Kentucky basketball: Another thrilling finish and Cats sit tied atop the SEC

Kentucky Wildcats guard Davion Mintz (10), forward Oliver Sarr Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats guard Davion Mintz (10), forward Oliver Sarr Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kentucky basketball
Olivier Sarr. Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

The Hustle Boyz getting it done

As the teams came out of the under eight-minute tv timeout the best combination that gave Kentucky the best chance was on the floor together. I’ll call them The Hustle Boyz.

The lineup of Mintz, Askew, Allen, Toppin, and Sarr may not put fear into many opponents but these five will go all out sacrificing all they have. When it’s all said and done these are the ones holding their shorts, knees bent, breathing hard, and giving it their all.

Calipari noted after the game that “Jacob Toppin was ridiculous. I need fighters in the game at the end and those who want to fight will play.”

All can be credited with at least one hustle play per game like Toppin, or Allen will get that rebound when you need one but can be a liability at the defensive end many times. Calipari admitted that was the truth but what he gives up defensively he gives back on offense so he called it “even-steven” and he needs to be in the game.

Allen came off the bench to net 14 points and grab five rebounds with 10 in the second half as he made both 3-point attempts and all four free throws. In the past two games 64 minutes and one turnover.

Askew is just turning into what we can all rally behind. He hit bottom in the fall with his confidence but has risen and soaring. Against Vanderbilt, he dropped in 11 points, had three rounds and three assists, and ZERO turnovers.

In fact, Kentucky as a team only had two turnovers the entire game.

Mintz gives you steady play game in and game out. Never complains, never sulks, always ready when they seem to need him – 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

Toppin is instant energy off the bench and again with six points, six rebounds, a block, and an assist to go with the pivotal screen on Mintz’s winner.

Sarr has finally become the player Kentucky has been waiting for and he delivered against Vanderbilt taking up space in the lane, dropping in hook shots, spinning buckets, and knocked shots down from outside. However, his free throws were truly the difference that offset Vandy hitting 10 of 27 threes.

He talked about what Toppin and Dontaie bring to the team when on the floor.

"“JT is at the right spot at the right time every game. Then on defense, he takes pride guarding the best player out there and he does the dirty work for us. Dontaie is a knock-down shooter but it just makes the defense worry about him and it opens the court for everyone. It changes the game and makes it way easier for us to operate.”"

Whatever the starting lineup might be these are the guys who will get you there in the end by sacrificing it all.