Kentucky won its 29th SEC tournament championship with a hard-fought win over Texas A&M in yet another overtime game with the Aggies. The game could’ve been over sooner, but the Cats struggled to rebound the basketball, which made for plenty of second chance looks for A&M. UK gave up 17 offensive boards in the game.
Things were much better offensively as Kentucky was able to hit 10 three-pointers despite a rather cold shooting performance from Jamal Murray. He hit a big one, but was only 3-for-10 from outside. It seemed Tyler Ulis borrowed Murray’s hot hand for the afternoon.
The Selection Sunday festivities will get underway soon, so let’s run through this quickly…
Tyler Ulis scored a career-high 30 points.
With Murray having a slow performance by his standards, Ulis carried the scoring load with a career-high 30 points. He did so in a variety of ways too, including a couple of finishes over defender’s inside the lane. I still don’t understand how he’s able to get those off, let alone make them.
Point God had a good look at the game-winner in regulation, which would’ve been a storybook ending to the tournament, but it came up just short. I think he (and everyone else) was running on fumes after three consecutive games.
Jamal Murray’s dagger was a thing of beauty.
Murray failed to score 20 points for the first time since the Kansas game, but three of his 17 scored won the ball game for the Cats. Murray pulled up from deep with the shot clock winding down and 18 seconds left in overtime to deliver the dagger to the hearts of the Texas A&M players and both of the A&M fans.
After the game, John Calipari tried to say it was the play he drew up, but Murray wasn’t letting him take the credit. That was all Jamal making something happen.
Let’s not forget Derek Willis’ three, too.
Before Murray drained the one that sealed the deal, Willis had the game’s biggest shot with his corner-ball to give UK the lead in overtime. Calipari said, “There was no doubt in my mind I was going to go to Derek Willis that last play. It was supposed to be the play before, and Tyler went the other way into a pick-and-roll, and I looked at him and said, we’re running the drive play, and he drove right at Derek, and Derek threw that dagger.”
Willis also had another big block in a key moment for a second day in a row.
Isaiah Briscoe had a sneaky good tournament run.
Lost in all of the Murray and Ulis hype is Isaiah Briscoe, who played three great games of basketball in Nashville. Briscoe made play after play on both ends of the floor at some of the most critical times of the Georgia and A&M games. One could make the case for him as an all-tournament selection, although the voters did not seem to agree.
Texas A&M wouldn’t die.
Hats off to Danuel House and his teammates for putting up a huge fight when Kentucky was trying to run away with it. Playing in front of an all-blue crowd in Rupp Arena South, House scored 32 points to keep his team alive until the very end.
He might want to get that finger checked out, though.
Alright. I have to get on the road back to Lexington and you have the Selection Sunday special to watch.
Keep your fingers crossed for that Louisville region!