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Kentucky came into its game with Alabama already dealing with a few injuries, but Saturday provided another obstacle for them. Before the game, it was announced that TyTy Washington was out, along with Sahvir Wheeler for today’s game. But the Wildcats took care of business in the second half to win 90-81.
So for the first seventeen minutes of Saturday’s game, Alabama took full advantage of the situation, most importantly with shooting. The Tide came out on fire, thanks to Keon Ellis’ shot selection, who finished the game with 28 points. It looked as if the Wildcats would be struggling most of the day without two starters, but a switch was flipped late in the first half.
After trailing by 13 points, the Wildcats went on a huge run to take the 48-47 halftime lead. IT continued in the second half, with another 15-3 run, thanks to Kellan Grady, who was unbelievable today. Grady finished the game with 25 points, while the ‘Cats had four players in double-digits. This also included Oscar Tshiebwe, who continues to make his case for Player of The Year. Tshiebwe finished the game with another double-double, scoring 21 points and hauling in 14 rebounds.
It was simple, Alabama started throwing up bad shots and Kentucky took full advantage on the offensive end. It is amazing to see how Tshiebwe can take over a basketball game in the paint.
Credit to Alabama for taking the double-digit lead, but they had nothing for Kentucky from the field. After a bad start, the Wildcats finished the day shooting 53% from the field, while shooting 64% from behind the arc.
But John Calipari was a bit shook for a few days as he tried to figure out what they were doing with his starting lineup. He said postgame that he had to keep people out of practice this week, including NBA scouts, as he put together a game plan.
“We needed two days to prepare and figure out how the hell we were going to play. We got great depth, just so you know, we have prepared for both Kellan and Davion (Mintz) to be point guards, Davion more so than Kellan.”
For Kentucky to do that against Alabama without two of their key players shows you how difficult this John Calipari-led team is when they are clicking on offense. The one thing Alabama couldn’t do, that Tennessee could, was take away Tshiebwe on the scoring end. On Saturday, Kentucky made Alabama pay in other ways, especially with their outside shooting. But Calipari likes what he’s playing with right now, even without two of his key players.
“I like my team; there’s good teams out there. But I’ll take mine.”
The ‘Cats are now 22-5 on the season, while sitting in 2nd place in the SEC with an 11-3 record. They are in a fight with Tennessee for the spot behind Auburn.
Follow along on Twitter: @TreyWallace_