UK vs. Alabama – Post Game
Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 9, 2008
Kentucky escaped with another win today at Rupp Arena against the Alabama Crimson Tide but they sure did not make it easy for themselves. UK only led for 7 seconds in the first half on a last second jumper by Joe Crawford and continued their bad play into the first part of the second half. Kentucky did play very well for the final 15 minutes of the game but their play in the first half was the worst they have played in any half this season. Kentucky had 12 turnovers in the first half and failed to capitalize on many more scoring oppurtunities. Twice in the ball game Ramel Bradley stole the ball and failed to get any points out of it, Perry Stevenson lost two balls as well. The absence of Richard Hendrix was not as missed as people had anticipated it would be. Alabama had numerous buckets down low that accounted for 26 points in the paint, two more than the ‘Cats had and forced the issue alot to establish the inside game. Mykal Riley also played well as he led the Crimson Tide with 19 points.
KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game
Maybe the reason UK won today is because the completed both KEYS TO THE GAME. The two KEYS that I thought would determine the game were for the Wildcats to attack the basket to get some easy buckets and draw some quick fouls, and to play aggressive defense and force bad shots. Kentucky forced 20 fouls in the game today by driving to the hoop and forcing the ‘Bama players to foul them. Kentucky shot 26 free-throws, hitting 20 of them, where as Alabama only attempted 17. Even though Mykal Riley played very for Alabama he was in foul trouble the entire game and was only able to contribute in spurts, had the Tide had Riley for longer they may have changed the game dramatically. The other player that was in foul trouble throughout the game was the player that most had to step up and that was Alonzo Gee. Gee came in averaging 16 points per game on the season and Kentucky managed to hold him 11 points below his average with only 5 points. There is no question that had Gee gotten to his average or exceeded it a little bit that the Crimson Tide would have had a legitimate shot to win the game. Gee finished with 3 fouls and only played 25 minutes in a game that he was needed for at least 35 minutes. Without Junior star Richard Hendrix a lot of responsibility to score the ball rested on Gee’s shoulders and he was not able to come through for the Tide.
The other KEY TO THE GAME was for UK to play aggressive defense and to force bad shots and this is the key that I think the Wildcats executed best on. The reason I say this is because UK forced Alabama to shoot a combined 19-51 (37.3%), and 4-17 (23%) from three-point range. Only two players for Alabama were able to shoot 50% or above and neither of those players shot more than 6 shots. Mykal Riley shot 6-14 and Alonzo Gee shot an abismal 1-9 from the floor. There are not many games that a team can shoot 37% from the field and win a game, especially when the opponent (Kentucky in this case) shoots 49% overall. Kentucky was able to force Alabama into contested shots all day and forced them to take them early in the shot clock a bunch of times, especially in the second half when UK went on a great run mid way throught the half. Alabama’s starters shot a combined 14-39 compared to Kentucky’s total of 15-31. The Wildcats’ starters made one more bucket than ‘Bama’s and still shot 8 less shots than ‘Bama’s. Whenever UK dominates the field-goal percentage like that they will win, I do not care if they are playing Tennessee or LSU, THEY WILL WIN!!
The suprise player of the game was an easy choice, for the second time this year the suprise of the game (SOG) goes to Perry Stevenson. Stevenson was around the ball all day today as he finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds, the 9 rebounds is the second most in his career and he was much stronger with the ball following a rebound today. He was strong at finishing as well dunking the ball twice today and going straight up in the post instead of avoiding contact and defenders. Stevenson was also a defensive prescence and force in the paint as well, blocking 2 shots and adjusting countless more that lead to more blocks and missed shots. Stevenson did not start but he quickly earned minutes and took them away from Mark Coury by playing hard and being very efficient when he was in the game, today he shot 3-4 from the field so he obviously does not take bad shots and when he takes shots he will hit most of them and he showed that part of his game earlier today against a battered Alabama team.
Ramel Bradley seemed just about 100% recovered from the concussion he suffered last week and the viral infection that was thought to maybe sideline the Senior star. I would not expect Bradley to miss any more time.
Jodie Meeks is another story. Meeks has still made no progress on his injured hip so it still looks as though he will miss at least 1-2 more weeks. Meeks has not been participating in full practices and until he does I would not expect him to play soon
Feb. 12 @ Vanderbilt
9:00 pm EST on ESPN