Good morning, Kentucky! After a victory in Tuscaloosa yesterday, it’s safe to say members of the BBN can all breathe a sigh of relief this morning. So let’s get started with today’s Top 10.
Cats Defeat Alabama 67-58
I never thought I would be so relieved to be writing about a win over an Alabama basketball team, but here we are. After a slow start, the team finally got going and was able to pull out a victory, even if it was one of their lowest scoring games of the season. Despite averaging 90.2 points per game on the season, Kentucky finished with just 67 points Saturday night, barely outscoring their season-low 66 points in the loss against Florida.
As a team, Kentucky hit 27-62 from the field for 43.5 percent, while the Tide sunk 45.1 percent.
With such equal field goal percentages, it’s clear there was another main factor in the win: free throws. UK went 10-18 from the line, while Alabama went just 9-26.
The win pushed Kentucky to 20-5 on the season and 10-2 in the SEC.
Briscoe came in clutch
After struggling during the past couple of weeks, the first half indicated the Alabama game may be more of the same for Briscoe. Luckily, the sophomore stepped it up at just the right moment, scoring seven of his 11 points in the final 4:24 of the game. He ended the night with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes of action. But, he went 1-7 from the free throw line.
“My free throws were terrible today, but I just kept playing and didn’t let it bother me,” Briscoe said. “I was able to make big plays at the end.”
Dominique Hawkins agreed.
“[Briscoe’s] our team leader and our go-to guy, definitely, for big buckets at the end,” Hawkins said. “Him and Malik (Monk), they’re able to be clutch enough to hit those shots.”
Hawkins had a night of his own
Although his stat line looks quiet, the senior was a major contributor for the Cats last night. He finished with five points and three assists, but it was his effort and leadership that really stood out against the Tide.
“Dom, I thought was outstanding today. Even though there were some fouls, I thought he was outstanding,” Calipari said. “We were dying a little bit, he got baskets.”
Three-point streak remains
The Cats have now officially hit their 1,000th game where the team has made at least one three-pointer. It’s only fitting the trey that clinched the milestone was hit by Malik Monk, who ended the night with 17 points, including 2-6 from behind the arc.
There it is!!! UK is the first school with 1,000 straight games with a 3-pointer!!! pic.twitter.com/xIW5WMLMx9
– Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 11, 2017
Munk had his first rebound since the Georgia game
Yesterday, for the first time since Jan. 31, Malik Monk grabbed a rebound. He finished with just the one rebound, but it’s still an improvement from his last two games, which both ended with a big goose egg in the boards category.
When asked about Monk’s rebounding effort, Cal acknowledged he was working on it and improving.
“Yeah, but he tried and he dove on the floor. He’s trying to do stuff.” Calipari said. “But again, we have to continue to demand it and work on it.”
Cal was also quick to remind us about Monk’s comments earlier in the week, in which he apparently told his coach, if “I’m not rebounding, take me out.” His singular rebound didn’t seem to affect his 33 minutes of playing time last night, but with Kentucky’s offense struggling to score, it would have been a little too risky to take the Cats’ leading scorer out of the game.
The fire alarm didn’t affect Calipari…
…because he didn’t even get out of bed. During the post-game press conference, there were plenty of questions about the hotel’s fire alarms, which apparently went off multiple times the night before the game. One person who wasn’t worried? John Calipari.
“That thing went off, I knew I was on the third floor, put the pillow over my head,” Coach Cal said. “You’re not going to die from three stories. If I’d smelled smoke, I’d have jumped out of the window and broke both legs and told my wife, ‘It’s not all bad. I get to take the rest of the season off.’ ”
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely glad our fearless leader didn’t have to jump out of a three-story building the night before the game.
Next up, Tennessee
While yesterday’s locker room was “a happy locker room,” Kentucky is getting right back to business. The Cats will be back in Rupp Arena this Tuesday, Feb. 14 to take on Tennessee. After barely losing to the Volunteers 82-80 on Jan. 24, Cal is ready to get back to work and see how his team handles Tennessee at home.
“That was a happy locker room. It’s a locker room that cares, that cares about each other,” Calipari said. “I just gotta keep coaching them, and I think I got away from what I needed to do for three weeks. We’re playing Tennessee coming up who beat our brains in up there. Now we gotta try to see what we can do at home.”
UK’s Greek Sing was last night…
And KSR’s very own Matt Jones was one of the judges. The event, which is sponsored by Kentucky’s Chi Omega sorority and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, raises money for the Make-a-Wish foundation. Nearly every greek organization on campus performed in front of a sold-out crowd in Memorial Coliseum, and the event raised thousands of dollars for children around the Commonwealth. Plus, there was one whole performance dedicated to Forest Gump and another one for Kanye West, so I know of at least two KSR writers who would have enjoyed the show (cough cough, Drew and Jack).
Check out the videos of the winning performances, by Alpha Phi, here:
Warriors Defeat Thunder
Last night, Kevin Durant made his return to the Thunder’s Chesapeake Energy Arena after leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors following last season. He was greeted by plenty of booing fans, but was able to turn it all into motivation. KD finished the night with 34 points and nine rebounds, leading his (new) team to a 130-114 victory over his former team. On the other side, Russel Westbrook had a night of his own, ending the night with 47 points and 11 rebounds.
First Sunday without football
For the first time since September, there will be no NFL today 🙁 Instead, you can catch some collegiant basketball on TV. Here’s some of today’s top games:
- Michigan vs. Indiana: 1 p.m. on CBS
- Cincinnati vs. SMU: 4 p.m. on ESPN
- Wichita State vs. Loyola: 5 p.m. on ESPNU
- Virgina vs. Virgina Tech: 6:30 on ESPNU
- Washington State vs. Colorado: 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU