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Kentucky won by a lot and the three-pointer streak is still alive

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Eastern Kentucky made the short drive from Richmond on Sunday for a shot at the nation’s No. 1 team in Rupp Arena. It did not go well, as expected. The Cats cruised to an 82-49 victory powered by great defense and an aggressive Karl Towns gettin’ buckets.

The highlight of the night: begging for a three.

Let’s talk about it.

 

Aaron Harrison hit the biggest shot of his career.

With two minutes and 57 seconds left in the game and Big Blue Nation on pins and needles, wanting a three-pointer, Aaron Harrison pulled up from his go-to spot and drained the long ball. The shot kept Kentucky’s streak of games with a three-pointer alive at 909 consecutive games, the second-longest of its kind in the country.

The Cats were 0-for-10 from beyond the arc prior to Aaron’s clutch shot and many fans, myself included, believed the run was coming to an end. Fans were yelling for the players to shoot the deep ball on every trip down the court and the energy in the building was that of a tight game in its closing moments, not a blowout.

Only at Kentucky would fans sweat out a 33-point win until the very end.

Karl Towns took MVP honors.

Towns was 8-of-9 from the field for a career-high 19 points with a pair of assists, four blocks and one rebound shy of making it a double-double. He added his first career three-pointer late in the game (once the pressure of the streak was relieved) to cap off his big night.

“I felt like Aaron against Wisconsin and Louisville,” Towns told Mike Pratt, looking back on his made three.

While Towns was efficient offensively and led all UK scorers, UK assistant coach John Robic said it was Karl’s best game defensively. Robic believes Towns was more vocal than he’s ever been on the defensive end and played aggressive on both ends of the floor.

And don’t think about stripping him:

@KentuckyMBB

That’s a seven-footer making a smaller defender look foolish.

Robic wants to see more from the offense.

“We’ll get better over time offensively,” Robic said in the postgame press conference. He likes where the Cats are defensively through nine game but sees plenty of room for improvement on offense.

Defensively, Robic said some of the numbers they’re producing are “kind of silly.” “It’s mind-boggling.”

The players are doing that brother-keeping thing.

We’re watching a bunch of guys who genuinely like each other on and off the court. We’ve been talking about it since interacting with them in the Bahamas and Robic shared another good example of how unselfish they are tonight. He said Coach Cal looked at Willie when it was Willie’s time to check in and Willie told him to leave Marcus Lee in the game because he was playing well. So Cal let Marcus run with the blue platoon while Willie watched on with excitement from the bench. Robic compared it to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sitting for Darius Miller in 2012; that year ended pretty well if I remember correctly.

Lee said, “That totally does put trust and comfort in your other players, knowing that I would be able to do it for him, and he is also capable of doing the same thing for me. It kind of shows how much we care about each other and we are just not there for ourselves.”

UK held Eastern to under 20 points in the first half because that’s what UK does.

EKU’s 14 first half points marked the eighth time Kentucky held an opponent to under 20 points in a half this season. The Cats forced the Colonels into 26 percent shooting in the game, and other than seven straight points to start the second half, EKU was getting nothing, all night.

UK’s last five opponents shot under 30 percent against the Cats’ defense. No team has shot over 40 percent this season.

Andrew Harrison and Dominique Hawkins tallied six assists apiece.

With Tyler Ulis sidelined with an illness, Dominique Hawkins saw extra playing time as the point man of the white platoon and he made the most of the opportunity, dishing out a career-high six assists in the game. Starting point guard Andrew Harrison added another six assists to the box score, including five in the first 12 minutes of the game.

Devin Booker’s gone cold.

Booker missed all six of his three-point field goal tries, all pretty good looks. He was 1-for-8 from the field in the game and made three inexcusable turnovers. Needless to say, it wasn’t Booker’s night. He’ll be fine, though.

Trey Lyles had his first double-double.

Towns is the game’s MVP but Trey Lyles’ performance did not go unnoticed. The freshman recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. He has been putting in a lot of extra time in the gym, working on his baseline jumpers and midrange game, and tonight he said he focused on helping his team on the glass. It worked.

EKU’s Eric Stutz did not play, but he did wear this festive headband.

Richmond Register

I’ll leave you with that.

