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KSR’s Best and Worst of the Win over Eastern Kentucky

It was a fun night at Rupp Arena as Kentucky cruised to a 91-49 win over Eastern Kentucky. Here are the best and worst moments, according to the KSR staff.

Best: The Nick Richards Fan Club is full of new applicants

You won’t find anyone saying a bad word about Nick Richards after his 21-point, 10-rebound double-double, with a plus-35, tonight. It took two years, but Richards finally looks comfortable on the basketball court and not overthinking things; and when that happens, his size and athleticism are too much for just about anyone.

He caught and finished lobs, he ran the floor, he blocked shots (four times), he altered more shots, he was efficient from the field, that hook shot was gorgeous, and dammit he just looked so good.

If Richards can put up similar numbers on a consistent basis, I’ll see y’all at the Final Four.

— Drew Franklin

Worst: Three-point and free-throw shooting

Three-point shooting was an issue that popped up in the exhibition against Kentucky State and again in the win over Michigan State (combined to shoot 12-40 in those two games from long range) and it reared its ugly head in Friday night’s blowout win.

Kentucky shot just 2-14 from deep and coupled that with 11 missed free-throws against EKU.

Obviously, the strength for this Wildcats squad is the defense and backcourt trio, but a lack of outside shooting will eventually catch up to them. Johnny Juzang and Tyrese Maxey both shot 0-2 from deep while Ashton Hagans and Nate Sestina went 2-6, making the only shots from deep.

The poor free-throw shooting was more so due to Brooks’ five misses, considering Quickley and Maxey combined for a perfect 12-12. Sestina also shot 5-7 from the charity stripe. But the open misses from three aren’t going to cut it once SEC play starts.

I’m not even going to reference that Classic Cal euphemism…

— Zack Geoghegan

Best: Keion Brooks’ breakout game

The talk of the night will be “Junior” Nick Richards and his spectacular double-double, but tucked underneath that hype is Keion Brooks breakout performance.

Fueled by 11 points and eight rebounds, Brooks showed a ton of the potential that has made him such a tantalizing player ever since he stepped on campus. He was soaring in for dunks, knocking down some mid-range jumpers, and just being an overall freak athlete.

Brooks did miss five of his six free-throw attempts (more on that in a second) and didn’t attempt a three, but he was playing within himself and his game. There was one putback dunk where he literally knocked himself to the ground with the amount of force he unleashed.

I think it’s still going to be a while before we figure out just exactly how good Brooks is, but we all got an optimistic glimpse against an outmatched EKU team. His jump shot might be a bit shakey, but if he’s attacking the glass and pounding down dunks, he’ll fit in perfectly with what the team needs from him.

— Zack Geoghegan

WORST (according to John Calipari): The smell at Rupp Arena

I wasn’t at Rupp tonight, but according to John Calipari, it smelled. Calipari stopped his postgame press conference to complain about the sounds and smells at Rupp.

“Who’s doing that? Squeaking?”

The printer printing out stats, John.

“Do you know what smelled in this place today? Did you guys — It smelled in the locker room. It smelled in everything. It was in our locker room. How did it get in there? It’s self-contained. You got squirrels up in there, something. I don’t know what it is.”

Smeller’s the feller, John.

— Tyler Thompson

BEST: Defense was ridiculous… again

For the first seven minutes and three seconds of the game, Kentucky didn’t allow a single point. At halftime, the Wildcats led by 21, and John Calipari was still somehow furious going into the locker room. They ended winning the game 91-49, an absurd 42-point deficit.

Are you kidding me?

After holding top-ranked Michigan State to just 62 points on 39% shooting and 19% from three, the worry of a potential letdown performance against EKU was there.

Instead, Kentucky held the Colonels to just 49 points on 25% shooting and 24.2% from three. Individually, the Wildcats forced 21 turnovers, managed eight steals, and blocked six shots. Nick Richards had four blocks on his own, while Ashton Hagans finished with three steals.

John Calipari said this week that this team is the most advanced defensively at this stage since he’s been at Kentucky.

Needless to say, they’re proving that.

— Jack Pilgrim

Best: UK quarterback recruit Joey Gatewood attended the game

The Auburn transfer, a former top-50 recruit, sat a couple rows off the court with Vince Marrow and Terry Wilson, and really seemed to be enjoying the game and Big Blue Nation.

Wilson shared this photo after the game:

This is a huge story to watch on the football side of things. Gatewood is a major dual-threat talent with real interest in making UK his next home.

— Drew Franklin

WORST: Quite the recruiting mix-up…

As the game got rolling, I got a few texts and direct messages asking if a surprise five-star basketball recruit had made it onto campus for a visit. That prospect in question? 2020 top-ten center Makur Maker.

