UK vs. Georgia – Post Game

Posted by ibleedblue040 on February 20, 2008

Kentucky came out hot against Georgia last night and stayed that way for the entire first half. Not in any game this season has UK started off as good as these Wildcats did yesterday, Joe Crawford hit 3 three-pointers in the first 3 minutes and the ‘Cats led 11-2 just 2:37 into the game. Kentucky led by as much as 16 in the game and only trailed for 14 seconds the entire game. It makes it a lot easier to win when you get off to such a great start and makes it even easier when you get your top two scorers to both reach the 20 point mark. Led by Joe Crawford’s 24 points and Patrick Patterson’s 20, the Wildcats had a 1-2 punch that could not be stopped yesterday. If Patterson was double teamed down low, no problem, just kick it out to Crawford and he will hit a 3, he had 4 of them last night. Patrick Patterson turned in yet another efficient performance going over 50% from the field for the game once again. Patterson was virtually unstoppable in the post against the Bulldogs and the thing that made him even more dangerous against them was his ability to hit the mid range jumper yesterday. Patterson was probably 4-5 from the free throw line area, that made the defense extend and allowed an open lane for back door cuts and other easy buckets.

KEYS TO THE GAME… After The Game

One reason that Kentucky won the game yesterday against Georgia could be because they completed all three KEYS TO THE GAME against them. The first KEY that I thought UK had to complete was to slow down Sundiata Gaines. Gaines had been on a tear entering the game, going for over 20 against Tennessee and scortching everyone else in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky made some minor, but key, adjustments to slow him down yesterday. Instead of pressuring him once he got the ball Kentucky decided to put a man on him all over the court and to refuse to let him get the ball at all. Surprisingly Ramon Harris got the “honors” of guarding Gaines and he did a spectacular job. Gaines finished with only 10 points on the day on only 4-14 shooting from the field. I believe that Gillispie’s decision to face guard Gaines all over the court is the main reason for the off game that he had. UK played picks very well, not allowing him to get uncontested threes, and just played an all around smart game on defense. Kentucky’s defense was really the key to the win because the ‘Cats only allowed Georgia to hit two field goal in the final 6:30, one coming with 12 seconds left, right after they had stormed back on a run to close the gap. The Wildcats allowed almost no open shots all game.

The second KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky completed last night was Kentucky’s ability to force turnovers. Kentucky forced 10 turnovers yesterday, which may not seem like a lot, but Kentucky only commited 8 themselves. The last time Kentucky commited less turnovers than their opponent was January 15 in a loss at Mississippi State, in other words it had been 8 games since UK last won the turnover battle. Kentucky also scored 10 points off their forced turnovers, any time you have equal or more points off turnovers than forced turnovers that is good, that means they are capitalizing on their oppurtunities and playing smart with the ball once they get it. Any time that UK can get high percentage shots and they convert they will usually win because in a lot of their losses a key has been the lack of capitalizing on scoring oppurtunities so those are basically like free points to them and they will take them any time that they can get them because they are smart enough to know that without the easy points it is very hard to win ball games, especially against good teams in the SEC like Tennessee, Mississippi State & Florida, and wins over teams like those can help your tournament resume’ a lot.

The third KEY TO THE GAME that Kentucky completed was to feed Patrick Patterson the ball. Patterson had been getting less and less touches each game for a while until last night, but against Georgia he got the ball numerous times down low in scoring positions and 9 out of 10 times when he is in that kind of position he will beat his opponent. Patterson plays too hard and is too determined to be denied from scoring if he feels like he should score, even Dennis Felton, Georgia’s head coach, said that Patterson is a special player and physically is NBA ready. Any player that has that much of a physical advantage automatically has an overall advantage because they can force situations in their favor. For example if they are trying to back someone down and then spin on them, if they are physically ready to play in the NBA they can make a person get backed down and spin even if the other player knows he is going to do it. Patterson’s 20 points was the most he has had since January 26, or 3 1/2 weeks. Patterson should consistently be getting 20 points like he was in the beginning of the year against the lesser competition. Patterson really helped his own cause by hitting the mid range jump shot and not letting the Georgia players double team him everywhere he went.

Surprise of the Game

The Surpise of the Game (SOG) was the defensive job that the UK players, mainly Ramon Harris, did on Sundiata Gaines. I was afraid that Gaines was going to torch the Wildcats for 20+ points and was going to maybe single handedly beat us without the help of his teammates. Gaines was face guarded all over the court and only scored 10 points, the least amount of points he has scored in his last 6 games. Georgia is now only 3-5 when Gaines scores under 10 points so the way to beat the Georgia Bulldogs it seems like it to guard him straight up and hold him to single digits. In my opinion if Sundiata Gaines had gotten his usual 15-18 points I believe Georgia would have been much closer at the beginning and throughout the whole game and the game would have come down to the final minutes instead of UK leading the whole game.


Feb. 23 vs. Arkansas

2:00 pm EST on CBS


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