The Kentucky Wildcats really laid an egg against the Missouri Tigers Saturday afternoon. With a final score of 69-60, they never really found a rhythm and the Tigers took advantage. Here are 4 things to know about the frustrating defeat.
This was Kentucky’s first lost ever to Missouri.
Coming into Saturday’s match-up, Kentucky had beaten the Tigers every time they ever played. The Wildcats road into Columbia with a record of 10-0 against Missouri, although they were not favored to win this one. It seems Vegas was right again as the Tigers were in control of the game from tip to horn. Being undefeated against a conference opponent was fun while it lasted, right?
Jarred Vanderbilt is finding his role.
Vanderbilt is very much still feeling out how he can contribute to this team after spending the first 3+ months of the season sidelined with an injury. But today, despite spending too much time on the bench with foul trouble, it seems he took a large step forward.
With 8 points and 10 rebounds, it seems like he is realizing that this team really needs him to be a rebounding machine that pitches in offensively when he can.
Coach Calipari has met with Vanderbilt multiple times to try and find a way for him to contribute more offensively. It seems like the answer may be simply putting back in offensive rebounds. I think we can all live with that if he can stay in the game.
Where was Kevin Knox?
After the West Virginia game, Knox was quoted as saying he “lives for” hostile road environments. While West Virginia definitely had a more rowdy crowd, the Missouri faithful actively booed every time Knox entered the game or touched the ball. They targeted him with their aggression, and he disappeared. Knox only had 5 points and 2 rebounds in a game where he should have been able to get anything he wanted. Not a good look for the young man that needs to be the “guy.”
The magic ran out.
After two consecutive double-digit come from behind victories, the Wildcats were unable to battle back from a 14 point deficit against Missouri in the second half. The offense just was not there today (31.3% shooting, 10% from 3), and discipline on the defensive end disappeared at the most inconvenient times. I suppose a third consecutive dramatic comeback was too much to ask for, and perhaps the young Wildcats will learn a lesson here that getting behind early is not a good idea.
Here is the final box score:
Feel free to vent your frustrations in the comments. If you can think of anything positive to say, that would be great, too.