Sidelines with John Clay

More thoughts and notes from Kentucky basketball’s season-ending loss

Thoughts and notes from UK’s NCAA loss:

▪ Kentucky entered the game as the nation’s No. 1 offense in terms of efficiency, but the Cats averaged just 0.930 points per possession. That’s way below UK’s average of 1.163. It was also Kentucky’s lowest PPP of the season. You have to go back to the Texas A&M game last season in College Station to find a lower points per possession average. UK averaged 1.914 in that overtime win.

▪ After a stretch of 12 straight game in which he scored 20-or-more points, Jamal Murray had cooled a bit over the last couple of games. He made just five of 14 shots, including three of 10 three-pointers in UK’s SEC Tournament final win over Texas A&M. He scored 19 in the Cats’ win over Stony Brook on Thursday, but made but two of his seven three-point shots.

Saturday, Murray missed eight of his nine three-point attempts. He finished with 16 points, but it was his fewest made threes since he went one-for-seven at Arkansas on Jan. 21. It was his worst three-point shooting game overall since he went one-for-10 against NJIT in the second game of the season.

▪ Kentucky was called for five offensive fouls in the first half and six for the game. Here’s the list:

Frist half

▪ At 13:21, Jamal Murray was called for a push off

▪ At 9:54, Marcus Lee was called for an illegal screen

▪ At 7:45, Alex Poythress was called for a charge

▪ At 6:47, Isaiah Briscoe was called for a charge

▪ At 1:15, Jamal Murray was called for a push off

In the second half

▪ At 5:41, Jamal Murray was called for a charge

Because of those offensive fouls, Kentucky had 16 turnovers compared to just eight assists. The -8 turnover margin was the most since UK had seven assists and 18 turnovers at Arkansas on Feb. 27, 2014. It was UK’s fewest assists since the Cats were credited with just eight in the loss at LSU on Jan. 5.

▪ Indiana averaged 1.044 points per possession, which was below the Hoosiers’ 1.198. Indiana hit free throws. The Hoosiers made 17 of 23 from the stripe for 73.9 percent, which was pretty much on line with IU’s 72.5 average for the season.

▪ We had said that Kentucky had to keep Indiana off the offensive boards, and UK did. IU grabbed just six offensive rebounds out of 30 opportunities for 20 percent. UK outrebounded the Hoosiers 34-30. But Indiana limited the Cats on the offensive glass, as well. UK’s ORP was just 29.4.

▪ Kentucky’s 67 points tied for its second-fewest this season. UK’s low was 62 at Vanderbilt. The Cats also scored 67 in the 85-67 loss at LSU.

▪ As I pointed out in the column, Indiana freshman center Thomas Bryant scored 19 points. UK’s trio of Skal Labissiere, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee combined to score 14 points.

▪ Poythress had scored six double figures in six straight games before finishing his college career with just six points and six rebounds Saturday. Poythress made one of five shots in 21 minutes.

▪ Tyler Ulis scored 27 points in what was probably his final college game. Ulis made 10 of 20 shots, including three of six three-pointers.

▪ After blocking an NCAA Tournament record 15 shots against Stony Brook, UK blocked just two shots against Indiana.

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