Kentucky Basketball: Grandpa Grady leads short-handed Cats past Bama

Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kentucky basketball team added another chapter in why Big Blue Nation has truly fallen in love with this Wildcat team as it overcame a 3-point barrage by Alabama and rolled the Tide 90-81 without its two starting guards.

TyTy Washington (leg) and Sahvir Wheeler (wrist) were ruled out of Saturday’s game two days ago and when Alabama opened the game raining down 3-pointers it looked like an even bigger task for Kentucky to overcome.

Kentucky (22-5, 11-3) fought valiantly to keep within striking distance and single digits for almost the entire first half before finally grabbing their first lead with just 42 ticks remaining on the clock.

Davion Mintz and Kellan Grady did a phenomenal job running the offense that actually looked better than most games. Both played all but one minute in the game with Mintz never turning it over and Grady not till the very end when he got his pocket picked but stole it right back.

Grandpa Kellan Grady fuels Kentucky basketball rally

But it was “Grandpa” Grady that led the way for Kentucky. That’s how the players on this team refer to Grady who is 24 years old.

There were far too many shining moments that proved this No. 4 ranked Wildcat team is a serious threat to cut down the nets in New Orleans.

Coach John Calipari said last week his team could cover with one of his starting guards in Wheeler and Washington but not both.


Your team just proved you wrong coach and it was fun to watch.

In fact, this was the most points UK has scored since they hung 107 on Tennessee back on January 15. It is also the most points Kentucky has posted against Alabama since also hanging 107 on them back in 1992.

No. 24 ranked Alabama (17-10, 7-7) roared out to a lighting start scoring on its first seven possessions by hitting everything it threw up knocking down 7 of its first 10 shots that included 3 of 4 from beyond the arc on threes to take a 17-9 lead by the first media timeout.

Last game in Tuscaloosa the Wildcats forced the Tide to miss 3 of 30 from long range. Keon Ellis and Jaden Shackelford made sure that wasn’t the case this time as the duo combined to hit 12 of 23.

On Saturday they hit just 14 of 40 triples.

But the Wildcats weathered every punch and while pundits on social media were saying this team is done and how bad Calipari is because of the Shaedon Sharpe situation were quickly silenced.

This team weathered every punch that Alabama threw at them for 19 minutes and then started swinging back connecting on shots all over the court using a balanced attack and feeding off the crowd.

Calipari was asked about the crowd after the game. 

"“Let me thank the fans. Wow! Unbelievable environment. When we were dying, they never started booing. They don’t boo, they were cheering us on. When we made that run at the end of the half, the last four minutes, the way we guarded, they cheered on the guard, the rebound, how we defended. That’s what our fans — they know what to cheer. They know what to push the buttons. Greatest fans. I love these fans.”"

Grady tallied 25 in the win to go with Oscar Tshiebwe, who added 21 points and 14 rebounds, Keion Brooks Jr. (18 points), and Jacob Toppin (13 points).

The Wildcats lit it up for 53 percent shooting for the game while turning the ball over just seven times. It was a battle but UK won the boards 39-32 and not surprisingly the paint points, 36-24.

So just how did they do it. Here are some quick takeaways.