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Anthony Davis, Raylan Givens and a Tuesday night where the goodness returned…

Photo by Andy Lyons (Getty)

For two years, the stars have aligned in the Bluegrass on Tuesday nights as they eyes of Kentucky have been treated with the double-header of Kentucky basketball and the greatness that is Justified.  So, it only seems fitting that on the night that FX premiered the first episode of Justified‘s third season, the Kentucky basketball team seemed to shake out of a funk that has been lingering in SEC play.  UK played one of their more complete games of the season in a blowout of Mike Anderson’s Arkansas team and served as a delicous appetizer for the return of the greatest television program ever set in Harlan.  Yes, it was a good night.  It was a very, very good night.

A few notes…

 – Without question, the biggest story of the night was freshman Anthony Davis, who not only stepped into the record books rather easily, passing Melvin Turpin and Andre Riddick for the single-season block record with five extra blocks to spare, but also punished the Razorbacks with the quiet dominance only Raylan Givens could appreciate.  Davis finished with a career-high 27 points (on 10-12 shooting), to go with fourteen boards and seven blocks, and showcased a little of the offensive versatility that he’s seemed to keep in his back pocket so far this season.  Early in the game, Davis beat his man off the dribble and knocked down a jumper and got to the rack off the dribble several times in the second half, which surely had NBA scouts drooling even more.  Because of the way this team is constructed, Davis hasn’t been needed to do much more on the offensive end besides just fly to the rim and catch lobs, but he’s shown the past few games the glimpses of the all-around game that made so many people fall in love with him as a high school prospect.  It was a performance so dominating, he flirted with what was almost the school’s second-ever triple-double and most certainly earned him 24 hours as Jeff Goodman’s Twitter avatar.  After the game, according to Brett Dawson, Davis talked about the near triple-double and said that his dad always shares his frustrations on his inability to finish it off.  Of his dad, Davis said, “He always says, ‘You’re three blocks away, two blocks away. What happened?'”  So what happened tonight?  The Beisner Jinx.  Sorry, Anthony.

 – Worth noting:  Anthony Davis is now the SEC’s scoring leader for conference games only with 17.8 points per game. 

 – Just as the season premiere of Justified opened with concerns about whether Raylan Givens was healthy enough to be the force he was last season, the Kentucky game began with similar concerns about Terrence Jones and his ability to find that extra gear again and give the Cats another powerful presence.  Jones responded in a big way, finally heeding his coach’s advice to just attack the rim and dunk on people, most prominently showcasing his disregard for Razorback life by going up for a dunk in the final seconds before the half.  Jones finished with only 13 points, but he flexed his muscles inside to the tune of 9 rebounds and 5 big blocks.  He’ll have a chance to really make a statement against Alabama’s front line Saturday, but it’s hard to not be extremely happy with the way Jones played on a night when his team was cruising at a pace where maximum effort wasn’t exactly a necessity.  For all the time we’ve said in the last few weeks that he’s seemed uninterested or not all there mentally, it was a fantastic effort from the sophomore forward.

 – If there was ever a game that Marquis Teague had reason to struggle, it may have been tonight against Arkansas and their “40 Minutes of Confused Running Around”.  But Teague stepped up to the challenge and dished out nine assists.  More importantly, the freshman point guard resisted the urge to force jump shots, shooting only four times and making all of them count.  Teague thrived again against the man-to-man defense and got to the basket and finished late in the shot clock in a manner that drummed up memories of John Wall.  Dammit.  I did it.  I said “John Wall”.  Sorry, that’s not fair.  It won’t happen again.  But Teague stepped up Tuesday night and looks like a guy who might finally be finding his groove.  (Go knock on wood.)

 – Kentucky entered the game in the weird position of being the nation’s fifth-best rebounding team, but having struggled in SEC play.  The Cats were out-rebounded in their first two conference games and were -5 overall in SEC play, but absolutely dominated a much smaller Arkansas team on the glass.  What’s more impressive is that they didn’t dial back their aggressiveness in chasing down blocked shots, finishing with 17 as a team, and still managed to keep the Razorbacks from grabbing offensive rebounds.  Arkansas finished with only five.  Again, they’ll have a challenge ahead of them with Alabama this weekend, but winning the battle of the boards in such a dominating fashion was a nice return to the goodness of the early season.

 – Against Tennessee, the Cats struggled to score in the first half because they were not moving on offense much and because there was too much dribbling.  Against Arkansas, in part because of the press, the Cats were zipping passes all over the place and setting each other up to score the ball.  The ball movement in the first half was as good as it’s been at any point this season and as good as we’ve seen with any Kentucky team since Calipari has been the coach.  It’s tougher to do that sort of thing against the zone, so maybe that was part of it, but every player on the team showed themselves to be unselfish and it paid off in the form of 86 points.  They started it with defense a lot of times, but they always finished it with crisp passes and strong finishes.  There’s not a team in the country that can out-score them when that is happening.

