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RECAP: De’Aaron Fox went down with an injury, but Kentucky still beat the nation’s number one defense by 16

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The final score doesn’t reflect it, but there were times in this game that it seemed Kentucky was in serious danger. De’Aaron Fox turned his ankle about eight minutes in and had to go to the locker room, only to return in a boot and crutches. Without Fox at the helm, Kentucky had a bit of a go to pieces, letting South Carolina narrow the lead to three. Thankfully, a host of role players stepped up and propelled Kentucky to an 85-69 win over the Gamecocks, which is pretty encouraging when you consider the Cats played without their star point guard for 32 minutes and still beat the most efficient defense in the country by 16.

Let’s break it down, starting with De’Aaron Fox’s injury…

How long will Fox be out?

At first, it didn’t seem like Fox’s injury was too bad. He turned his ankle and went to the bench to switch to high tops, and after coming back in for a moment, went to the locker room. He returned later on crutches wearing a boot, but seemed in good spirits. How long will he be out?

“I think it might’ve been a stinger, I don’t know. But something hit his ankle,” Cal said after the game. “He is in a boot but they said there is no swelling, so I don’t know.”

Hopefully, Fox is back by the Kansas game, because without him, Kentucky looked a bit rudderless. After Briscoe struggled at point, Calipari turned to Dominique Hawkins, who filled in ably, scoring five points and dishing out a game-high seven assists to only two turnovers. With Mychal Mulder also out due to an illness, Dominique more than answered the call.

“Dom was terrific,” Cal said. “Kenny Payne just said, ‘Put Dom at point’ because Dom plays point every day in practice against De’Aaron Fox. Every day. So Dom looked fine. Again, Dom had seven assist and only two turn(overs) and one was late when none of the other guys could get open for him, so he did fine.”

Simply put, Dom was stellar, and if Fox is going to be out for multiple games, Kentucky will need more of that because…

Isaiah Briscoe had zero points

The most surprising stat line of the night belonged to Isaiah Briscoe, who had zero points, SEVEN turnovers, and only four assists. Calipari and Briscoe yelled at each other throughout the game, and when South Carolina narrowed the lead to five at the start of the second half, Calipari called a timeout to yap at Briscoe some more.

“I just told him, ‘You’ve got one minute to get it going or you’re out and I’ll go without you because you’re not doing this.’ ‘I’m okay, I’m okay.’ ‘Alright you’ve got one minute if you’re okay to play then I’m going without you.’ Then I put Dom at point guard and he played like he didn’t have every second on his shoulder. And he started making plays and coming up with balls.”

Cal was clearly frustrated with Briscoe, and came back to his performance later on.

“He had no points today. Come on. He backs into points. He had nothing today. That’s okay. We still won and he was happy as heck in there, but there’s a concern for him. Now it’s like, come on, I know I’m better than this. The kid had seven turnovers. What? Seven turnovers. And he’s not the kind of kid that does that. Not the kind of player.”

Frank Martin agreed that Briscoe running the point made Kentucky more vulnerable.

“With Briscoe, I think what hurt him too was he moved to point guard in the second half and he wasn’t off the ball, where he’s more in attack mode, but he made plays for them,” Martin said. “Seems to me he’s the backbone of that basketball team. He’s the guy that makes everyone go.”

Derek had the dunk of the night

Shoutout to the seniors for their leadership tonight. Like Dom, Derek Willis also stepped up, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds; those may not sound like flashy numbers, but Derek made some crucial plays tonight, including a huge three when South Carolina cut the lead to three in the first half and a massive dunk in the second half that got everyone in the arena on their feet.

Can we get a replay of the bench’s reaction, please?

Same, Sacha. Same.

Wenyen Gabriel turned in his third straight impressive performance

For the third game in a row, Wenyen looked like a different player, putting up 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal, and no turnovers in 27 minutes. Wenyen was 3-8 from the three-point line, and although his shot fell off in the second half and he had a few “freshmen moments,” he did all the stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet as well. With he and Derek playing this well, the four spot suddenly went from Kentucky’s weakest position to a pretty sound one. Cal agreed.

