After losing two in a row last week, Kentucky needed Georgia to be its bounce-back game to regain confidence and momentum before Saturday’s big game at #24 Florida.
The Cats bounced back, but it didn’t come easy, as Kentucky got off to a slow start and needed extra time to seal the victory. Here are my good, bad, and ugly takeaways from Tuesday night...
Monk went seven-for-11 from three point land, marking the third time the freshman guard has hit seven or more threes in a game this season. Monk finished with 37 points, including a pretty big shot with eight seconds left to send the game into overtime.
The legendary announcer made his final call for ESPN Tuesday night in Rupp Arena, and it was only fitting that his final game went into overtime. Musburger has called just about every big sporting event under the sun in his decorated, 50-year career, and it was an honor for the Big Blue Nation to play host for his historic send off.
If you grew up on televised sports in the 70s and 80s, Brent Musberger was Tirico x Costas x Michaels x Nantz. He was the soundtrack.— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) February 1, 2017
Kentucky’s First-Half Field Goal Percentage
The Cats field goal percentage in the first half was a horrendous 29 percent. Kentucky made only seven of 14 layups, two of eight threes, and missed all nine of its jumpers inside the three point line.
The only saving grace for the Wildcats was hitting nine of 10 free throws, yet they still somehow ended up tying the game at 29 at half.
I'm a big Briscoe guy, but it is bizarre how he went from never missing anything anywhere near the basket to blown layup after blown layup.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) February 1, 2017
Briscoe especially was far too inconsistent and hindered UK with the number of easy shots he either missed or got blocked. He has to be better, especially when guys like De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo are out or in foul trouble.
Those kinds of performances will bury UK against better teams. Thankfully, Georgia was unable to capitalize until the second half when UK found more rhythm. Not having Fox hurt, but it shouldn’t have crippled the offense the way it did against an average Georgia team.
Kentucky’s Man-to-Man Defense
With freshman star De’Aaron Fox sidelined due to illness, the Kentucky defense allowed Georgia to go up 12-0 to start the game, before switching to a 2-3 zone midway through the first half. Once the “Cal-zone” was implemented, Kentucky allowed just 10 more points from the Bulldogs before halftime.
Per Synergy Sports, Kentucky had played zone on 1.1 percent of its defensive possessions entering tonight's game. https://t.co/p9nFwPR4d8— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) February 1, 2017
Cal-Zone— Curtis Burch (@curtisburch) February 1, 2017
UK would use the zone on and off the rest of the way, but it seemed like anytime UK was in man, Georgia came up with points, whether it was Yante Maten in the post or J.J. Frazier on the perimeter.
Even Derek Ogbeide, a big who had scored in double figures just four times this season, went off for 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. The defense must improve, or it’s hard to see these Cats making it far in March.
Monk’s contested jumper with eight seconds left forced the game into overtime, where the Cats were dominant, outscoring Georgia 14-5 in the extra minutes. This hard fought victory was much needed to keep Kentucky in the race for a two or three seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and it illustrated just how valuable De’Aaron Fox is to this young Kentucky team.
RT this if you think De'Aaron Fox is really, really important to Kentucky. Delete your account if you don't think so.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) February 1, 2017