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Nine Takeaways from Kentucky’s Ninth Straight Win

South Carolina came into tonight’s game with a 6-2 record in the SEC and for the first 15 minutes of the game, stayed with Kentucky; however, in what is becoming routine, the Cats pulled away to win by an impressive margin, 76-48, even on a night they weren’t firing on all cylinders.

Roll that beautiful recap footage!

It was EJ Montgomery’s night to shine

On Saturday vs. Florida, the lanky freshman earned kudos from John Calipari, Mike White, and his teammates without even scoring a point. Tonight, he notched his first career double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. His efficiency was 22, by far the highest of any player on the floor.

“E.J. was really good,” Calipari said afterwards. “Double-double, active, playing hard, blocking shots. He’s starting to come around. This was a great game for him to prove it against a really physical team, that they’re going to get body-to-body on you. He was able to still get it done.”

EJ made an impact from the start, grabbing six rebounds in an eight-minute span in the first half. As the game got out of hand in the second half, he was able to work on his offense. When he hit a three to make the double-double official with 16 seconds left, the bench and fans left in Rupp Arena cried out for joy.

“EJ, I am so happy for him,” Cal added. “Every day in practice going against Nick, Reid, and PJ has done this for EJ.”

While EJ was doing his player of the game interview with Mike Pratt, his teammates surprised him with a Gatorade bath:

I’ve said it before, but seeing how happy these guys are for each other is one of my favorite things about this group. Let’s hope that joy continues to spur them on.

PJ Washington had another 20-point game

PJ Washington’s streak of double doubles will end at three, but the sophomore had yet another impressive performance tonight, finishing with a game-high 20 points, five rebounds, two steals, and an assist. On a day when his father had knee replacement surgery, PJ remained dialed in. (His dad’s doing well, by the way.)

“You look at PJ, he’s not the same player that he was at the beginning of the year or last year,” Calipari said afterwards. “He’s got more assists than turnovers…He’s a different player.”

Cal’s right; for the season, PJ has 39 assists to 36 turnovers, a much better ratio than last year’s 57 assists to 71 turnovers. He’s even shedding his reputation as Mr. 1-2 from the line, going 6-7 from the charity stripe tonight.

Shoutout to Reid Travis for handling Chris Silva

Foul trouble kept Chris Silva, South Carolina’s biggest weapon, on the bench for most of the game, but when he was in, Reid Travis shut him down. It was the EJ and PJ show tonight, but Calipari made it a point to give Reid plenty of credit in the postgame press conference, telling reporters that the fifth-year senior battled so hard against Silva he was hooked up to an IV in the locker room.

“Without Travis, Silva probably goes for 25 and 11. The kid’s in there exhausted. We’ve got him on an IV. Him and Silva just went at each other. He was able to withstand it, which tells you it’s good for us to have a guy. If they have a guy like that, we got one, too.”

Yet another impressive defensive performance

After not being able to guard a fence post earlier this season, it feels like this team’s defense is entering rarefied air. In four of the last five games, Kentucky held an opponent to 55 points or less. In seven of the last eight games, they’ve held an opponent to 40 percent or less from the field. After South Carolina hit 4-7 threes in the first half, the Cats clamped down in the second, allowing only 1-10.

You know what defense wins, right?

Yet another rout despite an off-night from one of the starters

For the second game in a row, Ashton Hagans struggled, finishing with only two points, four assists, and six turnovers. All six of those turnovers came in the first half. Calipari attributed a lot of Ashton’s issues tonight to South Carolina’s style of play, but the fact that Kentucky can beat a team by 28 on a night when he doesn’t play great is another promising sign, in my opinion. Same goes for Keldon Johnson, who was held to nine points off 2-9 from the floor.

What’s the missing piece?

The pieces are falling into place for Kentucky, but when asked what he’s looking for to push his team further up the mountain, Calipari didn’t hesitate.

“We need Nick. Nick has to give us 15 to 20 minutes a game. He’s got to be playing. It has nothing to do with jump hooks or shots. I like that because it makes him smile, but get in there and fight like crazy and rebound and block shots and fly up and down this court. Let us throw you lobs. There’s no one in the game of college basketball like him, but he’s got to go perform.”

Nick played well in spurts — especially alongside EJ, I thought — but he still made enough mistakes to draw the ire of Calipari, who did this ridiculous dance to show Nick how he needs to move in the post.

One of these days I’ll remember to turn the lamp off in the background of my videos/GIFs, I swear.

Sorry Bilas and Shulman, Hart and Kennedy are the new A-Team

Calling a 28-point blowout in a mostly silent Rupp Arena can’t be the easiest draw in the broadcasting business, but Tom Hart and Andy Kennedy made it a delight. Hart filled up the bingo card with KSR references, including recent ones like Virgie, Brock Steele, and Talmadge; made Ryan Lemond happy by going 47 feet with Jonny David; and even sang “Amarillo by Morning” going into one of the breaks. Yet, I’d argue Andy Kennedy was equally as entertaining, educating viewers on how much Estonians love potatoes and how peaceful Chileans are. Kennedy joked that the two got so off the rails that ESPN should burn the tape, but I’ll take them over Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas any night.

This sign is unfortunate

Look, Kentucky is rolling and we’re all really excited for next Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee, but can we at least spell it right on the sign?

Please say that guy’s a plant from Knoxville sent to make us look bad.

First things first: Mississippi State

Cal couldn’t help but get a little swaggy in the postgame presser, reminding reporters of how many — including yours truly — mocked how he told his team to pretend they won the Seton Hall game. Calipari reiterated that he wants to keep his guys in a good frame of mind, an even more challenging task now that they’re winning.

