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Eight notes from Kentucky’s 74-66 win over the Vols

Photo © Mark Zerof

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s a pretty familiar pattern by now: slow starts followed by second half rallies.  Kentucky finally put away Jarnell Stokes and the low down dirty snitches this afternoon by a final score of 74-66.  Here are my eight notes:

Andrew Harrison had his best game yet

After a poor showing against Arkansas, Andrew Harrison responded with his best game yet, posting a career-high 26 points, 3 assists, and zero turnovers against the Vols.  He was 7-13 from the field, including 2-3 from behind the arc and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.  Andrew has faced a lot of criticism lately, but after games like today, you can’t complain about Kentucky’s guard play. Cuonzo Martin said that Andrew’s adjustment of getting in the lane and making plays “got [Kentucky] over the hump” this afternoon.  As Aaron Harrison tweeted after the game, “That’s the Andrew I know.”  Calipari agreed, telling fans on the postgame radio show “That’s our point guard.”  Dakari called this Andrew’s breakout game.

Aaron also played well, scoring 14 points and chipping in two threes of his own (even if he was the one to break UK’s perfect mark from the free throw line, something he joked his brother will never let him live down.).  Together, the Harrison twins combined for 40 points, and shot a stellar 16-17 from the free throw line.  If you’re keeping track, Andrew is the fourth UK player to score 25 points or more this year.  Before the season, Cal predicted seven UK players would score 25 or more in a single game.  Over halfway there…

Photo © Mark Zerof

Photo © Mark Zerof

The slow starts are getting really old

For the umpteenth game in a row, Kentucky stumbled out of the gate, letting Tennessee storm to an 11-5 lead.  Doug Gottlieb tried to blame UK’s slow start on the early tip time, asking his colleagues during halftime “Who hasn’t woken up sloppy on a Saturday morning?”, but Kentucky fans know better.  The Cats haven’t really come out on fire for any game this season, and although Cal seems hesitant to shake up the starting lineup, it may be time.

UK only missed one free throw

To say the Cats have struggled from the free throw line is an understatement.  Kentucky’s free throw shooting woes were most glaring in the loss at Arkansas, where they were 26-40 from the line.  What a difference four days makes.  Kentucky was 23-24 from the line this afternoon for a whopping 95.8%.  You can thank the Harrison Twins, Julius Randle, and Alex Poythress for that mark.  They were the only players to go to the line today for the Cats.

After the game, Calipari pulled a fast one on reporters, telling them he had his players practice shooting free throws in a pool, which led to their improved performance.  Cal makes jokes! (Because he’s Italian.)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Dakari had quality minutes

Jarnell Stokes and his size 20 shoes owned Kentucky in the paint in the first half.  With Willie Cauley-Stein still in bed, Cal turned to Dakari Johnson in the second half.  Dakari answered, scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds.  Dakari held Jarnell Stokes to two points while he was in, whereas Stokes went for 18 when guarded by Willie. “Willie didn’t play as well as he’d been playing and we went with Dakari, and he was terrific,” Cal said.  Dakari said that he was just waiting for his turn:

“Yeah it is tough, but my mom told me to listen to the coaches and get better. I have been trying to do everything exactly as I am supposed to do it.  I am happy for my teammates when they were playing well. I just waited my turn. It starts in practice and has carried over to the games.”

Willie was a non-factor

For the second game in a row, Willie Cauley-Stein was a non-factor.  Willie was 0-5 with three rebounds in 19 minutes.  Willie’s cold streak had fans so concerned during the game that many live bloggers called for Willie to dye his hair blond again.  The only good thing about Willie’s bad game was that the Cats were able to win without him, thanks to a strong showing from Dakari Johnson.  Cal said after the game that Willie is “owning his performance” and not making excuses for his poor play, so there’s that.

Random celebrity sighting of the day

Photo @DansleyAnsley

Photo @DansleyAnsley

NFL great Tony Dorsett was in the stands today, and posed for this picture with UK cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley.

It’s time for the players to “declutter” their lives

After the game, Cal went on a lengthy rant about his team needing to “eliminate the clutter” from their lives, and stop making excuses for poor play and listening to people around them who say they’re not getting enough playing time:

“See, there’s a difference, and what we try to teach our players here, sometimes we do it nicely, other times we don’t do it nicely, but they have to own their performance.  I’m talking clutter.  The clutter around them enables them.  In other words, it wasn’t your fault; he likes the other guy more; if you had as many shots as so and so.  You can’t â€‘‑ look, own your performance.  Own it.  You did it, you own it.  Own your practice performance.  Don’t make an excuse.  Don’t alibi.  Own it, and then change it if you want to change it. “

Cal brought up clutter again later on after he was asked if Dakari’s taking longer to develop than other players:

“Big players develop later, but again, all these guys, they’ve got to eliminate the clutter.  You’ve got to quit â€‘‑ own your performance, come in, practice and work.  And again, this is not a disrespectful thing, but you know how you get letters, and if there’s an addressed envelope, like I will never â€‘‑ my secretary doesn’t give me any unaddressed letters.  They’re torn up, so I don’t even see them.”

