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Postgame notes from Kentucky’s 72-67 loss at South Carolina

Kentucky's  Willie Cauley-Stein (15) battles for the rebound with South Carolina's  Sindarous Thornwell (0),and Desmond Ringer during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday March 1, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein (15) battles for the rebound with South Carolina’s Sindarous Thornwell (0),and Desmond Ringer during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday March 1, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Kentucky Basketball Postgame Notes
South Carolina 72, #17/15 Kentucky 67
March 1, 2014
Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, S.C.

Team Records, Notes

Kentucky falls to 21-8 overall and 11-5 in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina improves to 11-18 and 4-12 in league play.

Kentucky still leads the overall series 47-11 and 18-7 in Columbia.

The Wildcats return to action with the season’s home finale on Tuesday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET. Kentucky welcomes Alabama to Rupp on Senior Night.

Today’s attendance was 15,303.

Team Facts

Kentucky’s starting lineup was comprised of all freshmen for the ninth-straight outing. Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle and James Young formed the lineup. That squad is now 6-3 on the year as the opening five.

Jarrod Polson was the first sub off the bench for UK. It’s the second time this season he’s been called upon first.

Young hit a 3-pointer at the 15:10 mark in the opening half to extend UK’s 3-streak to 889 consecutive games. It is the third largest streak in the country.

South Carolina held a 31-28 lead at halftime. UK is 3-6 and 1-4 when trailing at the break.

Kentucky scored 33 points on free throws which is the second most in a single game in the John Calipari era.

First Half Facts

Kentucky scored the game’s first three points, but South Carolina scored the next five to take a 5-3 advantage into the opening media break. UK missed four of its first five attempts from the field.

UK shot 17-of-23 from the free throw line as the Gamecocks were whistled for 14 first half fouls.

The Blue and White hauled in 30 rebounds in the opening half and held a rebounding margin of +15 in the opening stanza.

South Carolina shot 35.7 percent from the field including 50.0 percent from behind the arc in the opening half compared to just 17.2 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range for the Cats.

Second Half Facts

South Carolina opened the half on a 6-0 run to spark a 13-point advantage at 43-30 entering the first media timeout of the second stanza.

John Calipari was ejected from the game at the 10:23 minute mark and UK trailing 53-39. It is the second time in his career at UK he has been ejected from the contest.

Kentucky went on a 14-2 run to pull to within four at 57-53 with 4:09 remaining before the Gamecocks snapped the stretch with the front end of a double-bonus keeping the lead at two possessions.

An Andrew Harrison 3-pointer at the top of the key brought UK to within three at 59-56 at the 3:13 mark.

On the ensuing possession for South Carolina two free throws made it a two-possession game yet again.

Kentucky would get within one point at 68-67 on a Randle traditional three-point play with 21 seconds remaining but South Carolina converted four-straight free throws for the win.

Individual Notes

Aaron Harrison led the team in scoring with 21 points.

Hit 11-of-12 shots from the free throw line. The makes was a career-best total.

Knocked down two 3-pointers to move into ninth place all-time in the single-season freshman record books.

Also added six rebounds.

Moved to 17th in the single-season freshman scoring record book with 401 points on the year.

Julius Randle picked up his 15th double-double of the season with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Has logged 10 or more rebounds in five-straight contests.

Moved into fourth place in freshman record books with 303 rebounds on the year moving past Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Advanced to 11th in the freshman scoring record book moving past Sam Bowie with 449 points on the year.

James Young posted 19 points.

Made career-high eight free throws.

With 19 points he moved into 13th place in the single-season freshman scoring record books.

Knocked down a 3-pointer for the seventh-straight contest with at least one triple.

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Still STAND BY MY CATS, They need Our Support Now more than ever…lot of haters out there…BBN, support this Team….How bout, Robic…” Nice Work ” Smartest move of the night…Getting thrown out early. I’m telling You, Our Coach Is A Genius ! He got out of this mess quick…Now if Our Guards, could think that smart and move that fast…

    1. cats79

      Amen Larry!!

  2. TheProfessor

    Last year’s team, until Nerlens went down, played good defense, but their offense was a challenge. Their Adjusted NGE when Nerlens went down stood at 0.22 points per possession. Not championship caliber for sure, but good enough for NCAA participation at about a 4 to 5 seed level. Because the offense was a challenge, the team had a reputation among many that it was not a very good team. However, the defense was their mainstay, and it is based on effort, which is more reliable and sustainable over the course of time.

    This year’s team, through 24 games, played good offense, but their defense has been a challenge. At that point, their adjusted NGE stood at 0.22 ppp just like last year’s team. That is not championship caliber this season any more than it was last season, but it is good enough to be an NCAA team at about a 4 or 5 seed. Because the offense seems solid, the team’s reputation among many was that is was a good team.

    While defense is based on effort, is sustainable, and more reliable, offense can be elusive, especially when the offensive efficiency is based on an unreliable free throw shooting, and unreliable perimeter shooting, but the team could rebound a high percentage of its misses, and score off the rebound.

    Well, the last 5 games have not seen an improvement in the poor defense. Actually, the defensive efficiency has slipped some over that span. However, the offense has plummetted because not only has the unreliable perimeter shooting been exaggerated in some of these games, the offensive rebounding, the one aspect that has lifted the overall offensive efficiency, has stopped producing second chance points at the high rate this team managed to enjoy for most of this season. This team’s adjusted NGE has slipped and now this team, while still a legitimate NCAA team, has slipped to a 5 to 6 seed range.

    Last night, 21 offensive rebounds following 47 missed shots only produced 10 second chance points. Consider that South Carolina managed 11 second chance points on only 12 offensive rebounds.

    At a 5 to 6 seed level, the probabilities are for a second round loss, not an appearance at the Sweet 16. Last year’s team, with Nerlens on the floor, was at least a Sweet 16 quality team.

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