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Watch the Tape: The Final Two Minutes

(Photo by Tony Walsh)

(Photo by Tony Walsh)

Another game. Another loss.

Unfortunately, Georgia scored on an out-of-bounds play underneath their basket with 3.6 seconds to play to give them 63-62 win and force me to write that opening headline once again. The victory snapped the Bulldogs 14 game losing streak to Kentucky.

The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday evening at Rupp Arena as the LSU Tigers come to town for a 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time matchup on ESPN.

For this addition of Watch the Tape we are going to do things a little differently. We all know how ugly the entire game was and for a full film breakdown you can check out my Twitter feed from this morning. Instead of subjecting you all to countless clips from start to finish we are simply going to break down what in the heck happened in the final two minutes of the game. As our fearless leader Matt Jones pointed out on the KSR Postgame show, those last 120 seconds perfectly encapsulated the struggles that have plagued this team all season long.

2:01, 62-56 Kentucky

Isaiah Jackson makes a nice move in the post to put the ‘Cats up 62-56. Jackson finished the game with 12 points on perfect 6/6 shooting and blocked four shots.

1:48, 62-59 Kentucky

Devin Askew played his worst game of the season last night. After a rough start to his freshman campaign, Askew had really improved over the last couple of weeks. However, last night was a major step backward. Despite committing five turnovers this defensive miscue may have been his most costly mistake.

With under two minutes to play and a six point lead Kentucky needed to force Georgia to make three trips down the floor to tie the game. That means protecting the 3-point line and forcing them to score from two point range. With K.D. Johnson holding the ball up top, a shooter who entered the game 6/9 from deep and was 1/3 at the time last night, Askew has his feet inside the 3-point line and is about six feet away from him. Johnson is very dynamic off of the dribble, but he is also a knock down shooter and in this situation you would much rather make him drive the ball than allow him to take an easy, in rhythm 3-point shot.

1:17, 62-59 Kentucky

After allowing the 3 to Johnson, Kentucky still has the ball up three points with just over 90 seconds to play. Georgia goes to a matchup zone and Kentucky is left aimlessly passing the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock gets down to 10 seconds. Devin Askew makes a cut and receives the ball in the lane but is quickly surrounded on the block by multiple defenders. He ends up losing the ball and Georgia has it going the other way. Even a shot clock violation would have been significantly better in this situation because it would force the Bulldogs to take the ball out of bounds as opposed to a live ball turnover where they can go in transition.

1:01, 62-59 Kentucky

K.D. Johnson missed a 3-point attempt after the Devin Askew turnover and Kentucky corralled the rebound. Coach Calipari called timeout as the ball crossed half court. The ‘Cats still hold on to a three point lead with a minute to play and possession of the ball.

0:40, 62-59 Kentucky

Under a minute to play and Kentucky has the ball coming out of a timeout. If you can get a basket here you all but seal the game. Unfortunately, we end up settling for a terrible shot that leads to a transition opportunity for Georgia.

After the initial high ballscreen set by Olivier Sarr for Devin Askew, several more attempts are made to attack the basket off of the dribble to no avail. Askew, B.J. Boston, and Keion Brooks are all unable to beat their man off of the dribble. As the shot clock winds down Boston drives towards the middle and throws up an off-balanced runner while moving to his left. The poor shot clanks off the rim and Georgia is off to the races.

0:34, Kentucky 62 Georgia 61

Transition defense is the responsibility of the Point Guard. Protect the basket, stop the ball, match up to the next most dangerous man. That is the order of operations in transition defense and making it all happen is the responsibility of Devin Askew in this situation.

As you can see, he is the first defender back but never makes an attempt to protect the basket, or even tell Olivier Sarr to protect the basket. Instead, Askew just drifts over to Sahvir Wheeler because “that is his matchup.” WRONG! You do not have a matchup in transition defense. Again it is basket, ball, next most dangerous. Askew should have been yelling at Sarr, “TAKE THE BASKET!!! TAKE THE BASKET!!!”

Due to poor transition defense principles Olivier Sarr is lost in the middle of the floor and Wheeler hits the rim-running Andrew Garcia for an easy layup. It only took six seconds off of the clock for Georgia to cut their deficit to one point.

