I think all of us watching the Ole Miss game Saturday engaged in a collective gasp at the 10:07 minute mark of the first half when Anthony Davis collected his second foul. At that point, UK had built a nice little 22-14 lead and most of us were relaxed and thinking we were well on our way to a convincing victory number 26.
Enter an obstacle. Do you think Cal was secretly happy that he would now get to see how the team could perform without its consensus Freshman of the Year/Defensive Player of the Year/Player of the Year/First Pick in the NBA Draft? I believe he found out.
Within the next five minutes, all our worst fears were realized. As the shot chart below illustrates, Ole Miss slowed us down quite a bit offensely and simultaneously went on an offensive tear of their own, hitting four inside shots (a couple over our beloved Terrence Jones) and drilling two threes; UK only hit three shots during that time period (albeit one very nice three by Wiltjer) and we found ourselves behind 31-29.
During that period each team had ten possessions, with Ole Miss tracking a staggering 1.60 points per possession and UK struggling to do much of anything at 0.70.
I hate to say it but I was thinking Bloomington at this point. Everyone else, including Cal, must have been too, because he called timeout to "talk things over" (I've always loved that phrase - I bet the discussion was not very collaborative...). And lo and behold, initiated by Miller's "one of the most amazing dunks I've ever seen NOT make it to ESPN's top 10 plays", look what happened the last 4:45 of the half:
UK returned the favor, hitting four threes after Miller's monster jam, and Ole Miss only connected on a single shot from the field. The last five minutes of the half was almost a of mirror image of the previous five, with UK averaging a blistering 1.75 points per possession while holding Ole Miss to 0.57; UK exited the half with a yet again comfortable 43-35 lead.
Although we all clearly want Davis on the court, the "Miller jam"-inspired turnaround on both ends of the floor left me feeling like we might be okay in the tournament if Davis has to sit for a little while due to fouls. Thoughts?
(A little disclaimer. I think the shot charts are accurate, but I may have missed one or two here or there; the charts are representative I believe. I think the PPP are spot on however).