They had a terrible first half, they didn’t shoot well from deep, their elite stars didn’t produce much, they didn’t get a lot of bench production and, well, the list goes on.
Thanks to a decent run late in the second half the Cats were able to pull out a 72-62 win, but if it weren’t for Bam Adebayo showing out for the entire game, Kentucky would’ve suffered an embarrassing loss to a now 7-20 team.
Here are three things to know about the win.
Kentucky had its worst half of the year
The Wildcats have surely had their ups and downs this year, but only scoring 31 points against a team that’s 2-13 in SEC play is a new low for the Cats. No one scored in double-figures in the first half, they only shot 44% as a team, only 33% from three-point range and only 50% from the free throw line.
Kentucky also had 9 first half turnovers. They definitely needed to turn it around in the second half. But, most of the second half was just as ugly as the first. In fact, Missouri was level with the Cats down the stretch of the game. They didn’t get a run until late in the game, but Kentucky pulled away (marginally) in the final couple minutes to win by 10.
Bam Adebayo showed out
Adebayo was Kentucky’s best guy tonight. He put up a double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds, including an incredible putback dunk.
Bam Adebayo with the big putback slam. pic.twitter.com/vt1LnekgoH— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) February 22, 2017
The rest of the team struggled for most of the game, but Adebayo had it working all night long. He went 6-9 from the field and 10-13 from the free throw line, and had almost twice as many points as any other starter. He also tacked on 3 blocks. Calipari has said earlier in the year that the players should hug one of their teammates for keeping them from losing. Tonight, that guy was Adebayo. He should get some big hugs in the locker room after this one.
Kentucky’s three-point shooting was horrendous.
The Cats struggle to shoot well from deep when Malik Monk isn’t on fire, and that was the case tonight. Monk was just 1-5 form three-point range, and the team as a whole shot 5-18 from deep (less than 28%). Bad three-point shooting can ruin tournament chances for a team like this Kentucky team, so hopefully they can get hot at a more consistent rate