Nerlens gives it his all, but it’s not enough to stop Elston and Co. Cats lose 83-71

(I couldn’t talk myself into putting up a picture of Elston, plus Nerlens’ hat is awesome)

 

Well the 2nd half didn’t turn out any better for the Cats. Actually it got worse. Kentucky was outscored even worse in the second 20 minutes of play than they were in the first. With a final score of 83 – 71 and Elston putting up nearly 50% of his teams points. It was basically Elston Turner vs. Kentucky. Elston averaging 15 a game, goes on his biggest game of his carrer with 40 points. Without Elston, the Aggies would have walked away from Rupp Arena with a double digit loss.

Where’s DeAndre Liggins when you need him? Someone on this young Kentucky team needs to step up and be the DeAndre/Kidd-Gilchrist of this team. This team is still searching for “that guy” that can be put on anyone on the court and shut them down. Who that may be, we might never know. One thing we do know is that Nerlens Noel is the best player on the court for this season. Theres no one stopping this guy that puts the stats up on the board game after game. This one not being an exception, he goes nearly a triple double with 15 points, 11 boards and 7 blocks.

As for the rest of the Cats, it was good to see Poythress finally starting to look like he’s alive again putting up 12 points, and Archie Goodwin contributes with 17 points and Wiljer becomes a non factor is this game not scoring at all.

Lets not even get into the rest of the stats of this one. Kentucky was just outplayed this time. One thing I will mention is that it’s quite embarrassing to get out rebounded by one of the worse teams in the SEC for the 2nd game in a row when we do have two of the biggest guys in the league.

Kentucky can’t sulk on this one too long, as Tennessee is on their way into town Tuesday night to take on the Cats in a match-up that won’t include Bruce Pearl’s orange jacket. Oh well. Let’s hope they don’t have a guy preparing to have the game of his life like Texas A&M did.

Kentucky is down to Elston Turner at the half 36 – 31

Kentucky battled hard in the first half, being led by the sleeping giant Alex Poythress. However, the team seems to be struggling against a strong Elston Turner team. Turner leads his Aggies with 25 points. Yes, that’s not a typo. Lets not forget the most consistent player on the team, Nerlens Noel. He never quits even when being tackled on a break away play. Still not sure how that wasn’t called a flagrant foul…

We will see how Cal changes his strategy coming into the 2nd half to hold down Turner.

Harrow leads Cats past Commodores. Barely. 60 – 58

Breathe! It’s over! I think we can all tell who’s heart monitors were working the hardest tonight! Ryan Harrow finally takes control of his young team and leads the Cats to a victory to open their SEC schedule. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but it’s a win. No one thought it would be this close (including Vegas) but Vanderbilt appears to just about as ready for their conference game lineup as Kentucky does.

Nerlens finished strong with 13 points going six for eight from the field. Followed by Archie with a respectible 12 points and five rebounds. Wiltjer on the other hand, no where to be found.  I’m also a little dissapointed in the lack of senior leadership from Mays.  Oh well.  A win is a win at this point.  Learn from it and look forward to Saturday’s home matchup with Texas A&M.  

Wow. There’s a lot of work to do still.

Kentucky leads at the half, 35 – 24

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Kentucky takes the lead going into the half.  Being led by Ryan Harrow (finally!) with 11 points.  Nerlens has 8 and my favorite three point shooter on the team has yet to get on the board.  Not the prettiest first half, but it will have to do until they can work out the kinds in the 2nd.  See you back here after the game!

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Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt preview

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Welcome back Big Blue Nation! It’s been a long week off, but the boys are taking it back to the hardwood tomorrow night in Nashville. Personally, it’s my favorite part of the season: the SEC schedule. Luckily for this freshman heavy squad they get a chance to ease into it this year against a weak Vandy team. Let’s not get too cocky though. Memorial gym is a whole different animal compared to any other place the Cats will see action this season. Benches on the ends instead of the sides, shot clock down low on the goal post, etc. It’s definitely an advantage for Vanderbilt, but they haven’t had much luck this season so far. Coming off of a win over the power house known as William and Mary, Vandy has had it’s fair share of struggles this year. Marist, Davidson and Middle Tennessee State have all gotten the best of the Commodores so far.

Need I remind you of what happened the last time these two teams met? Join me on a journey back to the end of last season in a little post season tournament called the SEC Championship. Being no stranger to tournament success, Kentucky was on their way to claiming the title for the 28th time. However, Stallings and company had a different idea. They came out firing on all cylinders. Being led by John Jenkins, and Jeffrey Taylor (17 and 18 points a piece, respectively), Vandy took the tournament championship home last season.

The upside of this being a whole new group of freshman phenoms is that the only returning member of the team that played in that game last year is Kyle Wiltjer. He posted up eight points while going 66% from behind the arc (2 for 3). Look for him to come up big tomorrow with his ability to shoot the 3 ball. You know we can count on a solid double double from Nerlens. Everyone will be expecting the results of the Coach Cal Camp, ready for some leadership and coordination from this team (I’m looking at you, Uncle Julius). Even Vegas is on the Cats side, being favored by 12. I don’t think think Kentucky will have a problem leaving Nashville with another victory, but there’s never a dull moment in the house that Stallings built.

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UK vs. Vandy preview

For those of us that are not watching the SEC dominate yet another BCS Championship game, there’s a Kentucky basketball game on Thursday to think about.  It’s been a long off week for UK, and I’m pretty sure I’m having withdraws.  The good news is that the Cats travel down to Nashville on Thursday to kick off their SEC schedule on the most bizarre college basketball court of all time.

Kentucky is coming off one of it’s most dominating wins of the season after embarassing Eastern Michigan 90 – 38.  It was almost enough to make us forget about the UL loss.  While on the other hand you have Vandy which is teeter tottering at 6 – 6 for the season so far just coming off a win against the powerhouse known as William & Mary.

More than likely Cal has revenge on the brain as you may recall from the last time these two teams met, it was during the SEC tournament last year and Kentucky walked away with a loss, 64-71.  Keep in mind this is a different Kentucky lineup than from the last game, as Kyle Wiltjer is the only player remaining that had any minutes against the Commodores.  He played 11 minutes, going 2 – 3 from behind the arc and finishing with 8 points.  John Jenkins helped lead the way for Vandy putting up 17 points (quite a few more than what he’s accomplishing in Atlanta these days).

This is a perfect matchup for the Cats to lead off their SEC schedule with, as they will be favored pretty well.  It will serve as a great atmosphere for the freshman heavy squad to get their feet wet with a road SEC crowd to deal with.  Look for Willie Cauley-Stein to come up big in this game after riding the high of being named SEC freshman of the week.  You already know you can count on Nerlens to put down another double double.  I’m also going to be on the lookout for Uncle Julius to lead this team into conference play.