This was a bittersweet Senior Night for Kentucky as we watch Kentuckian and Kentucky Wildcat Darius Miller play his final game in Rupp Arena. Even as I wrote this sentence, I cannot get my head around it. Miller has seemingly been here since Tubby Smith was coaching, but that's not quite true. Still, I cannot imagine a Kentucky team without him on the bench. Next year's Big Blue Madness will have a noticeable hole in the roster.
Thanks to Georgia for coming in and giving it a try. This was always going to be a very tough spot for them, and sometimes, circumstances are just too difficult to overcome with effort and will alone.
The Bulldogs have had a tough rebuilding year, but they do have talent and they will get better. tonight, however, they simply were not able to get anything done. The Georgia zone was simply blistered mercilessly from the perimeter, they just aren't big enough and strong enough in the interior, and in the end, it was a lopsided defeat for the 'Dawgs. We know Georgia will get better over the summer, but this season, they just had too many big holes left by defections to the NBA. Our best wishes to Georgia for the rest of their season. For the Bulldog's point of view, please see T. Kyle King's game wrap-up at Dawg Sports.
For the Wildcats, they had moments of brilliance and moments of strange inefficiency. At seemingly random times throughout the game, the normally seamless Kentucky offense would sputter like an old engine on its last legs -- weird. And early in the game, Kentucky was doing a relatively poor job on defense, giving Georgia several very clean looks that they just didn't make. It wasn't really Kentucky's best game of the year in most respects save one -- 3-point shooting.
UK did get better, and by the middle of the first half, they had mostly shaken off the funk and engaged warp drive, leaving the scoring-challenged 'Dawgs in the dust. When the Wildcats finally slowed down, they had buried Georgia under a fusillade of 3-point shots, making a season and SEC-season high 15 shots from outside the arc. At one time, Georgia was down 41 before Calipari took the foot off the gas and engaged cruise control.
- Darius Miller was terrific in many ways. After a characteristic slow start, Miller would rev up his engine and make 5 3-point shots out of 9 attempts, and wound up with 17 points to lead the team. 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal round out his awesome game. The Senior Night game ball goes to none other than senior Darius Miller.
- I confess, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was seriously considered for at least a piece of that ball, but in the end, I found Miller the clear choice. MKG played a super game on both sides of the ball. He made his jump shots, played with his typical peerless energy, and was just a menace out there. 12 points, 7 rebounds, wash, rinse, repeat. He is the most consistent player on this basketball team.
- Anthony Davis took a supporting role today, and did so willingly. He still managed a filthy tip-dunk off a Terrence Jones miss that absolutely deserves to be a SportsCenter highlight. 9 points, 2 blocks, one three (1) and 8 rebounds in fairly limited minutes due mostly to lack of need and a need to play Eloy Vargas a lot.
- Eloy Vargas had a solid game. As usual, Eloy was a weak finisher at the rim, but he defended and rebounded reasonably well. 2 points and 5 rebounds is a good line for Eloy.
- Marquis Teague played pretty well, and shot the ball particularly well from three. 8 points, 4 assists and 2 turnovers.
- Terrence Jones had a very good game overall, and was one point and two rebounds off a double-double despite getting only 21 minutes.
- Doron Lamb did what he does, and made 3-4 from the arc, 3 assists and a steal to go with 13 points. He also played very good defense, and his defense just keeps getting better. In fact, it is becoming downright impressive, and it couldn't come at a better time.
- I almost forgot Kyle Wiltjer. All he did was score 9 points on 3-4 shooting from 3 to go along with 2 rebounds. This kid is already a great shooter. What is he going to be in three years?
- I already miss Darius Miller, and he isn't even gone yet.
This game was just what you'd want from a senior night -- an easy game with a lot of highlights to cheer. Georgia was unfortunately on the receiving end, but I guess they can consider that a bit of payback for spoiling our senior night a few years back. No hard feelings, hopefully.
Next, it's the Florida Gators in Gainesville, and I guarantee that one will be tougher. Go, 'Cats!