KSR's Best & Worst From A Busy Weekend

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonalmost 2 years

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With three easy wins in three days, it’s been a good weekend to be a Kentucky fan. Here are some of the best and worst moments in the eyes of the KSR crew.

BEST: Three pointers – finally!

We hear Calipari say the same thing (almost) every year: “This is our best shooting team yet.” He said the same thing this year, but the Cats were struggling to prove their head coach right at the start of this season. Sunday night was different. Kentucky finished the game with 10 three pointers, good for a season-high. Five different Wildcats made their mark from downtown: Tyrese Maxey (4-6), Ashton Hagans (3-4), Keion Brooks (1-2), Immanuel Quickley (1-4) and Nate Sestina (1-2).

In total, 30 of Kentucky’s 81 points came from behind-the-arc. Meanwhile, Lamar went 7-17 (41.2 percent). Each of the long shots benefited the Cats, of course, but none stood out more than Maxey’s. After struggling offensively since his stellar performance against Michigan State, Maxey finally came out and played to his potential Sunday night. All four of his treys came in the first half, which helped spark Kentucky’s 22-2 run and double-digit lead.

“It’s what stretched the game out,” Calipari said of Maxey’s hot streak. “Like, those baskets? Bang, bang, bang. And he knows if it’s in transition, he can take it. If we throw it ahead and he’s open in transition, don’t drive it – just shoot that ball.”

Are the shooters starting to become makers?

— Maggie Davis


BEST: Bully Bowl

Kentucky is bowl eligible for the fourth straight season following yesterday’s 50-7 win over UT Martin, and few things made me happier than Marquan “Bully” McCall, DeAndre Square, Cedrick Dort, and Kavosiey Smoke practicing their bowling form on the field afterwards.

…Although, let’s be honest, Bully is the star of that clip, as he is every clip he’s in.

LOOK AT THAT BELLY–I MEAN BULLY:

He even photobombed Stoops at halftime:

— Tyler Thompson


BEST: Passing = Assists. Weird, right?

The last two games for Kentucky has resulted in 40 assists on 59 made baskets. In those two games, the ‘Cats are shooting over 52 percent from the field with two checkmarks in the win column. An even prettier stat? Kentucky only turned the ball over 23 times in those two outings, giving them an assist/turnover ratio of over 1.7.

In the first four games, Kentucky failed to create more assists than turnovers in all of them. 43 assists compared to a disastrous 55 turnovers plagued the young ‘Cats. Even the sophomore, Ashton Hagans, had trouble as the lead guard maintaining possession of the ball, something he has mended in the previous two games. Hagans posted 17 assists to 16 turnovers in the first four games but went for 16 assists and just six turnovers in the two recent wins. Kentucky is 13-2 when Hagans dishes out at least five dimes.

The offense is beginning to click for longer stretches and the deep shots are finally finding the bottom of the net, resulting in the rise in assists. Now here’s a fun stat: since John Calipari has taken over as head coach in 2010, Kentucky has posted a record of 110-10 when his team has reached at least 15 assists as a team. That number plummets to 163-61 when Kentucky records just 14 assists or fewer.

When Kentucky moves the ball well, they typically win. A groundbreaking development, I know.

Zack Geoghegan


WORST: SEC Network Alternate on DirecTV and Dish Network

Yet again, DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers missed the start of tonight’s game. With the Ole Miss/Texas A&M volleyball match going long, the SEC Network moved Kentucky vs. Lamar to the alternate channel, which apparently exists on DirecTV and Dish Network, but doesn’t actually function. Thousands of angry Kentucky fans took to the internet to voice their complaints; hopefully the satellite providers will listen.

— Tyler Thompson


BEST: Brad Calipari’s weekend

The youngest member of the Calipari brood had himself a big weekend for Detroit Mercy. After earning the first collegiate start of his career, Brad Calipari ended the Titans’ Sunday afternoon game with 16 points and four rebounds. The outing was a career-best for Calipari, coming just days after his previously career-high performance. Calipari scored 13 points (4-6 from downtown) in 26 minutes off the bench.

Coach Cal even gave his son a shoutout during his post-game press conference after the Lamar win.

Obviously, his sisters wanted to get in on the fun, too

https://twitter.com/MeganCalipari/status/1197113843366944773

Ladies and gentlemen, do we have a new “bucket” on our hands?

— Maggie Davis


Bowden even dropped the puck at Saturday night’s UK Hockey game (Photo: @Kentucky_Hockey)

BEST: Bowden breaking records

Kentucky quarterback/wide receiver/running back/head coach/athletic director Lynn Bowden helped the Wildcats smash quite a few records in the 50-7 win over UT Martin.

Bowden broke loose for over 100 rushing yards for the fifth time in his career, breaking the record once held by Mike Fanuzzi for most games with at least 100 rushing yards by a Kentucky quarterback.

His 58-yard run in the second quarter was a career-long and Bowden also became the 38th player in program history to record over 1,000 career rushing yards.

Bowden also ALSO became the 10th player in Kentucky’s history to reach 4,000 all-purpose yards while joining some elite company as only the second player (Randall Cobb) to come through Lexington with 1,000 career yards in receiving, rushing, and kickoff returns.

But the BEST part of Bowden’s weekend was his attitude towards the upcoming Louisville hate week.

I’m ready.

— Zack Geoghegan


BETTER: Keion Brooks’ performances

His numbers on a box score don’t stand out as the flashiest on the team, but Keion Brooks has given us glimpses into his potential this weekend. He recorded five points and four rebounds in 14 minutes against Utah Valley. Then, he added nine points and three rebounds in 15 minutes against Lamar, including this incredible ally-oop dunk off an assist from Ashton Hagans.

He hasn’t been the highest scorer, nor has he pulled in the most rebounds. Still, Brooks has started to develop into a solid role player who can compete with a lot of energy. If Brooks could average around eight points and five rebounds per game – not too far from what he earned Sunday night – he could become an even-more important piece of the team come conference play.

— Maggie Davis


MAY NOT BE TOPPED: Benny Snell giving KSR a shoutout

Young Jack Pilgrim covered today’s Bengals/Steelers game in Cincinnati, and after the game, spoke to former Cat Benny Snell, who had 98 yards on 21 carries. After telling Pittsburgh media earlier this week that they weren’t nearly as cool as the Kentucky media, Benny was very happy to see KSR in the house.

Flattery will get you everywhere, Benny.

— Tyler Thompson


BEST: Three games. Three wins. All by 20 points or more.

Through an up-and-down start to both basketball and football this season, Kentucky finally allowed fans to breathe at a normal rate for what felt like the first time since August.

A 20-point basketball win against Mount St. Mary’s on Friday. A 43-point demolition of UT Martin in football on Saturday. All capped off by a 25-point win Sunday night to close out a 3-0 weekend for the Wildcats.

While the quality of opponents wasn’t exactly SEC-caliber, Kentucky did what it has struggled to do all season – win the cupcake games in spectacular fashion. There were no late pushes to make the score appear closer than it actually was. No thoughts of a potential upset. Just pure domination from the opening tip to the final buzzer. I almost forgot what it felt like to hear Rupp Arena scream and yell at the walk-ons to shoot contested 30-footers with 12 seconds left in the game.

Can this happen every weekend, please?

Zack Geoghegan

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2021-09-22

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