EAT IT DIERKS!!!
Before jumping into the post-game notes, I just want to commend Dierks Bentley on his genius business move tonight. If I were a country singer, alienating the entire State of Kentucky would be on the top of my "P-Diddy-esque" business decisions. When you factor in that most people from Tennessee are too poor to buy CD's, Kentucky has to represent at least 98% of your sales as a honky-tonkin' musician. Sometimes fan loyalty reaches stupidity and Dierks is certainly a stupidly loyal fan. Eat it Bentley, your 'Dores lost
. (BTW, you're lucky Drew is on vacation this week because if there's one thing he loves more than student governments, it's perms). Now, to the post-game notes:
The first half started off exactly how most would have expected with a team that relies heavily on freshman who have never experienced the very unfriendly confines of Memorial. Bad outside shooting was aided by good defense
and physical play, leading to a low scoring affair. I really felt that Vandy did a great job of controlling the tempo in the first half, stopping the progress of UK's fast breaks and playing tough half court defense. Cousins, who saw early playing time with Pat and Orton, again made his presence known against a noticeably inferior AJ Ogilvy. Cousins would eventually lead all UK scorers with 10 at the half and on the defensive end he did a great job of frustrating the Bronzed-Locked Thunder from Down Under.
Vandy used a 7-0 run near the midway mark of the first half to gain a lead on UK, aided mostly by the timely scoring of Jeffrey Taylor. Taylor would lead all Vandy scorers with 9 points at halftime. UK owned a five point lead late in the first half, but once again Taylor helped his team cut that deficit down to two by halftime
The second half was marked with much more physical play which peaked at a point where Bledsoe recieved a personal foul for shoving Taylor and both players received technical fouls
. Wall was also fouled rather hard by Ogilvy on a fast break and Cousins, like any good center taking up for his point guard, took offense. While Cousins did have moments of high emotion, he continues to control that emotion without hurting his team, although at one point he egged on boo's from the Vandy crowd, leading to a good rippin' from Cal. Cousins and Ogilvy both received their fourth fouls near the midway mark of the second half and had to sit for most of the rest of the game.
Liggins and Miller both made timely plays
on offense and defense. Liggins popped a timely three while Miller, coming in for Bledsoe after his technical foul, forced two big second half turnovers. After Tchiengang and Ezeli fouled out for Vandy, Cousins returned with Kentucky down and came through much better on the free throw line than he had in the previous game against Tennessee.
Into the final few minutes, Patterson knocked down a majorly clutch three and Cousins did his normal offensive board work. Tied at 53 with a minute left, Wall drove to the basket and followed his own miss with a put back to give UK a two point lead. After Vandy missed a three point attempt, Wall received a break away pass from Cousins and was fouled. Wall hit both to put UK up four but a three pointer by John Jenkins knocked the lead down to one with 19.9 seconds left, when Bledsoe was sent to the line for two. After missing the first and Vandy calling a timeout, he missed the second. Jenkins again got the ball out on the perimeter and when he pulled for three, Wall came through with a game saving block and was fouled. After hitting one of two, Wall and UK had to play full court defense resembling UK's famous tournament bout with Duke
, except this time they guarded the in-bound pass. A full court pass went to AJ Ogilvy who drove into the lane and barely missed the floater giving UK their 26th victory on the season and a two game lead in the SEC East. Cousins led all UK scorers with 19, followed by 13 a piece for Wall and Patterson.
Post Game Quotes (via UKAthletics.com)
Coach Cal generally on the game
, "I thought that Vandy's game plan against us today was perfect. They played physical, held the ball on offense, controlled John Wall on defense and played zone against us, which made us attempt contested three pointers. Wall`s defense was good tonight, Patrick Patterson rebounded the ball well and DeAndre Liggins did well coming off of the bench."
Coach Cal on Memorial
, "Coaching from the end zone was unique but not difficult. The only thing that was
Coach Cal on importance of the win
, "This is the type of win that I love. We were able to grind it out. Everyone knows that we like to play fast, but we don't force our will on the opponent. When it comes to tournament time, you have to be able to play different styles and we did that tonight."
Coach Cal on Wall's final shot
, "He was dribbling the ball on top of the key and I told him to drive to the basket. He fought his way to the basket and showed his will to win by getting the ball back after missing the first shot."
Patrick Patterson on getting a win in Memorial
, "It feels great. It's a great team victory. I haven't won in this building since freshman year. For us to come in this hostile environment and come out with a victory feels sweet. It tastes good. It feels good to know that we came out with a hard earned win and to know that all of my teammates were playing with passion and great intensity out there."
DeMarcus Cousins on UK's improvement through the season
, "I believe we've grown a lot. We've shown people we can play in a hostile environment. We're a young team, but I don't really think that affects us in big time situations."
Coach Stallings' Opening Comments
, "That was a really good college basketball game. Both teams competed and both teams played hard. I'm proud of our team. Obviously, both teams struggled to make shots and that was our undoing. We had some open ones and had some that were contested. We had some good looks at the basket."
Coach Stallings' on the final shot
, "That was pretty close to the basket to have covered that amount of ground in 2.5 seconds. We practice those shots - at least our big guys do - and it was a pretty good look for 2.5 seconds to play."
Coach Cal on the final shot and calling that last timeout
, "I made a mistake in calling the timeout with two seconds left in the game. I should have just let Vandy go and play but I gave them a chance to set up a final play. Coach Stallings is a great coach and prepared his team well and got his main guy the ball with a chance to make a shot."