“I thought that Derek and Wenyen, again, they’re just giving us so much now. 23 points, 12 rebounds at that position. Making threes, making open shots. Rebounding balls. They had 23 points combined, 12 rebounds out of that position.”

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Malik and Bam led the team in scoring

It says a lot about Malik Monk that he scored 27 points and I’m just now getting to him in the recap. He and Bam led the team in scoring with 27 and 18 a piece, and Calipari implied that he wants Bam to be more demanding in the post to get more touches from his guards.

“I told Bam after the game, you’re too nice. I said I would strangle a couple of these guys that aren’t throwing you the ball. If I was you, I would. You’re so nice, you don’t say anything. And we’re throwing him the ball, but it’s like it’s forced. It shouldn’t be forced, he’s that good. I even said, is he selfish? They said, no, he’s not selfish. Well, then throw him the ball. And if he’s double teamed he gives it back to you.”

When Bam’s 5-6 from the floor, it’s hard to argue with that.

How about that prediction, Seth Davis?

I don’t like to shove crow down people’s throats, but we have to give Seth Davis a little grief tonight. Yesterday, Davis predicted that Kentucky would lose to South Carolina and only score 61 points. Predictably, Kentucky surpassed that mark with almost thirteen minutes left in the game. Granted, South Carolina wasn’t firing on cylinders. Not only were they without starting guard PJ Dozier, the flu bug apparently was going around, making the nation’s number one defense look even weaker. Yet, it’s also worth pointing out that Kentucky was without De’Aaron Fox for 32 minutes, Mychal Mulder the entire game, got zero points from Briscoe, and still beat the second best team in the league by sixteen. Not a bad night in the least.

Finally, congrats to Mitch Barnhart on the birth of his new grandson

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UK’s athletic director welcomed a new grandson into his family tonight, Reece Mitchell Willoughby. This is the second child for Mitch’s daughter Kirby and her husband McKenzie, and big brother Cooper looks especially proud in this picture. In a true sign that he’s a Kentucky fan, Reece was considerate enough to wait until halftime to come into the world. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s the beginning stages of a three goggle.

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.

38 Comments for RECAP: De’Aaron Fox went down with an injury, but Kentucky still beat the nation’s number one defense by 16



  1. runningunnin.454
    10:08 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    I love to shove crow down people’s throats. Don’t know about the flu, but I know one SC player that didn’t have it…..Thornwell.



  2. Rixter
    10:16 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    “no f**king way!”- Sasha Killeya-Jones



    • Ridge Runner
      12:20 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      I hear ya Rixter..

      Maybe the most unexpected and exciting plays I’ve seen in a very long time! Wow.. But yeah… SKJ put it in perspective



    • UK Big Board Update
      1:10 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Thanks Rixter. I thought he said “that was amazing”……



    • UK Big Board Update
      1:11 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      You’re really good at reading lips.

      You have a god-given talent.



  3. Rixter
    10:27 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    OH, boo hoo. USC is the first team this year to have a player miss a game, let’s give them a do-over,

    First, they lost games because Thornwell was out, now they lost because Dozier was out. Maybe, they lost because they werent as good as their opponent on a give day, is that remotely possible??



  4. Rixter
    10:28 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    *given



  5. huck
    10:44 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    very nice article(s), been meaning to tell you this for a few years…. but figured you knew …. dont leave please



  6. BigBlue4Three
    10:55 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    Sasha Killeya-Jones having problems making cheese – “No flocking whey”.



  7. One Man Gang
    11:22 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    Good win. But USC was without their PG and one of their 2 best players. And Clemson beat these guys at USC. Clemson sucks.



    • THE William Hill
      1:00 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Hey look, the twerp formerly known as JC Ice and HotStuff Eddie Gilbert has changed his name. Again.

      Hey, did Louisville win today?



    • catsarerunnin
      7:51 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Save Lil’ Eddie!



