Three additional takes from Kentucky's 74-64 loss to Ohio State in Brooklyn:
1. Aside from Jamal Murray, not much on offense
True, Murray gave the Cats quite a bit on offense. The freshman scored 33 points, including 27 of Kentucky's 42 points in the second half. It was UK's first 30-point game since Brandon Knight scored 30 against West Virginia in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. It was the most points scored by a Cat since Terrence Jones scored 35 against Auburn on Jan. 11, 2011.
Other than Murray, however, there wasn't much offensive firepower. UK averaged a season-low 0.976 points per possession. That was below the 0.989 points per possession Kentucky averaged against Illinois State. UK came into the game averaging 1.128 points per possession. It was the worst offensive performance in that category since 0.914 at Texas A&M on Jan. 10 of last season.
As a team, UK shot 39.7 percent, second-lowest on the year to 37.9 at UCLA. Center Skal Labissiere was 1-of-7 from the floor. Guard Isaiah Briscoe was 1-of-9 from the floor. Take away Murray, who was 13-of-23 and 7-of-9 from three and the Cats were 12-or-40 (30 percent) from the floor and 2-of-10 (20 percent) from three.
By the way, Ohio State averaged 1.056 points per possession, up just a bit from its average of 1.043.
2. Beaten on the boards in Brooklyn
Kentucky came into the game outrebounding its opponents by 9.7 per game. Ohio State came in outrebounding its opponents by 3.7 per game. Yet Ohio State won the boards 42-40.
Kentucky came into the game claiming 42 percent of its offensive rebounding opportunity. Saturday, UK's number in that department was just 31 percent. The Cats grabbed 13 offensive boards out of a possible 42 chances. And John Calipari lamented many of those chances after the game.
Ohio State came into the game claiming 31 percent of its offensive board opportunities. The Buckeyes ended up at 32.5, getting 13 of 40. Ohio State scored 13 second-chance points compared to just nine for UK.
3. Now here comes Louisville
Louisville took care of Western Kentucky 78-56 on Saturday. The Cards improved to 9-1 but gone some bad news in the process. Backup center Mangok Mathiang broke a bone in his foot and will miss the next six to eight weeks. That hurts U of L's depth in the frontcort, where the Cards appeared to have an advantage over the Cats.
As for Kentucky, Calipari allowed his players to go home for Christmas after the Ohio State game before they return to Lexington to prep for next Saturday's noon showdown with the Cardinals. They will return with plenty of questions left to answer.
Labissiere played a little better in Brooklyn, but still managed just two points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. Alex Poythress continues to struggle against the better competition. The junior had six points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. Isaiah Briscoe missed eight of his nine shots.
Aside from Murray filling it up in the second half, Marcus Lee has been a bright spot.
“We would have been down 20 at the half if it wasn't for Marcus Lee,” Calipari said. “This is a combination of everything and us still trying to figure out how we need to play.”
Kentucky players who have scored 33-or-more points since 2007-08
- Jodie Meeks, 54 points at Tennessee on 1-13-09
- Jodie Meeks, 46 points vs. Appalachian State on 12-20-08
- Jodie Meeks, 45 points at Arkansas on 2-14-09
- Jodie Meeks, 39 points vs. VMI on 11-14-08
- Jodie Meeks, 37 points vs. Kansas State on 11-28-08
- Terrence Jones, 35 points vs. Auburn on 1-11-11
- Joe Crawford, 35 points vs. Marquette on 3-20-08
- Joe Crawford, 35 points at South Carolina on 3-5-08
- Jamal Murray, 33 vs. Ohio State on 12-19-15
- Patrick Patterson, 33 vs. Tennessee State on 12-22-08