The Cats and the Trojans squared off in Freedom Hall tonight, and the Cats were able to gut out a 73-51 win. In the first half, the Cats came out lethargic, getting out-hustled on nearly every 50-50 ball, and Terrence Jones drew two early fouls and missed much of the first half as he continues to battle out of his worst slump in his 2-year UK career. The Cats as a team began the game 3/12 shooting and 11/28 in the first half, all while committing several unforced turnovers and ended up trailing much of the first half. No UK player could seem to get his offensive game going. Anthony Davis did have a highlight-reel dunk in which his hand reached the the top of the block on the backboard. The Trojans hit several long 3-pointers, and were able to take a 30–27 halftime lead.
The Cats came out of the break with a little more energy, but still struggled to find any offensive flow, and continued turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Then the Cats finally woke up with 15 minutes left in the game and trailing by 3 when they went on a 23-1 run to take a 19-point lead, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Darius Miller which made him a member of the 1,000 point club at UK. The Cats caught a break when the Trojan’s leading scorer, Chuck Guy, sprained his ankle with 11 minutes left. To that point, Guy had scored 16 points, and no Cat could seem to contain the quick guard, who managed to score only 3 points after the injury. Here are some other notes from the game.
Teague continued to struggle shooting while going 2-7 from the field, but did manage to get 5 assists while only having 2 turnovers.
Jones did have a descent offensive game, scoring 10 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, but did have 4 turnovers as dealt with foul trouble and played only 26 minutes.
Anthony Davis was by far UK’s most consistent player tonight, as he recorded another double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds. He almost had as many rebounds as Arkansas-Little Rock did, who the Cats out-rebounded 47-19.
The victory puts the Cats at 14-1 as they begin conference play Saturday when they host South Carolina. The Cats can’t afford to play the way they did in the first half against any SEC caliber team, or they’ll end up like UCONN did tonight, who lost by 22 points to Seton Hall. Conference play is a completely different level that the Cats will have to play at every night to win.