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Cats cruise over Eastern Michigan, 90-38

Kentucky needed an easy game after the Louisville loss, and they got it. The Cats absolutely crushed Eastern Michigan in front of a sparse Rupp Arena crowd, 90-38. At times, the infomercials on ESPNU seemed more interesting (Wax Vac, really?!), but once the dunks started flying in the second half, the good times rolled. Here are some notes while I watch my other Wildcats lose to Duke…

— Heading into tonight’s game, everyone wanted to see how Alex Poythress would respond after receiving some private instruction from Cal this week. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist watching from the sidelines, Poythress had a decent game, scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds. Alex is still very much a work-in-progress, but he showed more energy, aggression and hustle than we’ve seen from him since the Duke game. After the game, Cal said that Poythress was “halfway home” and had done enough in his two to three private workouts to earn the start. Alex didn’t quite roar, but at least it wasn’t the whimper we saw against Louisville.

— For the second game in a row, Willie Cauley-Stein started and for the second game in a row, he played great. Willie put up a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Thankfully, he also made a free throw (barely), going 1-2 from the line. He was particularly impressive when the Cats pressed, giving the team a much-needed athletic spark. Willie’s dunk off a Ryan Harrow lob in the second half was so nasty I think it woke up half the blue hairs in the lower arena.

— It seems hard to believe, but Cal started four freshmen for the first time ever tonight. Ryan Harrow, Archie Goodwin, Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress got the starting nod in a lineup Cal calls “the big team” (I call it the “Ketchup and Mustard Show”). Cal said after the game that likes the Twin Towers combination, but it is contingent on Alex Poythress improving. That lineup allows Cal to start the game big and then bring Julius Mays and Kyle Wiltjer in for immediate scoring.

— Ryan Harrow had another good game, putting up 15 points, a season-high eight assists and four steals. Harrow showed off an increasingly impressive stroke from behind the arc, going 4-5 from three-point range. His performance wasn’t as flawless as last week’s against UofL (he had four turnovers vs. zero against the Cards), but Harrow continues to lead the team with confidence, and didn’t revert when Calpari raged at him after a bad play in the first half. Cal noticed too, praising Harrow’s defense: “Wow, how about that today? It wasn’t even the steals. He played, he competed, he battled, and he got punched in the face to today on a play and it didn’t affect him. So I’m more than pleased.” This is the fourth straight game Harrow has scored in double digits, showing just how far he’s come from the timid point guard we saw at the beginning of the season.

STOOPS! (Photo by @derekpoore)

— The “Phew” stat of the night: Kentucky was 18-24 (75%) from the line tonight after their abysmal free throw performance against Louisville.

Eastern Michigan is bad. I mean, really bad. The most impressive thing on their resume heading into the game was a win over Purdue, which means the Boilermakers must be really, really, bad. The Cats easily shut them down in the first half and most of the second before letting up on the pedal a little. But at least they’ve got those cool day-glo shoes, right? (Wrong)

— Whenever I write about Nerlens Noel, I feel like I’m being redundant, but the flat top feller looked solid yet again, posting eight points, thirteen rebounds and three blocks. Nerlens also had two steals, which means he’s still on pace to break Rajon Rondo’s season steals record of 89. That stat will never get old.

Julius Mays finally shook off a shooting slump, scoring thirteen points off 3-7 from behind the arc and 4-5 from the line. You could literally feel Mays’ frustration in the first half, but he finally broke through, turning in his first double-figure game since December 7th. Welcome back, Julius Treys.

— Speaking of shooting, Kyle Wiltjer got back to business, leading scorers with 17. Kyle was 3-6 from three-point range, a promising sign for the Cats heading into SEC play. He also got his dunk on, something I had to see to believe. They’ll be talking about that at the YMCA tomorrow.

— Archie, Archie, Archie. Can we trade first half Archie for second half Archie? Archie finished with eight points, and may be the next to receive some private instruction from Coach Cal.

— Kentucky finally got over its bad habit of slow second half starts, opening the half with a 15-0 run. It took Eastern Michigan six minutes and twenty-five seconds to score, which either means that our defense was impressive or they’re just really, really bad. Both? (Latter.)

