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Kentucky 82, Samford 50

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Christmas break is off to a great start for Kentucky as the Cats are 2-0 since putting the books away for the rest of 2011. Win the one against Loyola on Thursday afternoon and that fruit cake will taste even sweeter on Christmas Day.

In Tuesday night’s contest against Samford, Kentucky used hot shooting and overpowering athleticism to win it going away, 82-50. The Bulldogs were never even a match for Kentucky.

Merry Christmas, Martin Newton.

Let’s talk about it…

— Don’t look now but Kentucky has an offensive phenom on the rise in Doron Lamb. Lamb has always been a great shooter from outside but in the past few games he has shown some moves and an aggression we haven’t really seen from him before. Tonight, he led all Kentucky scorers with a season-high 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 shooting from downtown. His game is evolving with each and every game on Kentucky’s schedule and he’s on his way to being the MVP for UK’s offense come March. He came out in this one firing on all cylinders and you just knew he was going to put up big numbers. And that he did.

— While Doron came out aggressive early on, the four guys around him were getting it done early as well. Kentucky jumped out to an early 11-0 lead thanks to stifling defense (that pressure is brutal on these under-matched teams) that turned into four unanswered layups and a three-pointer by Lamb in the opening minutes. Samford needed a timeout to regroup just two minutes into the game before it got too out of hand. Unfortunately, just as they did last week, Kentucky lost a little bit of that momentum and defensive pressure midway through the first half and gave up some easy buckets to the Bulldogs on consecutive possessions. *** This is called trying to find something wrong with a double-digit lead. ***

— I know the first thing Coach Cal is going to tell his players in practice tomorrow: GUARD THE BACKDOOR! I can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts. I’d venture to say Samford scored as many as 20 points off slashing players and picture-perfect backdoor passes. A lot of that can be credited to Samford’s Princeton offense — they’re VERY well coached — but the majority of the blame goes on Kentucky’s defenders letting their man sneak away from them at the rim. UK can get away with this stuff in mid-December, but giving up so many easy buckets on backdoor plays won’t fly against teams with a similar style in March. Get ’em in shape, Cal.

— Darius Miller got the start tonight for the injured Terrence Jones — who went with brown plaid as his bench attire — and Miller made the most of the opportunity. He played 31 minutes, an extra seven above his season-average, scoring 17 points with five assists and no turnovers. Above all that, he finally broke out of that shooting slump we talked about earlier this morning. Darius knocked down his first three-point attempt about six minutes into the game and the look on his face showed that whatever monkey has been on his back was just knocked off. He would go on to hit three of his six attempts from long range. Oscar Combs said he saw Miller on the court getting shots up by himself at 5:00 — two hours before tip-off — and I guess the extra work paid off. Welcome back, Darius. *Three Goggles*

— Another guy on Kentucky’s team is struggling from downtown and it has nothing to do with the ball not going in the rim. I don’t know what is going on inside Kyle Wiltjer’s head but the kid is not taking shots when he has wide open looks. Multiple times against Samford he had an open look at a three, only to pump fake, take one dribble to his left, and then turn and kick it back out. It got to the point where the crowd was giving him the Jarrod Polson “SHOOT!” treatment in the second half. Wiltjer has been a pretty good shooter from beyond the arc this season so I don’t know what has gotten to him to take away his confidence. Wiltjer played in a season-high 22 minutes against Samford but only managed to score five points and grab four rebounds. I hate to put it on the guy because he’s young and I really like him but he was a liability on defense at times, too. He’ll be fine, though. He has plenty of time to improve.

— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a fairly quiet (uncharacteristic of him) but solid game. He scored ten points with two assists and two rebounds. He made the most noise after the game when he told the media that the first breakfast club was set up by him and it included Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Kyle Wiltjer, and Jarrod Polson. If you had those five names in your office pool, you are the winner. I did not have those five names. MKG says other players are planning on joining the 8:30 a.m. festivities. He also said he wants to be a team leader and he admitted to being timid at first, because he didn’t want to try to lead over the veterans. “But now I’m OK with it,” he said. “I want to be the team leader. It’s all about chemistry.” You gotta love hearing that.

