this weekend’s game at Vanderbilt, I always think back to what I think was the best half of basketball a Tubby coached team played at UK. In 2003, UK had come off 3 years of very mediocre play, just 2 Sweet 16’s and a 2nd round exit. And the 2013 team was not exactly knocking it out of the park coming into the contest with Vandy. Just 16th in the polls, 11-3 overall, and with an offense that had sputtered far too often for fans liking. Tubby’s seat had actually started to warm a little bit.
Then the first half at Vandy didn’t help much: Vandy 36, Kentucky 28.
The Cats were completely flat and the ‘Dores were doing what they wanted on the offensive end. I don’t know what was said in that locker room and what truly changed, but the 2nd half of that game spearheaded one of the great runs in UK history. The Cats would win 21 consecutive games, most in dominating fashion, and barring a Keith Bogans ankle sprain likely enter that year’s Final Four as favorites to win it all.
That half at Vandy was truly a sight to behold. Tubby Smith never played the most exciting brand of basketball but when Tubby-ball was cooking, the domination was just as evident. UK won that half 46-16. Watch it at the link below: