Whew, what a game. It was a little closer than Big Blue Nation had hoped, →
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Zach Reks went 4/4 and Kole Cottam drove in three runs for Kentucky in a 6-5 loss to North Carolina. UK trailed 6-1 headed to the 7th before the offense woke up with three runs in the 7th and one in the 8th. It was a little too late as UNC took game two of the series.
UK jumped out to an early 1-0 in the first as Kole Cottam doubled to score Reks. The lead would be short lived as the Tar Heels used a Kyle Datres RBI single to tie the game at one. Logue was able to wiggle out of multiple jams throughout his 4.1 innings on Saturday. The senior stranded six runners in the first four innings, but the Tar Heels began to knock him around in the fifth. Logue allowed single runs in the fourth and the fifth as he exited allowing three runs in 4.1 innings on six hits and four walks and five strikeouts.
— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) February 18, 2017
As Kentucky’s offense struggled to bring in runs, UNC jumped on their biggest opportunity in the sixth. Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, UNC batted around and scored three runs against four different UK pitchers. Alec Maley hit a pair of batters and Mark Doerries and Austin Keen combined for three walks as UNC stretched their lead to five. Brad Schaenzer got the final out and left the bases loaded for UNC.
Kentucky found their fight in the 7th as Reks singled and Riley Mahan and Tristan Pompey walked. Cottam roped his second RBI double of the game to score Reks and Mahan. Pompey was thrown out at the plate but the Cats trimmed the lead to 6-3. Marcus Carson knocked Cottam home with an RBI double of his own with two outs.
Zach Pop came in and held the UNC offense down. The Top 100 MLB Prospect held the Tar Heels scoreless for 1.2 innings before Logan Salow got the final out of the eighth. In the top of the eighth, UK used an RBI groundout by Mahan to get one more back before the ninth.
From Zach Pop pic.twitter.com/ChirViwDXG
— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) February 18, 2017
For the second consecutive day, Josh Hiatt came in and shut the door for the Tar Heels in the ninth. UK got a man on first but Hiatt ended the game with a strikeout.
Reks continued to hit well. The second year left fielder has seven hits in the first two games with one walk. Having a guy like that at the top of your lineup can truly change how an opposing team pitches to you.
Evan White missed today’s game. White was out with a hip issue that is supposedly minor. Nick Mingione held him out today due to caution.
Plenty of new faces. We saw a lot of new guys come out of the bullpen today. Pop, Salow, and Logue are all guys that started last year. Keen, Maley, and Doerries made their debuts today.
Game three is tomorrow at 1 ET. Justin Lewis is set to go for UK.
Despite multi-hit games from Zach Reks and Evan White, Kentucky dropped the opening game of the 2017 season 3-1 at North Carolina. Reks and White combined for five of the Cats’ seven hits as All-American and Team USA pitcher J.B Bukauskas struck out ten over six scoreless innings for the Tarheels.
In the top of the first, Reks led off the game with a single to center on the first pitch thrown by Bukauskas. With one away, White found the outfield grass to put runners at first and second. Bukauskas was able navigate out of the jam in the top of the first by inducing an easy groundout and flyout.
— Hudson Belinsky (@hudsonbelinsky) February 17, 2017
Sean Hjelle made his first career start in a UK uniform. The 6’11” sophomore struggled early when the #13 Tarheels came up in the first. UNC used three first inning singles, including an RBI knock by Zack Gahagan, to test Hjelle early. Hjelle allowed two more runs over the course of five innings. The Minnesota-native allowed 11 hits and struck out two in the longest outing of his collegiate career.
UNC added a runs in the third and fourth to extend their lead to 3-0. Bukauskas did not allow another hit after the second inning on his way to a dominant performance. Hjelle left the game in the sixth and was relieved by newcomer Colton Cleary. Combined with Brad Schaenzer, Cleary and the bullpen allowed only one hit in three innings of scoreless baseball.
The offense could never recoup after the three early runs. Reks drove in Luke Heyer in the top of the ninth to trim the lead to 3-1, but Josh Hiatt shut the door by striking out Kole Cottam to end the game.
Mingione drops game one. It was a tough start to the Nick Mingione era at Kentucky. The new head coach will look for his first career win as a head coach tomorrow at UNC.
Reks and White shined. It’s important to have your stars shine early in the season. Reks went 3/4 with an RBI and the All-American White was 2/4 with the team’s lone double. White collected both his hits against his Team USA teammate Bukauskas.
Bukauskas was phenomenal. The #6 overall prospect for the MLB Draft this season struck out ten in six innings for the Tarheels. The junior righty can touch the mid to upper 90s on his fastball. As UK saw today, he also can use his changeup and slider effectively.
— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) February 17, 2017
There was little consistency in the lineup. Outside of White and Reks, the Cats went 2/26 with no extra base hits on Friday. Bukauskas, Rodney Hutchison, and Hiatt combined to strikeout 15 Cats.
Game Two Tomorrow- The Cats have a shot to even the series tomorrow at 2 ET. Zach Logue will take the bump for the BatCats against Jason Morgan and UNC on WatchESPN. Follow along on Twitter for update @TreyHuntsmanKSR.
UK Hoops traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas tonight and beat the Razorbacks 69-62.
In the first half the Cats hit six three pointers pointers but, other than that the first half was a little lack luster for UK. They only shot 29% from the field. According to the @KentuckyWBB Twitter account, Matthew Mitchell pushed the team to play harder in the second half.
At halftime UK led 31-20 but then Taylor Murray got called for a flagrant and Arkansas took off. The Razorbacks went on a 7-0 run in the third and a 9-0 run in the fourth. With just five minutes to go UK Hoops led 55-53. With three minutes left, Epps hit a huge three, Akhator got aggressive and Murray made a game changing lay up. Ball Game.
Murray led the team with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Evelyn Akhator had her 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds so yeah, she’s really GOOD.
UK Hoops returns home to Memorial this Sunday to take on Florida at 1pm.
All-Star Weekend Begins Tomorrow
Nine former Wildcats will be in New Orleans to participate in a variety of events designed to showcase the best the NBA has to offer. Here’s where you’ll find them:
- Rising Stars Challenge (Friday, 9 p.m.): Karl Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles
- D-League All-Star Game (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.): Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress
- Skills Challenge (Saturday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Devin Booker
- All-Star Game (Sunday, 8 p.m.): Anthony Davis (starter), DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall
All of the events will air on TNT except the D-League All-Star game, which can be seen on NBA TV.
The Cubes is Cal’s Newest Podcast Guest
Most know him as the Dallas Mavericks’ owner; others as the guy who invests in small businesses on ABC’s Shark Tank. Now see Mark Cuban in a different light as John Calipari’s podcast guest. The Cal Cast is available on iTunes and anywhere you can get podcasts.
Watch Lynn Bowden Dunk
It’s almost too much fun to see the crazy things the future football star can do. Here’s what happens when he messes around with a basketball in an empty gym.
We get up 🦍 pic.twitter.com/YCQeSffMXw
— Lynn Bowden (@H_Huncho) February 15, 2017
That boy’s good.
Shots Fired at Courtney Love
Blake Bone is quite the comedian. The wide receiver did some deep diving to clown on Kentucky’s middle linebacker, Courtney Love.
— Blake Bone (@_KingOVO) February 15, 2017
Love’s response was simple: “2011 State Champs .” Still, Bone wins this round. I just wish players would bring back the shoulder pads that are three times too large. Love looks more like a Ninja Turtle than a linebacker with those nine-inch pads.
P.J. Washington is Excited to be in the Bluegrass
The future Wildcat will play at Marshall County High School Friday night at 7:30 and Saturday evening at 6:30.
Can't wait to play in Kentucky this weekend 🙏🏾🔵⚪️BBN
— PJ Washington (@pjwashington_25) February 15, 2017
As a KSR blogger, it’s my job to encourage you to watch Washington play. As a fan of good basketball, I implore you to see Washington play in person before he comes to UK. He is without a doubt my favorite player in this class and will leave Kentucky as one of my favorite players in the Calipari era.
To make this simple: he’s a younger version of Draymond Green. A 6’8″ smack-talking power forward that rebounds like a traditional post on the defensive end, Washington is much more dynamic on the offensive end. Playing for the sixth-ranked team in the nation, he leads Findlay Prep in assists and three-pointers made, shooting at a 35 percent clip from behind the arc. According to Ben Roberts, in one game this season both Findlay Prep point guards had to sit out of the first half for disciplinary reasons, so Washington ran the point.
Please, jump on the P.J. Washington bandwagon before it gets too crowded.
I Want to Hate Oregon’s Jerseys, but I Can’t
The concept of glow-in-the-dark jerseys is the most idiotic thing in human history. They have no utility. The only time the players might notice them is during pregame introductions, that’s it. Still, as a child of the 90’s I’m obligated to appreciate the tackiness. Not only was any and everything glow-in-the-dark cool, cartoon college sweatshirts were a fad I was sad to see disappear. Donald Duck on the chest is the best thing Oregon uniforms feature. See what you think by turning the channel to ESPN.
A Walk-Off in Westwood
The UK softball team suffered a loss to the No. 5 UCLA Bruins in the first leg of last night’s doubleheader, but they returned with a vengeance for the second game. In the top of the 11th inning, Jenny Schaper took one into deep left centerfield.
Here’s how Jenny Schaper’s home run looked deep into the LA night to give UK the win over #5 UCLA. pic.twitter.com/9ZqXxKawof
— UK Softball (@UKsoftball) February 16, 2017
The 2-1 win was sealed with a 6-5-3 double play in the bottom of the 11th. The 22nd-ranked Wildcats have three more games before they return to Lexington: UC-Davis and Oregon tomorrow night, and Saturday against Cal State Northridge.
The season begins for the Kentucky baseball team this weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The BatCats will take on the Tar Heels Friday at 3:00, Saturday at 2:00 and Sunday at 1:00. Follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR for updates throughout Nick Mingione’s first weekend as UK’s head coach.
Did Mitch Make It?
Mitch Barnhart hit the road to Fayetteville with UK Hoops. He isn’t going just to be a cheerleader. During today’s pregame shoot-around, he got in on the action. Unfortunately, this photograph doesn’t show his form, nor if the bucket fell through the net.
Based on the trajectory and Barnhart’s eagerness, I’m going to say yes, yes it went in.
Looking for something fun to do on a Friday night? Love the Cats? Hate Louisville? UK Hockey has just the thing for you.
Come out to the Lexington Ice Center tonight at midnight to cheer on the Wildcats as they take on the dirty birds for senior night. Entry costs just $7, and be sure to get there early to ensure you get a seat. When the teams met in Louisville on Sept. 24, UofL won 5-3, so the Cats need your help cheering them on in tonight’s rematch.
If you can’t make it to the Ice Center tonight, you can follow along on the team’s Twitter account. #Catsby90
The UK Women’s Basketball team defeated the Georgia Lady Bulldogs on the road 66-56 Thursday night. The Cats are now 17-8 on the season and 8-4 in the SEC, including four SEC road wins. First, you should check out Nick’s game recap, then catch up on the five takeaways from last night’s victory.
This matchup was very different from the matchup in Lexington
On Jan. 15, the Wildcats crushed the Bulldogs 82-61 in Memorial Coliseum. In the first meeting, Georgia ended the first quarter with just four points. On Thursday, the Bulldogs scored seven points in four minutes, and they ended the quarter trailing 8-11 to the Wildcats.
“Coach told us a lot that we were going to see a completely different Georgia team than we saw in Lexington,” said senior Makayla Epps after the game. “We are on their home court, and nobody wants to get beat like that on their home court.”
In Lexington, Kentucky forced 12 Bulldog turnovers and converted those mistakes into 24 points. In Athens, the Cats committed 12 turnovers of their own and scored 12 second-chance points, compared to Georgia’s 17 second-chance points.
“Last time we played them we were coming off the three-point loss to South Carolina,” Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor said. “Because we played South Carolina so well, we thought we could just show up to the next game. I don’t think we were mentally locked in.”
Akhator recorded another double-double
This marks her 26th career double-double at Kentucky and her 13th of the season. She is now ranked second in terms of most double-doubles in a single season, behind legendary Wildcat Valerie Still.
In Thursday’s game, Akhator scored just 11 points, but grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds. And, according to Matthew Mitchell, these were no ordinary rebounds.
“Those 14 defensive rebounds that Evelyn got tonight were grown-up rebounds,” Mitchell said. “They were going at us tonight.”
Epps, Morris were also leading scorers
Makayla Epps ended the game with 7-14 shooting for 16 points and three assists. Maci Morris reached double-digit scoring for the fifth time in the past six games, finishing with 15 points.
…but don’t worry about Murray
Although Taylor Murray shot 3-12 from the floor and ended with nine points, four rebounds and two assists in a full 40 minutes, Mitchell says she contributed in other ways.
“Don’t worry about Taylor’s stat line tonight,” Mitchell said. “She ran the floor and had great poise. She even calmed me down in the third quarter.”
Poise was an important aspect of the victory, as the Cats had to continue to fight to maintain their lead. Most importantly, it helped Kentucky make 18-of-21 from the free-throw line for 85.7 percent, while the Bulldogs hit just 7-of-12 for 58.3 percent.
“There were some tough times tonight, but I thought the players did a great job of keeping their poise,” said Mitchell. “I thought our team communicated really well down the stretch, had great poise and did a great job.”
Congrats to Alyssa Rice
The junior center has just been named one of the five District II honorees to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team.
On the season, Rice is averaging 21.6 minutes per game with 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Off the court, Rice continues to excel. Last semester, she earned a 3.94 GPA. Earlier in the season, she represented UK at the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council and was voted on by her peers to serve as the vice chair of the council.
The Kentucky women’s basketball team won their second straight SEC game behind a powerful performance from Evelyn Akhator. The senior power forward had 11 points and 17 rebounds. Mackenzie Cann contributed a career-high 8 boards to help the Cats outrebound the Bulldogs 40-35.
It was a slow starting game. Despite not hitting a shot for a five-minute stretch in the first quarter, Kentucky maintained a three-point lead entering the second quarter. It took some time, but they found eventually their shot. The team finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from three, yet they could never pull away from Georgia. Clinging to a late seven-point lead, the Cats rebounded and hit their free throws (18-21) to prevent a comeback.
Makayla Epps led the team in scoring with 16 points and Maci Morris added 15.
Matthew Mitchell’s squad improved their record to 17-8, 8-4 in the SEC to share third place with Texas A&M. They’ll return to the court a week from today in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
— Makayla Epps is a Finalist for TWO National POY Awards. If you didn’t realize how good of a season Makayla Epps is having, this should be your wakeup call. Epps is a finalist for the Naismith and Dawn Staley Player of the Year Awards. She’s one of 30 finalists for the Naismith POY Award and one of 19 finalists for the Staley Award, given to the nation’s best guard.
Epps is averaging 17.2 points per game, she’s scored more than 20 points in her last four games and she recently moved into fifth-place on the UK scoring list with 1,620 career points. Epps and the Kentucky women’s basketball team return to action tomorrow night in Athens, Georgia at 7:00 p.m.
— Monk and Fox are Wooden Award Finalists. Kentucky is one of three schools with multiple players on the twenty-person list, joined by Kansas and North Carolina. Kentucky’s freshmen guards are two of the six freshmen on the late season list for the player of the year award.
— “Forgive me Lord! I counted my chickens before they hatched!” This announcer’s call at the end of regulation in a game between University of Montevallo (remember them?) and Young Harris College makes the call better than the buzzer beater.
Unfortunately, this announcer couldn’t get his chickens to bring home a win, falling in overtime to Montevallo 89-83.
— No news on two new football coaches. Now that the recruiting season has concluded, Mark Stoops is searching for replacements for D.J. Eliot and Jimmy Brumbaugh. The deadline for the special teams position is today and the deadline for defensive line/outside linebackers assistant is Monday, February 13. In no need to rush, I expect Stoops to announce both hires at the same time just before the start of spring practice. If you know a guy, tell him to click here to apply for a coaching position.
— Two Football Guys you need to Follow. We’ve reach the six week stretch from National Signing Day to Spring Practice where absolutely nothing is happening in the world of Kentucky football, yet it’s arguably the most important time of the year. The players are lifting and conditioning almost everyday, doing the hard work nobody sees. However, you can see glimpses of it by following the strength coaches, Coach Ed (Corey Edmund, @UKCoachEd) and Mark Hill (@UKCoachHill). Here’s a small sample:
These pictures become even more fun to follow when the players start chirping at one another on Twitter, like when the outside linebacker (Denzil Ware) passes the cornerback (Lonnie Johnson). This entire thread is worth a read.
— zel (@ejhs18) February 7, 2017
— 31 Football Players on the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll. This list is reserved for those who play football, cross country, soccer and volleyball and examines their grades from the entire academic year. Making honor roll is hard enough without having to play a sport. They deserve all the credit they get, and then some more.
- Drew Barker-Integrated Strategic Communication
- C.J. Conrad-Communication
- Greg Hart-Marketing
- Nick Haynes-Business Management/Economics
- Jacob Hyde-Social Work
- Jojo Kemp-Community and Leadership Development
- DeNiro Laster-Community and Leadership Development
- Tate Leavitt-Community and Leadership Development
- Courtney Love-Community and Leadership Development
- Austin MacGinnis-Finance/Marketing
- Naquez Pringle-Community and Leadership Development
- Kynan Smith-Health Promotion
- Ryan Timmons-Community and Leadership Development
- Jon Toth-Mechanical Engineering
- Charles Walker-Finance/Marketing
See the rest of the honorees after the jump.
UK Softball coach Rachel Lawson perfectly describes the responsibility she feels towards her senior class
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 06th, 2017 @ 6:30pm
Today was UK Baseball and Softball Media Day, and although I’m far from a UK Softball expert, this clip of head coach Rachel Lawson talking about senior Shannon Smith caught my attention. When asked why she prefers to say “retooling” her squad instead of “rebuilding,” Lawson got a little choked up while describing the responsibility she feels towards her senior class, specifically Smith.
“I don’t like to talk about replacing players. I like to talk about succeeding players – because the bottom line is this is Shannon Smith’s senior year. It’s important to me that Shannon Smith has a big senior year, so I have to make sure that I’m retooling every single time that I have a senior class. I have to make sure that I’m retooling.”
Lawson broke off to gather herself, when Smith piped up from the offstage, “It’s not even Senior Day yet,” drawing laughter and lightening the mood.
“I’m really not that soft, but gosh, I come off like it, geez,” Lawson laughed. “Everybody is important to me and everybody’s career is important to me. If you just try to figure out how to rebuild, all you’re doing is you’re saying all of the people on my team can’t get it done. Basically what I’m doing is admitting that I’ve wasted their last four years. And, I’m not going to do that. So, when I coach, I not only think about winning now, I think about winning in 10 days, I think about winning at the end of the season, I think about how I’m going to win next year, and I’m thinking about how I’m going to be able to develop my current freshman class so that they can be standing in Oklahoma City. So all of those things are going on in my mind the entire time that I’m coaching – so it’s not a marketing tool at all, it’s how I like to do things.”
Perfectly said, and even more moving when you watch the clip below, courtesy of KSTV:
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) February 6, 2017
After a rough night of men’s basketball, the UK Women’s team showed the BBN exactly what they needed to see: a victory. Kentucky defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 71-63, improving their record to 16-8 and 7-4 in the SEC. It was close for most of the game, but in the end, the Cats pulled ahead and clinched the W. First, check out Haley’s game recap, then take a look at these four takeaways from today’s victory.
Cats controlled the paint
By the end of the first half, Kentucky was already asserting their dominance in the paint, outscoring the Commodores 26-6 with points in the paint. By the end of the game, that number had stretched to 42-22. Vandy’s two tallest players – senior Marqu’es Webb and freshman Kayla Overbeck, both 6-foot-1 – struggled to score over 6-foot-3 Evelyn Akhator, and the Commodores’ points in the paint struggled because of it.
Epps, Akhator and Murray thrived
On the season, these three women are leading the team in total points. Today was no exception. Makayla Epps ended the game with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists; Evelyn Akhator had 20 points and eight rebounds; Taylor Murray finished with 18 points and seven assists.
With these numbers, Epps has earned her place in the top five all-time scorers in program history. Her 14 first half points placed her in fifth place with 1,611 total points. By the end of the game, she had added nine more, making her total 1,620 points. Leslie Nichols is fourth on the list with 1,797 points.
“She plays with emotion, and I love that. She’s got the edge you need to be successful,” said Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White. “She’s special, and she kicked our rear ends.”
Limiting turnovers was key
When Kentucky stopped turning the ball over so much, they quickly took back the lead. In the first quarter alone, UK had six turnovers. At the end of the quarter, Kentucky led by just two. In the second quarter, however, the Wildcats committed zero turnovers, and entered the locker room leading by seven.
Vandy, on the other hand, struggled to hold onto the ball. They finished the game with a stunning 21 turnovers.
On the season, Kentucky is averaging just 12.4 turnovers per game, which puts them at the top of the SEC and No. 11 in the nation. Today, the Cats had just ten.
A third quarter run propelled the Cats ahead
The Cats were slowly building their lead against the Commodores during the second half, but a run late in the third quarter is what finally gave Kentucky a nice, nine-point cushion heading into the final ten minutes of action.
“That was a tremendous turning point in the game,” Matthew Mitchell said.
This cushion proved to be beneficial, as the Commodores hit consecutive three-point baskets to start the final quarter. Nationally, Vandy comes in third place for accuracy behind the arc, hitting 40.7 percent of their treys. Today, they went 8-24 for 33 percent. Kentucky hit just 2-14 for 14 percent.
UK Hoops will be back in action this Thursday at 7 p.m. to take on Georgia. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
Who does Matthew Mitchell have winning the Super Bowl?
“Today at noon was my Super Bowl,” Mitchell joked after the game. “I will be going for the Falcons. Jacob Tamme plays for the Falcons, so it’s an easy pick for me.”
By Haley Simpson on ©February 05th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
After back-to-back losses this week to Missouri and South Carolina, Kentucky fought hard for their 71-63 win over Vanderbilt.
The Commodores currently sit at the bottom of the SEC but gave the Cats a run for their money today. Vanderbilt even led in the first period until Makayla Epps hit a three with less than a minute left to give Kentucky the lead at 18-16. The three was part of a 6-0 run to spark Kentucky’s offense and give them a boost that lasted the rest of the game.
The first period was a sloppy mess, both teams turning the ball over six times. However, Kentucky was able to get themselves under control and only allow four more the rest of the game for 10 total compared to the Commodores’ 21 total.
The game was won in the paint, where the Cats completely dominated. Kentucky outscored Vanderbilt 42-22 in the paint, but the Commodores won the rebounding matchup 41-29.
Kentucky was led by Epps, whose 14 first half points put her at No. 5 on Kentucky women’s basketball all time scoring list for 1,611 points. Overall, the senior scored 23 and grabbed eight rebounds. Evelyn Akhator led the charge in the paint with 20 points and eight rebounds after an off night against South Carolina on Thursday.
The Cats will be back in action on Thursday at Georgia with tip-off at 7 p.m.
It was a tough Thursday night in Memorial for UK Hoops. Not much to say here except, that the Cats fell to No. 4 South Carolina 75-63. This game could have and should have been a blowout – and it was throughout the first half. But, UK Hoops got some momentum in the second half.
“The third quarter is usually our downfall so I was proud of how the team came out fighting,” said Maci Morris.
South Carolina dominated Kentucky in every part of the game. The Cats were out rebounded 40-29, South Carolina had 34 points in the paint compared to Kentucky’s 20. But, this is the most surprising state – the Gamecocks shot 50% from the field while the Cats only shot 34%.
“If you’re not making some shots it can snowball pretty quickly,” said Matthew Mitchell.
Senior Evelyn Akhator, who is notorious for her double-doubles this season, only had seven points and seven rebounds in her 34 minutes of playing time. Maci Morris fouled out with 14 points and one rebound and Mackenzie Cann only had six points. Epps was Kentucky’s saving grace, with 23 points and nine rebounds but, it wasn’t enough to beat South Carolina’s height and power.
With the South Carolina loss, No. 25 UK Hoops moves to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in the conference. UK Hoops takes on Vanderbilt next this Sunday at noon in Memorial.
By Nick Roush on ©January 31st, 2017 @ 9:00am
Normally this part of the Top 10 is reserved for a cheesy dedication and a poorly executed segue. Ain’t nobody got time for that today. With faxes rolling into the Joe Craft Football Training Facility in less than 23 hours and a 9:00 p.m. tip-off with Georgia at Rupp Arena, there’s no time to waste (seriously, so much is happening I wrote this entire thing and forgot to mention Stoops promoted Matt House to defensive coordinator). Here’s what’s up:
1. Stoops Adds 24th Commit
Mark Stoops got an “under the radar” steal with just two days left in the recruiting period. Lakeland, Fl. defensive end Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald committed to Kentucky following a weekend of official visits. After visiting UK on Saturday, he was in Gainesville on Sunday. Still, the 6’7″ 250-pounder chose the Cats over the Gators.
Abadi-Fitzgerald is a name that entered our radar about a week ago. Considered a project, he’s only played one season of football. If he works out like some of Mark Stoops’ other “projects” who committed late — Josh Allen, Chris Westry, Naquez Pringle — Abadi-Fitzgerald could become the steal of the class.
There’s only 23 hours until the faxes can become official, but Stoops could add one, maybe two more to his best recruiting class yet.
2. Get Excited for NSD!
Just like Lane Kiffin, we can’t wait for it to get here.
Commit to the Owls! Coach @Lane_Kiffin is bringing in the best recruits. Now we need the best fans!
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) January 27, 2017
On a serious note, we’re about to turn up the heat over the next 48 hours. The only thing getting in between you and excellent Kentucky football recruiting coverage on KSR is tonight’s basketball game. Throughout today you’ll receive film evaluations from Freddie, hear Kentucky’s primary recruiting pitch and much, much more. Tomorrow morning the NSD LIVE Diary will keep you updated as the faxes are received until KSR airs LIVE from the ground floor, followed by quotes and analysis from coaches and players.
This time tomorrow I'll officially be a Wildcats! God is good man🙏🏻🔵🔵
— Isaiah Epps (@isaiahepps_81) January 31, 2017
It’s going to be crazy, but we love every single second of it.
3. Bye-Bye Brent
Legendary play-by-play broadcaster Brent Musburger will call his final game tonight when Kentucky hosts Georgia. Musburger’s called some fantastic games in baseball, NFL, college football and basketball, most notably the 1985 National Championship between Villanova and Georgetown at Rupp Arena, making tonight’s conclusion at Rupp quite appropriate.
Making the most of his final stop to Lexington, last night he joined Coach Cal and Tom Leach on the John Calipari Show. Musburger shared stories from the ’85 game and some of the best memories he’s had in the booth. If you missed it, you need to take 20 minutes to listen to the second half of the show here. It was without a doubt the best call-in show of the year, maybe ever.
4. Cal was Quick in Yesterday’s Pregame Presser
Not a shy guy with a microphone in front of him, John Calipari didn’t have any extra time to waste at the podium yesterday. He cut things a little short and players were not available for comment. They’ve been busy since the Kansas loss. He met with them individually to make sure they shared the same goals and expectations.
Cal also did things a little differently in the film room. He showed the team film of all 17 turnovers. Calipari can live with turnovers, as long as they’re aggressive turnovers. The plays they made Saturday were not aggressive.
“Aggressive turnovers don’t lead to baskets down the other end,” Calipari said. “Were you just dribbling across and just lose it? What happened? Did he grab you? ‘No, it just kind of got away from me.’ Excuse me? That’s the casual. The look away pass to a win when you didn’t have to.”
5. Heavy Favorites vs. Georgia
Kentucky opened as daunting 16.5-point favorites over the Georgia Bulldogs, who are coming off a win vs. Texas on Saturday. Led by power forward Yante Maten (19.7 points, 7.7 rpg) and J.J. Frazier (15.5 ppg), if the Cats can’t contain Mark Fox’s dynamic duo, it could be long, late night in the Bluegrass.
6. There’s a New Team Photo
After adding Hamidou Diallo, the team needed to update the official 2016-17 group picture.
7. New Baseball Uniforms are…
…covered in checkerboard. For those who hate the pattern, brace yourselves for the jockey silks. For those who love the checkerboard, prepare for a call to the post.
8. UK Hoops’ Win Streak Snapped
On the road in Columbia, Missouri, the Cats let a one-point halftime lead slip away, snapping a five-game win streak in a 73-67 loss to the Tigers. Playing without a post for most of the second half due to foul trouble, the Cats got beat badly on the glass. Trailing by 11 with five minutes to play, they made a valiant comeback that was cut short. Read more here.
Kentucky returns to Memorial Coliseum Thursday at 7:00 to play No. 4 South Carolina.
9. Grayson Allen Tripped Somebody, Again
I guess he just can’t kick the habit.
