Saturday, March 2, 2013
Kentucky vs Arkansas recap
After coming home from seeing Andrew Wiggins (who scored 40pts today) and Huntington Prep destroy a team from Canada 131-64, I found Kentucky down 1 with 3:47 to go in the first half. They seemed to have played decent despite some of the usual senseless turnovers they always seem to have. Defense looked to be solid as the Cats closed out on shooters fairly decent.
The funniest thing in the first half was the crowd chanting "Justin Beiber" whenever Jarrod Polson touched the ball. Gotta love drunk college students...
Kentucky went in at the half down 32-29 thanks in large part to 11 turnovers and the Cats' lack of rebounding allowing Arkansas to collect 10 offensive rebounds.
POLOSN: 4PTS, 1REB
GOODWIN: 9PTS, 3REBS
CAULEY-STEIN: 5PTS, 6REBS
WILTJER: 5PTS, 4REBS, 1AST
MAYS: 0PTS, 4REBS
HARROW: 4PTS, 1REB, 1AST
POYTHRESS: 2PTS, 3REBS
Kentucky cannot have Mays and Poythress not scoring when they are playing in this type of atmosphere. I said in my preview to this game that EVERYONE would have to give 100% for Kentucky to win in Fayetteville, at the half that wasn't the case...
Kentucky opened the second half with two free-throws from Poythress cutting the Hogs' lead to 32-31, then immediately gave up a wide open three then turned it over on the other end which turned into an Arkansas dunk to make the score 37-31. At times this team can be so frustrating to watch just because of some of the silly mistakes they make, turnovers will be the end to this team when it matters.
After turning it over, yet again while trying to inbound the ball, Arkansas cashed in on a "and one" taking their largest lead of the game 43-31. Alex Poythress cut it down to 43-33 after a nice move to the basket. I don't think any player other than Cauley-Stein has improved more over the last couple of weeks than Alex Poythress. He just seems more comfortable and confident on the floor than he was earlier in the season.
With Jarrod Polson taking more and more of Ryan Harrow's minutes, he has to be concerned about playing time next year. I promise you, if Harrow doesn't improve drastically, he will not see the floor at all next season. That goes for any of this years freshman that may elect to come back for another year, with so much talent coming in, I could see many players from this years team leaving who really has no business.
With 13:02 to go, the Hogs turned on their full-court press and forced so many Kentucky turnovers in so little time I lost count as Arkansas built their lead back to 12 at 52-40. Some may not agree, but I really believe the crowd played just as big of a role in Kentucky's performance as Arkansas' defense did. They just looked completely intimidated the entire second half, the louder the crowd got, the worse they played, it was just simply hard to watch.
With 8:50 to go in the game, Kentucky seemed like they were ready to get on a plane and head back to Lexington as Arkansas stormed out to a 59-44 lead and made it look easy while doing it. That's what happens when you turn it over 7 times in the second half and only get three made field goals. I said coming in, the fact that the Hogs averaged 9 steals per game and Kentucky averaged 13 turnovers, that it could be a disastrous night if the Cats didn't value every single possession and they clearly didn't.
Interesting site during the game was when Ryan Harrow fouled Haydar of Arkansas with 1:11 to go, Calipari yelled "you don't foul, you just play basketball".
Kentucky drops one on the road 73-60, but the game wasn't even that close. Kentucky for the last part of the first half and the entirety of the second played scared and as Cal says, "not to lose". But what initially cost them the game was 19 turnovers and giving up 20 offensive rebounds. I don't care who you are, when you turn the ball over at that rate and give up that many offensive rebounds, you will lose.
Up next is Georgia.....