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Vanderbilt beats Kentucky, storms court

Jim Brown | USA Today

Jim Brown | USA Today

Jim Brown | USA Today

A surging Vanderbilt team desperately needed a win against No. 16/14 Kentucky to boost its NCAA tournament resume, and the Commodores were able to do just that, despite a brilliant offensive performance from Jamal Murray and a three-point UK lead at halftime.

Vandy’s starting five combined for all but one of its team’s 74 points, while only four of the visiting Wildcats were able to get a basket in the entire game. Murray’s 33 points led all scorers, but he had very little help outside of that.

The Cats were outscored by 15 points in the second half to lose the ball game, 74-62. It was the lowest point total for Kentucky this season.



Jamal Murray was the one bright spot.

Only one guy in Kentucky blue can be proud of his performance and that player is Jamal Murray, who carried the team the whole game. Murray eclipsed the 30-point mark for a third time this season with his 33 points, going 12-of-20 from the field and 6-of-10 from outside. He had 21 at halftime.

Murray has now scored at least 20 points in eight straight games and will tie Jodie Meeks for the record if he can do it one more time, against Florida next week. He also continued his streak of hitting a three-pointer in every game and moved his game average to over 26 points in the month of February.

There isn’t player in the country who has been better than Jamal Murray over the last month. If this keeps up, he will make Kentucky a very dangerous team in March.

Tyler Ulis was ice cold.

Saturday was arguably one of Tyler Ulis’ worst games as a Wildcat. If only four or five more of his 20 shot attempts had dropped, we’re likely looking at a more favorable outcome for Kentucky. But the shot would not fall in this one as he went 5-for-20 and 0-for-7 from outside.

Hopefully it’s the last time we see him this cold because he is one of only a couple of players on the team that can score, sadly. Kentucky won’t win many games with Ulis missing all of this three-balls and 15 shots from the field.

At least we know he is human.

UK is brutally limited offensively without Derek Willis.

Derek Willis can’t get back to action soon enough. As Coach Cal has said many times before, Willis makes Kentucky a completely different team as he provides a much-needed, third weapon in the offense. He was desperately needed in this one and he will be needed again in the two remaining games and on into the postseason.

Calipari was unable to give an update on Willis’ status after the game, unfortunately.

Alex Poythress struggled in his homecoming.

KSR pregame show listeners aren’t surprised by Poythress’ poor performance after he was hit with the Ryan Lemond jinx on the show. Lemond predicted a big game from the Clarksville native in his final trip to Memorial Gym, which led to him fouling out with zero points.

Poythress, Isaac Humphries and Skal Labissiere offered essentially nothing to the cause as Vanderbilt easily one the battle of the bigs. John Calipari acknowledged that in his postgame press conference, but reminded everyone who took the first meeting in Lexington.

“Their frontcourt players were better than ours today,” he said. “But they weren’t when we played back in Lexington.”

Isaiah Briscoe continues to be the worst shooter in the history of basketball

Poor Isaiah Briscoe just can’t get it going offensively. He does so many things well, but shooting the basketball is not one of them.

Briscoe missed all four of his free throw attempts in this one and clanked a couple more open jumpers off the rim. Teams are sagging off of him and daring him to shoot, and his inability to capitalize on the easy looks is really hurting the offense. He is only putting more pressure on Murray and Ulis to score and, with the lack of scoring inside, leaves the Cats with a two-man game offensively.

Did I mention how bad UK needs Derek Willis back?

Texas A&M holds the keys to the SEC.

With Kentucky’s loss, it dropped to a two-way tie with A&M for the SEC’s regular season crown. However, A&M holds the tiebreaker with the one win in the head-to-head series, so the Aggies can win out to take the trophy. Kentucky needs Auburn or Vanderbilt to win one of A&M’s two remaining games to give the Cats a chance.

The loss isn’t the end of the world.

Remember, Tyler Ulis played his worst game, Derek Willis did not play, Alex Poythress also did not play, and Vanderbilt needed it more and did what it had to do to win. Some will say the loss was expected to begin with (me included) so let’s not go jumping off bridges because there’s a new L in the win-loss record. Kentucky, if healthy, can still put together a big run in the tournament, especially if it can land a spot in the Louisville regional.

“I like my team,” as Coach Cal often says.

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

37 Comments for Vanderbilt beats Kentucky, storms court

  1. plumloopy
    7:42 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Couple things, I’m not sure how you can say “If this keeps up, he will make Kentucky a very dangerous team in March.” after Murray had a brilliant offensive day and we looked terrible.

