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Cats Put on a Show in Beating Tennessee Oprah


photo by Charles Berthram

You know its been a good night when the postgame chatter among you and your friends is whether this was the best all around performance of the Billy Gillispie era. A case can certainly be made for tonight’s 102-58 performance. Virtually every player on the roster had a stellar game and some had one of their best ever as a Wildcat. The defense was suffocating and showcased just how overwhelming this team can be when focused on that end of the floor. The ball movement was exceptional, as the passing became contagious and the Cats were able to have more assists than Tennessee State even had baskets. Every part of the Cats game was clicking and even the hard-to-please Coach Clyde left feeling good about the evening. A quick rundown of the game, from the individual perspective:

Jodie Meeks: It was impossible to think that Jodie could follow up his game on Saturday with anything special, but then he came out and nearly surpassed it. 27 points in the first half and seven three pointers, the last four of which came during a three minute stretch in which the ghost of Tayshaun came down and blessed Meeks from above. It is truly amazing to see a player when he hits the zone and when Jodie rose to hit his next to last three in the first half, jumping over a player that was glued to him, it was one of those moments. Heck, even Billy Clyde could just shake his head. What we are witnessing right now with Jodie is special….savor it.

Patrick Patterson: After Meeks’s first half, one would have assumed he would be the story of the game….one would have been wrong. Patrick had the game of his career, going 15-17 from the field, for 33 points and a performance that was a textbook example of how to play the low post. Inspired a bit by the fattest 6’6″ guy you will see in a Division I game, Patrick took over in the second half, scoring from all angles and all methods. His string of double-doubles continues and his consistent domination remains unbelievably impressive. He is one of the best big men to don the uniform….savor it.

Kevin Galloway: For most of his first seven minutes or so, it looked to be Galloway’s best game. He got out in transition, made some great passes and was in the defensive passing lanes. When he plays like that, he can be a real force for this team. Gillispie again chose to not play him a great deal after this initial stretch, but I again was very impressed by his performance. He keeps getting better and better.

Michael Porter: His stats werent all that impressive, but for the last three games, the team is better when he is in the game…..period. We can debate why, or how, but the team plays better, the offense flows better and the +/- is more favorable when Porter plays. That means he will continue to do so.

Perry Stevenson: Today was a classic good Perry game. Lots of bunny shots, some in which he tries to lay them up and misses, and some in which he dunks and makes. A few blocks, some good transition plays and a general overall decent performance. He is doing well, but he feels some breath down his neck.

AJ Stewart: Because this guy is coming. Another solid game for the mischevious one from Jacksonville. A lot of people had written AJ off, but he had another good game, getting a couple of buckets and playing good defense as well. Coach is very hesitant to give AJ credit….but the compliments continue and the playing time increases. AJ may FINALLY be getting it.

Josh Harrellson: On the other hand, we dont know what is happening with Jorts. Another game in which his playing time was limited until the end and he looked somewhat lost in his limited role. One hopes that he will get a reset over the next couple of days and re-find his rhythm. That needs to happen, because the rise of AJ means playing time is limited.

Liggins/Miller: Similar games from both of these guys…..not great, not terrible. Both of these young men played within the offense and looked good throughout most of the game. Liggins has got to improve his defense, as his insertion into the game over the last two contests has caused some defensive breakdowns. He also needs to shoot a bit more, although his passing was solid. As for Miller, I do wish he would shoot a bit more….but the kid is solid and he continues to be a rock.

Couple more notes….

— It was tough not to see the Razor out there, but hopefully his slight setback will not be a pretense of anything negative. Donald Williams must be redshirting, because it was a Buddy Halcell show tonight and the Donald still didnt get in the game.

—- I have to admit that it was hard to tell what was more intriguing for the Kentucky Sports Radio viewing party, (a) the game of “Guess the Weight of the Fat Tennessee State Player”, (b) Acting out the moves of Jared Carter or (c) trying to figure out how the white guy ended up on Tennessee State. All were fun games however and made the game pass with delight.

— I officially am a huge fan of Dave Baker. He actually makes me laugh during the telecasts and he keeps Kyle Macy from completely putting the entire state to sleep. Keep doing it to ’em Buzz.

— No that is not Jai Lucas behind the bench….it is a graduate assistant who does look EXACTLY like him.

— At one point, UK had 28 assists and Tennessee State had 2. More than anything else, that tells me that the Oprah should pull a T Boone Pickens and make a coaching change.

We will have more all day, including an SEC Slant from the Intern (summary….the conference is horrendous), a look at what to do at the Liberty Bowl and we get you ready for Christmas, KSR style. Stay tuned…..

Article written by Matt Jones