Great, great game in a string of great games. For once, we came out on top.
Great game by the Vols, they just never gave up. But neither did they solve Kentucky's half-court defense, nor were they ever able to get the pace of the game where they perform the best. Tennessee is still a much better team than Kentucky on paper, but for 40 minutes on January 22nd, we were the best team on the court.
My initial comments:
- How did I do on my keys?
Ballhandling -- 12 turnovers. Against Tennessee. 'Nuff said.
Lofton -- Didn't score in the second half until the game had turned around. Ramel Bradley deserves great credit.
Pace -- This game was played at Kentucky's pace.
Determination -- What can I say?
Rebounding -- We owned the glass, +9 overall
- Ballhandling -- 12 turnovers. Against Tennessee. 'Nuff said.
- Patrick Patterson was huge.
- Perry Stevenson was remarkable. He just keeps getting better, and is becoming more and more confident with the basketball.
- Joe Crawford made big shots and played through pain. He refused to give up. Great to see.
- Gillispie pulled out the old baseline pass at the end of the game, and it worked flawlessly. You just don't see that enough against the press.
- Our great free throw shooting won this game as much as anything.
- Nice coaching job by Gillispie. He dogged the refs about that phantom intentional, and in the end, I think the whistle was a wash. I can live with that.
- Jodie Meeks is a long way from 100%.
- Derek Jasper is the ice that chills the drink. He did a masterful job against the pressure on the inbounds. Masterful.
Folks, lets really enjoy this one. Not only do we get to send a much more highly ranked rival home with their tail between their legs, we played some really good basketball in the process. We didn't shoot well from three, but we did shoot well from two and exploited about the only weaknesses Tennessee has -- rebounding and fouling. We shot 86% from the line. Contrast that with the lousy free throw shooting teams under the previous regime. Weird.
Kudos to this much-beleaguered team for fighting tooth and nail against a superior opponent and getting the "W." The planet has resumed a normal orbit around the sun, and the universe, for tonight at least, has returned to familiarity.