Tonight, the Samford Bulldogs came into Rupp Arena with the unlikely task of breaking the Kentucky Wildcats' 40-game home winning streak, and as you might expect, it did not happen. But this game provided a lot of good teaching moments for Coach Cal, especially in the area of defensive fundamentals.
A hearty "Thank you" to a tough Samford team, who, despite being under-talented and somewhat undersized, came in and gave everything they had. Samford ran a very precise offense a lot of the time, and several times embarrassed the young Wildcats with open layups off back-cuts. Samford played well in the half court, but just could not deal with the length and talent of Kentucky, particularly Anthony Davis.
This was a game that saw pre-season All-American Terrence Jones in street clothes as well as several Wildcats take dings during the game. Hopefully, none of those dings will manifest themselves as full-blown injuries. Another good thing tonight was seven minutes by Twany Beckham and 17 big minutes by Eloy Vargas, and both made the best of their time.
Note that this is preliminary from ESPN.com, and could vary from the official stats:
|Tyler Hood, F||30||3-8||1-3||4-6||0||3||2||1||0||1||2||11|
|Drew Windler, C||26||5-9||1-3||0-0||0||1||0||0||0||4||1||11|
|Jeffrey Merritt, G||35||3-9||0-3||0-0||0||5||2||0||0||2||1||6|
|Will Cook, G||26||0-4||0-3||0-0||0||4||0||0||0||1||3||0|
|Devin McNeil, G||3||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Matthew Friday, C||13||4-5||0-1||0-0||2||3||4||2||0||2||0||8|
|Kaylin Johnson, G||14||2-3||1-1||2-2||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||7|
|Levi Barnes, C||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hamilton Bailey, G||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brandon Hayman, G||14||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||0||1||0||2||4||2|
|Raijon Kelly, G||30||1-6||0-2||1-2||1||2||3||0||0||0||2||3|
|Connor Miller, G||7||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F||27||5-11||0-2||0-0||2||2||2||0||2||1||3||10|
|Anthony Davis, F||29||3-7||0-1||2-2||4||9||0||3||5||0||2||8|
|Darius Miller, G||31||6-10||3-6||2-2||2||2||5||2||0||0||1||17|
|Doron Lamb, G||31||8-12||4-6||6-7||0||6||0||1||0||1||1||26|
|Marquis Teague, G||33||6-11||1-2||1-3||2||4||5||1||0||4||2||14|
|Eloy Vargas, F||17||1-4||0-0||0-0||3||7||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Twany Beckham, G||7||0-0||0-0||0-0||1||3||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jarrod Polson, G||2||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kyle Wiltjer, F||22||2-7||1-4||0-0||1||4||0||0||0||1||3||5|
|Brian Long, G||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
There is plenty to praise in this game, and relatively little, at least statistically, to criticize. The green is obviously the good stuff, and the yellow not so good.
- Doron Lamb continues to impress. This is back-to-back big games for the UK shooting guard, and he was mostly flawless tonight on offense. Defensively he was good, but not really great. Nonetheless, he gets the game ball tonight.
- Darius Miller was superb. Honorable mention. He shot the ball great, and got five big assists.
- Anthony Davis played a good game, but he tried some wild shots inside. I would have liked to see more post moves out of him.
- But for four turnovers (four is always too many), Marquis Teague had a very decent game.
- Eloy Vargas was excellent rebounding the ball. He may have no offensive game, but he is fundamentally sound defensively and is a solid rebounder. He understands his role, and is getting right good at it.
- Twany Beckham got his feet wet. Three rebounds in seven minutes is not bad at all.
- I can't wait to see Kentucky's eFG%, it's going to be stupid.
- UK's 3-point defense was really good tonight. They did get beat on some back door cuts, though. But the Princeton offense is always going to get you a few times.
- 21 3-point attempts is a much better number for this team than the 33 they shot against Chattanooga.
Not so superlative:
- Kyle Wiltjer wasn't horrible tonight, but neither was he very good. He needs to be more willing to shoot open shots in the offense.
- Not happy with 2 rebounds each for Kidd-Gilchrist and Miller.
- Kentucky's post defense was not good tonight. That's where Jones is really missed.
To me, this was a much better game for Kentucky than the last one against the Chattanooga Mocs. Kentucky's offensive execution was better, their defensive intensity was better, and overall I thought UK just played much better. This was nothing like their best game, but the Wildcats showed that they are having none of any upsets amongst the lower majors. The Gardener-Webb days are over.
Finally, Matt Jones just tweeted that the UK GPA for this semester was 2.7. Not what UK would like, but not likely to draw fire from the national media, either. Hopefully it will go up next semester like it did the second semester in 2009-10.