 – And speaking of zone offense, this wasn’t supposed to be the game where UK found some cohesion in their zone offense, but that’s what ended up happening.  After UK continally torched the Arkansas press, the Razorbacks dropped back into a 2-3 zone and the Cats did the things they have failed to do far too often.  Marquis Teague penetrated tothe middle – yes, the middle.  Anthony Davis was finally used in the high post to distribute over the top to cutters and open shooters.  So as soon as the Hogs went to the zone, UK torched them until they had to back off.

 – When UK was up by 25 points with only 4:30 remaining in the game, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist dove out of bounds for a loose ball.  That alone says everything we could possibly write about him.  I love that kid.

 – Who is sexier?  Wynona, Ava Crowder or Kyle Wiltjer banking a jumper home?

 – In closing, Justified was awesome.  I’d love to write more, but it’s late and I need to watch it three or four more times.  Maybe next week.

  – Finally, Anthony Davis wasn’t the only person with a historical performance Tuesday night.  Our good buddy Stone Cold Willow found his way onto ESPN and taught the nation the importance of Smoothing Out Your Back…

Article written by Thomas Beisner

46 Comments for Anthony Davis, Raylan Givens and a Tuesday night where the goodness returned…

  1. Eric M
    1:23 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Eric M is my basketball coach. First!

  2. IowaUKWildcat
    1:45 am January 18, 2012 Permalink


    I never saw a response on the other thread, do you still have those United Systemwide Upgrades to sponsor?

  3. cgivens21
    1:48 am January 18, 2012 Permalink


  4. Jason
    1:59 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    The Wiltjer bank shot was dang near pretty as Ashley Judd in a hockey jersey. FACT.

  5. yep
    4:24 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Does anyone remember the song tat Tom Petty wrote About Anthony Davis? Starts something like this.

    I wont brow down,
    No I wont brow down,
    I’ll smack your shots to the depths of hell,
    But I wont brow down.

  6. God Shamgod
    5:14 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    UK basketball, Justified and SouthLAnd… couldn’t get much better than that!

  7. BrodusClay
    5:25 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Teague played well running the team, no doubt. But his defense is not that good. He got beat off the dribble a ton. But Davis was there to erase the mistakes.

  8. HackRichards
    5:52 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I remember thinking Sanchez was one Billy Clyde let get away…Hahahaha

  9. gcat4496
    7:04 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    #8. And that is why it is good Gillispie is not here. How he succeeded at Texas A&M is beyond me.

  10. gcat4496
    7:05 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    What’s with the double foul on Teague? Strange call.

  11. Holler Baller
    7:08 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Bad thing is doubt any other SEC teams (maybe Florida) or NCAA teams will try to run with UK. Expect a lot more boring, jam it in basket-brawl.

  12. Me
    7:15 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I’m looking forward to seeing pitino working for cbs at the end of the season, having to comment on our Championship run! Gonna be nice to see his face all puckered up talking about how good UK and Cal are, hahahahaha…

  13. Bigcat76
    7:36 am January 18, 2012 Permalink


  14. Al's IndiCats
    7:38 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I wonder if Jones talked to Jimmy Dykes last night?

  15. Bledsoe's Biceps
    7:38 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve ridiculed him after the last game, but gotta say Jimmy Dykes did a good job last night. He must have gotten the message from BBN. There was very little of the cute phrases and a lot of good analysis and info. Hope he keeps it up. Props to Dykes.

  16. beau
    7:46 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    No mention of the double foul called? I guess that’s better than a straight charge called on Teague, though it was an obvious blocking (like that matters anymore outside the arc).

  17. bung
    7:49 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    when mkg brought the ball up on the dead run good stuff happened….

  18. wilDCat
    7:55 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Fact: There are only 35 teams in all of division 1 basketball with more blocks than Anthony Davis.

  19. samismammy
    7:56 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I been misbehavin’…where’s Raylan?

  20. rockatao
    7:57 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    when two referees make simultaneous calls, one signalling block, the other signalling charge, neither coach is going to let one of them take the call back. So the only thing refs can do is call a double foul. As soon as the ref underneath said block, Anderson charged toward outside ref, who must have made the charging call. Years ago this happened a lot more often than it does now.

  21. Raazoul
    8:08 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    #7, Teague is actually a good defender. He shut down Auburns best player last game and he seemed to do fine last night. Our style of defense wants Teague to let his guy go by him if he gets beat. Cal wants us to play in the defenders face and if you get beat don’t foul or try to keep up, Davis and Jones block everything. Only 3’s will beat us, Cal knows that, we have to over play it.

  22. Raazoul
    8:16 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    #20- That’s bull. Those refs are supposed to get together and make a decision. It CANNOT be a charge AND a block! The ref with the best angle should make the call, he should say “No dumbass, it was right in front of me, it was a BLOCK!”

