Boy was that ugly.
After a sloppy back and forth game, the Cats pulled away at the end to beat the Tigers, 64-56 to extend their record to 19-5 and 9-2 in SEC play. The Cats were lead by Andrew Harrison with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Julius Randle picked up his first double-double since Texas A&M with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Kentucky shot a below average 17-55 (30%) , but actually shot well from beyond the arc shooting 5-12 for 41%. Auburn on the other hand, shot 33% from the field , including an abysmal 13% from the perimeter. Kentucky finished the game with only 9 turnovers, which is better than expected playing on the road, and won the rebounding battle 49-36. The Cats will take this win as a momentum builder leading up to their showdown with the 3rd ranked Florida Gators Saturday at Rupp. Lets take a look back at the keys to the game compared to the actual results tonight.
Keep an eye out for Chris Denson
Denson was the only Tiger player to score double figures, racking up 26 points. With everyone else for Auburn being shut out, Denson was the star of the night driving into traffic and showing true grit against a long and athletic Kentucky team. KT Harrell was a non-factor, scoring 7 measly points including a astonishing 0-7 from 3 point range. The Harrison twins did a very good job against the zone that Tony Barbee and the Tigers had to offer, combining for 26 of Kentucky’s 64 points. They only had 3 assists between them but they show maturity in a hostile environment.
Feed Julius the ball
Julius was just Julius tonight. He started off slow with 4 points and 2 rebounds, but came back in the 2nd half with a vengeance, including a nice put back in the final minutes to seal the game for the Cats. He was not necessarily the facilitator that he needed to be, but his toughness proved enough as the boys in blue escaped Auburn with a win. He will definitely need to be on his A-game come Saturday when Patric Young and the Gators come to town.
Although Kentucky forced only 8 turnovers tonight, they seemed to get back quicker on D which translated into a horrible shooting night for Auburn. Of course there were a few defensive breakdowns, which is to be considered a given with a young team, but for the most part Kentucky played a pretty good defensive game. Coach Cal was quoted as saying “I’m going to play guys that are going to fight.” The Cats have been lacking when it comes to physicality, but I was very impressed with the way Alex Poythress played KT Harrell, leaving him with only 2 made field goals. Kentucky’s frontcourt practically sealed out the Auburn big men as well.
How about that dunk from Willie Cauley-Stein?!! He absolutely crushed the rim on that one!! I think Willie plays with a lot more confidence coming off the bench, and Dakari plays with a lot more confidence in a starting role. WCS finished with 5 points and 5 rebounds, while Dakari finished with a nice 8 points and 8 rebounds. The frontcourt of the Tigers were no match for the 3 headed monster of WCS-Dakari-Randle.
Next up for the Cats are the #3 ranked Florida Gators 9pm/est Saturday night for College Gameday! Will the Cats be Gator bait? Or will we send Billy Donovan and Florida packing with their first SEC defeat? Tune in and find out!
OOOOOHHHHHH C-A-T-S! CATS CATS CATS!!