- Saturday, December 10 2005 -
(at Indianapolis, IN)
Kentucky - 53 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 15th by AP and 15th by ESPN/USA Today]
Indiana - 79 (Head Coach: Mike Davis) - [Ranked 18th by AP and 16th by ESPN/USA Today]
Halftime Score: Indiana 35, Kentucky 19
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Georgia State 73 - 46|||||Louisville 73 - 61|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Crimson and Creamed
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Tubby Smith had seen enough. His Kentucky team was trailing by 19 points with 9:48 remaining in the annual grudge match with Indiana and Smith wanted to stop the deluge, even if for only a moment.
Smith wasn't alone. As UK trudged toward the bench with heads hung low enough that chins were touching the RCA Dome floor, a Cat fan sitting just feet from the bench turned to his compadre and said bluntly, 'We're terrible.' After Indiana shellacked UK 79-53 for its largest victory in the storied history of this rivalry, it would be hard to argue the fan's point.
"This is a real disappointment," Smith said. "This is a tough loss for us. I thought we had corrected a few things, but we didn't. When you go 2-of-27 (on threes) and have four assists and 19 turnovers, you are not going to beat anyone."
Following the lead of its football team in the fall, Indiana jumped all over UK from the beginning, putting the Cats back on their heels as barrel-chested Marco Killingsworth dominated the paint area and set the tone for how physical Indiana would be with the Cats. Killingsworth had 12 points in the first 13 minutes as the Hoosiers opened a 27-14 lead that would never dip below 11 the rest of the game. The 6-foot-8, 268-pound Killingsworth finished up with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists while making 7-of-8 field goals and 9-of-14 free throws.
"We just couldn't find a way to stop him," Smith said of Killingsworth. "When we doubled him he would find people to shoot. They just controlled the tempo all game long."
In losing its third game in four outings against quality competition, the Cats suffered from some of the same problems that have plagued them all year, but new issues came to light as well. Although UK outrebounded Indiana and made 77 percent from the free throw line Ð both issues earlier this year Ð the Cats had an abysmal shooting night and by the end of the game had basically allowed Indiana to get three uncontested run outs to make the final score even worse.
For the second straight weekend, it was an embarrassing effort on national television.
"This should keep us humble," sophomore guard Rajon Rondo said. "Two big losses in weekend games, nobody should have an ego after this."
Nothing went right for UK throughout the game. After Shagari Alleyne took an entry pass and dunked on the first possession of the game, everything went down hill. Indiana took the fight right at UK and pushed its lead to 35-19 by halftime as the Cats made just 29.6 percent of their shots and had 10 turnovers and no assists after the first two baskets of the game.
For those who expected a patented UK run coming out of halftime, the Cats gave themselves a chance on the defensive end, but came up bankrupt time and again on the other end of the floor. Four times in the first three possessions of the second half UK missed point blank shots, none more head-shaking than Alleyne's air-balled field goal attempt from no more than 18 inches from the rim. Bobby Perry's lay-in and Rondo's fast break drive cut the Indiana lead to 37-23, but UK would not get much closer despite holding the Hoosiers scoreless for a stretch of 7:13. During that time, UK cut just four points off the Indiana lead and still trailed 37-25.
"We had some opportunities," Smith said. "I'm looking for something positive but I can't find anything. We looked to go inside more and when we did, we got no response from our inside people."
Unfortunately, UK got no response from its perimeter weapons either. Coming into the game was connecting on 40 percent of its three-point attempts, but it took 21 in this game before Brandon Stockton drilled the first from deep with 3:34 remaining. UK ended up 2-of-27 from long range, good for a 7.4 percent clip and finished just 31.1 percent from the field on the whole.
"I don't know what happened," sophomore guard Ramel Bradley said. "We couldn't hit a shot to save our life. Those are all shots I know we can make, they just weren't falling."
"When you (miss shots) you are either a bad shooting team or are taking bad shots and I thought it was a combination of both," Smith said. "We can't finish around the basket. It's not just today, it's been all year."
As for Indiana, it sent UK home with its worse loss since a 150-95 undressing in December of 1989 at Kansas. Not only did the Hoosiers set a mark for its largest win in the series and erase the memories of 10 UK victories in the past 11 meetings, it also ended the Cats' streak of 31 straight games of holding the opponent under 50 percent shooting.
"If you play basketball on the college level, you ain't gonna like Kentucky," Killingsworth said. "You just ain't gonna like them. They're just one of those teams you're gonna love them or you're going to hate them, and I hate them. I'm being straight forward with you. I don't like them."
For Killingsworth and anyone wearing crimson and cream, the satisfaction of pasting UK was sweet. For UK, and its legions of fans likely saying the same thing the man in the front row said, you wonder where the Big Blue goes from here.
Rekalin Sims and Shagari Alleyne try to handle IU's Marco Killingsworth
Sheray Thomas fights over IU's Marshall Strickland