COLUMBIA, South Carolina – February 13, 2016 – Brendon D. Miller, Midwest News and Sports
Who needs Cal when you have Tyler Ulis? Well of course the CATS do need Coach Calipari, but after his early ejection just 2 minutes 26 seconds into the game, the UK staff told Tyler it was “his show” and he did not disappoint. The show was 27 points, 12 assists, 2 steals and only 1, that is 1, turnover in 38 minutes of action. Cal had said recently that Tyler was basically coaching the team, and the show today was proof positive. Carolina coach Frank Martin could not stop singing Tyler’s praises in post- game saying that Tyler, was “why they did to us what they did today. He’s as good as I’ve had to prepare a team to play against.”
The Carolina student section and crowd flat brought it today, and Colonial Life Arena was intense in pregame and at the tip, but the Cocks could not back up the intensity of their crowd with the CATS taking a 42-27 lead to the half behind the dynamic duo of Ulis with 14 and Jamal Murray with 11.
Derek Willis opened the scoring with a 3, 24 seconds in to the game and the CATS were off, basically controlling the 1st half. South Carolina took its only lead of the game 10-9 on a jumper by Duane Notice at the 14:25 mark, but the CATS then turned the screws both offensively and defensively, outscoring the Gamecocks 33 to 17 the rest of the half.
The Gamecocks cut the lead to 13 at the 19:33 mark of the second half, but never got closer.
The largest lead was 34 following an awe-inspiring posterizing slam by Jamal Murray over Justin McKie at 7:03. This followed the fast break off-the-glass alley-oop by Ulis to Marcus Lee for a thunderous dunk. Two better and more devastating dunks are would be hard to come by. The Cock fans hit the exits soon after. While Ulis led the CATS, Murray added 26 points, and 5 rebounds in 38 minutes, Lee posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes, Isaiah Briscoe added 10 points and 5 rebounds in 31 minutes, while Willis chipped in 9 points in 18 minutes due to foul trouble.
Carolina was led by Michael Carrera with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Cal tweeted after the game, “I have never been more proud of a team. They are now empowered. They’ve proven that they don’t need me and I love it.” The rest of February and March will be exciting with and “Empowered” CATS!!