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Bam Adebayo helps UK hold off Missouri

Bam Adebayo (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Hopefully Kentucky was looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with Florida in Rupp Arena that likely will decide who wins the Southeastern Conference championship.

If not, there’s no explanation for the way UK played Tuesday at Missouri before winning 72-6 against the SEC’s second worst team.

Respected national sportswriter Dick Weiss posted this on Twitter during the first half: “kentucky and missouri are tied at 24 with 6 (minutes) to play in first half. game shouldn’t be this close,” Weiss treated.

He was right. Kentucky had a 26-18 lead when Missouri went on a 10-2 run thanks to UK missing seven of eight shots and not having a field goal for over four minutes. To end the half, UK missed 10 of its last 12 shots but somehow had a 31-30 lead despite having nine turnovers and getting outrebounded.

That probably said as much about Missouri’s overall talent as anything. Even Calipari got miffed when SEC Network reporter Laura Rutledge asked him at halftime what he thought of the Missouri students as they were chanting, “Cal, you suck.” Calipari just walked off.

He wasn’t any happier midway of the second half when he got a technical foul as part of a 6-0 Missouri run in 45 seconds that tied the score at 52-52 with 7:47 to go.

But Bam Adebayo had seven straight points — he finished the game with 22 points, a career-best 15 rebounds and three blocked shots— and took over to help the Cats do just enough to get the win despite having 17 turnovers and just 10 assists.

De’Aaron Fox had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists while Malik Monk managed to continue his streak of scoring in double figures every game with 11 points on only 4-for-12 shooting, three rebounds and three assists.

Isaiah Briscoe had nine points, five rebounds and three assists but he had six turnovers. Adebayo and Monk both had three as did Wenyen Gabriel.

Kentucky and Florida will both take 13-2 SEC records into Saturday’s showdown.

4 comments

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  1. Mike

    Did UK win the game or did Puryear lose it? If he hits anywhere near his average good chance we get beat. Are we team choke or team joke?..probably a little of both. For the talent level of this coaching staff and this team we are getting outplayed and out coached for the most of th.e recent games. This team not only lacks confidence as Cal said at end of game, they lack energy, passion, fight, leadership, and the collective will to win. Monk, Fox and Briscoe not playing anywhere near some of their history. Monk and Fox 8-22. Gabriel runs around out there totally out of control, Willis takes off more games than not, and Humphries continues to get the minutes that he earns. We still cannot stop the pick and roll and defend the post without fouling. It won’t be an upset if this team takes their third home loss this weekend.

  2. Cats79

    Mike, I know I don’t agree with you often but I’m jumping the bandwagon of what your saying.I kept thinking this team would get back too playing like the did early part of season I just don’t see it happening . I’m going to keep cheering on regardless but disappointed in them.

  3. OldFan

    As I said back earlier in the year, Briscoe is just playing himself into another year at UK. Our “best back court in the country” is not even the best in the SEC (double digit turnovers again), much less anywhere else. I don’t see UK getting past the Sweet 16 this year, and feel they will be lucky to even get that far. This team started the year like gang-busters and now have no idea how to play together and don’t seem to have a desire to give what it takes to win. You see this with a lot of young players that have had it so easy in High School, when they get to college, they have no real idea what “effort” and “heart” really are. I hate to say this, but if this team was in the ACC, they would be playing for 4th or 5th place, no where near 1st.

    1. Larry Pup

      They have already beaten UNC out of the ACC for what that’s worth. The SEC is stronger now with better coaching too IMO. This is still a very dangerous UK team if they start clicking.

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