Senior Night at Kentucky (19-10, 8-6) is always special. This year it's not only special, but a win versus SEC East cellar-dweller Georgia (11-18, 2-12) is an absolute necessity if UK is to have any chance at all of making the NCAA Tournament. A loss tonight would most certainly relegate UK to the NIT, absent the SEC Tournament trophy being brought back to Lexington.
Tonight's 8:00 EST match-up between the 'Cats and Bulldogs will serve as a Rupp Arena send-off for UK center Jared Carter. Will it also be the last game in UK's hallowed hall for Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks? Well, that will be determined after the season. But Jared, through his hard work, diligence, and excellent behavior deserves all the respect and admiration afforded an All-America.
Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie had this to say about Carter:
"He's been great. It's very difficult for a player, no matter what class he's in, to not be able to play much. Jared has been here for so long. He came here with such high aspirations, and I know he approached this season and last season with high expectations. For not having played more, he has the best attitude I've ever seen. He's worked hard and continues to get better. He's just been a joy to be around and a joy to coach. I think his teammates love him to death, and he's been a really good member of our team."
Now, on to the 'Dogs -- Georgia is 2-3 in their last five games, with victories over Florida and Vanderbilt. With interim head coach Pete Herrmann (yes, David Robinson's coach at Navy) taking over for the deposed Dennis Felton, Georgia has been playing with nothing to lose; they have been playing loose and free. That is always dangerous for an opponent, especially one playing for it's Tournament life.
Georgia Personnel -- Stats for all games & conference play
Terrance Woodbury: 6'7" 221 lb senior G/F -- He averages 13.6 points (14th in the SEC), 4.6 rebounds,1.2 assists, and 2.8 turnovers per game. He shoots 39.5% from the field, 32.8% from the three-point line (41-125), and 83.3% from the free throw line (2nd in the SEC).
In conference play Woodbury is averaging 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He's also averaging 2.7 turnovers per game. He shoots 39.5% from the field, 33.8% from beyond the arc (24-71), and 80.0% from the free throw line -- He scored 32 points in Georgia's win over Florida, but since that game on February 14, he's made only 14-40 field goal attempts (35.0%), and only 4-13 threes (30.8%). He's nabbed nine offensive rebounds in his last four games. In UK's 68-45 victory in Athens earlier in the year Woodbury scored 8 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, dished out one assist, and had four turnovers.
Howard "Trey" Thompkins: 6'8" 245 lb freshman forward -- He averages 12.5 points, 7.2 rebounds (11th in the SEC), 1.1 blocks (12th in the SEC), and 2.4 turnovers per game. He also grabs 2.0 offensive boards per game. Thompkins shoots 43.0% from the floor, 37.7% from the three-point line (29-77), and 72.5% from the charity stripe.
In SEC play he averages 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds (2.1 off. boards), and 2.4 turnovers per game. He's making 38.8% of his field goal attempts, 28.3% of his threes (13-46), and 72.0% of his free throws -- Thompkins has recorded 26 rebounds in his last three games (five offensive). He's also committed nine turnovers in his last three games. In his last five games he's 4-14 from the three-point line (28.6%), but he has made nine of his last 10 free throw tries. In Georgia's last game, versus Arkansas, he was 9-13 from the field (2-4 threes), and scored 20 points in 27 minutes. He's recorded three double-doubles on the year, and he's had three double-digit rebounding games in SEC play (versus Alabama, South Carolina, and Ole Miss). Last time out against UK, Thompkins scored seven points on 3-9 shooting (1-2 threes), he grabbed three rebounds, had one steal, and three turnovers.
Dustin Ware: 5'11" 185 lb freshman guard -- Ware averages 7.1 points, 3.3 assists (8th in the SEC), 2.3 turnovers, and 1.7 rebounds per game. He shoots 36.3% from the field, 36.4% from behind the arc (36-99), and 64.6% from the free throw line.