— If you got bored during the game (you did), you could entertain yourself by trying to spot the many celebrities in the stands. Josh Hutcherson (the star, not the Alex Poythress dunk), or Peeta from “The Hunger Games” was in attendance, as was Mark Stoops. But, the best celebrity in the house was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who surprised the team by flying in for the game. Cal joked that he wasn’t happy when he saw the new locker room: “He was really, really angry when he saw the locker room. He was smoking. He walked in my office, and he said, this is BS. What we had last year. Look at this. So he did it in fun, but he was like but it was good to see him.”

— By the way, John Clay, it’s Michael Kidd-GILCHRIST, not Michael Kidd-Gillispie.

Good luck living that one down, John.

— In true Cal fashion, he teased an upcoming feature on during the postgame presser. Tomorrow, he will unveil the “unique, out of the box” training methods he’s been using with the players on his website. Is this when we finally find out he’s got a magic wand?

— Finally, in case you didn’t notice, the Cats finally covered the John Short spread of 50 bigguns. Free groceries at Kroger tomorrow! (Not really. Please don’t kill me, Kroger.)

You’re all great Americans. Go Cats and good night.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

72 Comments for Cats cruise over Eastern Michigan, 90-38

  1. Joe
    9:45 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Joker Phillips must be doing the play calling tonight for Florida. Horrible!

  2. Chuck
    9:59 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    clay = gay

  3. DCWildcat'11
    10:00 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    As a fellow Davidson alum, I feel your pain tonight! No doubt we’ll see some (UK and DC) Wildcat revenge come March

  4. Bobbum man
    10:07 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    What’s a Josh Hutcherson?

  5. Just Sayin'
    10:07 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Cal’s thing he is releasing tomorrow will be about making players wear heart monitors to keep their heart rate up during practice. If the players dropped below a certain rate they had to run. Heard it here first.

  6. [email protected]
    10:11 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe a team from Ky will finally beat Florida. The Cards are making the Gators look like the Cats in the first half.

  7. RealCatsFan
    10:18 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Watching the SB game, and it is pretty obvious that Florida was taking the Cards rather lightly. They better wake up in the second half, or they will be done. Have to hand it to Bridgewater – the kid is a stud. Think he should come out and join the NFL next year. 🙂

  8. UK Freshmen
    10:21 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Props to Stoops foe marrying up. Regardless, Dad has the dominant genes.

  9. Alan
    10:24 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    #4 – it’s like a “dirty sanchez,” only even filthier and with more poop.

  10. Rodriguez
    10:25 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    I hate to admit this, because I was really hoping the Cards would lose by double digits, but Bridgewater is amazing. That guy is destroying Florida’s defense.

  11. Larry
    10:37 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    It hurts to say but ul looks impressive tonight. Gotta give credit where due

  12. STEVE!
    10:39 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Anybody still think UK football has the momentum over UL heading into next season?

  13. huh??
    10:40 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Charlie strong wrote a huge check to this crew

  14. Rixter
    10:41 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Didn’t Louisville lose at home to UConn? You can’t be a dynasty and lose to UConn, sorry

  15. michael burks
    10:42 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    I must admit, fun watching UF getting hammered by U of L. Who is calling the plays for UF? Strong’s wife? LOL, their whole play calling is to give U of L the ball in the red zone.

  16. bung
    10:46 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    21 assists and 39 def rebounds is great

  17. Dude
    10:47 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Love ya MKG!!! But………….THAT’S the shirt role with? C’mon Son.

  18. Not a bored fan
    10:52 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Ms. TT – I normally agree with your posts but I didnt think the crowd was sparse and I definitely didnt get bored watching the highlight reel dunks and timely threes that were too numerous to allow anyone to get bored with tonight! Got chill bumps when MKG came out to be the “Y”, that was NICE!

  19. Real talk
    11:05 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    What did you expect from Florida? Joker is on their staff.

  20. Rixter
    11:08 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Great point, # 19

    They s’posed be SEC

  21. RealCatsFan
    11:13 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like Joker brought his losing ways with him.

  22. Rae
    11:22 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    If Joker brought his losing curse to Florida, do we stand a chance next year? Wishful thinking, I know.

  23. Rixter
    11:23 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    The Florida receivers suddenly can’t catch passes…. I wonder what’s changed for the WR’s since their last game?

    Has a coach ever been fired twice in one season??

  24. Rixter
    11:29 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    All except for that National Championship trophy in Lexington

  25. Rixter
    11:30 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Well, at least the Louisville players will have big heads going into next season, and wont work hard in the off-season

  26. RealCatsFan
    11:36 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    22, Florida will come to their senses and fire him way before UK plays them next year. They are smart enough to get rid of him now instead of waiting three years.

  27. Rixter
    11:48 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Is Joker calling the plays? This sure looks like a UK offense…..

  28. Rixter
    11:50 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Will you STOP with the 4 and 5 yard passes???

  29. Kevin C.
    11:53 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Purdue is indeed really, really bad…and yet they beat Illinois tonight…go figure.

  30. red headed step child
    11:53 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    Agree rixter, I think they let Joker coach tonight

  31. theSkinny81
    11:57 pm January 2, 2013 Permalink

    24 – lol. Louisville (finally) has a good year in athletics, and – as usual – they think they have the top football and basketball programs in history.

    Maybe this year will take some of the sting out of 26 year National Championship droughts and 1st round Tourney exits. Good for you, little bro. Good for you….

  32. B L U E
    12:03 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Haha, Florida just witnessed the joker effect.. No bowl for the joke!

  33. Rixter
    12:05 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Like I asked before… has a coach ever been fired twice in the same season? Joker must go!

  34. ELE
    12:16 am January 3, 2013 Permalink


  35. Finally
    12:43 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    BREAKING NEWS*** Since matt jones won’t break the news I will. 3* #38 OT Kyle Meadows will be joining the laundry list of nearly a dozen recruits that will be on campus visiting UK on the weekend of Jan 11th.

  36. Bad night for UK...
    12:45 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Poor Mark Stoops…he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. None of the sunshine pumpers on this site will tell you this, but the UK football job just got that much harder. Given the lack of talent in the state of Kentucky compared to other SEC states, UK absolutely has to lock this state down. Unfortunately the time has passed–will never happen now.

  37. Yuck
    12:46 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    It’s “I COULDN’T care less”. Get it? I guess that show of brilliance better explains your love of semen.

  38. Kevin C.
    1:30 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    The only thing worse than Clay’s Tweet, was listening to Joe Dean Jr. actually explaining why MKG was holding his arms up like that….painful stuff. SMH…

  39. WeSposedToBeSEC
    1:39 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Congrats to Stoops on that 3 star recruit. Hey, did anyone catch the score in the loserville game? No way they can hang with the Gay-tors, they beat us 38 to nuthin. And we was purty good this year.

  40. theSkinny81
    1:45 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Congrats UofL on the biggest upset in BCS Bowl history. A true Little Brother moment!

  41. Kevin C.
    2:15 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    @ 50…Yes, we DID get our championship last year…something UL will NOT do this year….or likely ever again. And forget about UL…the closest they’ll ever get to a BCS Champ. is getting to beat a Florida team that had a very down year, and were never deserving of their ranking.

  42. SeaCat
    2:53 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is starting to work his magic.
    Harrow is looking good.
    Alex is showing signs of hope.
    Twin Towers are getting scary!
    Archie could be the last piece of
    the puzzle…
    Should be interesting to see Cal
    turn this bunch of rookies into
    something real.

  43. Charlie
    5:07 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone ready to admit to the fact now that the U of L sports program is WAAAAY ahead of ours ?

  44. Wildcatsteeler
    5:08 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Poythress is a Terrance Jones on sedatives. Jones has no chance in the NBA with his psyche, I hate to say it, but it’s true. And Poythress is less talented and less motivated than him, as hard as that is to believe. He’ll dominate scrubs but as soon as anyone challenges him physically he’ll wilt away like Jones.