    Also, is it that UTM wins the SEC title with the tiebreak or is it that they get the #1 seed in the tourny? It doesn’t make sense that you wouldn’t just have co-champs with the same record. A tie-break shouldn’t apply especially to a regular season (esp. with a ONE game non-neutral series, IMO).

    • runningunnin.454
      12:09 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      So, Reese; what exactly is cats paw’s point? Briscoe should be personally insulted?
      5th Special Forces Group (A), Fort Bragg, N.C.
      MACV-SOG, Vietnam Cong Hoa
      University of Kentucky Class of ’75
      And, I don’t worship anything but my Lord Jesus Christ
      Tell him I can’t wait to hear that OTHER story.

    • cats paw
      6:56 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      His point is that there’s no way in hell that Cal should be utilizing a 3 guard line up when one of the guards is in a historic shooting slump. Appreciate your service!

    • runningunnin.454
      2:02 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

      o.k. That point I can understand. I can’t follow posts that attack players or coaches or any school. I don’t do it and I wish no one on here would.

  2. mj7juice
    7:54 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Briscoe should never shoot the ball unless he’s underneath the goal. Absolutely terrible.

    • cats paw
      8:51 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      did you mean Brickscoe?

    • runningunnin.454
      9:06 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      In my book, someone who jokes about a man’s name on a board like this, when l suspect he wouldn’t do it to his face, is emotionally and socially immature…and a coward.

      But, I’ll play the game; so tell me, cats paw and blueballs, where did you two play college ball?
      What was your FT% and FG%? Again I suspect, the answers are 0 and 0.
      So go away.

    • cats paw
      10:20 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      It’s not like you worship a site that constantly calls other teams players 21 feet of suck or anything is it? U can suspect anything you wish but yes I played college baseball and basketball but regardless of that……I could shoot better than Brickscoe when I was in grade school and thats just facts!! I don’t suspect you would call me a coward to my face either but that’s another story also.

    • Walter White
      11:35 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      Cats paw you’re always trolling on posts, its cute actually. I doubt your facts and your background but at the same time I wouldn’t have a problem calling you a coward to your face. Run along now back to Card Chronicle or wherever you reside.

    • Reese Davis
      11:43 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      I can see cats paws point. Being around high school basketball in Kentucky I’ve noticed that all the top level players are incredible shooters. Not only was Briscoe a high level high school player but Briscoe was a dominant all American and not a bad shooter throughout his high school career. Now he plays basketball for 5 hours + a day, yet he can’t hit a free throw or a wide open jump shot FROM ANYWHERE on the court to save his life, I dont understand it at all.

      Yeah he’s 230 pounds of athleticism and muscle, and he rebounds and defends, but teams are starting to realize they can just clog the lane and double team with his man and leave him wide open with no consequence. It hurts our offense to an extent where I just dont think he can be in the game anymore

    • UK Big Board Update
      1:25 pm February 29, 2016 Permalink

      He wouldn’t say SHIT to his face. And thats a fact.

  3. wfblue
    8:11 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Never have so many owed so much to so few. Ulis, Murray and Willis are obviously where offense comes from. Lots of minutes, not many other offensive threats. Look at the Os in the box score. Only coach Cal could get us this far. Not likely that the big 3 can beat any team with 5 shooters. PAIN.

  4. mobile2
    8:30 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Vanderbilt thinks very highly of themselves to storm the court after beating the #16 ranked team. Losers.

    That said; that place is full of bad mojo and has always been a hard win so if UK loses there I really don’t take to much away from it. Bad game. Vandy played their best game in a long time. Move on.

    All across the country highly ranked teams lost today so it’s just more of the craziness that is 2016. lets get on to the tourney.

  5. Undeniable
    8:48 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    I really don’t want to say this but Poythress…. the guy just takes several games off at a time. Really hope he can go pro this year.

    • The Rest of the story
      9:13 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Alex never has been and never will be a full time player. Such gifted talent that goes to waste just for no reason. Hardest player to comprehend basketball wise ever at UK.

    • UK Big Board Update
      1:52 pm February 29, 2016 Permalink

      Does anyone else read TROFTS’s disphit comments with a backwoods, hillbilly redneck accent?

  6. Wah Wah
    9:21 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Storming the court in celebration of what? This Kentucky team is injured and has zero front court. What are they so proud of? lol

    That’s just sad. Have some pride.

  7. Wah Wah
    9:23 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Poythress can go Pro overseas. He’s just not what this team needs. He could be but he has zero fire.