In league play Ware averages 8.4 points, 3.7 assists (2.4 turnovers), and 1.8 rebounds per game. He shoots 37.7% from the floor, 38.3% from the three-point line (13-46), and 62.5% from the free throw line -- Since going 1-13 from behind the arc in back-to-back games versus South Carolina and Tennessee, Ware has made 11-21 three-point shots in his last five games (52.4%). Overall, in his last five games he's made 18-38 shots (47.4%), and dished out 25 assists to only eight turnovers. This after turning the ball over 10 times versus South Carolina on February 7. He's scored in double figures in his last five games, averaging 10.8 points per game. Versus UK in January, he scored seven points (2-8 FG's, 2-5 threes), dished out four dimes (one turnover), and had three steals.
Corey Butler: 6'3" 195 lb senior guard -- Butler comes in averaging 6.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He makes 40.1% of his shots, 35.7% of his trey attempts (30-84), and 69.4% of his free throws.
In SEC play Butler is averaging 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists (2.2 turnovers), and 1.1 steals per game. He shooting 32.8% from the field, 21.2% from the three-point line (7-33), and 74.3% from the free throw line -- In his last four games Butler has made only 5-21 field goal attempts (23.8%), and 1-7 three-pointers (14.3%). He's recorded zero assists in his last 51 minutes played, covering two games. He has eight steals in his last five games. In the earlier game versus UK, Butler scored five points (2-5 FG's, 0-3 threes), grabbed three rebounds and committed three turnovers.
Zac Swansey: 6'1" 179 lb sophomore guard -- He's averaging 4.5 points, 3.0 assists (2.1 turnovers), 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. He's shooting 37.0% from the field, 25.6% from the three-point line (10-39), and 50.0% from the free throw line.
In league play Swansey is averaging 2.6 points, 1.7 assists (1.9 turnovers), and 1.0 rebounds per game. He's making 28.0% of his shots, 12.5% of his three-point attempts (2-16), and 77.8% of his free throws -- Since making 5-9 shots versus South Carolina on February 7, Swansey has made only two of his last 15 shots from the field in his last seven games (13.3%). He's made only 1-13 threes in his last 13 games (7.7%). Versus UK earlier in the year, he scored four points (2-5 field goals), dished out three assists, had one turnover and two steals.
Albert Jackson: 6'10" 265 lb junior F/C -- The Earlington, Kentucky native is averaging 4.5 points, 3.8 rebounds (1.6 off. reb.), and .9 blocks per game. He's making 46.7% of his shots, and 58.1% of his free throws.
In SEC play Jackson is averaging 4.5 points, and 3.3 rebounds per game. He's making 43.5% of his field goals attempts, and 47.4% of his free throws (9-19) -- Jackson has made five of his last 10 shots over the last two games. He recorded six offensive boards versus South Carolina on February 7. He's made only four of his last 12 free throws (33.3%). Last time out against UK, Jackson scored two points, on 1-4 shooting. He also grabbed two rebounds, had two steals, and two turnovers.
Chris Barnes: 6'7" 250 lb sophomore forward -- Barnes is averaging 4.0 points, and 3.9 rebounds per game. He shoots 54.8% from the field, and 41.0% from the free throw line.
In conference play he's averaging 3.5 points, and 3.6 rebounds per game. He's shooting 60.5% from the field, but only 17.6% from the charity stripe (3-17) -- In his last two games he's made 7-9 field goal attempts (77.8%) in 39 minutes played. His previous two games he attempted zero shots in 33 minutes played. He had five turnovers in 20 minutes versus Arkansas on March 1. He's made only two of his last 13 free throw attempts (eight games). Against UK in January, Barnes scored five points on 2-3 shooting, grabbed three rebounds, committed one turnover, and blocked one shot.
Jeremy Price: 6'8" 264 lb sophomore forward -- Price averages 5.4 points, and 3.0 rebounds per game. He shoots 43.8% from the floor, 40.0% from beyond the arc (2-5), and 52.2% from the free throw line.
In league play Price is averaging 3.4 points, and 1.7 rebounds per game. He's shooting 40.5% from the field, and 46.2% from the free throw line (6-13) -- Price has played only 32 minutes in Georgia's last five games. In those games he's only 1-10 from the field. In the 11 games previous, Price was 30-54 from the field (55.6%), while averaging 19 minutes per game. He recorded three assists versus 'Bama on January 31, but in the six games since he's dished out zero dimes. Versus UK in the earlier game, Price scored three points (1-8), nabbed three rebounds, and had one steal, but he committed four turnovers.
