No Carlton Bragg, no problem. The Cats dropped their second consecutive game to Kansas last night and blew a 12-point first half lead. There were just too many issues across the board for a team struggling to find their identity right now. With the loss to Kansas at home on Gameday, UK is trending downward at a crucial time in the season and they’ve hurt their resume for tourney seeding. It wasn’t all bad, but this loss stings.
The Cats looked tired and sluggish in the second half, dwindling a large lead down to just 5 at the half. They needed a timeout before half, but reluctantly played on and paid the price for it. Cal really likes to let the team play on through adversity, understandably so, but this team looked absolutely lost for multiple key stretches of the game. Have to stop the bleeding at some point, so why not sooner rather than later?
Sloppy play continued out of the break and the team couldn’t find a rhythm against the Kansas zone in the second half. Playing the trio of Bam, Fox, and Monk a combined 114 minutes is also probably not the best look for this team. Every time Bam got the ball in the paint he was doubled down and had four turnovers because of the pressure. He also went 4-10 from the free-throw line. Yikes.
Kansas really didn’t play all that well, UK shot themselves in the foot many times with turnovers and couldn’t fight their way out of a 10-point deficit late down the stretch. A thoroughly unimpressive box score on both sides, and Kansas came away with a W in Rupp on a gritty well-rounded team performance.
Cats lose 79-73 at home, sigh.
Derek Willis instant offense, Dom Hawkins the X-factor
Dom Hawkins played 17 minutes in the game, and he honestly should have played about 6-8 more minutes. For the second straight game he has come off the bench to light a fire in the Cats defensively. He deserved more time on the court tonight against a perfect matchup with Kansas playing a four-guard set, and we neglected to use Hawkins savvy defensive skills against it for much of the second half.
Cal likes Willis in the game as an offensive threat to stretch the floor, but defensively he was a liability on most possessions having to guard a smaller, quicker guard. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the Cats have no consistency at the four-position on defense. Not against a smaller lineup like Kansas at least, and same applies to Wenyen. That’s why Gabriel only played 13 minutes and put a fat goose egg up on the stat sheet in the scoring column.
Bam is our only truly worthy big in the paint besides Wenyen on the boards. When Derek or Wenyen get pulled out to the perimeter and iso’d, you can just feel something bad about to happen. Somebody is going to end up open somewhere nearly every time. Kansas took our team to the woodshed so many times on defense by exposing a bad matchup, and Kentucky didn’t do it enough themselves to stay in the game. The Cats’ defense is confusingly turning out to be a liability, who saw that one coming in November?
Yepp, still no SKJ. Couldn’t tell you why. He’s worth a look for a few minutes at least you would think, just a casual role player to get the bigs a chance to breathe. They looked exhausted yesterday, and Bam missed many free throws becuase he was gassed running the court and fighting in the post. I just have a feeling he’s going to turn into a fan favorite, get the man a minute or two.
Kanter looked like a big Turkey, finally confronts media about injury
Kanter might be out for two months after punching the bench in OKC last week, he finally talked to the media about it Saturday. Our Turk couldn’t control his temper (typical) and lashed out on a nice metal piece of the bench, breaking his forearm. In the video, Antonio Davis and Jeff Goodman break down how the Thunder will be effected by the absence of Enes Kanter in their lineup.
Nova takes on UVA, Dennis Smith gets a shot at Louisville
You are a special kind of person if you want to watch more ball today after a game like last night. At 1 pm today both games will be playing, let’s hope Smith and the Wolfpack are Card killers.
Tony Hicks and Quentin Snider are both out with an injury, and it is very likely that Dennis Smith is going to have a huge day. For that reason, I will be one of the people tuning in for the possibility of him going for 40 on the Cards. Not that any of you care anyway, I just really enjoy watching UL lose, that’s all.