Saturday afternoon’s loss to Seton Hall was Kentucky’s second game away from Rupp Arena, resulting in their second loss on the season.
For the first few minutes of the game, the the Wildcats were performing well on both ends of the floor. PJ Washington got off to a hot start and it looked like the Wildcats could win with defense and bully-ball.
As the two teams went back and forth, they were deadlocked at 51-each with eight minutes to play. Myles Powell knocked down a three with 1.5 seconds left, appearing to ice the game.
However, Keldon Johnson managed to drain a half court shot as time expired to force overtime.
As the ball tipped, the Pirates were superior in aggressiveness as they quickly jumped out to a 4-point lead.
Both teams made their run, but Seton Hall hit a three and Kentucky missed the last shot to fall just short, 84-83.
Thoughts on the game
Timeouts Are Necessary
Saturday was another instance in which Kentucky lost a close game when having at least one timeout remaining.
The Wildcats were down one point with nine seconds remaining in overtime and had four freshman coming up the floor. As you might guess, they were rather clustered and unsure of what play to run.
However, the blame shouldn’t fall on the players. The blame should fall on the sole shoulders of head coach John Calipari.
Going forward, maybe Calipari will change his philosophy for the better.
PJ Washington Showed Up
Washington set a career high of 29 points to go along with 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. That goes without mentioning he went 12/13 from the free throw line.
The key for Washington was catching the ball close to the rim.
While he’s been inconsistent to start the season, expect him to join Reid Travis in co-leading the team as the season moves along.
Reid Travis’s Absence Stung
Travis has been Kentucky’s saving grace this season, providing offensive insurance when the team needs it most. However, with 2:20 left in the second half, the Wildcats lost their star veteran at the expense of five fouls.
In hindsight, losing Travis meant more than it did at the time. His veteran presence was desperately missed in overtime, along with his ability to rebound the basketball.
Defense Continues to Improve
Kentucky gave up 84 points but those didn’t come without contesting difficult, long three-point shots.
The Wildcats also excelled in defending the paint, which should have fans excited for the foreseeable future.
Hagans Earns His Role
Despite how the game ended, Ashton Hagans has control of the point guard position.
Hagans saw Immanuel Quickley originally take over the starting role, which was expected early on. However, the last two games have proved Hagans’ value to the team.
His ability on defense is invaluable and with his offensive game starting to improve, Hagans’ confidence should only increase.
Don’t Give Up; Stand Tall
So far this season, Kentucky has yet to fully put together a 40-minute effort of both consistent offense & defense.
As most Calipari teams are, this looks to be a season-long process. However, the end result may be worth the wait.
Here are the updated season stats:
Here are the postgame notes and milestones, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky dropped to 7-2 on the season. Seton Hall improved to 6-3. Seton Hall snapped Kentucky’s seven-game winning streak
- This was the third game between UK and Seton Hall but first since the 1988-89 season. Seton Hall took a 2-1 series lead with the victory.
- Kentucky’s Madison Square Garden winning streak was stopped at four games. UK is 13-4 overall in the venue.
- Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats will return home for a matchup with Utah next Saturday. That game is set for a 5 p.m. tip on ESPN2.
In the First Half
- Kentucky started Ashton Hagan, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Reid Travis and PJ Washington for the second time this season but the first time since the season opener vs. Duke. UK is now 0-2 with this lineup.
- PJ Washington, who posted 20 points, six rebounds and four blocks in last season’s game in Madison Square Garden, came out strong again Saturday. He scored the Wildcats first five points and seven of their first nine.He ended the first half with 11 points and six rebounds.
- Despite Washington’s hot start, UK had a tough time putting the ball in the basket early on. After taking an 11-6 lead, Seton Hall scored six straight to take the lead. UK went 4:24 without a point before Washington sunk a pair of free throws to snap the scoreless streak.
