Throughout most of the year, certain pockets of Kentucky Wildcat fans have fretted and worried about sophomore Terrence Jones and wondered “what was wrong” with him. Those questions have been muted as Jones has brought his game to a new level and is playing up to his preseason accolades. Jones was a complete beast last night as he hit 9-13 shots for 22 points and grabbed 10 boards to lead Kentucky to the 81-65 win over Western Kentucky. Jones has averaged 16.6 points and 9 rebounds over his past five games. Last night’s performance was a huge difference from last year’s NCAA second round game against Princeton when Jones had 10 points and 2 boards. Jones numbers are down a bit from last year, but that is going to happen when you share the post with a player like Anthony Davis. Anyone watching the game can see a new fire and passion in Jones and that is a difference that will be a key ingredient for title number eight. John Calipari acknowledged Jone’s newfound aggressiveness and how it makes Anthony Davis better in his post game comments:
Probably an aggressiveness that we needed him to play with. In the last month, he’s been terrific. I will tell you that, when he’s playing and then Anthony can go do his thing and doesn’t have to try to do everything, it makes Anthony even better.
If there is a negative to Kentucky’s win over Western, it has sto be the last 5:00 of the game. Kentucky led 80-55 with 5:55 remaining and were outscored by Western 16-1 the rest of the game. There is no need to panic, but its obvious that Kentucky needs to close out its tournament games better. Kentucky’s players are fully aware that they let their foot off the gas down the stretch. Almost to a man, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis, and Darius Miller had virtually the same post game comments:
Teague: “They were hitting shots and things like that, “but I think we kind of slowed down and let off the gas. It’s hard to keep playing like that when you are up so many points, but we can’t do that, we’ve got to finish the game up.”
Davis: “They were making shots and we were just breaking down defensively. But we’ve got to learn how to play through the whole game and Coach Cal told us that. He doesn’t care about the score, he’s just worried about how we play the rest of the game.”
Miller: We kind of knew that we shouldn’t have done that. It was kind of obvious that we shouldn’t have played like that. We’ve got to come out and play the whole 40 minutes. So there was talk about it amongst each other at first and then coach reinforced us.”