Kentucky came into this game in somewhat of a strange position, second place in the SEC and their spot in the NCAA Tournament anything but secure. That can change and it must start with this game. A loss to Georgia would be devastating to their post season chances, in 40 minutes we would find out if they wanted it bad enough.
Kentucky started the game with with a nice low-post move and score by Willie Cauley-Stein. The more he plays, the more confident he gets. Georgia wasted no time as they answered immediately with a deep three. The Cats just don't have that lock-down defender that all of Cal's teams have had since he's been in Lexington, that's what this team is missing.
Archie Goodwin caused play to be stopped after an awkward drive to the basket where no play was to be made, as usual. Thankfully he wasn't seriously injured, but I'm not sure if Archie will ever learn to drive and dish.
It was sloppy play on both ends as the score stayed on 3-2 for what seemed like an eternity, but Kentucky (Goodwin) finally hit a long two point bucket putting the Cats up 4-3 for just a moment as Georgia answered once again.
We were once again given the pleasure of hearing Big Bobby Knight call tonight's game, I'm not sure there's anything harder to listen to. I've never seen anyone get so confused by the simplest things that he used to make a living coaching, makes one wonder about his mental health.
At the first media timeout, Georgia led the Cats 5-4 with 15:38 to play. This one was hard to watch early due to no offense to speak of on both sides, I'm pretty sure neither team could throw it in the ocean. With 14:32 to go until halftime, Kentucky had only made 3 baskets, but still led the game 6-5, brutal.
At the 11:50 mark, Kentucky led 13-7 after an impressive steal and dunk by Willie Cauley-Stein that even Anthony Davis would've been impressed with. I'm telling you, if this kid comes back for his sophomore season, he is going to be special to watch. The bad stat of the half however was of course free-throw shooting. The Cats missed 6 straight before Archie Goodwin made one of two. This is probably the worse free-throw shooting team I've seen in a while.
Last season, everyone talked about how Darius Miller disappeared in games, but no one disappears in more games than Alex Poythress. Half way through the first half and Alex hadn't even attempted a shot, that simply cannot happen if Kentucky expects to win or even be competitive.
With 7:02 to go, Georgia brought some full court defense that absolutely rattled the Cats. The way they responded one would've thought they had never seen this type of defense before. The first two times the Bulldogs pressed, it resulted in a turnover when Archie Goodwin basically just handed his defender the ball, then the pressed caused a timeout to be called because no one would move to the ball or even attempt to get open.
After what was probably the worse half this team has played all season, Kentucky went to the locker room down 31-26 after a deep, deep three from Caldwell-Pope just ahead of the buzzer and that was the story of the first half. Georgia hit shots they had no business hitting and Kentucky missed shots they had no business missing. The only player for the Cats that showed any kind of effort was Jon Hood who had two points on a beautiful cut to the basket and three rebounds, one of them an offensive board.
Nothing worth writing about, but if you're interested, your halftime leading scorers were...
Wiltjer, Goodwin and Cauley-Stein all with six points and they combined for 8 of Kentucky's 11 made field goals. Again, B-R-U-T-A-L.......
Kentucky started the second half with drive to the basket and a conversion by Ryan Harrow, something that should have been done the entire first half of the game. I'm not sure what was wrong in this game, but something just looked off for most of the night. The first two baskets in the second half came at the hands of Ryan Harrow with the second one being a deep three. When Harrow plays well, the team plays well, it's just that simple.
At the first timeout of the second half, Kentucky trailed by a margin of 37-31 with 17:11 to go in the game. This game was just complete disaster from the get go, even their center buried a three in the face of Archie Goodwin. Things just kept getting worse the longer the game lasted, with this performance tonight, this does not look like an NCAA Tournament team folks.
The telling stat of this game? That's an easy one, 4-20 from three and free throws 5-12, that pretty much sealed the Cats' fate in this one, and that was with 9:00 to go. Were there some bad calls tonight? Without question, but the thing is, this Kentucky team, even without the presence of Noel still has more talent than ANYONE in the SEC other than Florida. There is no logical reason for the performances that the Cats have shown in the latter part of this season.
Your final score from Athens was 72-62.... post game quotes and box-scores to follow soon.....