Bring on Columbia.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

18 Comments for Kentucky won by a lot and the three-pointer streak is still alive



  1. jrdh13
    11:17 pm December 7, 2014 Permalink

    Devin Booker definitely played like a freshman tonight but that’s what happens when you have players back. Let the freshman sit back and learn.
    Another point is I believe we will have several games where we have a player sick or holding him out for precaution just simply for rest.



    • ukbradstith
      3:26 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah, I think any minor injury or sickness will keep you out of a game, a good way to get some others more pt.



  2. Casper
    11:31 pm December 7, 2014 Permalink

    minor point: that horn at Rupp is too loud…
    it might be loud enough to cause hearing damage



    • 25OR624
      10:01 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks. UK Media guide said he graduated in 2010; joined Army. Planned to major in Kinesiology. Could have been a misprint as it sounds like he chaged it to Kleptomaniology. His Defense Team may direct blame on PTSD.



  3. wu slang
    1:03 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    Not sure this has been posted anywhere else here but Demarcus Cousins has freaking viral meningitis. Get well Boogie.



    • ukbradstith
      3:24 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Yeah they have already posted about it a few times. Out another week it looks like.



  4. UKBlue1
    2:28 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    Our inability to hit 3’s & outside shots consistently is going to be what gets this team beat just like it did the John Wall & Boggie team. Even thought we are tall & have a long bench; if outside shots won’t fall, teams are going to throw all kinds of crazy zone defenses against this squad. The biggest stopper of Cal offense is a zone defense. These kids need to seriously be in the gym just jacking up shots over & over again. As great as this team is & with it’s unknown potential; our outside shooting is pathetic.



    • cats paw
      6:28 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Totally agree! The defense will keep us in any game but if a top 10 team is hitting 3’s against us it could spell disaster. Be nice to have Wiltjer back on this team for our own fire power.



    • KSR Spy
      8:22 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      You two are crazy. We have beaten some REALLY good teams without making 3’s.

      Our defense is great early, which is what we need.

      Our offense will come along during the year. I am guessing after Christmas Break when they get a lot of practice time, you will see the offense jump about 10%.

      We have some VERY GOOD shooters on the team, but they just are going through a rut. Remember Aaron last year pre-tournament compared to tournament shooting? Plus, if we really HAVE TO hit a 3, Towns is a great outside shooter as well, but we don’t NEED to hit 3’s because we do such a great job penetrating into the zone. If anything we need to focus on finishing through contact on those bunnies. If we just hit a few of the bunnies we missed (missed a lot), then we beat Texas by 20+.



    • KSR Spy
      8:25 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      In fact, one thing I don’t see anyone talking about, and they should be…is Kentucky’s ability to hit those 12-15ft jump shots. Aaron is killing it from there, Darkari can hit it, Towns can hit it, WCS can hit it, Trey Lyles has been flawless curling from the wing and hitting the jumper on the corner of the FT Line.

      THOSE are the shots that win you games against the zone, not 3 pointers. Get a big to the FT Line. If they sag off of him…easy jump shot. If they come to him…easy dish for a dunk/layup.



  5. ukbradstith
    3:27 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    And I thought jake Owen cut his hair?



  6. Ken Grizzle
    8:41 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    I pity the foe when Booker breaks his cold shooting streak…….and He will!



  7. ClutchCargo
    9:01 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    Stutz looks like he is thinking about transferring to Gonzaga.



  8. Agent_M
    10:00 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

    I’d like to have more info on this consecutive game streak with a 3 … anyone have a link to use as a reference? Is it the 2nd best streak of its kind currently … or all-time? Which team are we trailing, & when did it originate? It’s not an easy stat to track down.



    • ClutchCargo
      11:02 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Not sure, but I think Vandy was/has been leading for the longest time



    • ClutchCargo
      11:11 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      Actually, it’s readily available at ncaa.org, UNLV. See top right of page 5: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_basketball_RB/2014/D1.pdf



    • steve1160
      11:41 am December 8, 2014 Permalink

      @ClutchCargo – That link gives confirms that UNLV currently holds the record. Any idea where to find a listing of the Top 5 programs for that record. Wondering how far back we are and who else is in front of us or even close to us.

      @Agent_M – Your right this is a really tough stat to track down.