Not exactly the way John Calipari pictured the SEC schedule starting off. The Wildcats struggled in the post and fell to the Georgia Bulldogs 77-70 Saturday afternoon. Four of the starting five Georgia Bulldogs finished in the double-digits and no one was more impressive then Trey Thompkins.
Thompkins finished the game with 25 points and seven rebounds but the more impressive stat is that he got to the line twelve times and hit eleven free throws. Standout guard Travis Leslie chipped in with 15 points and eight boards.
It was a consistent struggle in the paint and Kentucky finished the game with 24 player fouls and were unable to establish themselves in the paint once again. Three Wildcats fouled out and one ended with four fouls.
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It was another chance for Josh Harrellson to prove his worth and once again he failed. Against top post players in the country Harrellson is out maned and out hustled. In thirty minutes he finished with four points and only attempted four shots.
There was more to blame then just Josh Harrellson. The Wildcats shot a miserable 38-percent from the field. DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller only combined for fourteen points and Brandon Knight ended up with ten.
The two bright spots from the game is that Terrence Jones seems to be out of his drought. He recorded yet another double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds and Doron Lamb was sensational once again, chipping in 18 points. The Wildcats found out exactly how much of a team sport basketball is.
It didn’t help that Georgia capitalized on every mistake Kentucky made but that is what good teams do, they make you pay. Kentucky fouled often and sent the Bulldogs to the stripe thirty-four times and Georgia made them pay by shooting 88-percent.
If you send a team to the free throw line thirty-four times any team is going to have trouble overcoming that problem. Fouls seemed to be the name of the game and it hurt Kentucky badly. Thirty of Georgia’s 77 points came from free-throws.
Height is killing the Wildcats but that should not be an excuse. They will need to find a way to win with the small line-up and shooting 38-percent is not going to get it done. Granted Georgia has maybe the most skilled post player in the SEC and not many teams will be as tall as them but it is going to be tough for Kentucky to establish a shooting game when they get very little production in the post.
It was good to see Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb producing but at the same time it was terrible to see DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller play as bad as they did. Without production from one of those two then Kentucky is going to see many more games like the one they say on Saturday.
The good thing is Kentucky won’t have to wait long to rebound from the loss tonight when they have the Auburn Tigers in town on Tuesday night. Kentucky should not have trouble with Auburn but if they shoot the way they shot tonight then anything is possible. Hopefully they learned their lesson that fouling is not going to make the road to a victory any easier.