Fail fast. Run blind. Eliminate the clutter.

Mark Stoops was today's Y and seems pretty happy about it. (Photo @mattstonephotog)

Mark Stoops was today’s Y and seems pretty happy about it. (Photo @mattstonephotog)

A good rebounding team was outrebounded

Kentucky’s calling card this season has been their rebounding.  Not so much today.  The Cats were outrebounded by the Vols 39-24 this afternoon.  A stat to make you grimace?  In the first half, Jarnell Stokes had more rebounds than the entire Kentucky team.  Cal said his guards didn’t rebound well, and in the second half, the Cats narrowed the margin on the boards, only grabbing two fewer rebounds than the Vols, as opposed to 13 fewer in the first half.

All in all, a good win for the Cats, who rallied to beat a very physical Tennessee team.  Free throw shooting and guard play were two of the biggest questions about this team coming in, and after a near-perfect performance from the line and a career day from Andrew Harrison, you can’t complain about that.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

44 Comments for Eight notes from Kentucky’s 74-66 win over the Vols



  1. NostraDanis
    4:22 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    No Cramps!!!!



  2. Third Eye Open
    4:24 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    It’s two fewer, not two less.
    Plus, I will ease up on Andrew when he starts rebounding and playing defense. The offense is only half the job (which he did very, very handsomely today.)



    • theSkinny81
      6:51 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      I’ll go even further and say that I’ll be happy when he averages a 7:0 assist/turnover ratio, shoots 92% from the line, and serves everyone Gatorade during timeouts.



    • bigblue091812
      7:33 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      You have to be LOSERVILLE TROLL, I refuse to think a UK fan can be this stupid.



    • theSkinny81
      8:44 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      *sarcasm*

  3. What was Dorsett doing there? Are he and Ansley friends or is there some other connection to UK or UT?



  4. BoNoseDefense
    4:32 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Kentucky did pretty well defending the 3 point shot today. UT normally hits about 46%. In order to do that you have to give up some rebounding so I’m OK with that. Several times when UT got the offensive rebound they had to kick it out and reset there offense and I’m OK with that. A good game by the cats. Even with WCS MIA.
    Go cats !!



  5. Hendo Blue
    4:35 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Down goes IU. Down goes IU. Down goes IU. Cats win. What a wonderful winter day.



  6. Bizzaro World
    4:38 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Matt shrugged off that caller about the 2010 team’s bench but he was 100% correct- 2010 team starters were Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Miller & Patterson- off the bench they had Darnell Dodson, Daniel Orton, Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson & Josh Harrellson (neither of which really got to see the court.). If you give me the choice between Orton, Dodson, Ramon & Poythress, Johnson, Hawkins, it’s a no-brainer! Thats without even factoring in Polson & Willis who have given solid minutes so far this year. This teams ultimate strength is its bench. its been interesting watching Cal adapt to actually having such a deep bench- of all the faux-negatives that have been thrown his way this season, I actually believe this is one of the things he is guilty of being unreliable in.



  7. Troy
    4:38 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    who do you think he is referring to about clutter????



  8. Bizzaro World
    4:44 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Sorry- I left out Liggins coming in off the bench in 2010, but the point remains the same.



  9. 2mites
    5:05 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Georgia beat Arkansas today , gee does that hurt the Cats or what. That loss to an NIT bound Arkansas team is a very bad loss.



    • PhilUK18
      5:15 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      God, shut up you miserable tool. UK won today and you’re still finding a way to be negative. Everyone knows Arkansas is way worse on the road, and by the end of the season most teams around UK are going to have a loss to a lesser conference opponent like that anyway.



    • PhilUK18
      5:16 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      You sound like Not Jerry Tipton.



    • David Adam
      6:18 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      One of the best betting keys for over 70 years is if an underdog beats UK they lose to the point spread at a very high % their next game! And often lose the game straight up like Ark. They just played and won their Super Bowl. They are as highly ranked in the computers as they will be all year. They step out on the court and everything is different. Huge letdown!



  10. Tncat
    5:11 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Things really starting to add up after Cal’s clutter comments. You can be the most talented team in the country but if you have “outside influences and chemistry/coachabilty issues” you will always underachieve. There have been something with this team that has been hard to put a finger on and I really hope this is not it. Go cats!!!!



  11. cats42301
    5:17 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Can we stop with the low down dirty snitches etc. That video of the Alabama fan saying how much he hates Tennessee is at least 8-10 years old, why are we treating it like its new?