Georgia Team Stats -- Overall (SEC Rank in Parenthesis)
Points Per Game -- 64.7 (12) 69.1 (6)
Field Goal% -- 41.4 (12) 42.6 (7)
Free Throw% -- 62.8 (11) 67.0 (6)
3-Point% -- 33.7 (7) 31.7 (1)
Rebound Margin -- +.1 (10)
Off. Reb. Per Game -- 12.3 (7) 12.7 (8)
Off. Reb.% -- 33.4 (9) 33.5 (8)
Def. Reb.% -- 66.5 (8) 66.6 (9)
Assists Per Game -- 13.1 (6) 14.2 (9)
Steals Per Game -- 7.6 (6) 9.0 (12)
Turnovers Per Game -- 17.3 (2) 14.9 (7)
Blocks Per Game -- 3.8 (7) 3.9 (9)
Georgia Team Stats -- Conference Games Only (SEC rank in parenthesis)
Points Per Game -- 60.7(12) 74.2 (8)
Field Goal% -- 39.1 (12) 45.4 (8)
Free Throw% -- 64.0 (9) 68.0 (6)
3-Point% -- 32.4 (9) 33.8 (7)
Rebound Margin -- -1.9 (12)
Off. Reb.Per Game -- 11.9 (7) 12.4 (8)
Off. Reb.% -- 31.6 (9) 34.2 (7)
Def. Reb.% -- 65.8 (7) 68.4 (9)
Assists Per Game -- 11.8 (8) 14.9 (10)
Steals Per Game -- 6.9 (7) 8.9 (12)
Turnovers Per Game -- 17.9 (1) 12.9 (4)
Blocks Per Game -- 2.2 (12) 4.1 (6)
In beating Vanderbilt on February 25, Georgia held the Commodores to only 31.4% shooting ... Vandy was 6-23 from the three-point line ... Georgia has made 14 of their last 35 three-point attempts (40.0%) ... Their last four opponents have made only 23.4% of their threes (25-85) ... Georgia committed 24 turnovers versus South Carolina, and 25 versus Tennessee ... Georgia beat Florida on Valentine's Day by shooting 57.4% from the field (14-26 three-pointers), while committing only 13 turnovers ... 10 of UGA's SEC opponents have shot over 45.0% from the field ... As a team Georgia has made only 14 of their last 25 free throws (56.0%) ... Over their last four games, Georgia is averaging 58.5 points per game ... They have also been out-rebounded by 36 boards over their last four games ... The 'Dogs 88 points versus Florida was their biggest point production since scoring 98 against N.C. A&T on December 28 ... Against Ole Miss, Georgia shot only 25.0% for the game (14-56) ... Georgia has shot north of 35.0% from the three-point line five times in SEC play.
UK 68, UGA 45
Georgia shot only 31.1% from the field (19-61), and 18.8% from behind the arc (3-16). They did record 10 steals, but they committed 19 turnovers. The Bulldogs grabbed 15 offensive rebounds for a 35.7% conversion rate.
For UK, Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks combined to shoot 15-31 from the field, and scored 37 of UK's 68 points. Kevin Galloway, in only 10 minutes of action, dished out four assists and committed zero turnovers. Perry Stevenson's line looked good -- 4-6 FG's (13 points), six rebounds, and two blocks, all in 25 minutes. DeAndre Liggins also dished out four assists.
For the complete boxscore, go here.
CliffsNotes Analysis -- Facts of Life Edition
Georgia doesn't shoot the ball particularly well, they don't rebound the ball particularly well, they don't take care of the ball particularly well, and they don't defend particularly well. What the 'Dogs do is give up a lot of points, a lot of good shots, and a lot of wins to their opponents.
Kentucky has to win ... must win ... has no choice but to win ... in order to pull the Big Blue Nation back from the brink of self-destruction.
Since the beginning of SEC play in 1933, UK has lost three games in a row, twice within the conference season, only three times -- '67, '76, and 2006. Coming off losses to South Carolina and LSU, and UK's earlier three game SEC slide, the 'Cats are in danger of adding '09 to the list.
It's just a fact of life that Kentucky needs a win. I don't care how it's done ... just win!
How's that for an analysis?
GOOD LUCK JARED CARTER -- YOU'VE BEEN A GREAT 'CAT!
Thanks for reading, and 'Go Cats!