David Perry LHL
Whether or not we said it openly, we all wanted to see something from the Cats tonight. Typically at this point in the season we begin to see separation between the top teams and the rest of the field. With tonight’s blowout win on the road at LSU, the Cats prove that they truly belong in that upper tier that are contending for a national title. Had Kentucky gone to the Bayou and struggled mightily or, heaven forbid, lost, I would have serious reservations about if they had what it takes to win in March. But, that’s not something we have to worry about since the Cats took care of business, 81-55. A bunch of observations from tonight’s game:
–Words cannot describe how terrible LSU was in the first half. Until tonight, the record for fewest field goals in a half in the SEC this season was 14. LSU had 6 in the first half. And after opening up a 6-1 lead over the first 5 minutes of the game, LSU only scored 8 more points the rest of the half. It would be unfair to blame LSU for just being bad, because Kentucky’s defense was nothing short of stellar and forced the Tigers into plenty of bad shots .
–The game, once again, belonged to Boogie. The man-child notched his 6th consecutive double double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. One more double-double and he will own the UK record for most consecutive. I really wish they kept stats on completed 3 point plays, because if they did, I’m positive that Cuz would be near the top of the NCAAs. He has shown such strength and finesse in 2010 that has, put simply, made him a boatload of cash monies. It’s a joy to watch him play.
–A lot of talk lately had been surround Patrick Patterson’s struggles. Word has it that Cal has been working with Pat one-on-one in the last week and tonight it showed in a big way. Pat took 13 shots, which is the most he’s taken since the Georgia game, and finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Those numbers are good, but they don’t really tell the true impact he had on the floor tonight. He was very active and played with swagger. To succeed in March, we need this from Pat every night. Pat was also called on to guard Tasmin Mitchell at points, drawing praise from Cal – “He is doing things they didn’t know he could do. He can guard a 2, 3, 4, or 5.” Cal also commented that Patrick is 80% there, saying “He’s got 20% more to go before he’s where I want him to be.”
–John Wall has his lowest point total of the season, tallying only 6 points on 2-9 shooting. He made his impact felt in other areas, however, adding 4 boards, 4 assists and 2 steals.
–Whatever happened between Cal and Liggins in the first part of the season, it’s lit a fire under DeAndre’s tail. I love watching him play now. Truly UK’s X Factor.
–Cal got on the refs a little in the post-game conference in regards to Boogie’s inadvertant elbow. After Cuz blocked a shot and got possession, he moved to protect the ball and immediately the referees whistled him for an offensive foul. While there was an LSU player near, it was obvious that Boogie meant nothing intentional by it and, if anything, the only person in danger was DeAndre Liggins, who was the nearest to the ‘bow. Cal took exception to the refs stopping the game to review the play for mal-intent. Cal openly questioned how the refs can let Cousins get pushed, shoved and hacked and then when he retaliates even in the slightest, review tape and make a huge deal out of it. I’d say Cal’s right.
–Cal said in his conference that “DeMarcus was DeMarcus.” This reminds me of Charlie Coles saying “Cousins became Cousins” in his unique vernacular. Perhaps Charlie knew something we didn’t at the time, and that’s just what DeMarcus Cousins would become.
Lots of other takeaways from the game, but for now, let’s just enjoy that we’re 22-1 and likely to ascend to #2 (at least in the Coach’s Poll) come Monday. And courtesy of Gentleman John Clay, here’s Cal’s post-game presser.