Sorry for the delay, guys and gals, just another one of those days.
First of all, thanks to all of you who joined our liveblog last night. I think we will be doing this again for the North Carolina game, but I'm not sure at this point. I'm going to have to post less often if we do, because very frequent updates made it hard to watch the action. I'll just have to find a happy medium, I guess -- basketball is a fast game.
Kentucky's offense was atrocious last night, and I personally think that flatters it unmercifully. Shooting 48% against a 0-5 team is not only inexplicable, but inexcusable. The only people who shot a respectable percentage (and took a significant number of shots) were Perry Stevenson and Patrick Patterson. Thank God for them, for without both of them, UK surely would have lost.
UK's guard play, which had been outstanding lately, was almost a self-parody, a comedy of errors. 23 turnovers is simply a bizarre number, with the two point guards accounting for almost half of them. If the Cats can handle the ball no better than this, they will not be very competitive this year.
A simple 2-3 zone defense completely shut down the Wildcats. I know, I know -- there are more holes in a 2-3 zone than in a pound of petite Swiss cheese, but the Wildcats either couldn't find them, or impatiently jacked up bad shots hoping to shoot the Seawolves out of it. It didn't work. Consequently, Patterson and Stevenson had to work very hard for everything they got.
Kentucky's 3 point shooting was 10%. Let me write that again -- 10%, as in 1 for 10. I have no words.
To be honest, the defense wasn't that bad. Stonybrook only shot 35% from the floor, although they shot well from 3-point land, 42%. Still, they only took seven shots from outside, so that is a percentage we can live with. Holding a team to only 3 made 3-pointers, regardless of their shooting percentage, is darn good.
Our free throw defense was stout as well. "What?", you say, "How can we defend the free throw line?" You got me, but somehow we did. Stonybrook shot a squalid 55% from the charity stripe, contributing significantly to Kentucky's cause. Stonybrook turned the ball over 19 times themselves, 11 of them by way of steals. UK did get backdoored several times, a continuing problem, but overall, the defense was reasonably efficient.
What wasn't so efficient was the fact that UK only managed to outrebound the tiny Seawolves by 9, 40-31. If that's the best UK can do against a school with no player taller than 6'9", what is North Carolina going to do to Kentucky on the boards?
Joe Crawford -- Two words describe his game last night -- utter futility. Not that he didn't hustle, or play defense. He rebounded pretty well with 6 boards. But he couldn't throw it in the ocean from a rowboat. His shot selection was also somewhat questionable, but I don't think I could label it selfish. He just shot horribly, and it affected his confidence, but he didn't give up.
Ramel Bradley -- Ramel reverted to pre-Liberty form. He was either so bad or so headstrong that Gillispie simply benched him in favor of Porter, who was merrily screwing around and having a nightmare night of his own. This was truly a case of a team without leadership, the blind leading the blind. Here is the statistic that tells it all -- Bradley, 22 minutes. Porter, 34 minutes.
Patrick Patterson -- Pat played well, double-double and all, but I expected more leadership from him. He is deferring too much to Bradley and Crawford, and even though he is a freshman, we need him to step into the breach when those other to worthies decide to make a mess of things. Good game, but I though he could have done more. I know he has it in him.
Perry Stevenson -- The lone bright spot among mud splatters, Perry played perhaps his best game as a Wildcat: 18 points, 10 rebounds (7 offensive) 2 assists, 3 steals 1 block on 8-11 shooting. That's a line you can be proud of, regardless of the opponent. Perry, great game young man.
Alex Legion -- Alex continues to struggle shooting, but his line was otherwise acceptable. He was the guy who kept getting beat on the backdoor play, but that is a freshman for you. Legion will get better, but he wasn't too much help last night.
AJ Stewart -- Apparently, the young man was benched for falling asleep in a film session. Hmm. Well, there you go -- get thee to bed on time, freshman.
Michael Porter -- The kid struggled. I hope he gets better, but he really struggled to do anything last night. Made some nice passes, did lead the team in assists, but had four assists and five turnovers. He seemed a bit out of his depth -- Michael needs to gain some confidence, but a poor night shooting the ball (0-4) will hurt the swagger of the best of them.
The Cats again took 2 steps back last night after some good forward progress the previous two games. Bradley was a problem, and why, nobody knows. Crawford played hard, but ineffectively. The brightest spot of all was getting Ramon Harris back, and he would have had a good line but for the 4 turnovers, two of them which led directly to easy baskets for Stonybrook.
This team is truly like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates -- you never know what you are going to get. We may come out against the Tar Heels looking like worldbeaters, or Gardner-Webb victims, it's just hard to say.
Gillispie had this to say that about sums up the game:
"They didn't guard the wings for the most part in the first half and we stood there and basically guarded ourselves."
Yep. That's what happened, all right.