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Takeaways from the comeback win in College Station

Troy Taormina | USA Today

Troy Taormina | USA Today

Troy Taormina | USA Today

Kentucky won its final game of the 2016-17 regular season on Saturday, 71-63, in come-from-behind fashion over a Texas A&M team that was supposed to be one of the three best teams in the Southeastern Conference. The victory had its highs and its low, its pros and its cons, and its hot and cold versions of this UK basketball team. Why don’t we discuss those below?

 

That was a great SEC road win.

Slow Start U had fans worried early in the game until they bounced back, came back, and pulled away to earn the win in the end. A&M led by as much as 15 points in the first half (and I for sure thought UK was going to lose) but we’re sitting here celebrating another Cats’ win now that it’s all said and done.

As you well know, any road conference win is a big win and it feels even better that they did it in comeback fashion after the sluggish first 10 minutes. The sluggish start is a little concerning, though, considering it has been the same story in three straight games. Gotta come out better and play all 40 to make any run in the coming weeks.

Isaiah Briscoe played ideal Isaiah Briscoe basketball again.

Seven points, eight assists, six rebounds and one turnover for Briscoe for yet another ideal line on the stats sheet. That’s what we want to read after each game, especially in the turnover column.

It is time we finally accept that the shot isn’t there and will never be there. He was 0-for-2 from outside in this one; every other shot was taken in the paint where he belongs.

Monk failed to reach double figures for the first time all season.

Texas A&M did a good job of taking Malik Monk out of the picture offensively. It was clear Billy Kennedy made that a priority going into this game, and his team succeeded in making someone else beat them.

In the end, Monk scored only six points for his lowest total of the season and it was the first time he failed to reach double figures. However, he still hustled and contributed in other ways, which isn’t always the case when the shot isn’t falling.

De’Aaron Fox was making jumpers in his homecoming game.

If you had Fox hitting two more threes than Monk, you’re a winner. The Houston native hit two — TWO! — three-pointers and another long two, all from the left corner, for eight of his team-high 19 points. Throw those shots in with the long two he hit against Vanderbilt and maybe, just maybe, Fox is finding his shot at the right time.

He did a good job of getting to the rim too and he was a big component in Kentucky’s comeback and that 29-point swing. It was one of the rare cases when a player plays well in his homecoming game.

Today’s Screen Grab of the Day:

@Finna_GO_Ham

@Finna_GO_Ham

And that was today’s Screen Grab of the Day.

Old Reliable continued his streak of great play.

Does Dominique Hawkins have to go? He has been so good over the last few weeks and he is playing the best basketball of his career. Without him, Kentucky likely loses this game today. In fact, John Calipari said just that in this postgame radio interview: “Dom is the reason we were in the game.”

The bigs played well against A&M’s Tyler Davis and Robert Williams.

The Aggies have one of the better frontcourts in the conference with Davis and a projected lottery pick in Williams, and Kentucky’s guys hung in there with them. Williams got his 20 and 13, but Bam Adebayo and Derek Willis played solid inside as well. Those two have turned a corner and they’re going to have to keep bringing it for the next nine games.

It was good to see Johnny Manziel is still alive.

I wonder if someone ever told him tattoos are permanent?

The win was the 600th conference win as a top 10 team.

Not only did the Cats lock down sole possession of the SEC’s regular season crown, the win was the 600th conference win for the program while ranked inside the top 10.

ESPN

ESPN

Duke and North Carolina are second and third, some 98 and 99 wins behind.

Kentucky enters the postseason on an eight-game win streak.

What’s the key to a successful March? Come in hot. And not many teams are coming in hotter than Kentucky with eight straight wins.

Point being, I like my team.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

21 Comments for Takeaways from the comeback win in College Station



  1. kentuck1
    3:50 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

    The Cats are jelling into a pretty decent team. They play much better defense and the pick and roll slam to Bam has become a part of their arsenal. They showed they could win without Monk getting 30 points. They have a good balance on the team at this time.

    However, maybe if they went to the press earlier in the game, they could prevent those large deficits they find themselves in lately? But, they are a confident team at this time. Just a little more improvement and they will have a shot at the Final Four. Of course, if you make it to the Final Four, you have a shot at the championship.



    • syrin23
      5:54 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

      They get into a hole because for some reason they can’t hit an open shot until 10 minutes have elapsed. It’s strange as hell.



    • BigBlueSwagger
      8:20 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

      I’m starting to think the killer deficits actually cause this team to play a better rest of the game… It’s like they’ve learned to fight through it and have composure while doing so. Early on during conference play, we looked flustered and tense when we were down or we were up 20 and then we’d constantly let teams get within 5 or 6 (or let them win, like we did with Kansas). I think our composure and will to win has greatly improved. But when you must survive to advance, deficits are much more difficult to overcome.



