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Kentucky Wins, Merry Christmas

jones
(Photo via Michael Huang)

The first half was a little too close for comfort, but in the end, Kentucky pulled away with an 87-63 victory over Loyola. Most of the players are now on airplanes on their way home for Christmas break — I know Doron Lamb had a 4:30 p.m. flight to New York — and we hope they all have safe travels. The Cats will get a couple days off to spend with their families and then it’s back to Lexington on Monday to get ready for Wednesday’s game against Lamar.

Let’s talk about the victory and what it means in the grand scheme of things:

— Loyola kept it interesting in the first half as they hung tight with the Cats all the way to the break. Kentucky was just 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first half while the Greyhounds knocked down three 3-pointers in the first five minutes. Two early fouls sent Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench early and the Cats went to the locker room with just a six-point lead. The first half was closed out with a pretty nasty dunk by Loyola’s Erik Etherly over Anthony Davis. Etherly drove the lane and and got one over Davis’ stretched out arm and drew the foul. #AnthonyDavisStillSaysShutUp

— The second half, however, was a completely different story. With Loyola already in foul trouble — two starters with four fouls early in the second half — Kentucky put it on them for the rest of the game. Loyola’s Robert Olson, who had nine first half points, fouled out with over 15 minutes left in the game. Loyola committed 25 fouls in the game as a team.

— If you had Kyle Wiltjer as Kentucky’s leading scorer, go to the H.R. Department and collect your prize. Wiltjer led the way with a career-high 24 points in 25 minutes. He was 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-6 on on three-point attempts. While Wiltjer’s scoring and hot shooting spread the Loyola defense out, his defense continues to be a liability on the other end. After the game, Calipari said he has to find a defensive scheme that works for Wiltjer because there are certain matchups he’s not ready for. He doesn’t expect Wiltjer to block shots, but he does want to see the young man take more charges and box out. It wasn’t all negative reaction to Wiltjer’s game, though; Cal praised his toughness and heart and said the team will need him in the game at times for scoring. They just need to get him active on the defensive end. I asked people on the live blog how many points they thought Loyola scored in the first half on Wiltjer alone and the general consensus was about five or six buckets. That can’t happen.

— While Wiltjer struggled on D and on the boards, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis played great games. Davis had 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to MKG’s 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Calipari had nothing but good things to say about those two after the game, saying they were the only guys on the floor who were even trying to rebound. He admitted to being all over his players for their lack of aggression, but not once did he go after Davis or Kidd-Gilchrist because they both were playing so well.

— Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s big game was even more impressive considering he had a lot on his mind outside the game of basketball. Cal tweeted before the game that Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother is in the hospital back in New Jersey but it wasn’t serious enough for her son to skip the game. UK has not released any details but keep Michael and his family in your prayers during this holiday season. The poor kid has had a rough life and the last thing he needs is his mother in the hospital over Christmas break.

A few quick hitters:

— Kentucky hit over half of its shots (53.8%) for the seventh time this season.
— Kentucky made 28 of 37 free throws, season highs in both categories.
— Darius Miller’s 13 points were his third straight game in double-figures.
— UK didn’t hit a 3-pointer until Wiltjer knocked one down with 17 minutes left in the game. That sent Kentucky on a 22-4 run that gave Kentucky a 23-point lead.

We’ll have more on the game throughout the evening. Go Cats…

loyola-box

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

28 Comments for Kentucky Wins, Merry Christmas



  1. shah
    4:40 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    first finally!



  2. road_warri0r
    4:50 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    It is actually good to see a pic of TJ as the heading of this article. Love him or hate him, I believe we can all see he IS badly needed to round out our team. He has ( or at least in past times has shown) a “toughness” inside that is missing. Davis, while he is a fantastic talent and shot blocker is not quite tough enough to body up against opposing players like Jones can. Lets give TJ the benifit of the doubt and be optimistic that he comes back out with some lessons learned and a determined grit to get the job done for the rest of the year.



  3. scrooge
    4:56 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    I would PAY Coach Cal to teach TJ to breathe with his mouth closed. If he only ever learned
    one thing in Kentucky and that was it, I would consider his time here a success.
    It’s sad, cause he’s a smart kid, and even talented, but he almost never shuts his mouth.
    And it makes him look like a fool. Life in the World After Uni will be so much better
    for him if he learns to breathe like an intelligent adult. Here’s wishing him a
    speedy recovery and dumfounding stats (in a good way!) for the rest of the season.



  4. breakfastclubleader
    4:57 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    If you’ve seen Prayer for a Perfect Season, you know what a terrific mom and person Gilly the Kidd’s mother is.
    Let’s all hope for a full and speedy recovery.
    MKG loves his mom.
    A speedy return to being A-OK would be a perfect Christmas present for him.



  5. knuckleheads
    5:03 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    2. “love him or hate him”..
    Who “hates” Terrence? You? Certainly not any knowledgeable and loyal UK fan. We love him. Point blank. Period. We root for him to excel as we do for all our players and always have done for all our players.
    3.Really? That is what you want him to learn? SMH. I gotta hope you are attempting some sort of failed sarcasm. If not, you are the only one who looks like a fool.



  6. oh yeaaah
    5:06 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Terrance needs to cut his nails.