— Jaime Roth (@Fijithegreat) January 31, 2017
10. Follow KSR on Instagram
Our newest creation is this fabulous conglomeration of photos from KSR photographer Dr. Michael Huang. You’ll see everything “KSR,” featuring pictures from games, events and so much more. Only the biggest UK fans make the feed, that’s why Katie George was one of the first to be featured. Katie will deny it to the death, but deep down she bleeds blue.
Follow KSR on Instagram and listen to Kentucky Sports Radio, starting in one hour.
Breaking their five game win streak, Women’s Hoops were unable to pull out a win on the road at Mizzou despite holding a 31-30 lead at halftime.
While UK held the lead at the ends of both the first and second quarters, it wasn’t pretty for the Cats. At the end of the first, Mizzou was already killing the Cats on the boards 13-7 and suffered a six minute shooting drought in the second quarter, shooting 32 percent from the field.
Holding onto a lead for the majority of the third quarter, both Kentucky and Mizzou hit 50 percent from the field. However, Mizzou barely pulled through to gain a three-point lead at 48-45 to end the quarter.
The Cats found themselves in trouble when their main post presence Evelyn Akhator went to the bench with four fouls and 8:05 left to play in the game. At this point, the Cats were trailing 50-47 and never bounced back. In fact, the Cats even saw their largest deficit of the game at 62-51 with five minutes to play.
The light at the end of the tunnel however was Makayla Epps. After struggling for about the last month, the senior topped the Cats stats with 20 points and four rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Taylor Murray also posted a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, an awesome stat line for the sophomore guard. On top of the four fouls, Akhator struggled on both ends of the court with only eight points and six rebounds, an uncharacteristically low performance.
Just like Akhator, three other Cats also found themselves in foul trouble. Maci Morris, Makayla Epps and Alyssa Rice all had four fouls by the end of the night.
The biggest difference between the Cats and Tigers was Mizzou hit 47 percent compared to Kentucky’s 40 percent from the field. Mizzou also hit 41 percent from the three as opposed to Kentucky’s 31 percent. Everywhere else, the two teams were basically even. The Tigers barely out rebounded the Cats 33-31 and both teams had 30 points in the paint.
Now 15-7 on the season and 6-3 in SEC play, Kentucky has a rough week up ahead. The Cats have two back-to-back home games against No. 4 South Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m and Vanderbilt at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
UK Hoops absolutely demolished Ole Miss tonight 89-57. Maggie has your post-game recap up already, but here’s a little more info on how the blowout went down.
Evelyn Akhator went off (again).
Akhator had herself a night with 28 points and 13 rebounds. For those keeping count at home, that makes 12 double-doubles this season, just a little bit impressive.
“She’s playing with great poise, shooting the ball great, really aggressive,” said Mitchell on Akhator.
Mackenzie Cann was out with the flu.
Cann came down with the flu late last night, leaving the team shorthanded at the last minute. But it didn’t really matter. Matthew Mitchell had nothing but praises to sing about this team.
“This is a high character, high quality group of women,” said Mitchell.
Morris and Epps stepped up in Cann’s absence. Epps had 20 points and Morris had 17 – including a career high five 3-pointers. Morris didn’t make her first four shots but, she didn’t give up.
“I just know my teammates need me, I’m playing for my teammates,” Maci Morris.
It was nice to watch a game without a million fouls
I thought this game went by fast but really, I’m just used to watching the Mens games take forever. It was nice NOT to hear a whistle every other minute. SEC Mens Refs, take some lessons from the Women’s Refs please.
Matt Insell has a temper.
The former UK Hoops assistant coach/ current Ole Miss head coach would not stop screaming, not so much at his players but really more about requesting (I mean, DEMANDING) timeouts from the refs. I wasn’t even super close to him but, I’ll admit I was a little scared. I can’t really blame him though – I would be pretty mad if my team got blown out too.
“When you don’t play hard, you get your butt kicked,” said Insell.
This is the Cats fifth straight win.
This team is coming ALIVE! The Cats went on a 10-0 run at the end of the first half and continued to out-score Ole Miss for the rest of the game. The second half was a complete blowout. At halftime the score was 46-18, which is a season high half for Kentucky and a season low for Ole Miss. By the end of the third, the Cats had scored another 25 and led 71-36.
UK Hoops travels to Missouri on Monday, and will be back in Memorial to take on South Carolina on the second.