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Takeaways From Kentucky’s Win Over Kansas

Your University of Kentucky Wildcats moved to 16-3 on the season with a third consecutive victory over a ranked team, this time beating the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 71-63.

And. It. Was. AWESOME.

Celebrate with me by reading these takeaways from the game.


PJ Washington and Reid Travis took advantage of a weak Kansas frontcourt.

What did everyone say before the game?

“PJ Washington and Reid Travis have to show up.”

Well, they did.

The two UK big men combined for 36 points and 25 rebounds, each with a double-double, against a one-man threat from Kansas. Since the Jayhawks lost Udoka Azuibuike for the season, it’s been Dedric Lawson and only Dedric Lawson inside. He’s been great — 20 points and 15 rebounds in this one — but not great enough to stop Washington and Travis. They capitalized on the opportunity to eat and they both got full by attacking the outmatched Jayhawks inside.

Lawson said, “They played HARD. You’ve got to give those guys credit.”

Keldon Johnson was also great.

If Washington and Travis are the two stars of the game, Keldon Johnson is a close third. Johnson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and had one of the plays of the game when he knocked down a huge three-pointer to extend the Cats’ lead to 12 points in the second half.

After the game he said he was “locked in” from the beginning. Now he needs to find a way to always be so “locked in” and he’ll be pretty unstoppable. He’s a special player whenever he is giving maximum effort, as he was Saturday night.

Tyler Herro was ice cold, but don’t call it a bad game.

It was one of Tyler Herro’s worst games as a shooter, but he did what Cal begs his players to do when the shots aren’t falling: he found other ways to impact the game, which is why he played a career-high 38 minutes.

Cal said afterward, “Tyler didn’t make shots, but I thought played well because now he’s defending and rebounding, he doesn’t have to make shots every time.”

Herro finished with five rebounds and five assists, in addition to good defense. That’s how you make up for a rough night offensively.

No bench, no problem.

Outside of five blocks from my man Second Semester Sophomore Nick Richards, Kentucky got very little production from the bench. Offensively, it got absolutely nothing. Zero points from the group of Richards, Montgomery, Quickley and Baker, which is not ideal but shows how well the five starters played. You don’t want it to be a recurring theme moving forward, but it’s pretty impressive for UK to beat Kansas without a bench.

Just another Ashton Hagans night for Ashton Hagans.

Jay Williams told me on Friday that Ashton Hagans has a special “moxie” about him, a “dog mentality.” That moxie revealed itself again against Kansas when Hagans made some big-time plays in the second half as UK held on to its lead and closed out the game.

Hagans has really become a star since that breakout game against North Carolina and his play has taken Kentucky’s play to the next level. In this one he added three more steals to his swipe count and dished out seven assists, plus a filthy stepback jumper when UK needed a score in the second half.

If his outside shot ever starts to fall, my God, he’ll be incredible.

Leave it to Kash Daniel to steal the show at a basketball game.

Daniel was one of a handful of UK football players who joined Mark Stoops to show off the Citrus Bowl trophy to the Rupp Arena crowd. Very cool moment on a night full of very cool moments.

Future UK star had a front row seat.

Listen to the pop for Tyrese Maxey, the five-star point guard signee who sat directly behind Kentucky’s bench.

UK was able to introduce Maxey to the crowd because he has already inked his Letter of Intent for next season, otherwise it’s a big no-no to acknowledge any high school visitors. It’d be cool if they were able to do this more often for incoming players.

Rupp Arena put on its best performance in years.

There wasn’t an empty seat in the building and all 24,387 fans in attendance brought their loudest voices and applause to will the Cats to victory. Rupp Arena has been criticized lately for poor fan turnout, but that was not the case with No. 9 Kansas in town Saturday night. It was a rowdy environment throughout the entire game and one of the best atmospheres in several years.

Kentucky is kind of on fire right now.

After the disappointment suffered down in Tuscaloosa to open up SEC play, Kentucky has put together six consecutive wins, including a 20-point blowout in Athens, a big road win at 14th-ranked Auburn, a 21-point blowout of 22nd-ranked Mississippi State and now a nice win over ninth-ranked Kansas. If you’re not impressed by that two-week run, please stop watching college basketball because you’ll never be happy. Get out.

