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Cats deliver a 30-point beatdown of their own

Photo by Chris Reynolds,

Kentucky’s played 28 games this season, and that was certainly one of them. Kentucky put away an ailing Mississippi State team 85-55 with Andrew Wiggins in the stands, cruising into a two-way tie for second place in the SEC. Believe it or not, we’re going to break it down even more:

— For the third game in a row, Ryan Harrow showed up ready to play. Harrow led the Cats with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and no turnovers. Harrow hustled for balls and drove the lane with confidence. In the past three games, Harrow’s been 18-32 from the field, with 14 assists and 20 rebounds. With Nerlens Noel out, rebounding has been essential for this team, and along with Julius, Harrow is keeping the Cats in the game on the boards. What’s changed since the Florida and Tennessee games, in which he went scoreless? Kentucky’s new “open offense,” which allows for better ball movement and spacing, freeing Ryan up for threes on the perimeter. Better yet, he is active on the floor, a far cry from the “Cool Ryan” we’ve come to dread. Cal said the Ryan’s performance is a crucial part to this team finally “getting it”: “Now Ryan’s doing his job, it makes it easier on everybody else on the team.”

— From the start, it was clear that Alex Poythress was going to have a big game. Poythress had 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and only one turnover tonight. Thirteen of those points came in the first half, during which both Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein dominated the paint. Afterwards, Coach Cal said it should have been a “25 and 12 day” for Alex, but that he’s made “unbelievable strides,” especially in terms of his body language on the court. Ryan Harrow agreed: “When you see him smile, it just brightens up everyone’s day.”

— It was truly a balanced attack from the Cats, with all five starters scoring in double figures. Kentucky shot 54.8% from the field, the third game in a row they’ve topped the 50% mark, and owned the paint, 46-18. That is not a typo.

Your Boone’s Butcher Shop Injury Update: Julius Mays received four stitches over his left eye after colliding with Alex Poythress’ elbow in the second half. Mays didn’t return from the game, presumably because the trainers wouldn’t let him just slap some duct tape on it and go back out.

— It was hard to evaluate how well Kentucky played because Mississippi State was just that bad. From the get go, it was obvious this was going to be a “Bless your little heart” game, with Mississippi State only dressing eight players, two of which went down with injuries during the game. It was hard not to feel sorry for Rick Ray and his squad, who looked flat out dejected on the bench. In fact, Ray’s a little tired of hearing about how bad Kentucky’s had it since losing Nerlens Noel: “When you want to start comparing trials and tribulations, we win all day long. Even the situation they are in, (John Calipari) still has like five-star guys and McDonald’s All-American’s that is playing for him, so excuse me if I don’t start crying for what is going on at Kentucky compared to what is going on here.”

Photo by Chris Reynolds,

— A great moment you may have missed watching on TV was the 1996 Championship team being honored at halftime and receiving rings from the school. After the game, Cal shared that it all started when Tony Delk told him the team didn’t have rings (the school told them at the time the NCAA wouldn’t allow them to spend the money on them), and DeWayne Peevy suggested they get them some. Cal agreed and they let the team design their own. The result? “Their rings are nicer than ours,” Cal gushed. The best part? Anthony Epps got down and kissed the UK logo at midcourt.

— For the second game in a row, Archie Goodwin had a good second half, scoring 9 of his 11 points and feeding the team with his energy. True to form, he had a few “OMG dumb” moments, but they’re not fatal as long he keeps the team’s energy up. Willie Cauley-Stein had another good game, finishing with 12 points on 6-7 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks. Willie’s scored in double figures in five of the last seven games, and continues to show off an increasingly deadly hook shot that has us rethinking whom we should call Rufio. Speaking of Kyle Wiltjer, he had another off-night shooting wise, going 1-7 from the field for two points. However, Cal said afterward that the team needs Kyle’s toughness more than his offense right now.

— Jon Hood’s had this date circled on his “Pontoons of Kentucky Lake” calendar for months. Hood finally showed us what Cal’s been raving about during practice, putting up five points (including a three), three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Whether it was the weak opponent or the smell of spring boating season in the air, lake hair was caring.

— Another Kentucky boy getting it done was Jarrod Polson, who finished with nine points, three assists, and tied his career best for rebounds with four. After the game, Cal said that like Julius Mays, Jarrod relishes every moment he gets to spend in a Kentucky uniform: “Jarrod sticks on that uniform and he takes great pride in his chance to be in that uniform and doesn’t take it for granted.”

— In a true indicator of what kind of game this was, Twany Beckham checked in only to check out three minutes later in order to get on the stat sheet. That calls for extra sprinkles on your nightcap, Twany.

— It’s been a long time since every single player on the bench has been able to play, and for some of them, it showed. Brian Long was about to have the Rupp Arena moment of his dreams, going in for a layup…only to have it blocked:

I’m glad he appreciates the humor of that.

