There was a lot of pretty basketball played in that half, but there were also some problematic defensive breakdowns. To be honest, I didn't think Kentucky came to play early, but they got better. What I don't like is that somehow, LSU is only down three, thanks mostly to a completely phantom foul called on Julius Randle and missed free throws by several guys.
UK-LSU first-half box score: pic.twitter.com/58m5B7e9Tw— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) February 22, 2014
What really galls me about this is that Kentucky made so many careless errors with the basketball. Once again, it seems like this team just can't quite figure out what to do when things are going their way. They have the whole adversity thing down, but when they are on a roll, they take far too many chances, make too many long passes, and try silly lobs that obviously aren't there.
Having said all that, I'm not upset with Kentucky right now. They are doing a lot of good things, and did a lot of damage to LSU that is likely to show up in the second half, particularly the three fouls on Anthony Hickey. Kentucky hasn't managed to shut down Johnny O'Bryant III, but they have kept him from going off. You have to like Kentucky's transition offense, and their transition defense has been relatively sound, although the zone has yielded a couple of threes when Kentucky plays it.
What the Wildcats need to do in the second half is take better care of the basketball, keep attacking the rim, and force their shooters to make tough shots. For the most part, Kentucky has done that, but keeping the breakdowns to a minimum is really important going forward.