RAAAAAAARGH, I am a MAN, sir
If there was ever a day to be grateful for television, it was today. Starting with the Kentucky/Tennessee game at noon, it was a sports-loving couch potato’s paradise, with an unbelievable North Carolina upset, the 49ers’ last minute win over the Saints, and tonight’s main event: Tebow vs. the Patriots (so much for that, by the way). Or, and for
BTI you suckers out there who let the lady take over the remote, the Miss America pageant. Tell me, how was Miss Kentucky this year? Hot? Good to know.
Let’s go over a few notes before tucking in on this cold winter’s night.
— For the second game in a row, the Cats offset a poor first half performance with a gutsy late second half comeback to beat the Vols, 65-62. Mr. Hammer has a mighty fine recap of the game below, but here were my highlights:
– Michael the Freaking Man-Gilchrist
It’s gotten to the point where I’m almost sick of saying it: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a beast. MKG has a been a little off since his national coming out party against Louisville, but he returned to top form in the second half against the Vols today. His three with 4:54 left in the game was absolutely clutch, padding the Cats’ lead to four. He finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double this season, but once again, his impact was felt beyond the box score; Gilchrist chased down loose balls, fought for rebounds, and scrapped for steals. He took two hard falls in the game and appeared to be injured, scaring me so badly I almost called my mother, but he quickly collected himself, and got back in the game. After UK seized the lead late in the second half, forcing Tennessee to call a timeout to regroup, Kidd-Gilchrist surged into the huddle, energizing his teammates and pumping them up for the final minutes. After the game, Anthony Davis said Kidd-Gilchrist was upset with his teammates at halftime and let them know it:
“He was a man who came into the locker room mad and really feisty because we wasn’t playing like we was supposed to. That’s just how he plays. He’s got a will to win. He brings a lot: the energy, rebounding, scoring offensively, free throws. He’s a great kid. I’m glad we had him on our team.”
That says it all.
– Anthony Davis steps up
Speaking of Davis, he had another monster game, with 18 points and four blocks, putting him one shy of the single-season school record of 83. Here’s a fun fact: as of this morning, Anthony Davis has more blocks than 286 Div 1 teams. He and Gilchrist continue to step up when this team stutters, and much of the kudos for today’s win should go to Davis for his ability to completely change the game defensively. He’s quickly becoming Mr. Consistent for this squad, and must be an absolute nightmare for teams to prepare for.
– A win, again, is a win.
Feel a little deja vu during the last ten minutes of the game? The atmosphere inside Thompson-Boling Arena had a distinct “Assembly Hall” feeling to it, with Tennessee playing to their full potential and the Cats failing to fire on all cylinders. However, the Cats, a month wiser and more experienced, didn’t succumb to the pressure. They dug deep, and found a way to win. And that, in light of Florida State’s thrilling upset of North Carolina earlier today, means everything. Let this postgame quote from Anthony Davis warm your heart:
“We have a will to win. We’re a great ball club. We never give up. I think we were down like 10 with a couple minutes left, and we just kept fighting, kept fighting. We don’t like losing. We just got a will to win.”
— If you missed it, North Carolina lost to Florida State by an astonishing thirty-three points. The Tarheels were absolutely and completely embarrassed, showing no heart or pride. In what may have been the oddest ending to a game ever, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton suggested that Roy Williams and his bench go ahead and go to the locker room with 14 seconds left in the game so they wouldn’t risk being injured by fans storming the court. Call it the Indiana effect?
— Now for the Boone’s Butcher Shop Tweet Beat Injury Report:
My shoulder real sore right now
– Marquis Teague (@MarquisTeague25) January 14, 2012
— Jarnell Stokes is for real. And so are his ridiculously long eyelashes.
— Bullitt East star Derek Willis may be near a decision, and according to inside sources(which I ain’t paying for), it’s looking good for the Cats. Willis’ father said his son may announce his decision as soon as this week. “He’s 100 percent, knows what he wants to do and what his goals and aspirations are.” C-A-T-S, CATS CATS CATS?
Want more? Don’t worry, Drew and I will be back bright and early to recap the win over the dirty snitches and prepare you for Randall Cobb’s big game against the Giants. See you then.