    Not all courage roars. Perhaps… However, courage doesn’t take weeks off and let its teammates down on the regular. Poythress is a space filler. Kid belongs on a OVC team at best.

  8. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    9:34 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    I’m perplexed at why Cal hasn’t played Mulder more. Mulder shoots a far better percentage from three and free throw than Briscoe. So you take Briscoe out of the game and you lose defense, pretty sure just the extra threat of a shooter out there out weighs the defense Briscoe brings. I have to think Cal is really hoping Briscoe leaves after this year because his performances hurt this team. A lot of players performances hurt this team which makes it even worse.

    • JusSayin
      9:55 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      We tried that already. Mulder had one good game but then drink it up the next 3. Hes also not a defender or ball handler at all. It’s more than losing defense.

    • FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
      12:00 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis are both on the court how many ball handlers do you need? Also, defense cannot be judged in such a limited sample size. As you mentioned they played Mulder for a hot minute and gave up on it. Who do you trust more to give you two free throws a jr who shoots 75-80% or a freshmen who is the worst in college basketball. You can’t defend free throws.

  9. stitch doctor
    10:18 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    We will be fine when Willis returns. We have a shot at another NCAA title along with about 15 other teams. It’s wide open this year. Sorry, Ricky, you’re not invited this year.

    • jwa
      10:28 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      stitch doctor: Be honest, you really think Kentucky has a shot at a title this year? Are guys don’t play defense, cant hit free throws, and get all of their offense from the same 2 players every night. I will call it a good year if we make the elite 8.

    • The Rest of the story
      9:16 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      I could bet a fortune that UK will not win it all this year but not enough stitch doctor’s out there to take that bet.

    • BigBlueBoom
      9:39 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      That’s bc its a dumb bet for anyone to take. Any team can lose 1 out of 6 games. Doesn’t mean we don’t have a shot. I wouldn’t bet on any team this year to win 6 in a row. Sure… One team will, but 63 won’t. Last year I would’ve bet on the Cats to win it all, and I would’ve lost. So just bc someone doesn’t take your stupid bet doesn’t mean no one believes.

  10. sp
    11:17 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

    Cats haven’t won a big close game all year. They have beat some teams down in big games but they have lose every close big game. This team can’t handle pressure. Making it to the second round will be a challenge.

    • catfaninetn
      11:49 pm February 27, 2016 Permalink

      I agree with you in general, but the Louisville game was a close one.

    • The Rest of the story
      9:19 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Cats have 2, thats right 2 wins over a ranked team. Seven losses to unranked teams of which maybe one gets an NCAA invite. This is not a good team and everyone needs to keep it in perspective as to how far they can go.

    • BigBlueBoom
      9:41 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Many who know much more about basketball than TROTS say we are a good team and will be dangerous in March. I’ll choose to believe them over the ksr sky is falling posters.

  11. StevieGotLoose
    8:18 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    Briscoe is not in a slump, he can’t shoot. He really needs to sit. He might as well learn what the bench feels like, because he won’t get drafted and if the guys coming in are as good as KSR says they are, then he’ll be on the bench next year. Of course KSR said he was great too. I hope that Briscoe and Skal both leave, but unfortunately we are stuck with them both.

  12. jim111
    8:23 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    Only way UK can beat anyone or Cal can coach is if they play in Rupp Arena. That tells me all I need to know. Duke type crooks.

    • BigBlueBoom
      9:43 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Cal can only coach in Rupp? That tells me all I need to know about you. Dumb.

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:39 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

      Yet they’ve beaten you in YUM more than you’ve beaten us…. weird.

  13. Bill the Cat
    9:08 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    Frustrating game. Ulis was cold. Coaches didn’t make ANY defensive adjustments as usual. Got 2-3 horrible calls (witness Lee’s block, Poy’s 5th foul, the Ulis non-walk that was cLled a walk, the Poy walk that wasn’t a walk). Good execution by Vandy in the second half. They out played us and out coached us big time.

  14. roundball fool
    9:18 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    The back court is not the problem. We need the bigs to contribute consistently and we need Willis back if we’re to make any kind of run. My concern is Willis was already complaining about hurting before he rolled his ankle.

  15. Piedma Schwartz
    10:05 am February 28, 2016 Permalink

    At the end of the day, this year’s team just isn’t all that good. There’s no use getting upset or anything about it. We’ll be back to contention next year.

  16. sincitycat
    2:06 pm February 28, 2016 Permalink

    How to stop court storming: If the court is stormed the home team forfeits the game.