  12. free throw guru
    5:32 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    cal gave me a call. i showed those boys how to do it. next is to work on ryan. give me a call matt



  13. eastkycatfan
    5:35 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    What am I missing when Cal talks about unaddressed letters that he never sees that are torn up. My little orphan annie decoder pen is not working. What the heck is he talking about in all those broken sentences?? Anybody? Anybody?



  14. bigblue091812
    5:43 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Great win for the CATS today, I love how people call it corrupt arena, watching Syracues-Pitt, don’t see how Pitt is even is the game. Worse than that, had to stop watching KU-OSU, there’s is phog in allen field house, it’s 3 officials that must have graduated from KU. The worst home cooking I’ve ever seen.



  15. Greer
    5:43 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Cal doesn’t read fan mail unless it has a return address on it. If you won’t own your statements backed by your name and address, he won’t even read it. He’s asking his team to own their good play and own their crappy mistakes.



  16. Shattered Illusions
    5:46 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    A team that beats Tennessee by single digits at home won’t make it past the Sweet 16 in March.



    • Unbelievable Delusions
      7:27 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      A team that loses at home to Memphis won’t make it past the first round in March.



  17. UK Freshmen
    5:49 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    It wasn’t a ‘good’ win. It was a fortunate win that they would only win at Rupp. Anyplace else would result in a loss. A big loss. This won’t cut it in the tourney.



    • [email protected]
      6:40 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Tool^^^^



    • L1C5
      7:18 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      You ready to watch your Tards lose tonight? I am.



    • Dude
      7:24 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      UK Freshman, you try WAY too hard, man.



  18. Bubba Earl
    6:01 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Free throws, free throws, free throws, they had a great percentage with that stat and therefore the win! WCS is a non-factor, I would not waste my time if I were a GM of an NBA team, absolute no-show after all of that talk this week about last year’s humiliating loss and payback. Ha



  19. Syrin
    6:02 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Julius Randle should NEVER, and I mean NEVER, be allowed to inbounds the ball again. That quick inbounds before I look crap literally was the difference in our losses to both Mischigan State and Arkansas and led to another turnover today. Bring in a lady with a walker out of the stands before allowing him to inbounds the ball again. INEXCUSABLE.



    • Wha, wha, whaaaaaaaa
      6:53 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Debbie Downer is back. 🙁



    • True statement
      7:54 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Everytime I read one of Syrin’s comments I can’t help but think of sarin gas. Syrin has the same toxic effect on the comments section.



    • You Go Girl!!
      8:03 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      ….should NEVER, and I mean NEVER

      Ooooh! So sassy! You tell ’em, girlfriend!



    • Syrin
      1:44 pm January 19, 2014 Permalink

      So none of you f’tards can actually counter the point so you attack me. Meanwhile we would have had only TWO losses, s’heads, if he didn’t commit those stupid turn overs. I guess you like having games go into the loss column that could be prevented EASILY. Plus, what’s the rush on the inbounds? This team gets virtually no fast break points. I francine f’tard likes living in fantasy land where these plays won’t happen in March and cost us a potential title.

      Idiots. I mean EPIC level idiots. I can only assume you CHEERED when Arkansas got THREE points off that stupid play. How many did we lose by? Oh yeah. You must be closet Arkansas fans. Tome to come of the closet idiots.



    • Syrin
      1:45 pm January 19, 2014 Permalink

      True Statement, every time I read one of your posts I think of diarrhea, because it’s like the shiote that comes out of your mouth. How thick are the calluses on your knuckles from dragging them around all day long?



  20. Blue Jesus
    6:17 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    If we can combine our typical rebounding with todays guard play and free throw shooting, there will be some ugly games this season. It’s bound to happen, isn’t it?



  21. Hendo Blue
    6:48 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Hey #16….we’ll see how your team does tonight at UCONN. Really looking forward to that one.



  22. Note # 9
    9:32 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    # 9- Randle lead the team in turnovers again (4). And for the 5th time this season committed a turnover in bounding the ball after a made basket by the other team. Sure glad he is on our team but it is January- past time to quit those unforced turnovers. Of course Cal would never say anything to him. Double standard for Randle.



    • 502 CARD FAN IN YO FACE!
      9:40 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

      BravoBigBlue, is that you?



  23. 502 CARD FAN IN YO FACE!
    9:39 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    BravoBigBlue, is that you?



  24. Rixter
    10:29 pm January 18, 2014 Permalink

    If the Cats were out-rebounded by 2 in the second half, how do you figure they ‘narrowed the margin’? The margin GREW by 2.



  25. Mark Liptak
    3:25 am January 19, 2014 Permalink

    Nice win (despite the slow start for the umpteenth time). And GREAT free throw shooting for once (now can they do that two games in a row?????)