Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats passed their final exam before the Big One -- the game of the year against the Louisville Cardinals, currently ranked #4 but soon to take a fall whether or not they win at Kentucky due to their loss tonight in the Chicken Ranch to the Georgetown Hoyas.
First of all, I must say that I was very impressed with the play of the Lamar Cardinals. They came into this game somewhat undermanned but very competitive, and that shows in their 8-3 pre-game record. They were very tough, especially on the offensive glass, and didn't give an inch to Kentucky's talented but young group. They were a tougher out than I might have expected, and they played well tonight in front of a huge Wildcats home crowd. Kudos to coach Pat Knight and the Lamar Cardinals on a a fine effort.
For Kentucky, I felt this game was a mixed bag. There was some good, like the vastly improved perimeter shooting of Darius Miller, and the excellent percentage Kentucky shot from the line, a nice continuing trend. On the other hand, there seemed to be a lot of turnovers and I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Cardinals outworked the Wildcats on the offensive glass. We'll take a look after the jump.
Box Score (courtesy of ESPN):
|Charlie Harper, F||26||0-4||0-1||0-0||1||3||1||1||1||3||2||0|
|Osas Ebomwonyi, C||21||2-3||0-0||0-0||4||8||0||0||4||0||4||4|
|Anthony Miles, G||22||2-10||1-4||6-6||0||2||2||4||0||2||1||11|
|Mike James, G||39||13-29||1-4||2-2||1||3||1||3||0||2||3||29|
|Devon Lamb, G||23||1-3||0-1||0-3||1||6||1||3||0||3||2||2|
|Donley Minor, G||20||1-2||0-1||0-0||1||1||3||0||0||0||2||2|
|Stan Brown, F||15||1-3||0-0||2-2||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||4|
|Nikko Acosta, F||7||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||2||2|
|Brandon Davis, G||5||0-1||0-1||0-0||1||3||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|Tre Lynch, G||17||4-7||0-0||0-0||0||2||0||1||0||2||2||8|
|Vincenzo Nelson, F||5||0-2||0-0||2-2||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F||26||5-6||0-0||8-10||1||6||4||1||1||1||2||18|
|Anthony Davis, F||34||5-10||0-0||0-0||3||13||2||0||6||0||2||10|
|Darius Miller, G||32||4-7||4-6||3-4||1||6||1||1||0||3||3||15|
|Doron Lamb, G||32||3-9||1-3||5-6||0||1||2||0||0||0||1||12|
|Marquis Teague, G||31||4-8||1-3||6-7||1||2||4||1||1||6||2||15|
|Eloy Vargas, F||4||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|Twany Beckham, G||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Terrence Jones, F||27||4-10||0-0||1-2||4||6||2||0||1||3||2||9|
|Jarrod Polson, G||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||2||0||0|
|Kyle Wiltjer, F||11||1-2||1-2||4-4||0||1||0||0||1||1||0||7|
|Brian Long, G||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
As usual, the green indicates good things and the yellow, not so good.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist really brought it tonight. There is no part of his game that seems to have a crack, let alone a hole, at least tonight. He did almost nothing but good things. Game ball.
- Darius Miller brought his offense tonight, and it really showed up in the box score.
- Anthony Davis played a typical Anthony Davis game. It seems like every one of his box scores look like this, although tonight he shot the ball a bit more from further out, and it showed in his percentage. But six blocks are definitely worthy of mention.
- Doron Lamb didn't shoot the ball particularly well tonight, but he played okay.
- Marquis Teague did some good things on defense.
- Terrence Jones did a good job on the offensive glass.
Not so superlative:
- Marquis Teague just struggled tonight with turnovers. Not his best effort.
- Eloy Vargas looks like he had a hangover from too much egg nog. His energy was low and he just didn't contribute.
- Terrence Jones was not nearly aggressive enough, and when he was, he looked out of sorts. He wasn't horrible, but he was a role player tonight, and that's not what we need from him.
- Kyle Wiltjer continues to struggle to rebound the ball.
- Darius Miller didn't play particularly well defensively, and he turned the ball over too much.
Overall, I know I'm just picking nits, but there were too many breakdowns on defense when the game got frenetic, and too many turnovers period. Kentucky allowed Lamar to get 12 steals -- a season high. If we let Louisville steal the ball 12 times, the outcome will not likely be a Wildcat victory. Marquis Teague just has to get this under control. I hope he just got the last bad game out of his system.
We need much more out of Jones, Teague, and our bench to beat the deep, talented, and now angry Louisville Cardinals. And they are next.