Truth be told, this team is as good as anyone in the country right now and only getting better with each game. If you still think they’re not capable of some March Madness magic, you’re going out of your way to be negative. The team that lost by half a million in the first game of the season has turned into a serious contender for the grand prize and, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trade rosters with any team in the country.

Kentucky is for real.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

46 Comments for Takeaways From Kentucky’s Win Over Kansas

  1. michaelb
    10:41 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

    I love these take aways . ”

    It takes Drew to make a thing go right , it takes Drew to make it outta sight”

    Reid had four and 1s and those are huge – scoring and getting fouled pumps him up more than anything I’ve noticed .

    Yea Tyler was still balling without points ! He’s getting a lot better too. He’s half way a fierce rebounder and his decision making is ramping up to a comfy trustworthy level .

    I think Hagans is good as any player driving to the rim. I wish he would trust that shot more . It’s actually a really sweet & accurate stroke . Plus he’s great at the foul line . The world is his for the taking . I think he’s just as good as RJ Barrett , just needs a few more games to get into it.

    • wyatts1
      12:04 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      I know it sounds crazy and may show my age but hagans has the potential to be a version of John Stockton. He’s so young it’s hard to tell right now but evidently his basics are already pro Calibur and will surely get more and more dialed in. Fose that may disagree with me, check out the record books for steals and assists, he use to own both of those records and I think he still does.

    • IrishCat
      9:16 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Ashton getting to the basket is as good as anyone. Right now he’s struggling to finis there as well, but I think that’s a training and conditioning issue that is due to youth. It seems he uses his most explosive moves to get into the lane, and usually isn’t set to make an explosive arrack if the rim. That’s not too uncommon for young guards, and very improbable w/ lots of intention and reps, but it may not get there this year. One day, he’ll be getting to the rim line he does now, but finishing above the room and making ppl jump out of their seats. He’s got that athletic potential.

    • IrishCat
      10:30 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Wow. Typos galore. My bad. Also, I LOVE ASHTON’S GAME!

  2. Smyrna_Cat
    10:42 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

    Nice points. But I thought the bench played well – they just didn’t score. Richards – 5 block in 9 minutes – are you kidding me? He had a big impact on the game.

    • michaelb
      10:47 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

      The bench played well, the bench just didn’t log a lot of minutes tonight . The starters all got like 36 mins each

    • BluemanGreen
      2:38 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Yea I felt Nick got screwed on pt this game & past few. He’s ready to bust out & our ONLY shot blocker

  3. cking
    10:56 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

    Awesome Win!

    I will say that Vandy feels like trap game after the highs of this Kansas game.

    We saw how Tenn played there last week…

    Florida won’t be easy either…

    I’ll am looking forward to seeing how this week plays out.

    Go cats!

    • KYjellyRoll
      11:07 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

      If there was any trap game it was Miss St…we see how that turned out. Also I do agree to an extent because the high from 3 big wins in a row is even higher now, and Vandy not being ranked could actually be overlooked more than Miss St. although, I just don’t see this team overlooking anyone right now. They’re so dialed in, it’s beautiful.

    • Miller45
      4:57 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      We were just talking about that, I hope they can get reeled back in

  4. BTownUKFan
    11:01 pm January 26, 2019 Permalink

    I felt like we needed Johnson or Herro to score the second half to win and Johnson delivered. Self singled out Herro’s defense on Vick in his post game interview. For a guy that can’t coach, Cal had the players doing the right thing, attacking the basket against a weak front line. Lay off the three point line so Kansas couldn’t drive past the defender. Well coached, well executed, great win !!
    GO CATS !!

  5. j
    2:06 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    UofL, UNC, and KU wins have been super sweet.
    Loving this team and would love another shot at dUKe in early April.
    Go CATS!!!

    • Aar
      10:58 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Why would you put UofL in that list? They belong in that list about as much as Indiana.

    • Matt10
      11:00 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      I’m not sure they’ve gotten over it. I’d personally rather see duke take a nice quiet 2nd or 3rd round exit and not even have them in the discussion. The poor national media wouldn’t have anything to climax about, which would be the best part.

  6. 72uksprinter
    2:59 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    We will DESTROY Vandy.
    This team is developing and believing in the KILLER instinct that so few young teams can achieve.
    The sky and all the banners it can hold, is the limit for these terrific athletes.
    GoOOOOOOOOOOOO Wildcats!!!

    • BigolBlue
      9:16 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      You sound like Drew Franklin when he is wayy wrong about his over confidence

    • Aar
      10:57 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      I hope you’re right. Memorial Gym is a weird place to play and Vandy is hard to beat there. That said, I hope our bench players get lots of minutes on Tuesday night. Richards is starting to own his confidence.Montgomery needs minutes to get more confident in the offensive flow. My favorite player, Jemarl Baker, need to get his shot going. Quickley has solidified his sixth man spot and we’ll need him to run the point at critical times later in the season. Go Cats, beat Vandy.

  7. Miller45
    4:56 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    Bill self listens to nickelback

  8. Ridge Runner
    5:30 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    Great wrap up and points again, Drew.

  9. henderblue
    8:41 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    A couple days ago I called on the country clubbers to do their part at Rupp. Well played clubbers, well played. You and all of Rupp Arena stepped up. It makes a difference. Go Cats!! Beat Vandy, keep rollin’.

  10. BigolBlue
    9:15 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    All the way baby! Aint nothing stopping us now

  11. BigolBlue
    9:19 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    It was a great win I will admit. John Calipari will find a way to squander this team in the tournament however. The guy just wont win anymore titles. You can say this and that. He has lost some brutal tournament games with superior teams. Yes he beat some better, but the losses outweigh the wins. My expert opinion

    • henderblue
      9:30 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Disgruntled Memphis fan?^^^^hates Cal for some reason.

    • Tom Bombadil
      9:33 am January 27, 2019 Permalink


    • Tom Bombadil
      9:37 am January 27, 2019 Permalink


    • runningunnin.454
      10:00 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      The losses will always outweigh the wins. According to BoB’s definition of success, Coach K has had 5 “wins” and 38 “losses”.

    • RealCatsFan
      10:21 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      You can say the same thing about any active Div I coach, INCLUDING your idol Count K at dook. Mercer? LeHigh? LMAO

    • Cats N Pats
      10:24 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Man it sounds like you don’t know jack about the tourney. It’s the hardest championship to win in sports. The best team wins only half of the time, if that. Think about all of the big name coaches who have only won a couple in their CAREER! The success we’ve had in the tourney with Cal is almost unprecedented.

    • Middy
      11:59 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      You’re the type that you could win Powerball and you’d complain about paying taxes. Must be miserable to be so miserable!

    • catsarerunnin
      2:50 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Imagine the horror of being stuck in an elevator with BigolBlew.

  12. Tom Bombadil
    9:35 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    “You can say this and that” YOU SOUND LIKE A LIL SISSY DOUCHE!

    • Matt10
      11:04 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Take a chill Tom and step away from the all caps. It’s an internet chat room. Lol!

  13. KYjellyRoll
    9:45 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    Obviously the only reason bigolblue posts anything is to get a reaction….

    • Matt10
      11:06 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      With so many willingly obliging. Hahaha. Fish from a barrel. 🙂

    • bigbluebanana
      12:13 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      I do oblige Matt, here’s why: he may just be looking for a reaction, but as a lifelong UK fan, his type are very much alive and well. He is the embodiment of a very specific type of fan that I think is relatively unique to UK. Troll or not, I like to get my catharsis on this type of person.

    • BigolBlue
      11:21 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Just tired of people sounding exactly like Matt Jones( banana says the same things matt says word for word). All im saying is Cal will blow it come tournament time. If he could ever find a way to win it all again I will retire from ksr I promise

    • bigbluebanana
      12:10 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      No, you’re just bitter. You’re a troll. And your own words prove you’re not a fan. We just beat Kansas…KANSAS…easily and you couldn’t wait to get on here and slam Cal and UK. That’s not a fan, that’s a punk! Do you listen to Matt Jones every day? How do I sound like him? I have never heard him or Drew Franklin speak, let alone echo their talking points. Never once listened to their radio show, never once watched the Paul Finebaum show…in fact, the one time I spoke about MJ on here was a few weeks ago when I said negative things about him because it seemed to me he started a football story just to get clicks here. We must sound alike because we both love the UK program, like countless others here and across the world, and we are tired of your weasel azz finding any opportunity to spew stupid sh!t from that glory hole you call a mouth. We don’t want you to retire, we want you to go away, retiring indicates your job had a purpose. You’re worthless bigolblue. No one likes you here and no one likes you too n real life either. Your hopes and dreams were crushed long ago by a society that spit up your type and threw them out with the trash. Funny isn’t it, trash? You had every opportunity to not be trash, but here you are, dilapidated and broken on the side of the road, begging for some sort of purpose, yet you’re outdated, obsolete, with all promise lost. You’re garbage, forever. I hope you repeat that to yourself tonight when you look in the mirror, because that’s the truth.

    • Perry1987
      1:14 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Watching Cal throughout the game last night, something was just different about him. He had a swag about him. He was not the typical jumping up and down, arm swinging, screaming John Calipari that we’ve all come to know. He was so relaxed and to me seemed like he knew we had this game in the bag from the start. Something was just different. Maybe he is finally starting to see this team transform into one of his typical elite teams. I sure am.
      So proud of these guys! Even in the first half when nothing was falling they kept their composure and stuck to the game plan. We had six point in the first step ten minutes of action, and to be honest I was worried a bit, but they kept it together, made a couple runs and left Rupp with a W!!

    • BigolBlue
      2:39 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Blatant lie. Again Im not going to read your articles. Just one or two sentences are im good

    • bigbluebanana
      2:48 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Troll. Stupid. Wrong. Unloved.

      Easier to understand?

    • catsarerunnin
      7:50 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Sounds like how we all feel about all your asinine posts BigolBlew.

    • henderblue
      3:40 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Lol…bbb, reducing BoB to rubble..

    • Aar
      4:44 pm January 27, 2019 Permalink

      Perry, I would suggest that Cal’s nascent swag is related to the team becoming player driven and that they’re responding to game planning and coaching.

  14. Aar
    10:50 am January 27, 2019 Permalink

    Wow! What a game. It was worthy of the hype and the legacies of the undisputed two best programs in the sport. Now, this is a rivalry! Excellent defense on both ends and really good offense to overcome the D. These Cats have really learned the value of the extra pass and used it to great effect last night. It shows up in the difference in Assist line.

    I though Cal outcoached Self last night – especially in the bench utilization department. Lawson had no legs starting at about the 12-16 minute mark in the second half. That is all due to Self riding him too much in the first. McCormick is not that bad of a substitute. Self is no slouch. He put his team in a position to win and got a great performance from them. Loved his post-game interview. He took every question, even the unfair BS ones, and found something insightful and on topic to say.

    While noting the lack of bench scoring, without them we aren’t celebrating a win this morning. They all defended and played their roles really well and kept the starters’ legs fresh. Richards shot blocking and altering skills were on full display. Love his heart and can’t wait for his offensive skills to arrive.

    Without Tyler Herro’s defense this game has a different result. Still needs to get in better shape to be able to bring his A game on both ends of the floor simultaneously. Second best +/- on the team!

    Travis had the best stank face ever! Love that he saves that stuff for dead balls.

    Washington, Hagans, Travis, Herro and Richards were exactly who BBN needs them to be in order to maximize their potential. The other starter helps the team but is capable of so much more. Say what you want about this team but they’ve won 2 of 3 games against the other best 4 programs in the history of college basketball. That’s very hard to do!

    Looking forward, Vanderbilt is very hard to beat in weird Memorial Gym. It’s always tough to get a win in the swamp. There are four trap games before the schedule gets tough again. I WANT UT to be #1 when the Cats take them down!