    • maximumscott
      4:47 pm March 5, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. Althought we dont want to be down early in the tourny by 10+ (i dont think that will happen anyways), but there will be games around the 12-15 minute mark 2nd half when the opponent will go on a many run and possibly extend the lead to 8-9. That is where these games become great teaching tools on how to play from behind! Ive noticed against AM when we started to rally we were just chipping away consistently and getting great looks from the 3 every now and then. Plus, they played excellent defense allowing them to cut into the lead. Whether we like it or not they have learned to get back into a game being down 15 points in less than 5-7 minutes. That is pretty incredible if you think about and an invaluable tool that can be used in a tourny setting. They have experienced game pressure and have reaponded by finding a way to win! How can we not be happy with that?!?!?



  2. bhb71
    4:03 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

    I honestly have no clue where this team is going. They could go home after the first weekend or bring home a Final Four banner, they’re equally likely imo. I’m optimistic because Cal has a good track record of getting inconsistent but talented teams to play well in March, but at the end of the day, this team is straight up unpredictable.



    • maximumscott
      4:51 pm March 5, 2017 Permalink

      They wont go home first weekend. Right now, they are getting better everygame. As long as they keep the direction, which im sure they will, then they will be ready for the 1st weekend and the 2nd weekend. It depends on match ups in March too. Luckily our weakness, defending the pick and roll, we have improved on. Hell, our defensive pressure has improved as well as our half court offense. This team is fine and if they lose in NCAA it will be a very close game to a great team, which will likely happen in the elite 8 or final four. The SEC tourny will tell us exactly how much this team is improving and a glipse into what kind of nuetral court tourny envieonment team this is. I believe they will be 10 points better in tourny setting on nuetral court. If we get Indy, then count us 15 points better.



  3. DelrayCat
    4:34 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

    If Ol Miss loses to USC, then it looks like we play winner of Tenn vs. Ol Miss.
    If Ol Miss wins, then cats play winner of Tennessee vs Georgia.
    I think.



  4. AGSlater
    4:41 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

    Thats right you haters. We all know this is a titls team. Go kitty kats



  5. vegascatfan
    5:48 pm March 4, 2017 Permalink

    hard to watch.



  6. sweet wm
    12:50 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

    Sorry, but this team has not played well since the 1st Tennessee game. Not getting together like other Cal teams have. Not going far in NCAA shooting 42% and 35% three’s, 60% free throws. Must pick it up



    • maximumscott
      4:57 pm March 5, 2017 Permalink

      You must be talking about UL. We actually shoot FTs well in crunch time and that has actually won us some games recently. Just because they arent blowing teams out doesnt mean they arent getting better. They arent meeting your expectations. A lot of teams are not playing great basketball right now. Watch UCLA struggle against WSU at UCLA. Duke doesnt play defense. UL cant shoot FTs. UNC got held to 43 points. UVA can barely score above 63. Nova lost to a mediocre Butler team twice. UF got swept by Vandy. Zona got beat by Oregon by 30. KU has been winning but has been in late game trouble in 6 out of last 10 games against inferior opponents.

      Point is that there is not a clear cut title contender right now amd every team has their own problems. The question is who figures theirs out 1st and is a team getting better or are they reeling heading into March. UK is getting better every game and as long as they continue to get better every game then they will have a shot at the final four because there are so many teams in similar positions.



  7. Angelo
    2:58 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

    KSR is going gonzo….



  8. CopenhagenCat
    3:19 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

    The main problem is the defense. They are still giving up way to many easy baskets. All the guards let their guys run right past them Then the forwards have to try to pick them up leaving Bam all by himself. Briscoe and Hawkins drive to the basket and then get stuck and turn the ball over. What is a shame is this team has the talent but do they have the brains to go deep in the tournament. I am still waiting for team ball. They looked unstoppable early is the season. They need to get fired up and hit the boards and step up the defense. I wanna see more passion out of these guys,



    • EdC
      8:35 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

      Yea I see what you mean. You REALLY know your basketball. Freaking Briscoe and Hawkins with that 1 turnover each KILLED them. The team had SIX turnovers yesterday. That’s just insane. #sarcasm



    • catsarerunnin
      8:47 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

      If they had zero turnovers the whiners would still complain. #bandwagonfans



    • AGSlater
      9:16 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

      Bandwagon? That usually means you root for a team just because of their success. Like a guy from Alabama being a Patriots fan or someone from Kentucky being a Warriors fan. Most people like myself on here are or have lived in KY and have been fans since childhood. Not exactly what I would call bandwagon



    • catsarerunnin
      10:43 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

      Just because you live or lived in Ky doesn’t make you a fan. And you’re not a bandwagon fan. You’re not a fan at all.



    • CATandMONKEY
      9:51 am March 5, 2017 Permalink

      You are correct Slater. You are NOT bandwagon. That would be a gigantic step up for you. You must be incredibly familiar with your a$$ considering how many times it has been handed to you over the past few weeks.



    • maximumscott
      1:47 pm March 5, 2017 Permalink

      Defense is improved and much better. Hence, teams not really scoring over 70. Honestly, its the slow starts thats hurting them right now. After they pick it up they are playing pretty good.