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Kentucky struggled to grab rebounds against LSU – What happened?

John Calipari and his players agree: Tuesday night’s game against LSU should not have come down to the final play. The brutal tip-in (goal-tending or not) pushed the Tigers a mere two points ahead of the Cats just as time expired, but Kentucky’s entire second half was less than ideal. And while the Cats’ defense struggled to get a stop and the shooting was far from sharp, the Cats’ second-half rebounding may have been one of the biggest issues.

“We just have to rebound in the second half,” PJ Washington said after the game. “That was big for us, and we didn’t get the job done. They out-rebounded us and unfortunately won the game.”

The difference is staggering. In the first half, Kentucky brought in 23 rebounds (6 offensive; 17 defensive) while LSU had 14 rebounds (3 offensive; 11 defensive), meaning the Cats won the battle of the boards by nine.

But in the second half, it was a different story. Kentucky finished the game with 39 rebounds, while LSU had 32. So, yes, Kentucky still had a higher total. But if you look only at the second half, LSU won 18-16. The Cats were right at their season average for boards, but the real issue was allowing the Tigers so many second-chance points.

“They’re a really good team and they played well, but we just allowed them to get offensive rebounds, and that was the biggest thing coming into the game – not letting them get offensive rebounds,” Reid Travis said. “The last five minutes, that’s all they were doing. We feel like it’s on us.”

Coach Calipari was quick to notice the changing momentum after halftime.

“We beat them in the first half, and then, they beat us back in the second half the same way. So we kind of did it to each other,” Cal said after the game. “There were some rebounds late that we had to get and we just weren’t able to get them. A guy like Nick [Richards], with his size, you would hope that’s what he could do.”

Unfortunately for Kentucky, he didn’t. Richards finished with zero rebounds, and no Wildcat hit double-digits boards. Washington and Travis led the team with nine rebounds each.

“I think a lot of guys are just frustrated with the way that we played in the second half and the way we didn’t rebound and gave up point,” Travis said.

So what went wrong?

That’s effort on us,” Immanuel Quickley said. “Second half, we’ve got to be better. Down the stretch, we’ve got to be better. Just little things: hustle plays, fighting for loose balls, 50/50s… We just have to be better all around.”

They’ll have to be better against the Volunteers this Saturday. Entering the top-5 matchup, Kentucky is averaging 39 rebounds per game; Tennessee’s average is currently sitting at 38. Grant Williams runs the boards for Tennessee, averaging 7.3 per game; PJ Washington leads Kentucky with an average of 8.1 per game.

The GameDay matchup will be a physical one, and rebounding could make a huge difference by the end of the game. Let’s just hope the Cats will be in a different position by the time Saturday’s final buzzer sounds.


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

9 Comments for Kentucky struggled to grab rebounds against LSU – What happened?

  1. Bigblue7982
    10:10 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

    They out hustled us plain and simple, Cats need to be more physical against UT.

  2. BluemanGreen
    10:28 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

    Nick played 3 mins. You cant throw him under the bus for anything. He did fine while he was in. Was engaged on both ends in his one small stretch of time.

    • a21CATSfan
      11:07 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

      I was wondering where the hell he was. I know he plays limited minutes anyways, but LSU is the best matchup for him. He shouldn’t get less minutes in that game. Their length really affected Travis. He didn’t even know what plays they were running. CATS

  3. Bigblue7982
    10:29 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

    Oh I just noticed a hook and hold that the NCAA always stops the game and looks at but they didn’t for Kentucky?

  4. Bluebloodtoo
    10:44 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

    You don’t get a rebound when the ball goes through the hoop. You gotta play defense to create the rebound.

  5. ukbradstith
    11:05 pm February 13, 2019 Permalink

    They outrebounded us by a staggering 2 rebounds in the second half? Wow call Ripleys. Other than PG they are bigger and more athletic at every position. We are really small this year, it’s a testament to how hard we battle that we beat these teams on the boards.

  6. CahillsCrossingNT
    6:19 am February 14, 2019 Permalink

    Had Naz Reid not missed 19 minutes of the game because of foul trouble, the rebounding margin for the game would be in LSU’s favor in my opinion. I think LSU is the superior team. I’m sorry but there is no evidence UK is better.

    • KYJelly
      9:58 am February 14, 2019 Permalink

      LSU is a lot better than people thought, but to say they are so much better as to make the statement “no evidence UK is better” is an asinine statement. They won by 2 and could easily have lost by 2. They are a bad matchup for us, but not definitively better

  7. KYJelly
    9:56 am February 14, 2019 Permalink

    We match up better with Tennessee. Our issues are quick guards and long forwards/centers, both of which LSU has and Tennessee doesn’t. I actually think we win this one at Rupp by 3-4 bigguns