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Kentucky Basketball: Quick Takeaways from Cats Stemming the Tide

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Bama looked to keep up their push for the Big Dance, but Alex Poythress would have none of it as UK crushed the Tide...again.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

John Calipari said earlier this week that Friday's clash with Alabama would be Kentucky's most difficult game in the SEC Tournament.

If that's true...watch out, America.

Despite the Crimson Tide playing desperate for a win to boost their NCAA resume and UK coming off a long layoff, this was no contest as the Wildcats dominated throughout en route to an 85-59 victory. UK advances to the SEC Semifinal Round Saturday vs. upstart Georgia.

Here's a look at our quick takeaways from the game.

Rupp Arena South

Big Blue Nation never seems to disappoint when it comes to postseason travel. People joke about the SEC Tournament being the Kentucky Invitational, but it's not far from the truth as a sea of blue took over Nashville Friday before invading Bridgestone Arena and turning it into Rupp Arena South.

Early in the second half, after back-to-back made threes by Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins, Bridgestone was rocking as loud as any college home crowd you'll find.

Even the announcers admitted this had become a road game for Alabama as the Cats had all of the crowd support behind them. It was really fun watching and being reminded how great the UK fanbase is not only the best in college basketball, but one of the greatest in any sport.

Alex from Deep?

Alex Poythress has owned Alabama this season, but he took it to another level this time, or at least took his offense further out than he has all season. For whatever reason, Poythress lost his offensive touch this season when it came to his jump shot.

It's easy to forget the senior connected on 22 of his 66 three-point attempts over his first two seasons, but going back to last year, had missed 23 of his last 25 three-pointers. Alex was just 2-of-16 from deep this season coming into Friday, but you'd have never guessed that as smooth as his stroke was.

He hit his first three attempts from deep and even struck the bow-and-arrow pose on the third.

He finished the game 4-of-5 from three-point range and notched 20 points and seven boards.

If Alex can just do this a few more games, teams we'll begin playing him closer on the perimeter, which will spread the defense more and make this already dangerous UK squad even more deadly.

But don't let his newfound offensive talents overshadow a great block in the first half to prevent an easy layup:

Another Record for Murray

Jamal Murray is tearing through the UK record books when it comes to the three-ball. He's already broken several school records with several more within reach if the Cats have a long postseason.

With his three-pointer made late in the first half vs. Bama to give UK a 27-19 lead, Murray tied the UK record for consecutive games with a made three. He and Wildcat legend Tony Delk now share the record at 32 games.

Murray helped the Cats end the first half strong with two made threes and a nice lob to Marcus Lee:

Murray had just eight points in the first half before catching fire in the second half and finishing with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting (5-of-9 from deep). His streak of 20-point games now sits at 11, the longest streak since Kevin Grevey had 12 consecutive 20-point games in 1974-75. He can tie that mark with another big game tomorrow and break it if UK plays in the title game Sunday.

What's been so special about Murray's streak is he's not having to chuck up 20+ shots a game to hit that mark. He's doing it in the flow of the game, making shots when he's open and rarely forcing anything.