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Kentucky Wildcats 58, South Carolina Gamecocks 43: Postgame 19-0 Celebration

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Kentucky has now tied their best start of the John Calipari era with a win over South Carolina today.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, the contest between the South Carolina Gamecocks and Kentucky Wildcats may not have been a thing of beauty from an offensive standpoint, but it was a masterpiece of defense by Kentucky and an outstanding defensive effort by South Carolina. You have to give the Gamecocks credit for their gritty defensive effort, but their recent trend of being unable to put the ball into the basket continued against Kentucky. That struggle was exacerbated by being forced to face the #1 defense in the nation in the Wildcats, who very much looked the part today.

Credit the Gamecocks for their grit and effort — there was no sign of quit in that team from beginning to end. The problem is, they just aren’t good enough offensively, particularly from distance, to challenge the Wildcats defense. The one thing that Kentucky always brings to the party is defense, and it was too much for a game USC team today.

Final stats

Observations

  • Holding an SEC team to 23% in their home arena is a statement.

  • Kentucky cooled off from their torrid 3-point shooting today, making a pedestrian 33%. Again, I thought they shot too few at only 9.

  • Free throw shooting was adequate. It started off bad, as it seemingly always does, and got better in the second half.

  • Kentucky was 24-14 points in the paint. John Calipari will be very pleased with that.

  • This was a really s-l-o-w game. Kentucky only took a total of 48 39 shots.

  • Kentucky got whipped on the offensive glass today, and that is absolutely rare. It led to USC getting 15 14 more shots than Kentucky. It did the Gamecocks no good, because they couldn’t make their second-chance shots either.

  • Nine blocks and eight steals did a lot to nullify the offensive rebounding advantage enjoyed by the Gamecocks.

Well, Kentucky fans, 19-0 That’s tied with the best start of the John Calipari era, and the next game against Missouri on the road on Thursday, the beginning of a quick turnaround to Alabama at home on Saturday, will be the chance to get to 20-0. After this victory, Kentucky will be close to a 40% chance to go undefeated this regular season, according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats. We probably can begin talking about it a little now, but I’m going to hold off for a few more games.