Usually when a big-name prospect visits, word leaks well before the weekend from individuals close to the program, family members, high school coaches, and AAU coaches. A guy like Maker would’ve certainly fit in this category.

After seeing a few news outlets and recruiting accounts tweet out that Maker was on an unofficial visit to Kentucky, along with the fact that at least two recruits were noticeably behind the UK bench, I walked down to the Rupp Arena floor to take a closer look.

After a brief investigation, neither of the individuals in question were Maker. Instead, it was 2022 7-foot-3 center Bol Kuir and 2022 6-foot-10 forward Gabriel Beny.

Extremely promising prospects for the future, but not top-ten senior Makur Maker.

Missed it by that much.

— Jack Pilgrim

BEST: The Tom Hart and Andy Kennedy Show

I was already a fan of the SEC Network announcing duo of Tom Hart and Andy Kennedy, but after tonight, I’m ready to petition for them to call all of Kentucky’s games. Tom Hart has long been a KSR favorite for dropping references to the show in his broadcasts, which mostly bewilders his sidekicks, but tonight, Andy Kennedy got in on the fun. The former Ole Miss coach dropped a “Free Matt Jones” at the start of the second half, drawing a chuckle from Hart:

Later in the second half, Kennedy did it again, prompting Hart to quip, “I love that you don’t even know what that means but you’re willing to participate.” Same.

The KSR references weren’t the only great thing about Hart and Kennedy tonight. With a blowout underway, Kennedy sang Men at Work’s “Down Under” in honor of EKU’s Lachlan Anderson, an Australia native; snitched on Sean Farnham for not returning his rental car to the Bluegrass Airport; lamented about his golf game; and pined for a postgame glass of Maker’s Mark. The SEC Network non-conference games are usually a snooze-fest, but tonight, it was Tom and Andy’s comedy hour, and I’m all the way here for it.

— Tyler Thompson

Worst: I bet the Over (148 total points) and lost because, you know, UK’s defense is awesome

Knowing EKU’s style of play and the guards they were doing it against, I thought for sure we’d cash a ticket on the over. Then I remembered EKU has to score too, and as we saw in the first seven minutes, scoring on Kentucky’s defense is not easy.

(Note: This is actually another Best because UK’s defense looks amazing but I spun in to add another Worst.)

— Drew Franklin

BEST: Kahlil Whitney’s Dragon Shoes

Khaleesi would be proud.

— Tyler Thompson

WORST: Waiting until Tuesday to see this team play again

Real talk: I usually hate these early conference home games. More often than not, Kentucky seems disinterested and lets their opponent have their moment on the Rupp Arena floor, leading to an angsty two hours where we end up winning by 15-20 but don’t learn much. That may still end up being the case, but the more I watch this group, the more I think it won’t be. Between the smothering defense, the mismatches (holy Keion Brooks and Kahlil Whitney), and Hart and Kennedy’s call, tonight was really fun and I’m sad I have to wait until Tuesday to watch them play again.

Now, let’s beat Tennessee.

— Tyler Thompson

UK cruises to an easy victory over EKU. Check out Dr. Mike's photos from the action, and oh, by the way, #FreeMattJones.

Posted by Kentucky Sports Radio on Friday, November 8, 2019

 

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.

29 Comments for KSR’s Best and Worst of the Win over Eastern Kentucky



  1. lexattorney
    11:10 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    Did anybody else hear Tom Hart mention that he had just learned he was suspended for the next broadcast? If so, what caused this?



    • UKCatAttack
      7:10 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      I believe it was another reference to Matt Jones getting suspended by IHeart. My favorite line of the night by Tom Hart was there are more turnovers here than in the local radio industry.



  2. sincitycat
    11:20 pm November 8, 2019 Permalink

    I heard him say that but I wasn’t sure if he was kidding. Tom and Andy are fun and a welcome relief from Vitale.



  3. Newtype
    12:31 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Makur isn’t playing college ball anyway.



  4. Steady
    6:17 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    I agree, F Matt Jones.



    • Alex90
      1:11 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

      You really showed him by coming to his website clicking on this article and then commenting. Idiot



  5. Ridge Runner
    6:53 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Great selection of examples and overall read (once again) Ms T! I agree 100%.



  6. Papaw
    7:01 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    I agree totally the Hart and Kennedy are, by far, the best around for telecasts. Andy Kennedy is hilarious.



  7. Aar
    7:33 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    I said before the season that Richards is the key to this team. I’m glad we’re getting the positive side of that! Brooks has figured it out and Whitney is helping this team despite not being in the offensive flow. I like the number of shots this team is taking beyond the arc. They’ll start hitting at a high rate soon enough.

