UK @ LSU – Post Game
Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 16, 2008
Some wondered how the Kentucky Wildcats would respond after a 41 point beat-down at the hands of Vanderbilt, they thought UK might put their heads down and pack it in for the season. Well UK proved those people wrong with a solid 67-63 win over the red hot Louisiana State Tigers in Baton Rouge earlier this afternoon. A star laden audience took in the basketball game, with the NBA All-Star game only a drive away in New Orleans tomorrow numerous NBA stars filled the seats and watched the game. UK alum Rajon Rondo saw his Wildcats put on a good performance while Tyrus Thomas and Shaquille O’Neal’s team was on the losing end. The usual suspects led the ‘Cats over the Tigers, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley combined for 37 points with Crawford leading the way with 21. Bradley put together an impressive box score by tallying 16 points, 6 assists & 7 rebounds in the game, and although he was double teamed for the majority of the game Patrick Patterson still managed to score 14 points and haul in 5 boards for the ‘Cats.
KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game
Kentucky did a very good job with the KEYS TO THE GAME today against LSU. They completed two of the three KEYS that I felt were necessary to win the game. The first KEY TO THE GAME that UK accomplished was for UK to play very aggressive defense and force LSU into tough shots and settle for long three-pointers instead of buckets in the paint. LSU is dead last in the league in scoring, field-goal percentage & three-point percentage and Kentucky held them below even those woeful numbers in all three categories today. LSU only shot 40.8% from the floor and 28% from three-point range today and fell two points below their scoring average by scoring 67. The Tigers shot a bunch of contested shots even when Kentucky was not playing perfect defense, a few times LSU came down the court and jacked up a bad shot that allowed UK to get the ball right back instead of forcing the Wildcats to guard them. That is one of the reasons that LSU shoots so poorly from all over the floor, they do not force the defense to buckle down all the time to stop them.
The second KEY TO THE GAME that UK completed was for them to play aggressive defense but not to foul and get their stars in foul trouble. LSU is a very good free-throw shooting team and I felt that if they were given opportunities to get free points from the charity stripe that they would convert and maybe win the game because of it. Also, I felt that if Patterson, Crawford and/or Bradley got in foul trouble that we ourselves would have been in trouble because we all know that UK struggles without their best players on the floor, we fail to run a successful offense and we stall and then throw up a wild shot. Patrick Patterson was in a little foul trouble early but the reserves were able to steal a few minutes with him on the bench until he was able to come back in the game. LSU only went to the line 10 times and it does not matter how good you are at free-throws with only 10 attempts you will not gain much of an advantage.
The only KEY TO THE GAME that I do not think that we accomplished was for UK to push the ball up the court and get some transition baskets. Kentucky played more of a half-court offense today against LSU instead of pushing the tempo up and down the court. I thought before the game that that would be an advantage for the Tigers but I thought we played pretty good out of the half court sets. Ramel Bradley once again played very well and controlled the offense as much as he wanted. The difference between this game and the Vanderbilt game is we found ways to get Patterson the ball even when he was double teamed and we found a second offensive option if we could not feed him the ball down low. He caught two alley-oops when he was being double teamed because the defenders were fronting the post and we were able to lob the ball over them for easy buckets.
One key that was not in the KEYS TO THE GAME was UK’s ability to contain Chris Johnson for LSU. Johnson came into the game averaging 12.0 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game as well but only managed to get 4 pts and 4 rebs today against the ‘Cats. He finished 2-9 overall and 0-3 from downtown; Johnson came into the game 4th in the Southeastern Conference in field-goal percentage at nearly 60% but only shot 22% today. Marcus Thornton for LSU, the SEC’s leading scorer at 19.5 ppg, only managed to get 9 points as well. We only allowed for Johnson and Thornton (two of the top three scorers on the team) to combine for 13 points today when they average 32, if we do that to any team we will win the game.
Surprise of the Game
The SOG for today would have to be Kentucky’s second half defense. UK trailed by two points entering the second half and they really stepped up their overall defense. They allowed LSU to shoot 45.2% in the first half and allowed them to knock down shots from all over the floor for the entire half. But the second half was a different story, the Tigers only shot 35.5% in the second half, almost 10% less in the second half. I feel that UK really stepped up when they had to the most to pull out a victory against an up and coming Louisiana State team that could surprise some people come SEC tournament time.
Feb. 19 vs. Georgia
9:00 pm EST on ESPN