— Did tonight’s win teach us much about this team? Not really. If anything, they continued to build momentum after beating Missouri and heading on a tough two-game road stretch. But think about how grim things were eleven days ago when the team fell apart in Knoxville. Now, they’ve picked themselves up and are three wins away from a share of the SEC regular season title. Cal echoed those thoughts after the game:

“Look, this team, what we’ve been through in the last 10 days, you think about it. What this team has been through, what we’ve had to do to adjust to all the things happening around us. We had dirt thrown on us 10 days ago. The coffin was nailed shut and the dirt was thrown on us.”

Operation Keep the Coffin Open?

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.

44 Comments for Cats deliver a 30-point beatdown of their own

  1. Frew Drunklin
    11:25 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    The smell of spring boating season in the air. Ha!

  2. Eric K
    11:40 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    CATS looked pretty good tonight.Give the CATS bout a B-/C+ effort.Maybe we are starting to get on the same page! State has really fallen. GO CATS!!

  3. JBR
    11:42 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    Now the big question of the night…did the referee guy get his Wiggins fathead into the game?????????

  4. one two many bulleits
    11:43 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    when did brian long get that time traveling ability?

  5. Kevin C.
    11:46 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    I get what Rick Ray was saying…but he still sounded like a whiny little b#tch. Welcome to coaching BB at a football school in the SEC, Ricky boy. Kentucky will ALWAYS have the McD’s advantage over you.

  6. Ben M
    11:57 pm February 27, 2013 Permalink

    Agreed, #5. I feel terrible for Mississippi State, but comments like that will always come off as rude and bitchy.

  7. Dusten
    12:05 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Are they all laughing at Brian Long getting his $#!t sent?

    12:08 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Yaddy yaddy yaddy……yeah, UK blew away someone else……..I want wiggins news!!!!! Did his parents come? I think it would be a good sign if they did

  9. Han
    12:10 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Is Beckham still recovering from his back procedure? Just wondering if he only suited up to check in and out like that.

    3) Someone on RR said they saw him get it out in warmups and someone came and made him put it away. Of course, someone else at RR erroneously stated that the chants are a violation. Tipton really misinformed tons of people back when he was reporting that BS garbage. I thought most people learned it was BS when numerous posters looked up the by-laws and even Tipton eventually admitted it wasn’t a violation and stopped reporting it every time we had recruits.

  10. I Say
    12:21 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Referee guys Wiggins sign got in and at first he had all of the letters on the jersey taped up except the K and Y, as soon as the game began he held it up and three people immediatley walked over and made him put it down, never saw it again for the rest of the game.
    And yes both of his parents were there.

  11. World Wide William
    12:31 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone please post a video of the 96 team being honored? I am out of state and would love to see that. BEST TEAM EVER.

    Great win tonight. Keep it up Cats

  12. Syrin
    1:03 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    So any word on Wiggins? Did the crowd give him any extra love?

  13. Syrin
    1:06 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    By the way. You know who I think is going to be CRUCIAL to next year’s team success? POLSON! Yeah, you read that right, POLSON ! The kid flat out gives it his ALL when he’s in there, we now don’t lose a whole lot when he’s in the game unless he has to guard some lightning quick guard, and he’s now a major cog in the offense meaning he makes good passes, gets the offense moving and flowing, and seems to get a lot of key loose balls, passes etc. That monster jam for Poythress was a direct result of Polson. He will get next year’s team up to speed a lot sooner than this team. BOOK IT !!

  14. Wildcatsteeler
    2:02 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Why did Twany come right back out? Is he still injured?

  15. Hey
    2:07 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Polson is a good kid, but NAIA level player. Tonight was against an NAIA team! Polson will NOT see the floor next year. BOOK IT!

  16. Kentucky14
    2:08 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Due to the Cats winning and some other bubble teams losing, Lunardi moves UK from the “last 4 in” group up to the 5th to last. Inching closer to safety. I would love to win these next two and leave no doubt.

  17. John Ellis
    2:09 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t think – I say again – that it’s sunk in how good Willie is now. He was Demarcus tonight – took the ball from above the foul line and drove in and hit a layup over a couple of guys like they were well Wiltjer. How many centers in college ball now playing can do that? ONE.

    A major story opening up in front of our eyes.

  18. Culver
    3:06 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I bet Harrow does a great Mike Tyson impersonation…just saying!

  19. iucansuckabigblue....
    3:09 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you 1996 team. No matter how many times you hear it. Thank you. Coming back from probation and winning championship #7, seven years later. It was a great time in my memory and I’ll never forget going to school and being so proud of my new championship shirt. I’ll never forget. Unforgettables.

    Three more….

    Go Big Blue!

  20. iucansuckabigblue....
    3:10 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I meant 6… Opps 🙂

  21. Blue Scarf MILF
    3:34 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Any updates on me in Section 40?

  22. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    3:39 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    All u guys been raggin’ on Harrow better come clean now !

