Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kentucky 69 - 58 Georgia (No. 2,162)

To begin with, we should note that Georgia is a pretty good team.  According to Ken Pomeroy, they are the 31st-best team in the country, which is more than good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament.  Going into Tuesday's game, the Dawgs were 14-6 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.  Meanwhile, UK was playing another game without Trey Lyles, who continues to suffer from a mysterious illness.

Despite all of this, UK quickly jumped out to an 11-1 lead, and they led 20-9 after 10 minutes, and 42-27 at the half.  Kentucky played a glorious first half.  Look at these figures:

1.  The Cats shot 12-21 from 2-point range (57.1 percent)
2.  They went 5-13 from 3-point range (38.5 percent)
3.  They had 13 assists and only 3 turnovers.  Meanwhile, Georgia had 6 assists and 12 turnovers.

Andrew Harrison (12 points, 5 assists) and Karl-Anthony Towns (11 points, 6 rebounds) were particularly good.

Not surprisingly, the Cats did not show the same type of energy in the second half.  Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker were both unusually cold from the outside -- they went 0-5 from three-point range in the second half -- and UK's interior guys weren't doing very much against Georgia's 2-3 zone.  Meanwhile, the Dawgs took advantage, slowly cutting UK's lead.  With 2:06 left, Georgia scored to cut UK's lead to only 5 points -- 63-58.

The Cats called time.  And then went back to work.

1:33 left:  Towns makes a short jumper (UK leads 65-58)
1:15 left:  UGA missed a three-pointer, UK came away with the ball
0:59 left:  Tyler Ulis made two FT's (UK leads 67-58)
0:53 left:  UGA missed a three-pointer.  Willie Cauley-Stein grabbed the rebound
0:41 left:  Andrew Harrison made two FT's (UK leads 69-58)
0:31 left:  UGA's shot is blocked by Towns, who grabbed the rebound

And that was it.

22-0.  9-0 in the SEC.  9 games left.

The star of the game was Andrew Harrison, who probably takes more criticism than the rest of the team put together -- most of which is unfair.  Andrew had a great game -- 5-10 from 2-point range, 3-6 from 3-point range, 4-4 from the line:  23 points, 7 assists, and only 1 turnover.  Towns also had a great game:  15 points and 13 rebounds.

Next up the Cats have a very difficult road trip:  games at Florida and LSU.  It will be interesting to see how they meet that challenge.

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