Kentucky came into Tuesday’s game at Georgia at 4-8 desperate for a win.
Unfortunately, they will come back to Lexington still in desperation mode. Despite mixing up the starting lineup and trying some new things offensively, the Wildcats could not get anything going on the offensive end and ultimately fell at the last second to the Bulldogs 63-62. It was the Bulldogs’ first victory against Kentucky in 14 games.
Coming off the bench, BJ Boston had his best offensive game of the new year. He had 18 points on just 16 shots and looked really smooth in the mid-range game. The team continued to struggle shooting the ball, and turnovers were the final nail in the coffin. Here is all you need to know about the Tuesday’s game.
Shaking up the Lineup
Earlier in the week, John Calipari hinted at a new starting lineup. He said every spot was up for grabs, and he ultimately decided to insert two new faces on the court at the tip. For the first time ever, redshirt freshman Dontaie Allen started the game.
Unfortunately, this was his worst game so far as a Wildcat. He only had three points, making no three-point shots. And he had two turnovers and no assists. It was certainly not a great starting debut, but hopefully he will get another chance since John Calipari says he does not like to take their hearts away.
Lance Ware got his third start of the season, but also had a rough night. He ended up playing less than five minutes and only had one rebound and one turnover in the stat line. After a rough start, he stayed on the bench for most of the game.
It is not clear whether this change was a one time deal or if Calipari is going to continue trying new lineups. But until something works, don’t you have to keep mixing it up?
Turnovers have been a problem for Kentucky every game, but this was an especially bad look. It seemed like every time you turned around the Bulldogs were on a breakaway from stealing a lazy pass. The Wildcats ended up with 17 turnovers, included 10 steals for Georgia.
Everyone likes to focus on the low number of points being scored, but until these turnovers are corrected the offense will go nowhere. Not only is the offense not productive, but it is very hard to watch.
You would think that with both Dontaie Allen and Davion Mintz in the starting lineup, the Wildcats would hit a few shots from deep. However, Keion Brooks made the lone three-pointer for Kentucky in their 13 attempts. This has been an ongoing issue for the Wildcats, and Allen was supposed to be the answer. It is tough to ask him to shoot the lights out every night, and he has certainly earned some grace, but the Wildcats did not help themselves out at all behind the arc.
Despite Kentucky’s three game winning streak to start the SEC season, hope seems to be at an all-time low for this team right now. And a loss to this struggling Georgia team may have been the final nail in the coffin for those still looking for a silver lining this season. Especially losing on a last-second layup that was poorly defended.
John Calipari has noted that sometimes a team needs to hit rock bottom in order to work for change. While it feels like this team has hit rock bottom several times this season, was tonight’s loss the final straw? What will happen to this team after such an embarrassing loss? Will there be opt outs? Will the guys give up?
I guess this is when we find out what the team is made of, but if it resembles what we have seen so far it is tough to be optimistic.