UK @ Auburn – Post Game
Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 7, 2008
Just by looking at the box score you would never think Kentucky would have won the game last night at the Auburn Tigers. Auburn led in almost every major statistical category, shooting 13 more free throws than the ‘Cats and forcing a season high 24 turnovers. But they did not lead in possibly the three most important areas: Field goal percentage, total rebounds, and last and certaintly not least the final score. Kentucky took great shots all night and shot an unheard of 66.7% from the field. Auburn shot 26% less than the ‘Cats and that will rarely lead to wins. Kentucky also out-rebounded Auburn 27-20 and got some crucial rebounds down the stretch by Patrick Patterson to seal the victory. Patterson has been the player all year long that has secured wins for the Wildcats and has converted in late game situations.
KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game
This is the reason the Kentucky Wildcats won yesterday against the Auburn Tigers: THEY CONVERTED ALL 3 KEYS TO THE GAME TO PERFECTION. The three keys were to take good shots, out-rebound Auburn & to feed Patrick Patterson the ball. I have already talked about how UK inialated the Tigers in field goal percentage and crushed them on the boards but one of the most important areas in the game was how dominate, and frankly unstoppable, Patrick Patterson was down low. Patterson finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, and shot 8-10 from the field. One of his misses was a block and the other was his only contested shot of the game but other than that he played nearly flawless. Patterson had a huge height advantage and out-weighed all the Auburn players by 20-30 pounds each and he used that to his full advantage. The perimeter players for UK fed him the ball more times than any other game all year and he responded positively by knocking down jumpers, bunny hooks, and ferocious slam dunks numerous times down the floor. This is the first game all year in which UK has completed all three of my KEYS TO THE GAME and that proved to be the deciding factor in the outcome of the game.
The only area that UK struggled in was offensive rebounds, they only had 6 of them compared to the 11 that Auburn had. Because of the lack of offensive boards UK was also killed on second chance points 12-6, many coming from Quan Prowell, who was really the only successful player all night for the Tigers. Prowell led all scorers with 20 points and also led everyone in rebounds with 9. Prowell was a very big mismatch problem because he is both tall and quick, too quick for Patterson and too tall for Ramon Harris or Joe Crawford. Another reason why Patterson was having problems with him is because he stretched the defense out because he can hit the open three point shot. Prowell finished with 2 three pointers and would force Patterson to come all the way out to the three point line to guard him which would lead to driving oppurtunities for the Auburn guards.
The suprise of the game would probably have to be Joe Crawford and how well he responded to being without Ramel Bradley and having to step up his scoring efforts and his on-court leadership to make up for the wounded star. Crawford was tied with Prowell with a game-high 20 points, many coming from just out-muscling his defender on his way to the hole, out of Crawford’s five 2-point buckets I would say 4 of them came inside the lane on drives or layups. Crawford has really stepped up his agressiveness this year and it has payed great dividens for him, he is averaging a career high in almost every statistical category and he is really becoming one of the best players in the Southeastern Conference. With Bradley out I was very interested to see how Crawford would respond. I thought he might try to force his shot too much and in-turn take bad shots and have an off night but he stuck to his guns and continued to power around and through defenders. Crawford is really growing mentally in my opinion based on his performance last night, this time last year I think he would have settled for three-pointers instead of going with his bread and butter driving technique. Had he forced shots I doubt UK would have still come out with a victory because we relied on his baskets a lot more than we should have yesterday and if there would have been a couple more empty possessions UK would have lost another inexcusable game to a inferior opponent.
First off it looks as though Ramel Bradley’s chances of playing Saturday at home against Alabama have improved a lot in the last few days. Bradley is pretty much over the concussion he suffered against Georgia but had not yet recovered from the viral infection that sidelined him last night. More information on this coming in a couple days
Jodie Meeks still seems like a long shot to even play in the next week or two. He has made zero progress on his hip injury in the last week or so according to Billy Gillispie so he still has some recovering to do until he is ready for game action
Feb. 9 vs. Alabama
1:00 pm EST on RAYCOM sports