Most Recent Posts
- Swiss Cat – Vacation notes and photos from Larry from his trip to Switzerland.
- Kentucky softball team earns 40th win to tie school record for most wins in a season
- Calipari says Cats will press more, foul more, bump and grind, hip-check next season
- Caldwell County sophomore Elijah Sindelar special QB but also has big-time baseball options
- Stoops believes he has special understanding of high school coaches
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about working with head coach Mark Stoops
- Dallas Prime Prep will bring marquee players Mudiay, Thomas, Ferguson to Marshall County Hoop Fest
- Father had biggest impact on Mark Stoops’ coaching career and life
On Feb. 20 in Lexington, Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 74-70 in its second game without Nerlens Noel. Willie Cauley-Stein had 20 points and three blocks, Archhie Goodwin had 16 points and six rebounds, and Ryan Harrow added 12 points and four assists.
Vanderbilt made 10 of 22 3-point shots in the second game against UK after missing 22 of 30 in the game at Nashville. Kentucky was a combined 7-for-29 from 3-point range against the Commodores.
“The second game they fed off the crowd energy and we did not play defense,” Vanderbilt center Josh Henderson said. “We were disappointed we did not play better. We also didn’t knock down a lot of shots that we normally make. Hopefully on a neutral court we will make more shots. It’s a quick turnaround having to play again so fast, but Kentucky put itself in a situation not to have to play today and we didn’t. We just have to still come play with energy.”
That’s what Rod Odom (20 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three assists, two steals) and Kyle Fuller (19 points, two steals) did against Arkansas.
Fuller pulled no punches about what the Commodores have to do against Kentucky.
“What I feel like we need to do is not stop throwing punches. Kentucky is really a team and talented team. I feel what they did better than us, they kept on throwing punches. They kept playing, they kept playing hard, and I felt like it was a four-minute war, we got tight and stopped throwing punches,” Fuller said. “I felt like now we’ve gotten a little older to the point where we have to know that even the game is close, we cannot stop throwing punches and cannot stop throwing punches because they’re going to throw it at us.
“We got to compete for 40 minutes,” Odom said. “We had stretches in the game we didn’t play too well and that really hurt us at the end. So I think the biggest thing is just trying to go out there and compete for a full 40 minutes.”
Stallings remembers his team having a much harder time defending UK the second game — without the injured Noel — than it did the first game.
“I remember they did whatever they wanted to do to our defense. They drove us, they threw it inside, scored it seemed like at will. If that happens again we’ll lose again. That’s what I remember,” Stallings said. “It just felt to me like they did more to us on offense. We did not have any answers. I just know we did not guard them.
“We don’t score a lot of post-up points. We try to get the defense spread out and make shots. We need to make shots and Kentucky is great at defending.”
Vanderbilt lost five SEC games by four points — including two to Kentucky — or less as well as one overtime game. Stallings says his team is better equipped now to handle close games.
“Again, we’ve had a bunch of close games with Kentucky. They’ve won most of them,” Stallings said. “I don’t want to sit here and profess that we’re ready to win a close game even against Kentucky. I hope that we are.
“I anticipate that it will be a very competitive game but, again, our goal, whether our players articulated this well enough or not, our goal was to play on Friday. Now our goal is to play on Saturday. In order to do that we’re going to have to beat a very, very good team and play a very, very good game.”