Anthony Davis had another Anthony Davis-type game. The Kentucky big man scored eights points, mostly dunks, to go with nine rebounds and five blocked shots. His put-back dunk on the Wiltjer missed lay-up after getting the steal was an awesome sequence that sent the crowd into a roar.

— Marquis Teague scored 14 points to go along with five assists and four turnovers. After the game, Calipari talked about Teague’s jumpshot. “What we’re saying to him offensively shooting the ball, you’re only shooting to keep them honest. You shoot jumpers to keep them honest. If someone is on you, you’re not shooting a jumper. Drive the ball, get it started up.” Cal said he will take Teague out of the game if he shoots with a man in his face. That’s the time to drive and over the past few games, Teague has been showing how well he can drive and get to the basket.

— Twany Beckham logged some unexpected minutes in the first half. He didn’t take any shots but he did grab three rebounds and dish one assist. I was on “Twany Watch” for the live blog so he was the only guy I watched when he was in the game. He still looks nervous out there but he showed his strength and athleticism when going up for some of those rebounds. For Twany, it’ll all just be about getting comfortable in the flow of the game and developing in Cal’s system.

— Eloy needed a different set of hands out there tonight. He boxed out great and was in position for almost every ball that came off the rim, but he slapped a lot of them around that he could’ve hauled in. Still, the big fella pulled down seven rebounds (he could’ve had 20) with two points in 17 minutes of action. Eloy is becoming exactly the guy Kentucky needs him to be. Just go in there, fight for boards and loose balls, and play sound defense.

— Other random notes and box score:

— Kentucky started the game hitting 16 of its first 20 shots. The Cats followed that up with a 10-for-31 stretch.

— Doron Lamb tied careers best with six rebounds and three steals.

— 21,984 in Rupp Arena tonight. Not the best showing but it’s Christmas break.

— Kentucky made at least half of its shots for the fifth time this season.

— Kentucky’s seven turnovers were its second-lowest total on the season. samford-box

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

53 Comments for Kentucky 82, Samford 50



  1. Tracy Jordan
    10:37 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    First in your heart.



  2. Skeptical
    10:42 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    “I can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts.”

    Remember ball-line defense????



  3. BLUE HAZE
    10:45 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Calipari was bragging on his teams defensive progress on channel 27 today… Someone flip Cal in the forehead… wake him up.. he must of been remembering last years team when he said that.



  4. period. point blank.
    10:46 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Louisville has its hands full with College of Charleston right now.



  5. Mark
    10:49 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Drew it’s Loyala MD not Loyala Marymount. This team did not have Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble.



  6. Manbearpig
    10:54 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Guard the Backdoor……wasn’t that a Samantha Ryan title?



  7. CATSCATSCATS
    11:02 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Haha were you on some study candy when you wrote this?



  8. Carl
    11:08 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Drew, nothing personal but it’s called the “Princeton offense”. Few teams run it but those that do get many backdoor cuts. Kentucky scheduled Samford partially because Cal wanted to face that particular style of offense. DIdn’t Dan Dakich tell you anything today ?? He was filling us in during the game. I thought the guy was a little crazy from his radio appearance before the IU game but he does a great job doing game analysis. He was very positive about Kentucky and Coach Cal. Can’t hate on a guy that does that !

    GO CATS!



  9. catsfan54
    11:14 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    ksr officially needs a writer with some level of basketball knowledge.

    “I can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts”

    first of all – how many did they have, 3? 4? have you ever watched a team that runs a full scale Princeton offense? clearly not.

    did you see Samford’s 3-pt percentage entering this game? would you prefer to guard the perimeter tight and concede backdoor cuts when we have the best shotblocker in the country, or concede open looks on the perimeter that averages over 10 threes a game?

    i love ksr but get it together, man.



  10. meow
    11:21 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    well they had 7 with about 16 mins left so try again douche bag



  11. Ned Chase
    11:38 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks for the box score. I will not have to “surf the internet” (as dave Ramsey would say) to find it.



  12. SagaciousMind
    11:42 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    I remember losin to a mid major at home under Billy G who used the back door like crazy. Samford was the #1 3pt team in the country, I’d rather give up those back door cuts than 3s. Besides, this is just more useful game film to learn from, I’m glad they did that to us.