0:23.5, Kentucky 62 Georgia 61

Georgia decides to foul Devin Askew to send him to the line to shoot a 1-and-1. Askew proceeds to miss the front end and Georgia rebounds the ball for a chance to win the game.

0:03.6, Kentucky 62 Georgia 61

The Bulldogs hold the ball until about the 8 second mark when Sahvir Wheeler attacks from the top of the key. B.J. Boston plays excellent defense and gets vertical at the end of the drive to contest and alter Wheeler’s shot. Isaiah Jackson comes in from behind the play and volleyball spikes the ball out of bounds with 3.6 seconds remaining.

I’m not going to crush Jackson for this play. In hindsight it is easy to say “you should have just caught the ball” or “tap it to a teammate.” However, in the moment, you are just focused on making sure the ball doesn’t go in the basket. Now, that doesn’t absolve him of all wrongdoing here. There really never is a time when you need to swat the ball with THIS level of authority. The goal always should be to control the ball enough to get it to a teammate if possible. In this instance Jackson definitely could have at least kept the ball in bounds which would have kept the clock moving and probably ended the game. Instead, the ‘Dawgs get one more chance to win the game with 3.6 seconds left and the ball OB Under.

0:03.6, Kentucky 62 Georgia 61

Coach Calipari has forgotten more about basketball than I know. There is a reason why he is a Hall of Famer making $9 million a year and I am a former Division III coach who now sells life insurance and writes for KSR. However, these last two clips are very, very frustrating to me.

This is Georgia’s first attempt taking the ball out of bounds. K.D. Johnson comes running off the backside of Toumani Camara. Jacob Toppin clearly thinks that they are supposed to switch the screening action as he jumps out to take Johnson. However, Davion Mintz ALSO stays with Johnson which leaves Camara unguarded as he cuts to the basket. B.J. Boston guardian the inbounder is able to take away that pass, but otherwise Camara was definitely open at the front of the rim.

My question is how in the world, coming out of a timeout, can you mess this play up? Are we supposed to switch the screen or not? Toppin and Mintz clearly have two different answers to that question and that is a major problem. Typically in this situation you would switch all of the screens. I think that is a pretty well accepted fact amongst basketball coaches.

There were two things that really made me mad when re-watching the film today. First off, after Georgia calls timeout and UK heads to the huddle Coach Calipari is clapping and shaking his head as if we did a good job! This is the biggest possession of the season! Did he not notice that we COMPLETELY screwed up our defensive assignment?! He should be screaming at either Toppin or Mintz for their blown assignment. Secondly, as a Senior, Davion Mintz should be handling this himself. If Toppin was the one who screwed up by switching he should have IMMEDIATELY ran over to Toppin to talk it out. The fact that it didn’t have makes me think Mintz is the one who was in the wrong.

Regardless of who was in the wrong, Kentucky SHOULD have been switching here. Jacob Toppin switched, Davion Mintz didn’t and it just about cost us the game.

Final: 63-62 Georgia

Ballgame. This play effectively ended the regular season for Kentucky. Now the only thing that matters is seeing improvement over the back half of the season and preparing to win the SEC Tournament.

The frustrating part about this final play, other than the obvious of Georgia scoring the ball, circles back to my frustrations from the play before. Coming out of another timeout, Kentucky defends different than they did on the previous OB Under attempt by Georgia. Again, Jacob Toppin switched that initial screen making me think we were supposed to switch the screens. This time, Isaiah Jackson gets screened and does NOT switch with Jacob Toppin.

Jackson should never have let his man cut his face in this situation and regardless of what they talked about in the huddle this is an EASY switch on the backscreen that should just be communicated on the court. This is where I do defend Coach Cal some this season. I don’t think it has been his finest coaching job of his career, however this team has an extremely low basketball IQ. Toppin and Jackson should be able to figure out this switch on their own. If they switch there is zero chance Georgia scores the layup.

There has also been a lot of talk about B.J. Boston guarding the inbounder. On the previous play (seen above) he literally saved a layup based on his defense on the inbounder. He should definitely be back a step or two further so he is more at the front of the rim as opposed to under the basket. If he is at the front of the rim maybe he can get Horne to miss, or even pick up the loose ball.

We can break this down forever, but the simple fact is Kentucky had multiple opportunities to win the game in the final two minutes and failed to execute every single time.


