Kentucky Needs Overtime to Win SEC Tournament Championship
Nashville, TN – Little Tyler Ulis leads Kentucky to the SEC Tournament Championship. The 5-foot-9-sophomore point guard came up big when it mattered most. Ulis had 30 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in leading the Wildcats to an 82-77 win over the Texas A&M Aggies. Ulis was sensational throughout the tournament but he was especially good during Sunday’s championship game. With fellow backcourt star Jamal Murray not having one of his best shooting games and with the UK big men fighting foul trouble, a lot of the weight was on Ulis’ shoulders.
With a heart of a lion, Ulis willed this team to a win in overtime. For his effort Ulis was voted SEC Tournament MVP, so it was clean sweep for him as he also won the regular season MVP.
While Ulis was the star he also had a strong supporting cast, Murray was not his usual self on offense, but he still managed 17 points and made a three-pointer with fifteen seconds to go in overtime that gave Kentucky an un-surmountable six point lead. Murray joined Ulis on the SEC all-tournament team. Derek Willis also came up big; despite missing all three of his three-point attempts in the first half, Willis finished with 10 points and made a huge three-pointer to give Kentucky the lead for good with one minute to go in the overtime. Isaiah Briscoe played some of his best basketball of the season here in Nashville as he could have easily been voted to the all-tournament team. Briscoe had 10 points, 5 rebounds and team high 6 assists.
It was a well-played tournament for the Wildcats as they got contributions from everyone on the team and the Big Blue Nation fan support was out of this world in the Music City.
This is the 29th SEC Tournament Championship for Kentucky, which is more than all the other SEC schools combined.
The Wildcats will move on to the NCAA tournament where they will be a 4th seed in the East Region and will take on Stony Brook Thursday evening in Des Moines, Iowa.
Cats Rally to Defeat Georgia in SEC Tournament
Nashville, TN – Kentucky’s dynamic backcourt led them to a 93-80 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the semi-finals of the SEC tournament. Freshman Jamal Murray led the Wildcats with 26 points and Sophomore Tyler Ulis added 25, the third member of the Cats backcourt Freshman Isaiah Briscoe added 12.
It was a hard fought game as Georgia was more physical than the Wildcats for most of the game, but the Wildcats found a little grit and started putting more of a resistance up against the resilient Bulldogs. Junior Derek Willis was also instrumental with 14 points and a team high 7 rebounds.
Georgia was on fire during the first half finishing with a 49-44 lead. It was hot shooting throughout the first 20 minutes that allowed the Bulldogs to hold the Wildcats at bay. Georgia a team that was shooting 39 percent from the field on the season was an incredible 61 percent in the first half including going 6-12 from beyond the three-point line.
Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis helped keep the Wildcats close. Murray had 19 points in the first half and Ulis had 12 points and 4 assists. Foul trouble was a problem for the UK big men as Skal Labissiere was limited to 4 minutes and Alex Poythress coming off his best game of the season was limited to 8 minutes as they both picked up two early fouls.
Kentucky will now take on fellow SEC regular season champion Texas A&M as the co-champions will battle it out Sunday afternoon for the tournament championship.
Poythress Brings Home a Victory for the Wildcats vs Alabama
Nashville, TN – A spectacular homecoming for UK senior Alex Poythress, as he led the Wildcats to an 85-59 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Poythress had 20 points on 7-8 shooting and made a career high four three pointers. Freshman All-American Jamal Murray led the team in scoring with 23 points and SEC Player of the Year Tyler Ulis added 17 points and five assists as the Wildcats shook off a lazy first half and coasted to the 26 point win.
The mostly Kentucky Blue Clad Crowd of 19,000 were loud and supportive as the Wildcats went on several rallies in the second half and did not trail in the final 30 minutes of the game. It is a truly special treat to see the bond between the Big Blue Nation and the SEC tournament.
It was a late arriving crowd and a slow start for the Wildcats as they are in search of their 29th SEC tournament championship. The Wildcats were tight as they committed early turnovers and missed several shots at the beginning of the contest.
Alabama took advantage of the slow start and eased to a 12-10 lead at the 12- minute mark of the first half.
Kentucky finally got on track in the first half with both Jamal Murray and Alex Poythress hitting a couple of three’s apiece and both finishing the half with 8 points each. Dominique Hawkins also came off the bench to contribute 5 timely points as the Wildcats overcame the slow start and outscored the Crimson Tide by 12 points to take a 37-27 halftime lead.
Tyler Ulis might have been feeling the pressure of being voted the league MVP as he was not his usual steady self. He had an uncharacteristic two turnovers early in the game and was only 1 for 4 from the field. Ulis missed the last part of the half with two fouls.
Kentucky will now move on to the semi-final round were they will take on the winner of the South Carolina – Georgia matchup, Saturday at 3:30 Eastern Standard Time.