    • Squall Leonhart
      2:24 pm January 22, 2017 Permalink

      We were also without Fox most of the game and another key substitution player, Michael Moulder. That’s part of the game.



  8. jaws2
    11:37 pm January 21, 2017 Permalink

    I really like Bam, but has he made a shot this year other than a dunk or FT?



    • THE William Hill
      1:01 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Yes. He’s shown a decent mid-range jumper at times. Do you even watch players other than Willis?



    • unbridled
      9:46 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Sorry but bam doesn’t need to alter his game, he just needs to do what he is doing more often. Jump shots are not necessary from bam.



  9. Kevin C
    12:15 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

    Seth Davis acts like “the nice guy”, but he’s always been an anti-Kentucky slant, especially since Cal arrived. Eff him.



  10. Ridge Runner
    12:22 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

    Good job by Hawkins to settle things down when he came in.



  11. EdC
    8:10 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

    Take a look at Seth Davis’ Twitter timeline. 2 things. 1. He is obviously a total Duke fan. Tweet after tweet about Duke during their game. For the game with 2 ranked teams right before the Duke game he only had some lame SC excuse tweets trying to cover his horrible take that UK would only get 61 points. 2. For a sports writer he is super obsessed with slamming Trump for all things real and imagined.

    • Well, his dad is Lanny Davis, so big surprise at #2.



    • Megan
      10:08 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      1. Seth is a Duke alumnus. So why the surprise? Other sports journalists make their allegiances known. Doesn’t mean they can’t speak with insight about other teams. Doesn’t mean they can’t show interest in their alma mater when they’re not working. Twitter is social media, Ed, not Sports Illustrated.

      2. Children don’t always belong to the same party as their father. I don’t. I don’t even belong to the same religion. Indeed, children of parents who approach the ends of the political spectrum tend to belong to the other party, or so they taught us in political methodology at UK. Also, although it appears that Seth’s dad is a Democrat, he is at least reasonable enough to write for and appear on conservative news outlets, so let’s not dismiss him out of hand. A better indicator of Seth’s political leanings is his education. If he has one, he’s more likely a Democrat. Sorry, that’s just the way it is these days (decades ago it was the opposite). The Wall Street Journal called educational attainment “the clearest dividing line in this year’s presidential election.” Remember all the talk about whites without a college education? Lastly, you don’t have to be the son of a Democrat, chris, to slam Trump. Plenty of Republicans find him abhorrent, as do I.

    • Megan, I find many of Trump’s antics and statements abhorrent as well (I was a Cruz supporter). I find Hillary’s criminal behavior and what she wanted to do to this country more abhorrent. Thing is, from what I can tell, you find all conservatives abhorrent based on previous comments you’ve made. At least that’s what it sounds like. If I am wrong I apologize.

      I want what’s best for all people in this country (including legal immigrants who accept our values) and I believe smaller government and more capitalism is the best chance for the most success.

      Peace.



  12. henderblue
    9:40 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

    Hawkins was great off the bench and , depending on Fox’so status will be crucial for us going forward. Anybody with the latest on DeAaron’s condition? KSR sleeping in this morning



  13. Jiminy Crickets
    9:46 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

    this will not be a popular post:

    Calipari has killed Briscoe’s chances of ever going pro. He came to UK as the #1 Point Guard in High school, but because Ulis was “point god”, and Murray was a fantastic shooter, Briscoe was forced to play the small forward position. He played well, but showed he simply could not shoot. Now he’s behind Fox at the PG, and is behind Monk at the 2, so once again he’s forced to play off the ball.
    If Briscoe has any chance at the NBA, because of his size and inept shooting, it ill have to be at the PG spot. He’s played off the ball now for 2 seasons, and now looks lost at the primary position he was recruited (PG). Brisoce will force himself into the draft this year, because that is what he wants to do, and will follow the Aaron Harrison path.
    He’s a fantastic player with a lot of heart, and fans would KILL to have him here 4 years. I doubt seriously, however, that is Briscoe’s plan, especially if I remember the comments correctly from his father after last year, basically putting Calipari on blast for putting his son in a position he wasn’t used to and blaming that on why his shot was so off. There simply is no need in the NBA for a 6’2″ modestly athletic small forward that cant shoot.