  13. Hartline
    11:50 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    People going after Drew Franklin for his basketball knowledge, jeez lol.



  14. Mark
    11:55 pm December 20, 2011 Permalink

    Two things are certain:

    1) Samford is VERY quick to shoot much like Rick Pitino.
    2) Samford utalizes the backdoor about as much as Rick Pitino.

    PS: Loserville was down by 1 with 3 minutes to go to College of Charleston. LOL. Loserville went on to win, but that’s still funny.



  15. MKG
    12:00 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    HA>



  16. Aaron
    12:00 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Our post defense blows! We sposed to be SEC!



  17. MKG
    12:06 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Well. Chane Behanen reality sink in yet?? First of all your going to get beat by Gtown on the 28th before you even play Kentucky. And that will start your new yr off just right



  18. YankeeCpt
    12:08 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Billy G lost games on back door plays



  19. old_school
    12:11 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Game told us nothing.
    Should have been used as an opportunity to get some of the bench guys – Polson, Tawny some minutes.

    UK has always scheduled a few games like this – but heck – even Chris Gettlefinger and Bo Lanter used to get in for several minutes in some of those games. Polson didn’t see the floor until there was only about 70 seconds left.

    We’re too thin this year and Cal’s luck will run out. He’s never been hit by injuries at his short tenure at UK and he’s won the gamble so far.

    He’ll lose someone this year for an extended time – and his short bench will come to haunt him.

    Key to beating Kentucky will be to get Davis and/or Jones in foul trouble.

    I see UK losing about 6-7 games this season – losing in round of 16.

    Davis, Jones, Kidd-Gilchrist, Miller and Lamb will be gone – Maybe Teague.

    Only sure returners next season:
    Ryan Harrow, Tawny, Polson, Sam Malone and the freshmen.
    (Welcome to the down year!)



  20. MKG
    12:16 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    JEW



  21. Chane Behanan
    12:18 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    #17 That remains to be seen, but we do know that Gtown will be ranked when we play them win or lose, unlike when you played the Hoosiers…



  22. Blasphemy
    12:24 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Only in Kentucky can we say “22k is a disappointing turnout for a game.”



  23. MKG
    12:24 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    21, Just wait till New yrs eve. And Indiana could beat you all any day.



  24. Tomorrow's 9AM Post
    12:27 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    I’ll lead off with the win over Samford! How they use the… Dartmouth? Yale? Princeton! Offense and our inability to guard it! OMG! I’ve never seen a team play like this before! If we had Terrance Johnston we would have won, because he averages 30 points, 50 rebounds, and one broken limb per game.

    My second story will be that Louisville built a brand new arena called the Yummy Center.

    Um, what else? Oh! We have a black president!

    Merry Christmas everyone!



  25. MCStayUpLate
    12:30 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    @21. You forgot to say point blank period at the end of your ridiculous statement…



  26. Jarweed
    12:35 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    The Princeton vs. UCLA upset in ’96 had more successful backdoor cuts. Just sayin’.



  27. Justin G.
    12:37 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Well, I can say that there were many ‘backdoor cuts’ because of their Princeton style offense. It is the nature of the beast, and UK has not played anyone like that this year. Good game, considering we were out Terrence. I think this will help us a lot, especially since Vargas, Miller, and Wiltjer got more minutes. Plus, maybe Jones will come back motivated! I like this ‘breakfast club’ they are forming! It shows where their mind is.



  28. Jlee
    1:01 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    “I can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts”

    Drew, did you happen to watch UK vs Gardner Webb?? They backdoored us so much it felt like a bad prison movie



  29. Dan in BG
    1:09 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    “Can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts”? Forget Gardner_Webb? They probably scored a third of their points in that game off of back-door cuts.



  30. SagaciousMind
    1:47 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    19, you’re crazy on so many levels it’s not even funny.



  31. Chane Behanan
    1:52 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    #23 I’ll have to take your word for it, we haven’t lost to anyone.



  32. Hoss
    5:45 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    LMAO. #9 and #24 just walked in and kicked the chairs over.

