- Tuesday, December 18 2007 -
Kentucky - 69 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||15||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||4||2||1||0||0||2||2|
Houston - 83 (Head Coach: Tom Penders) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Houston 45, Kentucky 33
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Alabama-Birmingham 76 - 79|||||Tennessee Tech 69 - 47|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
If it weren't for bad luck the Kentucky basketball team would have no luck at all this year.
Riding the enthusiasm created by the return of star guard Jodie Meeks the Cats arrived at Houston's Hofheinz Pavilion hoping to catch a wave of good fortune. Like so much else in this surreal season the positive vibe was unceremoniously wiped away when freshman forward Patrick Patterson was scratched just before tip-off with an ankle injury.
The aftermath was a humbling 83-69 defeat in front of a packed house that sent the Cats to their fourth straight loss, a dubious feat they had not accomplished since the 1989-90 season. UK went on to finish 14-14 that season under first-year coach Rick Pitino.
Needing something - anything - to go their way the Cats figured Meeks' return after missing six weeks with a stress fracture in his pelvic region would give them the jolt they needed. Meeks certainly didn't disappoint, scoring a career-high 21 points in 35 minutes of action but UK couldn't survive inside without Patterson's presence.
"Patrick's played great for us," UK coach Billy Gillispie said. "He's a major part of our deal. The players have such great confidence in Patrick. When we said Patrick's not playing you see a look in their eyes you really don't want to see."
It's a look that's been present all too often this season.
Without Patterson, who rolled an ankle in practice the day before, the Cats were left with virtually no experience in the paint and played like it. The quintet of Ramon Harris, Mark Coury, Perry Stevenson, Jared Carter and A.J. Stewart combined for 16 rebounds but were pushed all over the floor by Houston's more athletic post players. Despite holding the Cougars to 36.1 percent shooting from the field UK allowed 83 points thanks to 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in a 28-7 edge in second chance points for Houston.
"We just haven't gotten a defensive rebound all year, and it keeps on happening," Gillispie said. "You've either got to be tough enough to push your man out of bounds or you've got to really go after the ball with great aggression.
"Right now we're not doing either of them."
The game followed a familiar path for UK, which stayed in contact through much of the first half before a late run gave Houston a 12-point halftime lead. The second half resembled losses to Indiana and North Carolina, as turnovers mounted and the scoreboard titled more and more in the opponent's favor. Houston rang up a 25-point lead with 10:24 remaining before Joe Crawford's mini-run cut the deficit to 10 with just over two minutes on the clock.
It wouldn't matter.
Houston snuffed any last hope the Cats had of a monumental comeback with five quick points to push the lead back to 15. Not even 50 percent shooting and 49 points by Meeks and Crawford could give UK reason to smile.
Houston's Tafari Toney secures the ball from UK's Jodie Meeks (#23) and Joe Crawford (#32)
Joe Crawford slams the ball over Houston's Lanny Smith (#23)