    • unbridled
      9:51 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Sorry but all briscoe’s limitations are on briscoe…no one else. Briscoe is not the best point guard on his college team 2 years running and you think he is supposed to be a point guard in the NBA? I think you place too much faith in the recruiting rankings.



    • henderblue
      9:59 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      You are absolutely right Jiminy and Hawk fared much better at the point last night than Briscoe. And I think we would absolutely love to have Briscoe around for 4 years. Whatever he decides to do at the end of the year, I wish him the very best



    • UK Big Board Update
      9:59 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      #Clutter



    • henderblue
      10:15 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      To clarify my statement above, I’m not so sure that Cal is to blame for killing Briscoe’s NBA chances. Unbridled’s statement that Briscoe’s limitations are on him, holds some truth in it. He’s not the most athletic guard around but his toughness and heart will serve him well going forward



    • unbridled
      10:31 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      I guess I understand what you are saying…. I also would like to clarify that I love briscoe and consider uk lucky that he is here. He’s a phenomenal player, but his game can be lacking at times. I’m just saying I don’t think cal is to blame because he had to give the point position to a more productive guard.



    • Megan
      10:32 am January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Poor Aaron. He’s 22, and he’s managed to earn only $900,000. It just breaks your heart to see him on the skids. Maybe you could help him out a little?

      I’m initially inclined to agree with you. But I wonder if we’re placing far too much emphasis on position labels. He still drives and dishes to his teammates (he’s a terrific passer), and his ability to get to the rim by changing speeds and direction, and scoring over/around taller players, is remarkable. You have to admit that his shooting has improved dramatically. Maybe you didn’t hear Cal talk about the NBA calls he got after the MSU game gushing over Briscoe’s improvement from the arc and from the line. So I don’t know. Cal is asking him to be more of a coach on the floor, which is certainly what a PG should be.

      Maybe it’s better to wait and see how things turn out for him before writing his epitaph. That’s generally a good rule to follow.



    • EdC
      12:16 pm January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Never is a very long time considering how much better a player he is this year than he was last year. Cal is trying to teach him to get his shot higher on the drives which will be essential in the NBA. He plays defense somewhat reminiscent of DeAndre Liggins and has more facets to his game than Liggins did in college and Liggins isn’t just a pro but is playing an important role for Cleveland. It was a longer road for Liggins than some but I think from Fr. to Soph. years Briscoe has shown much more improvement than Liggins did between any2 of his years.

      Time will tell but I think it is way too early to say he’ll never be in the NBA.

    • Hopefully guys like Aaron and Briscoe will get degrees in business, or at least get A degree, with an emphasis on personal finance regardless of major. All athletes should get financial training so they can learn to handle their money, but marginal guys especially IMO. If some guys can blow 100 million, $900K can certainly be blown.



    • UK Big Board Update
      2:16 pm January 22, 2017 Permalink

      Not everyone is Antoine Walker. You think LeBron, who never went to college, will blow through his billion dollar earnings? What about Shaq? Hell, even Rex is doing pretty well.

    • Correct you are sir. There is training that someone can get besides going to college. I heard a lady on the radio once who advises NFL rookies on how to handle their money and it made sense. Among other things, she teaches them to live off interest and not principle. Of course they have to be disciplined enough to listen and to do what she says.



  14. unbridled
    8:41 pm January 22, 2017 Permalink

    Please provide statistics proving that the majority of college educated people belong to the communist party. Assuming your claim is accurate, the only explanation to this reversal is the communist indoctrination students are bombarded with while progressing through “higher education.”



    • unbridled
      8:42 pm January 22, 2017 Permalink

      The above comment is directed to Megan and her previous statement. Please ignore my comment. Politics doesn’t belong on this site.