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Lack of inside play dooms Cats in 72-67 loss to Indiana

By LARRY VAUGHT

There was a time this season when it looked like Kentucky had no chance to make the Final Four. There were other times recently when the Wildcats looked like a team that might be able to win a national championship.

On Saturday, though, Kentucky was much closer to the team that had too many flaws while falling 73-67 to Indiana in the NCAA Tournament second round.

Kentucky got hurt inside. The Hoosiers had nine second-chance points. Kentucky had none.

Indiana freshman big man Thomas Bryant, once a UK target, had 19 points and five rebounds. Kentucky’s Marcus Lee, Skal Labissiere and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 15 rebounds combined.

Isaiah Briscoe and Derek Willis, who had played and scored well in recent games, combined for just seven points — all by Briscoe — in a combined 44 minutes.

Kentucky had 16 turnovers and just two blocked shots after blocking 15 the previous game. Another sign of UK’s frustration — just eight assists.

Don’t blame Tyler Ulis. He was not perfect but he had 27 points, three assists and two steals. If this was his last UK game, he was superb again.

Freshman Jamal Murray, who had been a lethal scoring machine in February, got 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists — but he was 1-for-9 from 3-point range.

Kentucky coach John Calipari talked after the game about how he felt bad for certain players but that the future was bright with perhaps his best recruiting class yet coming in next season. Of course, this was the first time at Kentucky that Calipari failed to make the Elite Eight — or Sweet Sixteen — when he got a team in the tournament.

But also credit Indiana. The Hoosiers had been wanting this game and they outplayed UK when it counted the most.

“It’s over. I wish we could have gone out a different way,” Poythress, a senior, said.

So do UK fans who had recently become Big Blue Believers.

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  1. Mike

    We got both outplayed and outcoached…Crean had his guys ready and Cal didn’t..Getting to be a season ending problem of late…They had BIGS and we didn’t. Skal, Poythress, Lee, and Willis didn’t show and very hard to comprehend why. Best part of this loss is that finally Poythress is done, and I don’t care if any of you agree with me or not. How much more evidence do you need? He has been a 4 yr. BUST. Lee never wanted to develop any kind of offense, and Skal is just Skal. He and Poythress both have no motors and hearts. Hopefully Skal has played his last game here and Lee would not be a loss if he decided to leave. Still can’t believe that we went out like we did. Crean owns Cal.

  2. RJ

    The Bigs for KY was always a struggle this year. I haven’t seen the numbers but I wouldn’t doubt if we didn’t have a 2 :1 rebounding disadvantage. Didn’t seem like we could hit the broad side of the barn from Three point range. And a HUGE hustle disadvantage especially on the inside. Without Ulis scoring 29, we get skunked! It’s amazing to me that a 5’9″ guard can double the points out put of all the bigs. Indiana just plain ole outplayed us. Poythress never lived up to his billing at UK. They’ll eat him alive at the next level, if he makes it that far. He plays too soft with very little finesse.

  3. RJ

    Time to talk about football again!!!!

    1. Larry Vaught

      Spring practice resumes Tuesday

  4. Mike

    A bad judgment call all year by Cal thinking that Skal was going to develop into a starter when he could have been starting and developing Hump along the way. He is much more physical than Skal will ever be and just needed some PT to get some confidence with his shooting.

  5. Cats79

    I don’t think coach Cal got out coach like Mike said. Indiana wanted more than we did.. Gotta give lndiana credit .

    1. Mike

      IU did want it more than we did. Crean had an excellent game plan and his guys executed it very well. i am not sure that Cal had a game plan. We do know that he didn’t make any half time adjustments. They were the better team tonight.

  6. LindaS

    Two players cannot win a game when it is meant for 5. Briscoe did his share for the D. I think Cal had Skal in just to ‘showcase’ him for the NBA..Willis was doing just fine before his injury, blocked shots, rebounds, 3’s…he was holding his own and then he got hurt. He didn’t get much playing time after the injury and when he was in no one seemed to get him the ball. He lost confidence…
    Front court sucked almost all year. Ever since one player was a freshman you never knew if he was going to show up or not. He hurt us a lot of times. I don’t think he wants to go pro, you never hear his name mentioned. I think it would be too much work for him.
    Everyone is saying if Dakari had been here this year….yes, IF…wow….Dakari did not talk to me or he would have come back.

  7. Larry Pup

    Hey it happens children. I am still proud of this team for what they did accomplish this year.. Thanks Alex for the memories and good luck. Tyler is a machine that will be sorely missed. He is a great PG. I have seen on better in all my days. UK will live to fight another day. As I said before, the hell with IU. They are classless.

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