(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Kentucky charged out of the gates and performed exactly how you draw it up playing on the road. Make the electrified crowd a non-factor early and work the ball around to find open shots to keep piling it on. That’s exactly what the Cats did, behind Terrence Jones who put in serious work in the first half. He had ten points and six rebounds, to go along with two steals, one block, and one assist for a Doron Lamb three. This is Mr. Jones, ladies and gentlemen — the one I wrote about last week saying I felt a breakout game was coming. Later, Anthony Davis went down with a shoulder injury and a collective gasp could be heard across all of Big Blue Nation. He went to the bench and LSU made its move, cutting Kentucky’s lead to one. Davis returned and order was restored.
The second half started the same way the first half did. The Cats were running and LSU had no answer. Trent Johnson couldn’t do anything to slow down Marquis Teague’s pressure, and Anthony Davis couldn’t be stopped, even with a seven-footer and a bounty on his head. If this is the real Kentucky — which I believe it is very close to — this is a National Championship team. Every top team in the nation has shown a gaping vulnerability, but not Kentucky. (At least not yet, knock on wood). On to the notes…
— Well hello Terrence Jones. Thank you for being a beast. I cannot put into words how happy I am to see him go off like that. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know it would be this soon. TWENTY SEVEN POINTS! He had an incredible performance on a day he could have easily just slid by against a vastly under matched LSU team. He stepped his game up in ways I haven’t seen in months.
— Calipari says in the post-game press conference this was the best Kentucky has played all season and I cannot agree more. When Kentucky plays like this there isn’t a team who could come close to beating them. Judging by the last handful of games, I think the guys are starting to figure that out.
— I don’t care how good or bad LSU may be because teams can lose on the road, no matter what. Kentucky winning by 24 points says something about this team and their drive. Plenty of teams have found a way to lose (and lose big) on the road this season to not-so-great teams and the Cats just aren’t interested in being factored into that.
— Marquis Teague was consistent again. Meaning he is becoming consistently consistent. That’s a good thing from a point guard. He never racks up the stat column and probably never will, but he is getting in a groove of managing the game even without finding assists. If he keeps his turnovers down and doesn’t do anything stupid, well, that’s more than enough for the scorers to find open looks.
— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had one point tonight, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For Kentucky to win by 24 without Kidd-Gilchrist, that’s a positive thing for this team to build on. You don’t need to depend on one person to not only win, but blowout teams. What might go completely unnoticed was Kidd-Gilchrist’s defense on Anthony Hickey. He did a fantastic job blanking Hickey for nearly a full 40 minutes.
— Have I mentioned how incredible Terrence Jones was? There wasn’t a single moment I was even remotely upset with his play today. Everything was textbook. Flawless. Perfection.
— We saw some Terrence Jones glamor shots coming back from a timeout which had Twitter abuzz and sent the ladies hearts throbbing. It was a random, interesting, but funny set of photos. Might was to rethink that career of yours, Terrence, you’ve got a face for the silver screen.
— Malcom White committed a flagrant-two foul on Anthony Davis that was extremely cheap and dirty. White was ejected, as he should have been. If you missed it while you were up fixing nachos or making a beer run, here it is.
— Anthony Hickey, the biggest concern Kentucky fans should have had going into the game, was a non-factor. He scored five points on 2-6 shooting. If an upset were to happen it would have likely flowed through his performance against the hometown team. Without Hickey in the game the Tigers were sunk from the get-go.
–There’s really nothing you can complain about with the game today, but if you really wanted to find something it was the free throw shooting. 15-26 is not good, so even as well as the team played it could get even better. A positive spin on a small negative, see?
— In a bit of semi-unrelated news: The Louisville Cardinals are playing tonight at Seton Hall where they are an underdog. That’s right; a supposed Top-25 team is an underdog at Seton Hall.
A few notable stats from the other guys:
— Anthony Davis put up an extremely quiet double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
— Doron Lamb didn’t get up to his season average, but a solid nine points with two deep balls is plenty.
— Darius Miller dropped 13 and shot 3-5 from behind the arc. He’s on a big-time hot streak right now.
— Kyle Wiltjer logged 14 minutes but couldn’t connect on his bread and butter
Stick around; we’ll have a little bit more left on the LSU game the rest of the night. Go Cats!