Coppin St. Eagles 61, Kentucky Wildcats (11) 91:  Postmortem

Terrence Jones was excellent tonight.

The Kentucky Wildcats did not have a Christmas hangover, and handled the Coppin St. Eagles convincingly in Rupp Arena tonight.  It was the kind of game that we have become used to with this team -- inferior opponents are rarely able to challenge Kentucky.  The 'Cats have, for the most part, handled their weaker opponents easily, unlike last year's team who struggled against them early.

A heartfelt thanks to the Coppin St. Eagles for coming in and giving their best effort tonight, despite spotting Kentucky their leading scorer, Michael Harper.  It's tough to be a mid-major coming into Rupp to face a team this talented, and the Eagles competed hard against the 'Cats.  Thanks to them for the game effort.

For the Wildcats, it was kind of a mixed bag in the first half, but they were very much better in the second stanza, particularly on offense.  The 3-point shooting was not really as good at it has been, but it's hard to shoot 50+ percent from the arc game in and game out.  This game, Kentucky did their damage from inside the arc, led by Terrence Jones, who really got going after a couple of dunks raised his level of interest.

Superlatives:

  • Brandon Knight.  Brandon did a lot of good things today, including scoring, rebounding, and passing, and played some very good defense particularly in the first half.  Game ball.
  • DeAndre Liggins perhaps deserves the game ball as much as Knight.  He had a bunch of assists, double-digit points, and a number of rebounds to go along with an excellent defensive game.
  • Terrence Jones.  Jones had a good game, and did everything pretty well.  He was not really there in the first half, but he really got it moving in the second.
  • Darius Miller did not score a bunch, but he did everything else.  I just wish he would score more.
  • Josh Harrellson did everything, and did it well.  Rebound.  Score a little.  Blocked shots.  He is boringly consistent, but that's exactly what Calipari needs from him.  I love how he ran down a player and blocked his shot in the second half.
  • Doron Lamb did what he always does -- score.  He's just the perfect sixth man.
  • Eloy Vargas did some nice things.  He worked hard, was reasonably physical, and contributed.
  • Jon Hood had a decent effort.  I loved that block he got near the end of the game.  Neither he nor Stacey Poole gave up on the play.

Other observations:

  • A rotating 3-2 zone?  Well, it was interesting.  Lots of CalZones tonight.  And they worked, sort of.
  • What was with all the turnovers off of hot dog passes?
  • When will UK begin to pick up charges?  Knight took one, and Lamb tried, but other than that, nothing.
  • Missed open shots.  Kentucky must make them versus the Birds.

Overall, it was exactly what we expected -- a convincing, workmanlike victory.  Now, for the Louisville Cardinals.  I daresay they will be rather more of a challenge.

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