UK vs. Tennessee – Post Game
Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 23, 2008
Kentucky got their best win in the last 3 years last night as they upset the #3 in the nation, and previously unbeaten in the SEC, Tennessee Volunteers in front of 23,400 people. Vols coach Bruce Pearl gave the Big Blue faithful props by saying ” I thought we had the game won with 1:14 left and we were down 2 and then (Ramel) Bradley does a good job and the crowd does a good job down the stretch”. The fans were crazy all game even when we were down by 10 points in the first half, I really think they fueled our comeback by still having faith in the team and keeping the team in good spirits.
KEYS TO THE GAME… AFTER THE GAME
Now it is time to assess how the ‘Cats faired in my weekly KEYS TO THE GAME section of the game preview. They accomplished two out of the three, which is more than I can say about the Florida game in which we looked pitiful. Kentucky controlled the ball very well and did not turn it over very often. Tennessee starts their offense from their defense and last night they did not have nearly as many run outs and easy oppurtunities as they are accustomed to having. Kentucky only turned the ball over 12 times yesterday, over 7 less than Tennessee forces on average. Kentucky played great with the ball mainly because of the three and four guard lineups that they played with for the majority of the ball game, it also does not hurt that two of the guards were reliable point guards who are very good with the ball. Derrick Jasper played a magnificent game by being safe and secure with the ball and also by again dominating all guards on the rebounding part of the game. Against Florida he had a team high 10 rebounds and he did not dissapoint at all in Rupp late last night, Jasper finished with 6 rebounds, many of which came off missed free throws that other wise would have bounced right to the Tennessee player for an easy deuce.
The second KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky excecuted very well on was the fact that they contained the perimeter shooters for Tennessee. Tennessee leads the conference with an average of 9.6 3’s/pg but last night they struggled mightly to hit them. They hit 7 but two of them by Chris Lofton came in garbage time (Final minute) when UK had already secured the win, another came right before halftime as well. Lofton had 5 of the threes and my vote for POTG, JaJuan Smith, struggled by shooting only 1-6 from three. As a team UT shot 7-26 from behind the arc for a percentage of 26.9%, UK only made 4-15 threes but many of theirs came in crucial parts of the game when they really needed to get a spark and get the crowd back in the game. With UK trailing by 6 points with about 5 minutes left Joe Crawford came off a screen and nailed a tough straight ahead 3 to cut the lead in half and then got the ball back on the next possession and sent the crowd into a frenzy by hitting his second consecutive three to tie the game. From that point on UK had the momentum and controlled the game.
The only KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky failed to complete was the fact that the Volunteers started off very fast and Kentucky looked as though they could not keep up. I stressed the fact that UK would have to start off fast to stay with the Vols and they did not really do that but were able to fight back and win the game. Tennessee led by 10 points in the first half for the fourth straight game but this one is the first out of those that they have lost.
The obvious suprise of the game was game MVP Perry Stevenson who always seemed to be in the right place when Patrick Patterson was doubled and was rewarded with a dunk or lay in several times. He adjusted a lot of shots and managed to block 5 of them, to go along with his 14 points and 7 rebounds. He clearly had his best game in his two year career at UK and had the fans going crazy with his suprise play.
Another suprise was our overall domination of the stat sheet. The only stats that UT did better in is offensive rebounds (11-9) and steals (6-3), other than that is was flat out domination by the ‘Cats. They out rebounded UT 35 to 24 and had numerous put backs to boot, the Wildcats also shot a much much better percent from the floor, UK out shot UT from inside the line 48.9% to 38.6% and Tennessee is used to stifling teams on defense but the roles were reversed last night. Kentucky also had an amazing game from the line going 24-28 for a 85.7% average, they already led the SEC in free throw shooting but nobody expected the greatness that they achieved from the line tuesday night. Ramel Bradley led the charge by shooting 10-10 from the line, bettering his already league leading free throw percentage, every time we needed to widen the lead Ramel stepped up and knocked down crucial free throws to seal it.
For those of you worried about Joe Crawford do not worry, he IS suffering from the plantar fasciitis that had plagued him for weeks but word is he is definitely not going to miss time
Derrick Jasper and Jodie Meeks are both supposed to play against USC this weekend, they will go through some stretches and work with the trainer but both are expected to play
And just for the record I realize that I was completely wrong about the game… I predicted we were going to lose 88-63 and we pulled off the HUGE upset with the 72-66 win. I had know idea that our defense would look sooooo good against the nations 4th leading scoring team.
And for all you UK fans worried about Pat Patterson leaving after this season think again and stop worrying!. His dad Buster Patterson said in an interview with a Lexington news station at Rupp after the game that he is staying and the whole family loves it there, so folks it looks like ‘ol PPatt might be around for a while!
Jan. 26 vs. South Carolina
1:00 pm EST on ESPN