  45. Wildcatsteeler
    5:14 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    @58, Sadly you’re right. Football team just demolished a top sec team, that demolished us. With Harrow improving a lot of hope for the Bball team though.

  46. jetblue
    6:03 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

  47. wilDCat
    6:12 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky’s 90-38 win over Eastern Michigan was its 2nd win by exactly 52 points this season (also 101-49 over Lafayette). Kentucky had not won a game by 52+ points since 2003 against Vanderbilt, and since 1996-97, the Wildcats had not won two games by that many points in the same season. Kentucky football has won one game by 52+ points in the last 50 years (2002 vs UTEP, previously 1960 vs Marshall). Kentucky also scored 90+ points for the 3rd time this season. Kentucky football scored 89 points in eight SEC games combined.

  48. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    6:21 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Some people on here are just absolutely pathetic. Jesus Christ get a life! #62 – Way to plagiarize, bro.

  49. SexnNursinHomes
    7:07 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    ul trolls- haha. coming here for validation. It’s the internet version of “storming the field”. Congrats on beating an uninterested Fl team.

  50. Big Blue Daddy
    7:19 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    58… Nope. Name one team national title UL has won since 1986… I’ll concede they have a better football program than ours, but I have thought that way for years… Just like we have a better basketball program than theirs… We pretty much beat each other up in the Olympic sports… They have an awesome soccer program and women’s basketball, right? Beat them in both this past year just like they beat us baseball and what not… UK has outperformed UL in three of the last 5 Sears cups for overall sports program performance as well… they do have better facilities, so I’ll give you that…

  51. Heisenberg
    7:51 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Judging by the comments that came in overnight I am going on a limb and saying Louisville ran out of crown royal again

  52. RealCatsFan
    8:03 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    I’m not a hater, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. UL had a great football team this year, and they absolutely took it to a Florida team that seemed to think they would have the game handed to them just for walking onto the field because they are an SEC team and UL is BE. UL popped them in the chops right off the bat, and Florida never seemed to have an answer once they were rocked back on their heels. I have rarely seen a coach lose his cool and come unglued the way Muschump did at the start of the second half after that botched and poorly called onside kick. Their team showed an overall lack of discipline throughout the game, and UL kept their cool. Bridgewater is an absolute stud. Congrats to UL on their biggest win in history.

    Also, to some of the UK fans who like to say that UK could never be competitive in the SEC because the state of Kentucky doesn’t have enough talent, blah blah – here is your proof that it CAN be done, if the administration of the program has enough foresight and outright balls to see it through. As much as I think Jurich is an arrogant ass, he is determined to field a competitive football team at Louisville, and he has done just that. Hopefully Stoops will be able to get the ball rolling in that direction at UK, but the bar has just been set higher by UL. Yes, they probably caught some breaks along the way to even get the chance to play in a BCS bowl, but you have to give them credit for making the most of it once they got there.

    Congrats to the sane and reasonable UL fans on a big win. For the irritating, obnoxious hater fans, well I guess I’ll just have to put up with you all for a few days. I guess I should have taken advantage of UK’s championship last spring to beat my chest and crow in front of you, but I try to stay classier than that. Enjoy the day.

  53. Yup
    8:05 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    To all of the Louisville trolls – congrats. But as my dad used to say, the sun even shines on a dogs ass every once in a while.

  54. RealCatsFan
    8:06 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    66, that is hilarious! I can always count on SINH for a good zinger.

  55. FatBlueKid
    8:16 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Uh, Matt wrote a piece about the thrashing of EMU and all the comments are about that mid-major to the West. I for one am very excited about our Hoops team and I am going to say it right now, we will be no less than a 3 seed at tourney time, I think a 2 is not out of the question. Had we not a had those 2 hiccups in December we would be right there with the nation’s elite. THe only loss I see is at Florida. Remember Mid-Major beat Mizzou by 23 and we basically beat the crap out of them if it was not for the Hack show that was not called. No one in the SEC scares me. We could go 17-1. Poythress will be fine, if not, Cauley-Stein will take his spot. Harrow is playing outstanding. Get on a roll in our mediocre conference and we will have sky high confidence and be tough to beat come tourney time.

