Kentucky headed to Columbia, Missouri today in search of their 4th straight win. The Cats just worked their way back into the rankings and will be looking to work their way closer to the top in the second half of the SEC schedule. Through the first half of conference play, UK stood at 6-3 while the Tigers were only 4-5. Despite those records, the young Cats were slight underdogs on the road.

Kentucky got off to a pretty active start. Hami drove on the first play of the game for a layup and then Shai found Nick Richards for the oop.

The Cats were pressing on defense and doing a nice job with deflections, steals and blocks, but the rims really started to tighten up. After 11 minutes gone in the first half, Kentucky only had 9 points on 3/16 shooting (0/7 from 3). Mizzou led 16-9 and UK had missed 13 in a row from the field.

The rest of the half was just as brutal as the Cats finished up 6/30 from the field (0/10 from 3) and 6/11 from the free throw line. Jarred Vanderbilt brought some nice energy and had 11 minutes off the bench. After grabbing an offensive board and putting it back in at the 5:59 mark, the Cats were within a bucket at 20-18. They would not score another point before the break and headed to the locker for a Calipari ass-chewing down 28-18.

Kentucky came out in the 2nd half awake on the offensive side by hitting 5 of the first 7 shot attempts, as well as going 4/4 at the line. But after pulling to within 1, Missouri hit a couple of 3s sandwiched around a steal and breakaway layup for an 8-0 run. Five minutes into the half, the gained ground was gone and it was back to a 41-32 lead.

The Cats simply were unable to get anything going on the offensive end to put any kind stretch run together the rest of the way. The only suspense for UK fans was watching to see if somebody could hit a 3 to keep the streak alive. Kentucky pulled within 8 with 2:58 to go when Wenyen finally connected.

There was some offense in the second half, but this was a brutal game for Cat fans to watch. Jarred Vanderbilt looked like he was finally going to factor into the rotation more, but foul trouble limited him to 16 minutes (still a season high). He continued to be Kentucky’s best rebounder with a team-high 10 despite 7 other teammates getting more minutes.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the only Cat in double figures (15), but did so on 5/16 shooting. UK collectively shot 31% with a frigid 2/20 from 3. Kentucky outrebounded Missouri by 4 and forced 20 turnovers, but could not get into a flow offensively. The Tigers held on for a 69-60 win.

Image courtesy of Alex Slitz