    Both are spot-on posts.



  33. kbrenn
    6:21 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Wiltjer annoyed the heck out of me the ENTIRE game! that boy needs to man up already! get in the weight room and put some muscle on his frame. he was being tossed around like a little girl! he’s slow on defense and slow on offense. the only thing he has going for him is his shot…but that’s only when he doesn’t hesitate to shoot. put a body up on those boards!



  34. Hoss
    6:34 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    31- Who, exactly have you played?

    Kansas? IU? UNC?

    Oh, that’s right, a depleted Butler.

    Yeah, scary.



  35. Fat ninja
    6:51 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Best part of the game no kyle macey



  36. RickyPVoodooDoll
    7:46 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    22,000 fans at a game over x-mas break against Samford not good? IU had 11,000 at their last game.



  37. Al's IndiCats
    8:40 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    34 Hoss, why bother arguing with an idiot. Trying to tell an idiot from Looserville about the life and times of that ghetto school is like trying to teach a dog the square root of 9. Just isn’t going to happen.



  38. JackNicklaus
    8:43 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    UL was mugging CoC and the refs were letting them play. When they finally start playing on the road, they won’t be getting away w/ that anymore.



  39. old_tool
    8:45 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Coach Cal should be fired for not listening to me. I know everything. I’m old.



  40. Terry
    8:49 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Man Cal, is a genious he is pionerring a new way to coach by, inventing new ideas like the breakfast club. i bet every team in college and the Nba will follow Cals lead. He has taken college BB and evolutioned it. From the AAU connections, to recruiting only in Ky we set the standards. He will have his hands on the new arena he will ensure it is the greates icon that will ever be built. BBn I think it’s time we erect a statue of Cal .



  41. GoCats2
    8:49 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    #33 We cant compare some freshmen to other freshmen. He is playing like a freshman. Think about some freshmen from the past that never saw the court. Padgett, Sheppard, Mohammed to name a few were all freshmen on great teams but they rarely played but by the time they were juniors and Seniors they were the leaders on Great teams. Some freshmen are not ready for the big time just yet. Not everyone can be Wall and Cousins.



  42. BPsycho
    8:50 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    I had Billy G flash backs when I read “I can’t remember a basketball game on any level where a team successfully pulled off so many backdoor cuts.”

    Long live Gardner Webb.



  43. fletch
    8:58 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    I thought wiltjer was going to be a great player but after last nights game I see little hope for him. He could’nt guard a 5foot pregnant,fat women with bad knees .weak, weak, weak. If cal can make a good player out of him it will be his best coaching job ever.



  44. Wildcat Kyle
    9:42 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    The CoC player threw up 3 goggles



  45. Wildcat Kyle
    9:43 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Thats as close as he will ever get to Kentucky



  46. Joe
    9:43 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    @19 old_school

    WE GET IT! You want subs in. Why do you find it necessary to post the same thing over, and over, and over again game after game. Holy crap…



  47. Jarweed
    9:44 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Drew, you see we’re putting cover sheets on our TPS reports. It’s company policy, so if you could remember to do that. Anyway, I’ll fax you over another copy.



  48. comebackcats
    9:52 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    I Love MKG! That kid is the next Chuck Hayes, all heart! I would have thought for sure it was Darius starting the Breakfast club. Now the bar is set, the question should be, if you are not participating in the breakfast club, than why aren’t you? Add how great is it that Polson is also participating. That kid never gives up, I hope he is getting some real minutes by the time he is a senior.



  49. BPsycho
    10:03 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    #43 I said the same thing about Jon Hood, and now look at hi……….



  50. Bradclay
    10:04 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    sure hope Kyle isn’t too sensitive about these hurtful comments. Come on guys, lighten up.



  51. bung
    11:04 am December 21, 2011 Permalink

    thanks for the in paint, fastbreak etc data



  52. Katdaddy
    1:20 pm December 21, 2011 Permalink

    Gardner-Webb use the back door pretty good if you ask me!



  53. Katdaddy
    1:22 pm December 21, 2011 Permalink

    3stack didn’t last long enough to use the back door!