Fast Break: Defensive intensity, offensive precision propel Kentucky

March 25, 2012 

Talking points

Baylor's 8-0 run gave it a 10-5 lead and its length inside seemed to bother UK in the early moments. That did not last long. Baylor began turning it over, and an impressive 16-0 UK run caused two Baylor timeouts within 41 seconds. Baylor's swagger was answered loudly by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had 10 early points. UK went more than 10 minutes without missing a shot and exploded to a 30-15 lead. It was 42-22 at the half. The arena full of Cats fans went silent when Anthony Davis hurt his knee early in the second half. Davis returned but looked in pain. UK went up 51-28 when Doron Lamb made his first basket with 16:39 left. UK appeared to become a little disengaged and Baylor showed a little fight. The Bears got within 63-50 but UK ended the comeback with six straight points.

Telling numbers

■ Baylor's 10-5 lead was the biggest deficit UK has faced in the tournament. UK responded by running off 16 straight points.

■ Baylor opened the game hitting four of its five shots, then went 4-for-20 the rest of the half.

■ UK opened 3-for-11, then made 11 straight shots.

■ Kyle Wiltjer was in the game 14 seconds before he made a three-pointer to put UK up 15-10.

■ At the time UK led 38-17, Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points.

■ UK needed to limit Baylor sharpshooter Brady Heslip from three-point land. He did not attempt a shot the first half. He attempted two shots and made one overall.

■ UK freshmen Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis combined to score 31 points and hit 12 of 16 shots in the first half.

■ Kentucky made three turnovers in the first half.

■ How many weapons can UK throw at an opponent? Marquis Teague, Terrence Jones and Lamb totaled one field goal and four points in the first half and UK still led by 20. Lamb was guarding Heslip.

■ Don't underestimate the six assists, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals by Jones in the first half.

■ Quincy Acy had all but four of Baylor's field goals 24 minutes into the game.

■ UK attempted only 16 field goals in the second half.

Thumbs up

■ It's true that Baylor matched UK's length and maybe its athleticism. What it couldn't do was match UK's defensive intensity or offensive precision. Chalk that up to good coaching and stars who will listen.

■ Defensively, Kentucky was outstanding.

■ Offensively, Kentucky was unselfish.

■ Get ready, New Orleans — here comes the state of Kentucky.

Thumbs down

■ If you had left Atlanta with three minutes to go, you would have had a good start on getting home by game's end. With all the fouls and timeouts, it took forever.

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