Grab that marker and put another tally mark on the UK blowout board at the office. Kentucky got another easy win tonight over Pat Knight and the Cardinals of Lamar, 86-64. All five starters scored in double figures to lead Kentucky to its 43rd consecutive win in Rupp Arena. That’s the longest streak in the nation for those of you keeping score at home.
There is only one more cupcake home game left on Kentucky’s schedule before the team starts league play on January 7th. But first, let’s talk about tonight’s less-than-exciting game. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot like the last two “holiday” games.
It’s a late one so we’ll go fast. Hang on…
— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the leading scorer for Kentucky tonight, with a grand total of 18 points in 26 minutes. Eight of those points came from the foul line where he hit 8-of-10 at the stripe. It was Kidd Gilchrist’s sixth consecutive game in double figures. MKG also added six rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block to his stat line. The numbers are impressive, but only the stat that really jumped out at Coach Cal was MKG’s two fouls early in the first half. After the game, Calipari said he normally sits a guy for the rest of the half if they pick up two fouls. But this team needs Gilchrist’s toughness out there too bad to let him sit on the bench so he ends up shoving him back out there.
— MKG – MVP is more than a t-shirt, it’s reality.
— Anthony Davis had another Anthony Davis-type performance. He scored 10 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and swatted a ridiculous six shots in the game. Three of Davis’ five made buckets came from dunks to go along with a layup and a short floater. It’s all fun and games watching Davis score off lobs and put-back dunks, but eventually we’re going to need to see him knock down that long range jumper he keeps firing, plus a couple of post moves. As much as I’d like to think he could just dunk his way to the Final Four, he’s going to start running into some stronger defenders once conference play comes around. I think he’s 0-for-56 on the long ball on the season.
— Tonight’s game marked the return of Terrence Jones to the Kentucky lineup. Jones didn’t start but he did play a significant amount of time off the bench. It was obvious that the injured pinky is still really bothering him and we were told at halftime that he was playing through a lot of pain. He still managed to score nine points and haul in six rebounds in 27 minutes of action, despite only having nine fingers. After the game, Calipari said Terrence needs to do a better job of rebounding and picking up loose balls. “I went at him late because I didn’t want to hear any excuses,” he said. “I don’t care that you’re missing shots, missing free throws, layups. Go get balls. Go be tough. Go defend and we don’t have to do all this.” I hope Jones’ effort isn’t an ongoing problem for the rest of the season. He has so much potential and he’s just out there going through the motions.
— Marquis Teague has had three straight games with four or more turnovers. Calipari said Teague was looking to score on his own when he had guys open and he wasn’t doing what he was told right out of timeouts. Cal reenacted two conversations he had with his point guard in the game:
“Well, just run the team then.”… “I didn’t see them.”… “Well, your head wasn’t up then.”
“Why would you not do what I asked you to do?”… “Because I didn’t want to.”… “Good, now you’re out. Sit down.”
I don’t like the sound of that.
— Darius Miller’s three-point shot is back and he wasn’t shy about letting them rip in this one. Darius scored 15 points while hitting 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Miller is 7-of-15 in the last three games after the brutal shooting slump to start to the season. Welcome back, D.
— Eloy made the best move of his career on a drive to the basket. He missed the shot. We were still impressed. WLOY!
— Lamar’s Mike James might be the greatest player in the history of the game of basketball. The six-foot-one guard scored 29 points to lead the Cardinals on 29 shot attempts. Most of those buckets were off-balanced jumpshots and floaters right in the face of Kentucky defenders. If you didn’t see the game, just imagine a poor man’s Monta Ellis. His big night wasn’t a shock to those who know him, James scored 52 in a game last season. You have our respect, young man.
— After the game, Calipari was asked about his team’s upcoming game against Louisville. “I’m not in a great frame of mind to talk about Saturday,” he responded. Cal said the only time he’s seen Louisville play this season is when he was studying film from Lamar’s game in Louisville.
— “This team should be better than we’re playing” has been a common theme in press conferences over the past few games and Calipari said it again tonight. I can’t wait for Kentucky to “get better”, not only so we don’t have to hear it anymore, but because they’ll be scary good.
— Kentucky failed to cover the spread for the 8th time this season. Someone in Vegas has caught on to this pattern and they’re getting rich off the WBA’s offensive struggles late in games. Some investigate Jarrod Polson for a point-shaving scandal. (Don’t really do that, Jerry Tipton. It’s just a joke.)
— In other news, Brandon Knight scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the 4th quarter of the Pistons home opener. The Pistons lost the game but Knight likely earned a spot in the starting rotation after the show he put on for the home crowd. Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said he heard a ball bouncing outside his office late one night and he looked out to see Knight getting up shots at 11:30 p.m. The team’s practice ended that afternoon. That’s how bad Brandon wants it.
— UK Hoops had a heartbreaking loss to Middle Tennessee State on the road Wednesday night. Coach Mitchell’s sixth-ranked team lost by 12 in Murfreesboro. Kentucky only had the lead twice throughout the entire game. It’s only the team’s second loss on the season but it could move them out of the top 10 in the polls.
— Louisville lost. That’s all we’ll say for now.
Go to bed now.
Good night and Go Cats.