- Saturday, February 6 2010 -
Kentucky - 81 (Head Coach: John Calipari) - [Ranked 4th by AP and 3rd by ESPN/USA Today]
Louisiana State - 55 (Head Coach: Trent Johnson) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 42, Louisiana State 14
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|Mississippi 85 - 75|||||Alabama 66 - 55|
Game Writeup - Written by Darrell Bird; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats throttle LSU in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. - Hurricanes don't often blow across the deep south like the blue storm that roared through the Maravich Assembly Center Saturday afternoon in Kentucky's 81-55 rout of LSU.
Relentlessly pounding the offensive glass as surging waves crashing ashore, Kentucky overwhelmed LSU 41-8 midway through the first half to secure the victory. Inside that spectacular run was a 22-0 whitewashing that saw the Cats score 13 points by way of offensive rebounds.
"It's great when all of your teammates are going to the basket, when they want the ball as much as you do, to get that offensive rebound and score points," Patrick Patterson said. "I think that's extremely demoralizing to the other team. We have an offensive set and the other team thinks they've stopped us and all they have to do is get the rebound. But then we get the rebound. That's demoralizing."
The overpowering force was on display when Patterson rebounded and scored to make it 24-10. On the next possession, DeMarcus Cousins got an offensive rebound and when a shot missed, Eric Bledsoe soared in to jam the ball through. One basket later, Cousins was fouled on an offensive rebound and hit the first free throw. He missed the second but Patterson rebounded and scored. The next trip down, Cousins got the putback score.
"They hit a little buzz saw today in our team," UK coach John Calipari said. "We're pretty big. Our size bothered them. But we're like the No. 1 rebounding team in the country right now. So we should do that."
All told, Kentucky outrebounded LSU 53-31 and collected 18 offensive rebounds. Cousins had five offensive boards on the way to 13 rebounds and 19 points. Patterson added 16 points and five rebounds and reserve DeAndre Liggins had a career-best eight rebounds.
Yes, it was LSU, which fell to 0-9 in league play. But don't let that fool you, says Calipari, who wasn't overly confident his young team could get past that won-lost record and just play basketball.
"Not really," he said with a laugh. "Especially after the last tape when I saw Tasmin (Mitchell) get 41. I saw that tape and I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this kid could go for 41.' It's what happened to us at South Carolina. Then we get off to that 6-1 start and I have to start subbing guys because I didn't like the energy level."
Kentucky, now 22-1, missed its first six shots but only trailed 6-1 as LSU wasn't much better at 2-of-7.
"We were surprised by how we were playing," Patterson said. "We knew they'd come out on fire, knocking down shots and trying to win the game. We weren't surprised their play. That's the way we expect every team to play us. But we were totally surprised by how we played. Everyone was lackadaisical, missing shots and not playing strong."
After falling behind 6-1, Kentucky finally broke from the pack with that 41-8 sprint to intermission. The 14 points by LSU marked UK's best first half effort this year. Cousins led the surge with 14 of the 41 points. Patterson added eight and John Wall had six. At one point in the half, the Cats had a string of 15-for-21 field goal shooting.
"It feels like this is how we're supposed to be doing it," Cousins said of the magical run. "This is what Cal has been pushing us to do all year. We've still got a lot of work to do but we're finally starting to get there."
Indeed, the end result Saturday is that No. 4 Kentucky may finally be rounding into form with eight regular season games remaining.
"John Wall did a great job running our team," Calipari said. "You can see that we're getting that sequence now. Run it and then try to post it, try to swing it and drive it. It's not there, we run some kind of offense.
"It's getting better," the coach continued. "There are still about four or five plays where we try to make the toughest play and they all resulted in turnovers. That's what we've got to eliminate between now and March. I've got another month to get these guys to do this."
The problem, of course, is young. Kentucky starts three freshmen.
"These guys are so young," Calipari said. "They revert. There is game slippage. It's what happens. But there was a lot of good stuff in that run. We're fine. It's a road win. And there are a lot of happy guys in there."
Eric Bledsoe (#24) crashes the boards for a dunk
Patrick Patterson drives around Garrett Green
Ramon Harris blocks the shot of LSU's Aaron Dotson