Ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, that first half was exactly what I suspected — a clunker. Kentucky was due for a clunker; they came in with a bit of an attitude and Texas just dialed them back a notch. It was ugly, nasty, physical and downright brutish. And we get to do it all again in the next half.
The defense from both teams has been pretty impressive, but what we have seen is Kentucky with no clue how to attack the Texas zone. Yes, I know, we should know how to do it. Somehow, we don’t.
Kentucky hasn’t had many good looks from the perimeter, but when they have, they’ve missed them not by a little, but by a mile. Aaron Harrison continues to struggle, and Devin Booker has really had a tough time defending Texas’ 2-guards, allowing too much penetration and leading to a couple of open jumpers.
Stats. Read ‘em and weep.
There were a combined 25 fouls and 34 free throws in a competitive first half. Box score: pic.twitter.com/gGCl1FW6MZ— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) December 6, 2014
The ugliness of this half did yield one very useful benefit — Texas is in serious foul trouble. UK has some fouls also, but Kentucky is vastly deeper than Texas especially when it comes to big guys. The Wildcats can foul out three guys before we feel serious effects. Texas cannot.
Kentucky must continue to be aggressive, but they must share the basketball more and get easier shots. Part of the reason that Kentucky isn’t doing well is they simply haven’t respected their opponent at the rim and looked for open shooters. Instead, they’ve tried to make it over tough opposition, and that’s not working out well for them.
Seriously, though, I do like our spot. Texas is in more foul trouble than I could’ve hoped for, and the pace of that first half was higher than I hoped. I like our spot right now.