  56. SexnNursinHomes
    8:20 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    71- ya know they are going to be coming in here in droves. card fans like the flu virus. Once one gets in, they start duplicating.

  57. SexnNursinHomes
    8:21 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    I meant -70

  58. Rixter
    8:28 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    LOL. Louisville has now beat UK and the most dis-interested football team since UK mailed it in against Pitt, and they think they’re ready for the SEC? Well, come on fellas… join the Big Boy league, and see how you fare week in and week out. There aren’t a lot of UConns and Syracuses in that league. What’s that? You LOST to both those teams??

  59. Rixter
    8:29 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Come to think of it.. Florida losing to Louisville is EXACTLY like Louisville losing to UConn at home a few weeks ago. Can any of you Louisville scholars explain that for us?

  60. MJ4UK
    8:37 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone explain to me why I couldn’t get tickets. I normally take 4 students to a game at Rupp every year as a reward for fundraising. I got on ticketmaster and all I could get was nosebleeds. I look on the tv last night and there are empty seats everywhere.

  61. RealCatsFan
    8:48 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    72, simple, you have third party scalping sites like StubHub buying all the extra tickets to events like this. Of course, a lot of the empty seats down low are season ticket holders who didn’t want to bother going to a game or offering their tickets to someone who rarely gets to go. Can’t let the commoners in amongst the blue-bloods, you know – someone might get upset down there if some yahoo is standing up and cheering for their team!

  62. MJ4UK
    8:51 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    #73…They had them bought early too. The first time I tried was right after they went on sale, and we I believe Row W of section 231 was the best I could get

  63. red headed step child
    8:59 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Congrats to little bro. We are so proud of you, now STFU you are on a UK sports blog. This needs to become a pay site to comment. The reason the trolls are on here is because it is FREE, like the cheese they pick up at 6th & Cedar.
    PLEASE either moderate this site or charge for comment section.
    Thanks sexinnursinhome, you never fail to BRING IT!!!!

  64. RealCatsFan
    9:00 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    I suspect that a lot of them have their hooks directly in the promoters of a given event, sporting or otherwise. Tried to buy tickets for a concert lately? I don’t care how early you try to buy, none of the up front seats are available at face value. It really is a scam, and the AG and others in power in Frankfort turn a blind eye on it all.

  65. WTF
    9:01 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    @ Mrs. Tyler Thompson – Reread John Clay’s tweet, “yeah, that was a bad one” he was making a joke. You uk trolls get too mad when someone pokes at your team, yet you do it all the time. I’m pretty sure John Clay know’s it’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. There’s no living it down!

  66. asfd
    9:01 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    U of L did prove that a bad program without any real tradition of success can make and win a BCS bowl only three years after being as bad as a team can get, so maybe the Cats have hope!

  67. Rockfield, KY
    9:05 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Just remember that Utah did beat Alabama in a BCS bowl game when they had Alex Smith. A good QB and some creative play calling can go a long way. Plus, Driskell is highly overrated.

  68. Catslife
    9:08 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Nothing in the world better for the Card fans to read most of the Big Blue comments about #3!!! Florida being overrated and disinterested, in the freaking sugar bowl. A team that beat 4 of the top 12 teams in country, and they are overrated. Wake up, I like UK, love em, but stop being stupid, UL whipped that arse, a few days after beating us in basketball. Stop kidding yourself, be a true fan and have hope our new coach can be as good as Strong. You make us look bad…

  69. catGrad7072
    9:08 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    The Joker Effect. He ruins the Gators after about a month on the job.

  70. sfcoz
    11:03 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Purdue upsets No. 11 Illinois so maybe Eastern Michigan ain’t too bad….

  71. UK Freshmen
    11:26 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Hey, red headed dimwit, you know who I am…my initials are BCG. Now go change your panties.

  72. on on uk
    11:53 am January 3, 2013 Permalink

    Curious how you ‘literally’ felt Mays’ frustration?