  23. Jetblue
    4:03 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Rick Ray is in a bad spot, but he will never taste success so long as he keeps crying about his current situation.

  24. Marion Co & Central KY
    4:34 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    We love our boy, ANTHONY EPPS!!!! He was a bad ass mo fo on the hardwood.

    Oh and we also love bourbon, UK basketball, and winning national championships! This team was just special, even ol’ Ricky Quicky!

  25. Andrew Wiggins
    6:20 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I looked like I would rather be home playing Scrabble or Pick Up Sticks.

  26. BigPerm
    6:34 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I saw him knitting a sweater in the second half.

  27. UK Freshmen
    7:32 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Cal’s raving delivered a whopping 5 points and thee rebounds? Whoopee. Lets party.

  28. RealCatsFan
    7:33 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I was at the game with a set of binoc’s, and Wiggins seemed to be OK – typical kid, tethered to that phone sending texts. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more signs in the student section, but from some of the other comments it sounds like they were suppressing that – don’t know why because all the schools do it. The student section did break out in “Andrew Wiggins” chants several times, and late in the second half they breifly got most of the rest of the crowd involved in a chant. However, I think a lot of the crowd was not even aware that he was there (or even who he is). I had to explain to the lady in back of me what they were chanting about. I just told her if he commits to the Cats she will DEFINITLEY know who he is next year!

    I don’t put a lot of stock into the reactions of recruits at games like this. He was probably more interested in watching how Cal coaches them during a game than he cared about the crowd, environments, etc. Probably a good thing that this wasn’t one of those games where Cal had to rant and rage on the sidelines. If anyone was worried that he was bored, I’m not – he was at the UNC game last year, so he knows how stoked Rupp gets during a big game. A game like this shows him that BBN comes out even for a mid week yawner. Remember how we obsessed over the recruitment of Wall, Nerlens, etc? Relax – we will be fine next year no matter what.

  29. UKBlue1!
    7:37 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Anthony Epps one of the most underrated players of that era. Several of the players from 96-99 should have their jersey’s retired. I think Mashburn in 1993 was the last. Its time.

  30. MattO
    7:38 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    I’m going to echo post 11, World Wide William, as I was thinking the same thing:

    “Can someone please post a video of the 96 team being honored? I am out of state and would love to see that. BEST TEAM EVER. Great win tonight. Keep it up Cats”

    I checked youtube and got nothing. Anyone got a link?

  31. RealCatsFan
    8:03 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    30, I videotaped the halftime ceremony, but I was in the end zone, so most of it was kind of blocked by the goal. I’ll defer to someone lucky enough to be sitting on the sideline opposite the bench.

  32. Roland
    8:17 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    1996 Kentucky National Champions Ring Ceremony

  33. Roland
    8:28 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    WDRB-TV: Derek Anderson on receiving ’96 UK Championship Ring

  34. twnky
    8:30 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    14.. he came in bc he played at miss st b4 UK. his back is still bothering him and cal just wanted to get him on the floor aginst his old team, even if it was only for a second. if im not mistaken i think it was his old coach that said last year that he didnt know why he left to go to UK bc he would never see any pt.

  35. Roland
    8:31 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    This is interesting:
    According the UK Media Services, it is their understanding that Rick Pitino already has a 1996 national championship ring from the university. We’ll try to confirm with Pitino.


  36. 44 Stitches
    8:35 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you Roland

  37. mike
    8:35 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    UK Freshmen- Haven’t seen your dumbass comments in a while. Just figured you had got your lip stuck in Tom Crean’s zipper.

  38. oldschool
    8:54 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    just imagine if we had some experienced players and a real coach! We would have won by 90.

  39. ky_99
    8:59 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    According to Joe Lunardi the results of last nights game moved us up and off of the last four in category.

  40. GummyBear
    9:13 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks Roland. Great links.

  41. Syrin
    9:15 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    #15 – Hey ftard. No where did I say he gets many minutes. He WILL guide this team even with fhead fans like yourself taking daily colonic semen injections. We can only hope I’m wrong and this team flounders again with no upper level leadership like you seem to hope. You’re a new kind of stupid, aren’t you?

  42. paducahfan
    9:26 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    It would have been nice if Rick could have attended with the 96 team. Maybe we could have given him a pass for one night. The 96-98 teams were his, even though he wasn’t there at the end, and we’ll likely not see a stretch as good for a long time, maybe forever.

  43. Some Guy in Kentucky
    9:26 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    Coach Cal should have a highlight video for each player showing him the good plays he has made to reinforce what Cal wants him to do. Klye seems hesitant the last couple of games, it may help him to watch his past successes.

  44. Heisenberg
    10:41 am February 28, 2013 Permalink

    41-chill out, its hilarious how #15’s comment got you that upset, calm down. Anyways, he has a point, the only reason polson sees any playing time is this team, as far as talent at PG, has been disappointing. Its really hard to guide a team when you are not on the court anyways. Polson is alright but nothing special