UK @ Georgia – Post Game
Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 2, 2008
Kentucky fought through all the adversity that anyone could have imagined today in Athens, Georgia against the Georgia Bulldogs. Playing the entire game without sophomore starting guard Jodie Meeks, and without the best player on the team, Ramel Bradley, for the second half UK pulled out a tough road victory against a quality Georgia club that had been unbeaten at home coming in to the game at a perfect 10-0 in Athens. Kentucky also picked up their first road win ALL YEAR today as they defeated the Bulldogs 63-58. Many players stepped up for the ‘Cats today, many of them household names like Patrick Patterson (16 points, 6 rebounds & 2 assists), Derrick Jasper (2 points, 6 rebounds & 5 assists), and especially wounded star senior Joe Crawford who, even though he missed the final 4:31, finished with 26 points and 5 rebounds. Crawford is still suffering from the plantar fasciitis that has plagued him the entire season, he had to be taken out many times to let the trainers work on his foot and quickly re-entered the game and got some points. In his last two trips to Athens Crawford has averaged 28.0 ppg and has shot over 50% from the field, he seems to really play well at Georgia and carried the team for many minutes at a time.
KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game
Kentucky surprisingly really only completed one of the KEYS TO THE GAME that I wrote in the UK/UGA preview. I stated that UK needed to force turnovers and get some quick run outs to play well and although they only forced 7 turnovers, they only committed 8 themselves. The 8 turnovers the Wildcats committed is less than half of their average of about 17 per game, which ranks last in the SEC. Kentucky did force some crucial turnovers down the stretch, Michael Porter came up with a big steal in the final minutes to put UK in a great position to win, which they were able to accomplish.
The main KEY TO THE GAME that I do not think Kentucky executed very well on was containing Sundiata Gaines, UK allowed him to get into the lane at will and convert easy buckets close to the basket. Gaines did shoot under 50% though which is at least something that Kentucky can be proud of defensively, Gaines only turned the ball over 1 time so UK definitely needs to work on that in practice. I say in just about every game preview that I do that Kentucky needs to contain the opponents best scorer or play-maker to make the game a lot easier on themselves, and up to this point this season they have not done that in almost any game. The only game that comes to mind in which UK contained the opponent’s best player was the UK/Tennesseegame in which Chris Lofton finished with 22 points, 8 coming in garbage time.
The third KEY TO THE GAME that I wanted the ‘Cats to accomplish was for our men to attack the basket to draw some fouls and go to the line where UK is top 10 nationally. UK shot very poorly from the line finishing just 9/17 (52%) on the day. Kentucky did do a very good job of attacking the basket and getting points in the paint. Crawford had numerous layups and short jumpers in the lane that led to his 26 points, Patterson finished with 2 alley-oops and a lot of other short jump hooks and lay-ins. Without Meeks and Bradley UK was missing a big part of their perimeter game so it was vital to get the post scoring and slashing the lane part of the game working by all means necessary.
The surpise of the game was probably how easily Joe Crawford got into the lane and just how well Kentucky played withouttheir floor leader and best player Ramel Bradley. Bradley was the main reason UK won the Vandy and UT games and many thought when he went out that UK would not be able to run a proper offense and would lose the lead. Kentucky showed a lot of toughness and heart in this game fighting through the unexpected injury to Bradley.
My prediction for the next game, February 6th at Auburn, is that UK wins their fourth consecutive game even against a scrappy Auburn team. I think UK wins 64-57 against Auburn, similar to the game that was played against Georgia today. If Bradley does not play I think UK will still win but it will be a lot closer and lower scoring. I think if Ramel sits out that UK wins 55-51 with Patrick Patterson logging 20 points and 8 rebounds.
For those that are concerned I do not know that status of any of the players’ injuriers yet. I would bet that Bradley and Crawford will play but that Meeks will be out yet again with the hip injury he has been suffering all year. I will update these situations when new information arrives.
Feb. 6 @ Auburn
8:00 pm EST on ESPN Full Court