- Saturday, December 29 2007 -
San Diego - 81 (Head Coach: Bill Grier) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 72 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||5||0||0||0||0||2||2||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||1||2|
Halftime Score: San Diego 35, Kentucky 33
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Tennessee Tech 69 - 47|||||Florida International 92 - 49|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
If it truly is darkest before the dawn Kentucky's basketball program should be ready for a breakthrough day.
Then again, this may be just the beginning.
UK's miserable start to the season reached a new low after San Diego led for more than 39 minutes on its way to an 81-72 victory at Rupp Arena. The Toreros accomplished what they couldn't in losses to San Diego State, South Alabama, Boise State and Stephen F. Austin, throttling the Cats from the jump and sending UK to its fourth questionable loss in six defeats.
When it was over there weren't many answers coming from the Cats' locker room. It seems there haven't been any all year under new coach Billy Gillispie.
"I really don't have anything to say to (upset UK fans)," Gillispie said afterward. "I couldn't disagree with them very much the way we've played. I thought we'd perform better but we didn't."
Nothing has reached expectation this point. The exuberance of a new coach and new life free of Tubby Smith, which a sizable portion of UK's fan base wanted, has completely evaporated. Good will has been thrown overboard and replaced by a sinking feeling that the Cats' ship is taking on water in a hurry.
"That's how it is," senior Ramel Bradley said. "Kentucky is Kentucky and guys act like when they beat us that it's the best thing that's ever happened to them in their whole life. Of course I take it personal. We have Kentucky across our chest and I take a lot of pride in that and we know how many people we let down when we lose these games. At the same time guys are going to be gunning for you."
Teams have been gunning for UK for since the game was invented but rarely have they had so much success finding their target. For the second time this season the Cats were gutted by an anonymous walk-on who turned in the game of their life in Rupp's hallowed walls. Previously, Gardner-Webb's Grayson Flittner dropped 22 points on the Cats in what was to this date the worst loss of the season.
Devin Ginty has now added his name alongside Flittner, the Crispin brothers and several others as four-letter words in the minds of UK fans. Ginty, a 6-foot-2 walk-on guard from Alta, Calif., poured in 18 points and didn't miss a single shot that came off his right hand. All of this came after the freshman had tallied a grand total of five points in 38 career minutes of action.
"He has played well for them all year," Gillispie said.
Could have fooled San Diego coach Bill Grier, who admitted the Toreros played Ginty early in the year before going away from him in recent weeks.
Ginty wasn't UK's biggest problem though. That would fall on the Cats' own shoulders despite the first appearance of the season by Derrick Jasper and 12 second half minutes by Jodie Meeks. The guys who were supposed to be saviors couldn't save UK from another embarrassing defeat.
"They gave us a lesson on how to play hard," Jasper said of San Diego.
"I'm furious. It's an awful feeling," freshman Patrick Patterson said. "To come off a game where things were clicking and then to come in here and lose to a team we felt we should beat is not a good feeling."
There aren't many things to feel good about in Lexington these days and that beautiful morning sunrise doesn't appear to be on the horizon any time soon.
Derrick Jasper (#5) returns to action for the first time this season
Ramon Harris (#34) finishes
Joe Crawford (#32) shoots over San Diego's De'Jon Jackson (#23)