- The Wildcats went 10:23 of game time without a field goal (from 16:28 to 6:05) before Travis’ “and one” layup ended the drought. The make ended a run of 14 straight missed shots by the Wildcats and 23 overall between the two teams. UK was 4 of 20 from the floor prior to the make.The make ignited a UK run. Immanuel Quickley followed with a 3 and Washington made a pair at the free-throw line for an 8-0 run and a 24-16 advantage.
- Kentucky held Seton Hall without a field goal for 5:44 of game time (9:58 to 4:14). That was a span of nine straight misses.
- UK made just 9 of 29 shots overall, a 31.0-percent mark. That marks the Wildcats’ coldest shooting half of the season.Fortunately for the Wildcats, the defense was on its game. UK held Seton Hall to 33.3 percent from the floor and forced 10 turnovers.
In the Second Half
- UK started with the same five as the first half to begin the second: Hagans, Herro, Johnson, Washington and Travis.
- Seton Hall went on an 11-0 run from the 15:02-12:39 mark to take a 43-29 lead.Quade Green hit a jumper at the 12:22 mark to cut into Seton Hall’s lead.
- UK led by five points, 64-59, after an Ashton Hagans scored with 3:20 to play.
- From there Seton Hall went on an 11-3 run over the next 3:01, capped by a Powell fade-away 3-pointer with two seconds to play to take a 70-67 lead.
- Johnson hit a 3 from half court as time expired to send it into overtime.Washington threw a precise pass to half court to set up the dramatic shot.
- Seton Hall scored the first four points and stretched further started the extra period on an 8-4 run over the first 1:54.
- UK took a 82-81 lead on a Johnson 3 with 42 seconds to play.
- Hagans extended the lead to two with a made free throw with 23 seconds left.
- Myles Cale made a 3 with eight seconds on the clock to give Seton Hall the winning score, 84-83.
- Kentucky won rebounding 39-35, the eighth straight game winning the glass.UK came into the game with a nation-leading plus-16.9 rebounding margin.
- The Wildcats blocked a season-high seven shots today. UK has rejected at least four opponent shots in every game this season.
- UK shot 80 percent (24 of 30) at the free-throw line and has made at least 70 percent in all but one game this season.
- The Wildcats attempted 62 field goals, tied for its most in a game this year.
- UK’s 20 3-point attempts were its second most in a game this season.
- UK’s three steals were its second fewest in a game this season (one vs. Duke on Nov. 6).
- Seton Hall blocked five UK shots, tied with North Dakota (Nov. 14, 2018) for most by a UK opponent this season.
- Seton Hall’s 84 points were the second most by a UK opponent. UK has lost both of its games when it’s allowed at least 84.
- Seton Hall grabbed 35 rebounds, second most by a UK opponent this year.
- PJ Washington had another monster game in Madison Square Garden. He followed up his breakthrough performance vs. Monmouth last season with a career-high 29 points and 13 rebounds.It was his team-leading third double-double of the season and sixth of his career.
- He also blocked a career-high-tying four shots.
- Washington tied his season best with four assists.
- He made a career-best 12 shots from the line on 13 attempts.
- Reid Travis posted 13 points in 34 minutes before fouling out.He’s scored in double figures in all but two games this season.
- Highlighted by his buzzer-beating half-court shot to force overtime, Keldon Johnson scored 10 points. He’s scored in double figures in all but one game.
- Johnson also hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in overtime to give UK an 82-81 lead.
- His two 3-pointers tied a career best.
- Tyler Herro was the fourth Wildcat in double figures with 10 points.
- Ashton Hagans tied his career best with four assists in addition to eight points.
- Jemarl Baker Jr. made his first career appearance in a regular-season game with 1:19 left in the first half. Baker redshirted last season and had missed the first eight games of the season for precautionary reasons (swelling in his left knee).
- Calipari is now 282-66 at UK.
- Calipari has a 727-206 all-time on-court record.
- He is 15 wins away from tying Joe B. Hall for the most victories by a UK head coach in program history.