Just when it seems things could not get worse, UK blows lead to give away win at Georgia

Devin Askew not only had five turnovers at Georgia but also missed a free throw with 23 seconds left in the 63-62 loss. (SEC Photo)

Just when you think it cannot get any worse for Kentucky, it did. Georgia scored the game’s final seven points, including a layup off an out of bounds play just before the buzzer, to beat Kentucky 63-62.

Kentucky is now 4-9 and headed downhill in record time after a three-game win streak to start SEC play had actually given some hope that the Cats might turn the season around. This loss erases that belief.

Kentucky has lost five games this season when allowing 66 points or less. Think about that. Kentucky has not scored 66 points in any of its nine losses.

How can Kentucky coach John Calipari keep his players from throwing in the towel?

“I need someone to talk to me because I am discouraged,” Calipari admitted.

This time I think the UK coach was being serious. How could he not be discouraged?

Georgia had 25 points off 17 UK turnovers. For a team that cannot score, giving away 25 points is God-awful.

Georgia had 17 points in nine minutes to start the second half. Eight came in transition off turnovers by Dontaie Allen, Olivier Sarr, Devin Askew and Brandon Boston. Two came on a follow shot when Isaiah Jackson was slow recovering after blocking a shot. Two came on an offensive goaltend against Keion Brooks. That’s 12 really easy points off UK mistakes.

Kentucky has turned the ball over 17 or more times in six games this season, including three straight. The Cats have lost five of those six games. Seems like a trend that is fairly easy to understand but the Cats obviously cannot grasp that.

“Losing that like that is tough,” Brooks, who had 12 points despite playing only 15 minutes due to foul trouble, said. “We had a pretty good lead. We basically gave the game away, which is tough. We have got to work on not beating ourselves. This loss sucked by we have got another game on Saturday.”

But another game is not necessarily good news. UK will host LSU — and remember the Cats have already lost at home to Richmond, Notre Dame and Alabama. Next week UK will play at Alabama and host Texas, two ranked teams who are both playing well.

It’s hard to imagine Kentucky finishing the game any more poorly than it did. UP 62-56, the Cats gave up a 3-point goal followed by an Askew turnover — his fifth of the game. Kentucky got a reprieve when Alabama missed and Boston — who carried UK’s offense with 18 points and seven rebounds — got the board. Calipari called timeout with 1:01 to play. The result — Boston missed a tough, off-balanced shot and Alabama raced past the Cats to get an easy layup.

The Crimson Tide fouled Askew with 23.5 seconds left. He is UK’s best foul shooter. Naturally, he missed. Alabama got the ball inside but Jackson blocked the shot out of bounds with three seconds to go. The Bulldogs had the ball under the basket and ran a play where P.J. Horne muscled by UK defenders to score with :01 left.

“They are not a physical, strong team,” SEC Network analyst Jimmy Dykes said. “That was a physical play at the end (by Horne). Kentucky was not physical enough to keep the guy from diving to the rim.”

Dykes also correctly noted that “time and time again Georgia tried to give the game away” but Kentucky is not good enough offensively to take a win it was practically handed in a game it desperately needed to win.

“I know we are not as bad as we played,” Calipari said.

Guess what? Kentucky is that bad. The number don’t lie and UK’s numbers are horrible.

“We better start playing better. It ain’t getting any easier,” Calipari said. “Every game here on in is really hard. We better step on the gas.”

Sounds good but 13 games into the season, it’s obvious doing that is more than really hard for this team. It looks impossible.

2 thoughts on “Just when it seems things could not get worse, UK blows lead to give away win at Georgia

  1. TheProfessor

    I saw this game as very close, with Georgia having a slim 1 point advantage. Such a matchup can really go either way, but at the end, these games are usually decided by one possession in either direction. Last night, Georgia won that one play, and won the game by 1 point.

    That is what a 1 point match up looks like.

    When both teams in such a matchup are playing very good basketball, that type of game is one that can be played and remembered for the ages.

    When both teams in such a matchup are playing mediocre basketball, that type of game is completely forgettable, just as last nights game was.

    #33 comments that UK should have dominated Georgia. Well, that depends on which UK team we are considering. I don’t see any way this UK team can play this Georgia team and dominate unless the game is a complete fluke because UK plays out of its head in a good way, and Georgia forgets what little bit of basketball it does understand. Ditto on this Georgia team dominating this UK team.

    I believe that #33 means that teams that the UK brand should be putting on the floor would dominate this Georgia team, and that is absolutely correct.

    This is the weakest UK basketball team in the last 20 years without any question. This team is probably the weakest team UK has fielded since before Adolph Rupp arrived.

    The trend of the last 6 seasons has been steadily downward, and so long as this players first, get them to the NBA approach continues, the slide will continue. The longer this remains the trademark of UK basketball, the greater the damage to the brand.

    Calipari it heavily invested in his players’ first/NBA approach, and I cannot see him reversing course on this, so he must go, sooner rather than later.

    Losing to Gardner Webb at Rupp was inexcusable and the beginning of the end for Gillispie. Does anyone remember that?

    Losing to Evansville at Rupp was even more embarrassing, but it passed on by with no consequences. The list of these type of losses at Rupp and away from Rupp continues to grow.

    Reply
  2. nostalgic33

    Close, but no cigar AGAIN! Get used to the new normal for University of Kentucky basketball.
    Lost to a team that we should have dominated. The good news is Boston had a better game, so Calipari can take comfort in that. He also continued his campaign to make Allen look bad. This is all we can expect as long as Calipari is coach.

    Reply

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