“I’ve got to keep these guys in the right frame of mind, which I told them today: My job now is hungry yet humble,” he said, doing his best Jon Rothstein impression. “We don’t need anybody arrogant right now. We need to be humble and we need to be hungry in what we’re trying to do.”

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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.

28 Comments for Nine Takeaways from Kentucky’s Ninth Straight Win



  1. zoupman
    10:40 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

    Mrs TT. Great read. Thank you.



  2. 4everUKblue
    10:53 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

    Is he doing a line dance move?



  3. Parker_UKFanNC
    11:20 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

    Ashton had 3 assists first half.



    • mashburnfan1
      11:50 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Ashton had 6 turnovers, that will not help his draft status. But lets move on, we beat a very bad team very badly. Good, won like we should have.
      FOOTBALL signing day. Fill out the class, pull a surprise recruit. Got an email from UK Athletics thanking me for renewing season tix and stuff. However they included a 24 minute video recap of the season they said they show recruits. It has me pumped for signing day and April 12th. Who’s Next? Come on guys, sign and be a part of what has been built. Keep it going and make us even better. A NC in football? Why not. UK CAN win at football, help us continue to do so.



    • bigbluebanana
      11:57 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

      Mash, like clockwork, you show up and say this stuff. Someone another thread predicted exactly what you’d say.

      Also, are you a season ticket holder? Been meaning to ask you, but don’t want to put you on the spot having to talk about your season tix publicly here. So if you get a second, will you please remind us all that you have season tix?



    • BigolBlue
      12:21 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      I kinda think Ashton has regressed



    • IrishCat
      8:01 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Next time we talk about take aways, can we take Bigol and Mashfan away from their keyboards? Permanently???



    • catsarerunnin
      8:48 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      So has your intelligence.



    • 4everUKblue
      7:46 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      To be fair mash is a season tickets holder, which makes him a UK fan in his mind, so there’s that.



    • 4everUKblue
      8:37 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Irish, what fun would a circus be without some clowns? Where would the laughs come from if not for BigolSlaterMedic and his daddy, Mashburn?



    • bigblue2284
      9:56 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Come on BigOleBlue if you won’t admit ball movement and breaking down zone defense has improved your just trolling. When I watch them now I can see ball movement resulting in much better shots than before and Ashton owns a big part of that change.



    • Skooms
      5:25 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Mashburnfan = blah, blah, blah, season ticket holder so shut up, blah, blah, I’d lick Pitinos feet after Porcinis, blah, Wilson sucks, blah, blah, Cal meeds to leave.



  4. a21CATSfan
    11:50 pm February 5, 2019 Permalink

    PJ is literally a right-handed, less athletic Julius Randle. They both drive and throw up wild shots a lot, and the team plays much better when they dish it off or kick out from time to time. Cal is tinkering with each and every players confidence. When they are all clicking is when they will be the most dangerous. Good for EJ. CATS



    • unbridled
      8:28 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      I kinda want to say that P.J. might be slightly more athletic than what I rmeber Randle being.

  5. Nick wasn’t even watching Cal dance.



  6. syrin23
    1:52 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    I watched Duke look incredibly average today. Zion plays terrible on the ball defense, and can’t shoot FT’s. Drive right at him, and foul him on drives. They are terrible at rebounding outside of superior size and athleticism, as smaller players routinely put a body on them and got rebounds that our players would get. We’ll see how we do against UT, but Duke will not win it all. No chance.



    • CATandMONKEY
      1:57 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      “Duke will not win it all. No chance.”

      You have just broken the hearts belonging to several of our more vociferous,yet negative posters.



    • BigolBlue
      2:45 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Keep telling yourself this syrin



    • catsarerunnin
      9:55 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Poor BigolBlew/Slater. This is his worst time of year. Usually in February the Cats are rounding into form. Of course this season it began a month early. But when Cal’s team struggles early Slater insists that it’s going to be another trip to the NIT. The year Kentucky actually went to the NIT was Slater’s dream season. He actually could say I told you so. So once again,early this season when the Cats were struggling,Slater was predicting “another” down season and of course it was Cal’s fault. So for poor Slater it’s another disastrous season for him because there will not be a NIT bid. Life can be hard Slater. We all feel your pain. Go Cats!!!



    • BigolBlue
      1:26 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

      I told you so then runnin though. So you are correct sir



    • catsarerunnin
      4:25 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

      Being right once in 10 years is something I’m sure you’re used to Slater.



    • BigolBlue
      5:41 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

      1 title in 10 years



    • Miller45
      3:55 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

      I’d say Duke is mortal not average



  7. Miller45
    4:00 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    A couple guys having a breakout game as an outlier like EJ did today can be the difference between winning and losing a tournament game. Quick is starting to pick it up and play better too but we don’t hear too much about him



  8. henderblue
    7:59 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    Mrs TT you’re right about Tom Hart and Andy Kennedy. They’re the best right now. Go Cats!!



  9. KYjellyRoll
    8:26 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    It all changed when this team started having fun and not stressing over individual performance



  10. runningunnin.454
    9:19 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    Well, about that sign…people that live in Wisconsin, can’t spell Wisconsin.
    Hagan’s had a tough night because the SC guard was a great on ball defender…he was in Ashton’s face all night, step for step.



  11. Racerr11
    9:23 am February 6, 2019 Permalink

    It all changed when Quade Green left but I am a Quade fan. By leaving it gave the other guards more minutes and especially Ashton and his energy and his always hounding defense rubbed off on the rest of the players. Quickley has been playing very well also as has Baker. We need to think Quade and I mean that in a good way he did what was best for him and the team. Quade I wish you the best and I am pulling for you all the way.