By: Tyrus York
The weather outside may have convinced many that it would be a sparse crowd in Rupp Arena on Saturday, but 23,367 dedicated Cats fans braved the cold and snow to see their beloved Wildcats dismantle a hot Georgia team 79-54. #14 Kentucky (15-4, 5-1) used a balanced attack to thwart the Bulldog’s (10-8, 4-2) attempt at upsetting another SEC team on the road. Four Wildcats ended
up in double figures in the scoring column while 2 more had 7 and 8 points respectively. Aaron Harrison led the way with a very calm team high 15 points. Aaron did it by neglecting the three point shot, attempting only 2 and missing both.
Julius Randle added 14 points and 9 rebounds, narrowly missing out on yet another double-double. Randle continued to improve with the ball in his hands by dishing 3 assists. That was compared to his 3 turnovers for the game. James Young continued to show that he is a major scoring threat on this team adding 13 points, while Alex Poythress had another very impressive game with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
The truth of the matter was that Georgia simply wasn’t very good. Part of that reason was the fact that they were missing their 2nd leading scorer in Kenny Gaines who was a late scratch in this game due to an injury. The Bulldogs were also without freshman guard Juwan Parker, depleting the backcourt even more. Some may look at Georgia’s inability to execute, especially with their injuries and say that this win for Kentucky is a wash. For starters, Kentucky can’t control what happens to the players of another team. All they can control is what they do themselves.
The stat line tells a good story for the Cats, despite the opponent. 16 assists to 11 turnovers (compared to Georgia’s 9 assists to 20 turnovers) is a continuing sign that Andrew Harrison continues to improve in his role to lead the team. Andrew finished with 7 points, 5 assists and 3 turnovers. Willie Cauley-Stein had drawn some extra attention over the last several games for somewhat disappearing on the court. After what Cal said was a great few days of practice for Willie, he came out and exerted his will on both ends of the floor. WCS finished the game with 8 points and 3 rebounds, but his main impact was defensively, nabbing 6 steals and swatting 6 blocks. Kentucky shot an even 50% from the field to Georgia’s 32.7%, which led to the Bulldogs having a slight advantage on the boards, 35-32. However Kentucky would dominate points in the paint 36-24 and notched 1 more three pointer than the Bulldogs to take that advantage.
Kentucky will hit the road for the next two games, games that will be a pivotal point of the schedule as they near the halfway point in conference play. It’s Tiger week for Kentucky in the SEC when they play the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, LA on Tuesday night at 9pm on ESPN. They will then be in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday to take on the Missouri Tigers in one of the toughest road tests of the season.