First Half Stats (UK trailed 35-30)
11-28 FG (39%), 1-9 3FG (11%), 26-16 rebound deficit (10 offensive rebounds for Alabama)
Patterson: 10 pts, 0 reb
Wall: 7 pts, 3 ast, 3 reb, 0 TO
Miller: 4 pts, 0-3 3P
Stevenson: 4 pts
Dodson: 3 pts, 3 TO
Bledsoe: 2 pts, 3 reb,
Cousins: 0-2 FG, 0 pts, 3 reb, 2 fouls
Second Half Stats (UK wins 73-67)
14-22 FG (64%), 0-4 3FG (0%), 18-15 rebounding deficit (10 offensive rebounds for Alabama)
Patterson: 10 pts, 4 reb
Wall: 16 pts, 3 ast, 4 reb, 4 TO
Cousins: 7 pts, 5 reb
Bledsoe: 8 pts, 3 ast
1) The first half was just abysmal for UK. They shot 39% and went 1-9 from three, and that was a Dodson three just before the buzzer. Demarcus Cousins scored not a single point and only pulled down 3 boards. The team played with no energy to speak of, except maybe Perry Stevenson, who had 4 points. Patterson scored 10 in the half but had ZERO rebounds. And Eric Bledsoe was non-existent, scoring just 2 points. Lucky for Kentucky that Alabama is just not very good, because against a Sweet 16 game would have gotten out of handwith that kindof effort from the Cats. I can’t understand how this team comes out flat with basically a home crowd and a game that truly means something.
2) The UK defense was much better in the 2nd half, at least meaning they were more active and causing many more deflections. But, Alabama still had a ton of open shots the entire game, and lucky for Kentucky they shoot like Matt Jones at Cameron Indoor. Overall, Alabama shot 34.8% for the game and33.3% from the 3-point line. Alabama moved the ball around the perimeter nicely all game, but also seemed to easily deliver the ball to the post, but they struggled to take advantage of their close in shots and putbacks. This is likely what cost them the game.
3) Obviously, the 3 spot for the Cats was terrible again today. Miller, Dodson, and Liggins combined for a 2-10 shooting performance, including 1-4 from the 3-point line. The group combined for 4 turnovers and zero assists. These guys don’t figure out a way to contribute somehow and the Cats chances at a national title go down a bunch.
4) How does the TALLEST TEAM IN AMERICAget outrebounded by 13? Seriously, there was very little effort on the glass today, as Alabama had 20 offensive rebounds off their 43 missed shots. Patrick Patterson did not get a single rebound for the first 32 minutes of this game and only finished with 4. Demarcus Cousins played better on the boards in the 2nd half, getting 5 rebounds. Which is more than 3, so I use the term “better” loosely there. If the Cats get whipped on the boards like this more, then that is a huge advantage lost that UK has benefited from for the entire season.
5) John Wall basically changed the flow of the game in one 3-minute stretchwith 3 driving layups leading to 7 points. Eric Bledsoe followed that up with one of his own, and the game has turned into a UK lead that they would never give up. But, Wall has this knack of knowing when to attack and when to pull back, something Bledsoe could learn to develop next season. Nobody on Alabama’s team had an answer for him in the open floor, and at the end of the game, Wall had a couple fantastic passes that led to easy buckets. When the Cats play as flat as they did today, it is obviously Wall that makes up the difference, and today was no different.
6) Demarcus Cousins had a game to forget, with only 7 points and 8 rebounds. The last 10 minutes were more like the Boogie we know, but Alabama basically shut him down the rest of the game. I was also very impressed with Cousins defensive effort in the 2nd half, when he took 2 early charges. He also altered several shots from the Tide. Cousins seemed to get frustrated once again with the officials, and maybe this affected his play. Either way, I would expect a much better game tomorrow from Big Cuz.
7) Look, for much of the season the argument when this team played sloppy was “they are young, they have room to grow, watch the growth throughout the season.” Well, we are now in March, so this is basically the team we have got. There is no more growth to be had. We have just got to accept that this team does not play the prettiest brand of basketball. They are flashy, but make countless frustrating plays and boneheaded decisions. And frankly, the shooting may come around for a game or two, but I truly can not envision the shooting being back for 6 straight games. There are going to be 5 minute stretches in every game where UK can’t score, turns the ball over a ton, and forgets to rebound. Here is to hoping that when they hit their good runs, it can eliminate the holes they dig themselves into. And John Wall continues to take over games when needed.
A win’s a win, but this a game that hopefully the Cats don’t repeat in March again. Matt should be along later if he can pull himself from the Vandy Male Cheerleaders for 5 minutes.