    Last season, Richards was not in good enough shape to play more than 90 seconds without fouling. His moves were very frequently right but the fitness was just not at the level necessary to execute for very long. Now that he’s conquered his fitness and confidence demons he’s becoming the beast that his size and athleticism have always projected. If he keeps improving from here, he could Be the first big in the draft – certainly higher than an ineligible player.



    • DelrayCat
      8:29 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      I completely agree with your assessment, except I am not so sure Nick’s problem was solely fitness-related. I still think he is just a late bloomer. Of course we all know he picked up the game late, and big guys like him (and EJ to some extent) just need longer to develop. Their bodies just grew so fast in the last 5-6 years and they haven’t had a chance to acclimate yet. Nick has a quick twitch jump and a unique ability to time a block. But I just think he has been a little gun-shy about committing fouls. Cal has also had sort of a quick trigger with him over the last couple of years. Playing time on the big stage is the only remedy, and it looks like he is going to get it this year. However, I really don’t see him as first round draft material…yet. But if Skal can make it..so can Nick.



    • IrishCat
      8:35 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Nicks problems with fouling had a lot more to do w/ position than fitness. He’s finally getting the subtleties of angles, which are key to any sport, and just take time. I’m a HUGE Nick fan, but there’s no universe where he gets drafted above Wiseman.



    • dave1964
      9:27 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      When Richards has a good game when we play a team other than EKU then I will say nick has improved.



    • 4everUKBlue
      9:39 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      When you post a comment that doesn’t make you look like a total idiot, I’ll say you have graduated to moron status.



    • just a guy
      10:17 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Did u guys here when Kennedy was using telestrator, Tom said “I had no idea what you could do with one finger”. Andy quipped back “more than you think” ??

      Or when someone mentioned Maker Andy said “I plan to have a makers after the game”

      Hilarious



    • just a guy
      10:22 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Didn’t mean to post on this part of thread. Sorry.



  8. FanNotFanatic
    9:47 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Occasional wisecracks from announcers are fine, especially in preseason blowouts. But soon someone should remind Tom and Andy that, like most amateur comedians, after a while they aren’t as funny as they think they are, and when that happpens they become a distraction. Guys, it’s about the effiing basketball game.



    • 4everUKBlue
      9:53 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Geez old man, lighten up. You’re the only person on here I’ve seen complaining about it, everyone else loves it.



    • nocode96
      10:36 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah, it’s about a basketball game. It was 40 points though dude. You are the only person that quipped on them in a negative way, which either tells me you have no sense of humor (because they were hilarious), or you’re old and think everyone should be hearing about free throw percentage for two hours. Lighten up Francis.



    • grammarpoliceUK
      11:29 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Andy singing “Land down under” is now in my classic’s collection lol. Lighten up and enjoy something different sometimes. You might find new things attractive!



    • catsarerunnin
      12:57 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Well Fanatic I’m sure you’re just a blast at parties.



    • FanNotFanatic
      1:41 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Easily distracted grouches have a right to be heard, in case Abbott & Costello (look it up) stop by to check out their reviews. Don’t want them to think it was unanimous.



  9. ColoradoCatFan88
    10:03 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Quickley & Sestina were the guys that hit 3’s Zach, not Hagans. But our outside shooting will continue to improve as guys like Maxey & Juzang settle in.



  10. MyBoyBlue
    10:16 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Brooks is starting to remind me of Eric Daniels, and that would be great, IMO.



    • njcat54
      3:23 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

      Brooks is a beast… more like Charles Hurt and James Lee.



  11. just a guy
    10:21 am November 9, 2019 Permalink

    When I’m watching the game Brooke looks dead on like Gabriel. Kinda bouncy and lanky, with same hair. He even wears the white leg compressions on both legs. I know their games are different just looks so similar.



  12. michaelb
    1:44 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

    I see this value : we have two great players contributing as role players despite trying to find their way . Keon brooks and Khalil Whitney – I see them not checking out because the universe isn’t necessarily revolving around them, what a great asset that will pay off for themselves and the team at a later date . They don’t pout – they continue to find ways to help & get themselves going with out the touches . Hard workers and great attitudes theses two have . Players like this always have a shining moment – typically in sec & ncaa tourneys .



  13. michaelb
    1:47 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

    My fav thing was brooks tenacity with those offensive rebounds and put backs … he saw coach raving about that type effort , took note and dig in & kept it up. KB quickly learned to how to stay on the court doing that . Couple of those plays reminded of the way Alex Poythress played .



  14. kuhlkat
    2:26 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Kennedy and Hart are hilarious!



  15. njcat54
    3:27 pm November 9, 2019 Permalink

    Richards is turning into a better version of WCS… almost as quick on defense, but has a better offensive game (hook shot & shooting touch) and a better shot blocker.