Article written by Brandon Ramsey

Basketball X's & O's for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @BRamseyKSR

11 Comments for Watch the Tape: The Final Two Minutes

  1. Bluehender
    4:25 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Yeah it sucked. As bad as Askew played, if he makes the two free throws we are in a great position to win.

  2. Badgercat
    6:12 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Great analysis.

  3. Cousins Fake Tooth 2
    6:44 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Nah i’m good. I support them, hope they win, but not taking time out of my day to watch garbage.

  4. BlueByYou
    7:31 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Wow, you watched that again AND analyzed it. Your pain tolerance must be off the charts.

  5. WILDCATS1968
    7:47 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Very poor lack of execution down the stretch. The players resembled the coach and tightened up. 1 stop, 1 basket, or 1 less turnover and we win. All Systems fail. But I do NOT fault Boston. He stayed with his man to prevent him from steeping inbounds and getting it right back for a lay in. He actually is the one who knocked the ball loose while staying with his man. Jackson half ass played and Brooks was way late on the help. The shot was all ready on the glass before he even swatted. Reaction time was very slow. Askew could not play any worse. In the final 2, he did it all, turnover, missed 2 freebies, and got burnt so many times he should be nicknamed toast. But, I do not fault him on the one transition, Sarr just stood there like he didn’t have a clue what to do (he didn’t). A coach can tell the players what they are doing wrong, but if they do not learn, not much you can do.

    • MTODDUK08
      10:43 am January 22, 2021 Permalink

      I agree I don’t put this on Boston Hell we wouldn’t have even been in the game if it wasn’t for him that’s the only time I can say that but Askew my god I coach 11 yr old that can guard the ball better than him. Not trying to just bash him or any kid for that matter but if he can’t then don’t play him I would love to see Riley Welch come in and play PG I bet he could play better D and probably better overall who knows it couldn’t be any worse

  6. HighBallScreen
    8:32 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Why is Askew even playing? He was the #8 Ranked PT Guard in last years class? Why is there no one better on this roster? Why isnt anyone asking Coach John Calipari these questions?

    BTW nice breakdown. But we all saw it. And you will continue to see it.

  7. Lyle Evans
    9:07 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    Even if Askew had manned up and denied the 3 point shot, there’s a good chance the guy blows by him, hits the lay-up and draws a foul from someone to go to the line for an old fashioned 3 point play. Oh, and if he missed the free throw, we’d let Georgia get the rebound and THEN they’d hit a 3. So, really, Askew saved us 2 points; woulda been a 5 point trip instead of 3.

  8. CombatMedic_98
    10:04 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

    All these kids are FLUFFED up and OVERHYPED…the whole AAU system is a money schemed feeder just like KY is now for the Pros…and NOW, get this they start the “G-League”!!!! LOL you might as well watch an IVY league school or DIV 2 school to now actually watch a really good game and we’ll coached teams with Seniors making the Frosh’s n Soph’s look stupid on the court…like in the 80/90/00’s…! When BBall was REAL…! Now it’s been bought out and sold out so people can funnel money to kids to make more money on the backside…FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT FOR ALL EVIL…! Whole system needs torn down and demolished. Kids should be not allowed in the NBA until their Senior year PERIOD…NCAA should make sanctions immediately. Either 3 years college or straight into NBA Lottery Draft. This is miserable watching KY since 2015…not exciting anymore! We used to beat teams EVERY NIGHT by 20-30 points and NOT with 5-star All Americans on the court either. What happened to UK BBall…?

    • UKBigBlueForever
      11:00 pm January 21, 2021 Permalink

      I actually mostly agree with you.

  9. theweeze
    9:48 am January 22, 2021 Permalink

    There is no toughness or grit. Ok so Boston played well but did it help his team? They do not play as a team. Without the leadership of older players that actually lead this collection of players will just flop around like a fish out of water. And Cal will stand on the sideline and yell, scream, point and waive his arms like a mad man. That is NOT what a Coach from UK should look like or sound like. IMHO.

    I always thought having the #1 recruiting class was awesome. It meant beating Duke, UNC(heat), KU and others for the best talent which should mean we should have the BEST TEAM but that is WRONG thinking. The 14-15 Roster was the BEST TEAM EVER and they still did not win the Championship. I love Coach Cal and think he was what we needed when he came to UK but he needs to change his way of recruiting and style of play and calm down on the theatrics on the sideline.