Photo by Regina Rickert
Kentucky Basketball

Kentucky vs SIU takeaways

November 9, 2018

The Cats returned from their beatdown by Duke to take on Southern Illinois. UK came away with its first win of the season, beating SIU 71-59. The game was not easily won, however.


Sloppy first half:

The Cat's offense seemed to pick up where it left off against Duke. The Cats had 14 turnovers in the first half which was a big reason why SIU built an eight point lead and hung around to make it a 31-28 game at half with the cats in front. The perimeter defense allowed SIU to drive in the lane at will and the offense remained stagnant for most of the half. The team is in desperate search for a leader on both sides of the ball and someone needs to step up soon for UK to reach their full potential.

The cats also managed to make just one three in the first half. Tyler Herro looks hesitant to shoot at times, which is something the cats need him to fix. The biggest bright spot for the cats was Nick Richards who came off the bench and had six points, 12 boards, and two blocks in 14 minutes. The great thing about having depth is that anyone could step up on a given night. Keldon Johnson continues to play with a high motor on both ends of the court. 

Altogether, the first half was a disappointment. One would think that a team that just got beat by 34 on the biggest stage would come back with a little more fire, but they didn't and they continue to look confused, uninterested and lacking fight.


Even worse second half

By the 14 minute mark in the second half, the gym and everyone in it was silent. SIU built a 44-37 point lead. Bad turnovers, lack of effort on defense and fouls helped SIU continue to push the cats around. 12 of SIU's 18 second half points at the 14-minute mark were in the paint.

Finally, Immanuel Quickley hit a three to cut the lead to 46-43 before Johnson stole the ball and hit Quade Green for a jumpshot. The cats finally took a 47-46 lead after an EJ Montgomery putback just before the 12 minute timeout. The cats capped off their 17-6 run with a Johnson and-one to take a 58-52 lead with just under eight minutes in the game.

The cats capped off the game with a Johnson slam off a Green steal to give the cats a 71-59 victory. Richards finished with eight points, 19 boards and three blocks off the bench. Immanuel Quickley and Green established themselves as the point guards tonight as Quickley had 15 points on 6-10 shooting including 2-4 from deep. Green finished with 14 on 4-8 shooting and 2-5 from deep. Montgomery chipped in 10 points and seven boards.

Ashton Hagans and Herro ended the night with zero points and little contribution. PJ Washington had five turnovers and three fouls in 19 minutes. 


Final Thought

The last ten minutes of the game gave us a glimpse of this teams ultimate potential. The guards attacked, Johnson never stopped, Richards and the other bigs dominated the glass and Immanuel Quickley made some three's. At one point with six minutes left, Richards had more boards than the entire SIU team and finished with the same amount. The turnovers are still an issue as is perimeter defense and Herro's confidence, but they managed to pull the win out. This was a game where guys needed to establish themselves, and Johnson, Quickley, Richards, Green, and Montgomery showed why they belong on the court tonight. How this affects the lineups and playing time moving forward will be something to watch, but Cal can't accept second half deficits to inferior opponents much longer.


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