The Gamecocks were undefeated at home and 21-3 on the season.
Frank Martin has a serious SEC contender this year and the 'Cats came into the game in a first-place tie with South Carolina. Frank Martin was looking to significantly elevate his seeding with a win and Coach Calipari was looking to continue a string of strong play.
The first half was not a very exciting half on the floor, but on the sidelines, there were fireworks early and often. Coach Calipari was making it very clear very early that he was not going to allow his team to be called for ticky tack fouls. He was intense and questioned several calls.
Only 2:30 into the game, inexplicably official Doug Sirmons ran from across the floor to call a Technical Foul on Calipari and engage him. Cal challenged the call, something we have seen many times with no extracurricular activity, and for some reason Sirmons decided to T him up AGAIN and toss him just 2:30 into the game. An unbelievably fast hook and ejection, Sirmons should be questioned about the validity of it because it was just ridiculous, as noticed by many.
What Doug Sirmons did today is absolutely embarrassing to college officiating. He has a short fuse and coaches for years have complained.— Buzz Peterson (@BuzzPeterson) February 13, 2016
The first half could have gone one of two ways after the ejection; The 'Cats could have been rattled in a snake pit environment, or stepped up for their unfairly treated coach. This group of Wildcats banded together and put on a first half clinic. Marcus Lee played a great half, Murray dropped in buckets, and Tyler Ulis was the best player on the floor with 14 points in the first half to lead UK to a 15-point lead at 42-27.
Kentucky started the second half strong with a little runner by Murray and then maybe Tyler Ulis' best assist of the year. He got the break started by knocking the ball loose and then dropping a perfect dime off the backboard, IN TRAFFIC, to Marcus Lee for the yoke.
From that point on, it seemingly decimated The Gamecocks spirit and the crowd was essentially muted. The 'Cats would quickly get it to a 29 point lead with 14:30 left in the game.
From there the 'Cats would go on cruise control toying with South Carolina and yo-yo'ing the lead between 24-29 points behind Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Marcus Lee, and a lot of Isaiah Briscoe hustle.
The Second half was pretty much a foregone conclusion, it was only going to be a matter of how much of a loss it would be. But when Jamal Murray performed this nasty posterization, well, he ripped their souls out and the game should have been proclaimed over.
Kentucky would end up breezing to a 20+ point win after extended it to 30 points earlier. Tyler Ulis ended with a career high in points (27) and assists (12) to lead the 'Cats to the domination. Marcus Lee added in 11 points and 12 rebounds while Jamal Murray put up a somehow quiet 26 points and 5 boards.
The final was the 'Cats winning 89-62 and the 'Cats advanced to 19-6 on the year and a gigantic statement.
SO, WHAT DID WE LEARN?
- DOUG SIRMONS SUCKS: I do not know what actually was said or what happened, all I do know is that Doug Sirmons SPRINTED across the court to give Cal a T and when Cal questioned it, he was kicked out immediately. Then it was pretty clear that Sirmons was not objective the rest of the game. Pretty shameful in my opinion.
If you say Doug Sirmons three times in the mirror a jackass shows up and whistles u for a foul— Michael Rudolph (@MRudolphComedy) February 13, 2016
- CAL HATES SANDSTORM... PROBABLY: it is his second ejection in three years and both were at Columbia.
- POSTER NIGHT IN COLUMBIA?: Most teams have a promotional T-Shirt night or something to get fans there, with all the nasty dunks by UK, apparently the Gamecocks opted for it to be Poster Night in Columbia.
- TYLER ULIS IS THE BEST: It really is a broken record folks, Tyler Ulis is simply one of the best Point Guards we have every seen at UK. He can truly do it all. If he wanted to score 30 a game he could, if he wanted to just get 15 assists a game, he could. If he wanted to just get 5+ steals a game, he could. Hell, I think he could get 7 rebounds a game if he wanted to focus on just that. However, instead of trying to do individual things in bulk, he is truly the perfect player to fill whatever gap is needed to win and make others better. He finished with 27 points and 12 assists, both career highs.
- WE SHOULD BE RENAMED UK-T THIS YEAR: This has to be one of the most technical fouls UK has had in any one season.
- FRONTCOURT IS THE KEY: While this is not something that is new, today was another piece of proof that anytime the 'Cats get a frontcourt presence (Lee today) that they are a very dangerous team.
- BLUE GOT IN: As seems to be the case in literally every venue we play in, Blue Got In and made their presence known. On at least 3 occasions you could clearly hear the 'Go Big Blue!!!' chant on TV. You could also very audibly hear the cheers from Big Blue Nation anytime UK had a big play.
- MARCUS LEE IS BETTER WITH ONE ZERO INSTEAD OF TWO: Lee was sporting a single 0 today instead of the normal 00. It seemed to work out for him as he is the reason we held a slim lead the first ten minutes and he ended up with a double-double (11 points/12 rebounds)... his first in seemingly forever.
- THE CORNER IS TURNED, FOLKS: It is finally safe to say this team has turned a corner and is now on a road to improving and gearing up for a run. The UT debacle seems to be an outlier at this point.
- TWEET OF THE GAME:
When someone says Tyler Ulis isn't one of the best point guards in the country. #BBN #angryCal pic.twitter.com/ZDg5LeuMoK— Laura Coulter (@coulterlaura) February 13, 2016