  7. Tommy
    5:10 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Agree #5!! Scrooge must b perfect in everyway. I don’t understand people being so cruel. These r kids that could have gone anywhere and they come here for treatment like this.



  8. kybigblue
    5:14 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Wiltjer will not see much time on the court against a team with balance like N.C. because of his lack of defense. If he can be put on a player that is not a scorer he will see more time. When he gets stronger and more aggressive he could be a force to reckon with in the years to come. No question that he can shot.



  9. LONGDUCKDONG
    5:20 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Didn’t Gilchrist go to a VERY expensive HS?? ” Rough life”??? ha. Give me a break!



  10. KY #1 Fan
    5:28 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    @ #9.. Havent you ever heard of a basketball scholarship? That school recruits players and if they play ball then their tuition is paid. You must be a U of L fan.. MKG, the real UK fans have you and your family in our prayers.. Great game by the Cats today, eventhough their minds and hearts were with their families…



  11. KY #1 Fan
    5:28 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    @ #9.. Havent you ever heard of a basketball scholarship? That school recruits players and if they play ball then their tuition is paid. You must be a U of L fan.. MKG, the real UK fans have you and your family in our prayers.. Great game by the Cats today, eventhough their minds and hearts were with their families…



  12. GoCats2
    5:30 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    #9 google his life story and shut the hell up.
    scrooge that is absolutely the dumbest thing I have ever heard. How does that bother you? Why does that bother you? Some people are not capable of breathing well through their nose, it is very common. I have never heard anyone ever complaining about how someone looks while breathing.



  13. Dr. Huang
    5:30 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Now that I have money, I bought a camera. Then I bought Photoshop Elements, made a bad logo, and slapped it on my snapshots. I’M A PHOTOGRAPHER!



  14. Stan
    5:47 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Well said #12. Get off TJ, give him a break.



  15. Zoom
    5:55 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    #9 – Why are UL fans soooooooooooooooo obsessed wth EVERYTHING Kentucky. UL fans have more posts on this site than any of the diehard Cats fans. It’s ridiculous, get a life. I know you want to be like us, but it’s not possible. You turd faces suck.

    PS – Love TJ!!!! and #3, your post is just plain stupid.



  16. quickyricky
    6:00 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Will be praying MKG and his mom.

    Why does anyone respond to the TARDS posing as BBN fans. Guys, the negative comments on this sight is 90% uoflooserville fans. They don’t want to beat us, they want to be us.



  17. Claw
    6:03 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Coach Cal needs to get his head out of his rear end and learn. We should have beaten this team by 80 points. The same crap over and over. Maybe he should get innovative, learn to incorporate some of the tactics used against us like the Samford game where they incorporated back door cuts with ease to score. Why can’t we have that as part of our arsenol? We would be unstoppable. He seems like a guy who is unwilling to learn new things. We looked disorriented on offense most of the time. Wake up dude. We luv ya but this ain’t gonnaa win a championship.



  18. Stan
    6:05 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    I agree, merry christmas 15 and 16. Don’t fret loserville, you guy’s do have “QUICKY RICKY” HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  19. CliffFrankLou
    6:15 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Claw, your coaching pedigree includes what? Please remind us.



  20. Voiceofreason
    6:50 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    This site has to do a better job removing these personal attacks on young kids. No matter where they come from. Sad.



  21. Jealous
    6:53 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    #13 go cry somewhere else. Everyone loves Michael and he gets the best shots. Stop posting anonymously about non uk basketball players and grow up.



  22. lexslamman
    7:10 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Dr. Huang is a nice guy, a good doctor and a decent photographer. Stop attacking him, please.

    What is Terrence Jones’s status? When will he be back?



  23. The real Dr. Mike
    7:21 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    21 and 22…not sure who you are but thanks for your having my back and your kind words. I love shooting the UK games, and I try to keep it fun. I’m a physician first, and never have purported to be a professional photographer. The real pros do a great job. I’m just happy to have a chance to be on sidelines with them. #13 take a look at my body of work on Topsinlex.com and Larry Glover Live and judge for yourself. Merry Christmas Big Blue Nation! Let’s talk about basketball now.



  24. UnderKanter
    9:53 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    okay so who wants to chip in with me to buy jones some finger nail clippers to tame those things?



  25. Whitney Pannell
    11:04 pm December 22, 2011 Permalink

    Way to go Dr . Huang. That’s exciting to have your photo featured on KSR!woohoo!



  26. fiddlestix
    7:15 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    I agree 20, would you want to send your son to KY if you read this site and see how some turn on their own over virtually nothing…whew. Some of these must be high school kids that think ball players are like teachers, statues without hearts. These kids read those comments and unfortunately, remember them longer and feel them deeper.



  27. Joe
    7:25 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Hey scrooge Russ Smith has huge big Dumbo ears. Siva looks like Herve Vellechaize. Van treese has big beaver teeth. Kuric looks like he has chicken pox on his face, and Buckles has an underbite. Chris Smith has pointy vampire teeth, and Swopshire has bigger lips than Twill. Pitino looks like marty Feldman. So I don’t think you should be making fun of someone’s looks.



  28. FloydThe Barber
    10:46 am December 23, 2011 Permalink

    Cut them nails!