Kentucky followed up its discouraging loss in Baton Rouge with a much-needed road win at Alabama on Saturday. After putting up its worst performance of the season four days earlier, the Cats turned the week’s negativity into motivation in Tuscaloosa, defeating the Crimson Tide, 77-61.
Alex Poythress, one of the biggest disappointments at LSU, rebounded to be the star of Kentucky’s victory. The senior forward scored a career-high 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, plus seven rebounds. He also went 9-for-11 from the line.
Jamal Murray wasn’t too far behind with 21 points of his own. Murray and Poythress combined to score Kentucky’s first 27 points in the game.
The win moves UK to 12-3 and 2-1 in the SEC. In a season when every conference road game will be a fight, it was big to pick one up at Alabama.
Alabama had no match for Poythress.
We knew this could be a big game for Poythress; what we didn’t know is whether or not he would take advantage of the opportunity.
Short answer: he did.
Poythress had a career night in T-Town, showing the athletic dominance we wish he’d show more often. He did whatever he wanted offensively and turned in a Ben Simmons-like performance with several trips to the foul line, leading to nine of his 25 points coming off freebies.
John Calipari said Poythress was “unbelievable.” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said the Tide couldn’t control him.
Isaiah Briscoe found his shot.
I honestly thought I had a better chance of winning Saturday night’s Powerball than I did seeing Isaiah Briscoe make multiple jump shots. Unfortunately for my bank account, the latter cashed in, but good for Briscoe. He finally did something offensively, showing the makings of a jumper on his way to 12 points in the game. It was his best offensive performance since going for 20 in the loss at UCLA in early December.
Let’s ignore the fact he went 0-for-2 at the foul line, at least for now.
Tyler Ulis’ streak of 20-point games ended.
Ulis entered the game with three consecutive 20-point outings and hopes of becoming the first to have four since Jodie Meeks, but he fell short in the scoring department. That is because he was too busy creating for his teammates. Ulis finished with eight assists in the game.
This was one of his best:
We’re now calling that the Pick-and-Roar.
Skal Labissiere contributed nothing.
It may be time we completely eliminate all expectations for Labissiere. It’s not fair to him for everyone to expect things he simply isn’t capable of doing at this stage in his career, and it’s frustrating to fans. At this point, we should enter each game thinking whatever Labissiere does is a bonus. If he has five points next week against Mississippi State, that’s going to be five more points than I expected of him. Until he proves otherwise, this false hope of him being any kind of a post presence this season must stop.
Skal had more technical fouls than points in this one. One rebound in four minutes.
Marcus Lee flirted with a double-double.
Much like Poythress, Lee knew he had to play well to make up for a rough night in Baton Rouge. And much like Poythress, he did.
Lee hauled in 11 rebounds and scored eight points, falling just shy of what would’ve been his third double-double of the season. If he could’ve hit just two of his five free-throw attempts, that double-double would’ve been his. Instead, he missed all five.
He and Poythress combined for 33 points and 18 rebounds in their make-up game.
What is going on here?
Sir! SIR! You cannot do that. Put him down.
Only one turnover for Jamal Murray!!!
Murray is getting better each game at calming down and not forcing the action. He is still learning to play off the ball and when to give it up, and his high turnover rate has dropped in recent weeks. He’s only turned it over five times since his seven-turnover game against Louisville.
Murray also scored a lot of points, but that’s not anything new. He scored the ball often, as he always does. Twenty-one this time.
Kentucky won the rebounding battle and it wasn’t even close.
Rebounding isn’t one of Alabama’s strengths and that was apparent against the determined big men of Kentucky. The Cats out-rebounded Bama 43-25 in the game for its largest rebounding margin since the Eastern Kentucky game. Controlling the glass was a major factor in getting the W.
We finally have visual proof that Coach Cal is indeed a robot.
He did a system reboot on live TV.
I knew it!
Up next for Kentucky is Mississippi State in Lexington on Tuesday.
Up next for Alabama is Clemson in the college football national championship. Roll tide?