Zags make plays down the stretch to Down CATS
LEXINGTON – February 10, 2024 – Michael Willis
Kentucky lost its third game in a row in Rupp Arena tonight, which hadn’t happened since 1966. Kentucky’s defense and rebounding was yet again the catalyst that gave Gonzaga the 89 to 85 victory.
Kentucky scored the first bucket of the game, but allowed an 11 to 2 run before Calipari called his first timeout with 16:47 left in the first half. The Bulldogs kept the lead for the rest of the first half due to lack of defense and rebounding. Offensively, the Wildcats shot only 32% in the first half and made only 3 of their 10 three-point attempts. Kentucky went nearly 5 minutes without a field goal that allowed Gonzaga to led by as much as 13 points. A three-pointer by Rob Dillingham brought the lead back to 10 at the half, 42 to 32.
Better offense to start the second half got Kentucky back within four points with 17:09 left in the game. The best defensive stand of the game for Kentucky sparked a 12 to 0 run and gave the Cats a 6 poiny lead with 12:30 left in the game. However, the Cats regressed to bad defense and had only four stops the rest of the game.
Frustrated is the best way to describe the fan base after losing another home game. The lack of effort on defense allowed another opponent score over 80 points and allowed the Zags to grab 12 more rebounds than the Cats. The Bulldogs only made 4 of their 18 three-point attempts, but the Cats didn’t take advantage of their poor outside shot and gave up the drive, which totaled 50 points in the paint.
Reed Sheppard carried the team down the stretch and without him the score would have been much worse. Sheppard ended the game with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Adou Thiero played aggressive and was Kentucky’s best defender. Thiero ended the game with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Kentucky was once again without Tre Mitchell and DJ Wagner played very limited minutes which may have played a part in the outcome of the game, but the lack of effort of the ones who did play is concerning. Kentucky has another chance to defend their home court on Tuesday night when the Ole Miss. Rebels take on the Cats in the 9 pm matchup.