  23. AD23 is a FREAK
    8:19 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I completely agree that Jimmy Dykes did a great job last night. I am entertained always by his announcing and must say that I would rather hear him call a game anytime that Dick Vitale. I also disagree that his comments this weekend about Stokes were off key. The kid did just walk straight outta high school into a college setting with no preparation and did very well. There has to be something said for that. Just because he didnt talk all Kentucky for one game I think some people got upset (including Matt Jones) that shouldnt have. Good job Jimmy D, keep up the good work.

  24. Joe
    8:20 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I’m really enjoying the fire and effort that Jones is putting forth lately. Even if he’s not scoring in bunches, his aggressiveness on both ends of the court make this a totally different team. As for Miller, when he doesn’t think and just plays, he’s much better. I suspect his occasional funk is a result of stiffness caused by over-thinking plays instead of playing loose and aggressive. In sum, I really like the way this team is developing. Kudos to Cal and staff for orchestrating this. I sense greatness on the horizon…

  25. jim
    8:28 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Can someone explain the double foul that was called in last night’s game??

  26. cristoforouk
    8:29 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    If Teague continues to play like this….watch out. It will not be fair for everyone else. A point guard running the offense (not looking to score) is what this team has been missing. First time this year that Teague actually “looked” like a point guard – pass first, look to score when needed. Best game of the year for him and I hope he can sustain it. The next hurdle will be to play like that against teams that only zone and slow everything down.

  27. Raylan Givens
    8:30 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wynona is sexier all day long you homos. If you say different you will be shot on site

  28. kyle heavy
    8:32 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wynona by far.

  29. T.J.
    8:36 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Am i one of the few that actually like Jimmy Dykes? Sure, his Gimmicks get old, but he loves SEC bball, and he seems to have a true admiration for Kentucky. AND he was an assistant at UK as well. I don’t see why so many UK fans don’t like him.

  30. kycatfl1
    8:39 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    funny, I had this discussion last night with my wife, definately Wynona!

  31. catsfan54
    8:52 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wiltjer’s bank shot is damn pretty, but i’ll take Wynona hahahahaha.

  32. Nick
    8:55 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wynona Judd? You people are crazy.

  33. barn
    9:00 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    29–for some strange reason there seems to be an anti-dykes faction on here, beginning with the mfic’s. he shows more love for UK than any announcer i’ve ever seen. so what if he has some silly dykesisms, he relates to UK and the sec. if cbs has kellogg or that woman this saturday i think all of us would agree “my god, i’d rather have jimmy”.

  34. Don
    9:05 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    #14 Listened to Jones on way home from game – he didn’t talk to Dykes. Dykes pretty much walked off without talking and Matt said he didn’t want to be a jerk. Nestler talked to Jones etal and told ’em they were a little rough on Dykes.

    BTW…My son and I were taking pictures courtside during warm-up’s, Dykes walked by to autograph something for a fan (?) and I said “hey Jimmy, who doesn’t know how to stretch?” and he was cool and laughed @ it.

    Had a fantastic time last night.

  35. Sheeeeiiit
    9:31 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    I want for the cats to push this style of play every game. People have been saying that we play down to the level of bad teams. I think we just give into the style of play they choose. We need to push it and try to rush teams. We need to bait them into a fast paced game. I have to say Rick knew how to do that when he was at UK. We would sucker the opposition into a fast game and they would end up blown out. Anyone have a theory on why we just play slow when a team zones and don’t even try to speed things up?

  36. greg
    9:35 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    where did the wade quote come from

  37. Obvious
    9:37 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    #22 It is quite apparent you’ve never refereed a competitive sport in your life. While the block/charge double call is not a perfect scenario, they handled it exactly like you are trained to do.

  38. bung
    9:59 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    35) i agree this team is built for the fast break…

  39. Boyd Crowder
    10:00 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Ava – Point Blank Period

  40. Wildcats2131
    10:04 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Ava! I’m in love with her. I’m about to make the drive to Harlan and see if I can find her for myself. Also, that Ice Pick character was a complete Bad Arse.

  41. Justified Rocks
    10:22 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    It looks like this will be another great season of Justified. Also, is it me or does the new bad guy from Detroit look a LOT like Marc Maggard?

  42. fletch
    10:26 am January 18, 2012 Permalink

    did anyone else notice that when beckman was in the game his man scored 2 lay ins in a row?

    I hope he can improve on that

  43. Hood's Daddy
    12:06 pm January 18, 2012 Permalink

    How has not one person commented on Stone Cold Willow and his “smooth ya back out” dance moves? Classic shit there.

  44. Sunshine
    12:11 pm January 18, 2012 Permalink

    AVA, especially if she has a cast iron skillet in her hand.

  45. Adam
    2:43 pm January 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wynona. All day

  46. Stone Cold Willow Fan
    2:33 pm January 19, 2012 Permalink

    Need to recruit Stone Cold Willow just to get the opening tip. Never seen anyone jump that high and he doesn’t even know how to stretch