No. 3 Kentucky beats Tennessee-Chattanooga 87-62
Tennessee-Chattanooga coach John Shulman knew the only way his
team could hang with Kentucky was if the Mocs forced the Wildcats
to shoot from long range.
Problem was Kentucky had a season-best performance from the
Tennessee-Chattanooga (3-8) sent constant double teams to try
and minimize the impact of Kentucky’s post players, but the
third-ranked Wildcats hit 12 3-pointers in an 87-62 victory on
The Mocs prevented the Wildcats from abusing their size
advantage. Forward Terrence Jones had only two field-goal attempts
from inside the 3-point line in limited action, and freshman center
Anthony Davis only had seven shot attempts.
Sophomore Doron Lamb led all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-17
shooting, including 4 of 9 from 3-point range. Kentucky (9-1) hit
12 of 33 from beyond the arc in the game.
”We didn’t have a choice,” Shulman said of his defensive
strategy. ”What was our choice? Our choice was that or do what? We
really didn’t have a choice. I thought our double teams in the post
were really effective if we could get down there quick enough. I
mean, they didn’t want any part of our doubles in the first half.
They made a nice adjustment and spaced it a little better in the
Kentucky did its damage largely without Jones, who dislocated a
finger on his left hand in the first half, according to coach John
Jones, who came in averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds,
appeared to suffer the injury only 3:11 in. A trainer immediately
took him off the bench to be examined. Jones came back on four more
times throughout the game but never stayed on the floor longer than
two-and-a-half minutes at a time.
He finished with no points and one rebound in 10 minutes.
The Wildcats didn’t have time to worry about missing Jones. By
the time he suffered the injury, Kentucky held a 10-0 lead and it
never dipped into single figures after that.
Still, Calipari said he wasn’t thrilled with the team’s
performance despite responding well in its first game after a
dramatic 73-72 loss at No. 18 Indiana on Dec. 10.
”We just have a long way to go,” Calipari said. ”What do we
have to do to get guys to understand, let’s just be a vicious team.
Let’s go out and fight, and we’re just not doing that right now.
That game got rough again, and we had some guys that just ran for
the hills. You can’t.”
Without Jones, Davis dominated the low post on both ends of the
floor. He finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. He
had a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) by halftime.
Even after such a slow start, Shulman said he was pleased with
his team’s ability to stay in the game well into the first half.
His plan to keep Kentucky out of the post worked, but the Wildcats
hit the shots Shulman dared them to hit.
”We battled through it,” Shulman said. ”We’re down 13 with
three minutes to go with the ball in the first half. We battled and
we showed enough resiliency. Not a lot of people are going to come
in here and win. They haven’t done it in a couple of years.”