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Briscoe’s strong second half pulls Kentucky past Georgia

Photos by UK Athletics

Photos by UK Athletics

Photos by UK Athletics

A month ago, Kentucky would have lost a game like this. Georgia looked like a totally different team than the one that lost to Kentucky by 34 points last month. In the first half, Georgia made 61% of their shots to Kentucky’s 45%. At halftime, they led Kentucky 49-44, already eclipsing their point total from February’s blowout in Rupp.

Surely they couldn’t keep that up, right? Wrong. Georgia kept making shots in the second half, and it wasn’t until the 8:16 mark in the second half that Kentucky finally took the lead off an Isaiah Briscoe layup. The fact that it was Briscoe that put the Cats ahead speaks volumes of his performance. Twelve points and seven rebounds aren’t exactly MVP numbers, but Briscoe’s defense in the second half was crucial. Derek Willis capitalized on Briscoe’s game-turning layup with a big block, and from there, Kentucky slowly pulled away, winning by a final score of 93-80.

At halftime, Briscoe definitely wasn’t MVP material. Calipari ripped into the freshman guard early on for his play, and after the game, the two joked about a “very private conversation” at halftime.

“As a coach, he demands the best out of you. And that’s all he did. I appreciate him for pushing me,” Briscoe said.

“Did you appreciate me at halftime?” Cal asked.

“Now that the game is over, yes. But at the moment, no,” Briscoe joked.

The rest of the backcourt wasn’t bad either

…and that’s the understatement of the century. Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis combined for 51 points, the first time in school history that two UK players have each scored 25 or more points in an SEC Tournament. For Murray, it was the 12th straight game he’s scored 20+ points, and in the first half, he passed the UK freshman single-season scoring record. After the game, he felt so good, he photobombed Calipari:

I’m totally fine with this becoming a thing again, by the way.

Derek Willis is back

Willis had a big game vs. Georgia in February, and today, he made the most of the matchup once again. Willis finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks, helping fill in for an AWOL Skal Labissiere. His two threes rivaled Tyler Ulis’ for the biggest of the game.

How about Alex Poythress down the stretch?

Kentucky’s frontcourt was atrocious during the first half, but when the Cats needed points, Alex Poythress stepped up, scoring two huge baskets to get Kentucky closer to the lead. He was hampered by foul trouble during most of the second half, but finished with ten points. Not quite yesterday’s monster performance, but valuable contributions all the same.


Charles Matthews didn’t score, but made an impact

Matthews played well vs. Georgia last month and, even though he didn’t score, infused the team with energy and hustle. Matthews’ three rebounds were crucial, but it was his defense that earned him a bear hug from Calipari, who was so happy he broke

“I was happy for Charles,” Cal said. “He’s been struggling, and I’m trying to get him to understand the best version of him is an unbelievable defender, sprint the court, slash for baskets, offensive rebound, rebound defensively and fly. That’s the best version of him.”

There’s a lot to like about this win

The first half may have given me a few gray hairs, but there are a lot of promising things about this afternoon’s win. With the bigs MIA and Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis having to carry the load throughout the first half, this game felt like all of Kentucky’s losses this season; however, Briscoe, Willis, and Poythress stepped up to help right the ship and hold off a red-hot Georgia team.

“That was a great test,” Calipari said. “That was a war. We got down, and we didn’t stop. We kept playing. And they didn’t go away. We had to make big plays and big rebounds down the stretch to even think about beating them.”

Next up: Texas A&M

The Aggies had a cakewalk vs. LSU today, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the chance for some revenge. Bring it on.

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.

17 Comments for Briscoe’s strong second half pulls Kentucky past Georgia

  1. Wildcat Sheli
    7:19 pm March 12, 2016 Permalink

    Cal kinda looks like he’s shooting a bow in that pic!

  2. runningunnin.454
    10:45 pm March 12, 2016 Permalink

    Where is everybody? As usual, nobody here after a win…takes a loss to bring out the night crawlers.
    Where are the whiners that are always bashing my man Briscoe?
    ….NOTHING to say?
    It’s called “getting in the paint”!

    • RealCatsFan
      7:21 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

      Yep, know what you mean. No food for the trolls. It’s like talk radio, some people are only happy when they have something to bitch about.

    • That may be true, but don’t forget that we lost an hour last night. Also, we had to take our kid to a function, and we go to church. 😉

  3. runningunnin.454
    10:49 pm March 12, 2016 Permalink

    Oh come on! What did I say this time?

  4. runningunnin.454
    10:53 pm March 12, 2016 Permalink

    Anybody out there? Really need to get this moderation thing fixed. I see what slides through.

  5. runningunnin.454
    10:56 pm March 12, 2016 Permalink

    I guess I’ll just talk to myself. Only way to have an intelligent conversation, anyway!

  6. Bobbum Man
    1:08 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    Cool story bro

  7. ukbradstith
    3:11 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    Moderation is random. Pops up instantly on about 1 out of 10 of my post.

    • rolandrmoore1965
      8:53 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

      I get moderated on most of my posts. I have never understood the rules. I never use foul language and mostly just say “Go Cats.”

  8. mrsaturdaypants
    3:28 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    HEY KSR!

    You will love this picture. Trust me. Go to the 4:46 mark of the second half of the Georgia game. There are these really…I don’t know, kind of geeky and awkward yet somehow also a little douchy seeming twins wearing UK shirts. The camera captures them slowly losing it over a phantom foul call on Poythress. Their look is GLORIOUS. You would make it a KSR meme.

    Peace out.

  9. Loother
    3:54 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    A really good game for Briscoe and the Cats! We’ll need another strong effort tomorrow…

  10. RealCatsFan
    7:18 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    I was at my daughter’s volleyball tournament, so did not get to watch the game. Got home at 11 pm and tried to make it through the replay, but too tired. Going to watch the 2nd half before the championship game today as an appetizer. Hopefully the Cats will be motivated and ready to exact some revenge on A&M on a “neutral” court. Hopefully no extra help for them from the refs too.

  11. Stopover
    10:53 am March 13, 2016 Permalink

    The SEC is the worst basketball conference in the country. Every year we are fooled thinking we’re playing strong and then we get beat in the NCAA tournament. This year is no different.

    • UK Big Board Update
      12:50 pm March 13, 2016 Permalink

      The delusion is strong with this guy.

      Whats this “we” shit? You play in the ACC.

      LMAO Do you still think that we all don’t know you’re a UL troll by now? C’mon, man.

      Good luck in the tournament in 2020. 😉

    • UK Big Board Update
      1:05 pm March 13, 2016 Permalink

      Here we go:


      Stopover January 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply
      Like It (0)
      It’s not like the UK job is the best for him going forward. Why?

      1. First and foremost its suffocating after a few years.
      2. It’s small-time and boring. Eventually.
      3. At his age, there are limited family considerations keeping him in Lexington.
      4. He has realized his coaching skills are not enough to win even with the best players. Lightning struck with AD, but even he knows you can’t rely on lightning again.
      5. He wants to stay one step ahead of the NCAA ala Pete Carroll.


      Stopover December 13, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink | Reply
      Like It (0)
      Lets get real. We just played an average team at best, at home.


      Stopover December 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Yea,, Cal really coached up the Harrison twins. And Poythress. I could go on, but its not given that Cal can get Skal there. Ever.


      “Oh look! Another scandal at UofL!”
      Stopover December 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Let’s just hope others dont jump on our administration scandals. Cheap shot here and way to premature.

    • UK Big Board Update
      2:46 pm March 13, 2016 Permalink

      Stopover February 4, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink
      Like It (0)
      Whaaaaaat? Louisville is favored over us? My…how the mighty has fallen.