- Saturday, December 13 2008 -
Indiana - 54 (Head Coach: Tom Crean) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 72 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||2||2|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 36, Indiana 13
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Mississippi Valley State 88 - 65|||||Appalachian State 93 - 69|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Cats take out Indiana, 72-54
The glory days of Indiana basketball were nowhere to be found in the latest edition of the Hoosiers' bitter border rivalry with Kentucky. It hardly mattered to the Cats.
A day after Patrick Patterson suggested Kentucky still had a score to settle with Indiana despite an entirely new cast of characters outfitted in crimson and cream the Cats got their revenge, even if the end wasn't aesthetically pleasing.
UK came out of the locker room like gangbusters - solving the confounding slow start issues - but slogged its way through the final 25 minutes in a 72-54 rout of rebuilding Indiana. The score was nearly the exact opposite of last season's 70-51 defeat in Bloomington but it won't win any beauty contests.
"Our main focus was to come out with a lot of energy and intensity," guard Jodie Meeks said. "We were playing Indiana and that's a main rival so we wanted to come out play hard. We kind of relaxed a little bit in the second half but the first half was really good.
We just have to put two halves together. It's still only the second week of December but we have to work on that. It wasn't as pretty as we would have liked it but the first half was good. Those first five or six minutes were so great its kind of hard to match that the whole game."
The Cats roared from the start, running out to a 32-6 lead on the strength of 14-of-19 shooting and eight Indiana turnovers. While UK was busy throwing alley-oop passes all over Rupp the Hoosiers were struggling to even get a shot off, especially anywhere inside the three-point line.
The rip-and-run first half was in stark contrast to how poorly the Cats played in Bloomington a year ago, when Indiana had its way with a UK team trying to find an identity. The beating was so thorough from the outset that when Josh Harrellson buried a three from the top of the key even normally reserved UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart had a wide grin splashed across his face.
Things were so bad for Indiana that small triumphs were cause for celebration. When freshman Matt Roth hit a 30-foot three-pointer as the shot clock expired he stuck his tongue out as he back peddled down the floor. The score was 32-9.
"It was great to watch us play defense for a long time in the first half, that's about as good as it gets," UK coach Billy Gillispie said. "I'm not a bragging type guy but that was about as good as it gets - helping your teammates, being there, rebounding the ball. I couldn't be more happy about the win.
"They really got after it. Coach (Tracy) Webster did a fantastic job with the scouting report and those guys did a fantastic job of playing to a scouting report and made it very difficult for Indiana to get any shots in the first half. There weren't too many easy baskets being made out there."
There was little else to write home about for either team after that. Indiana closed the gap to 41-26 midway through the second half before UK edged it back out to 20, where it remained until the Hoosiers lopped off a few points by pressing the Cats' walk-ons at the end.
In UK's ever-changing basketball status this early in the season the concerns about a stretch where the Cats had just nine points over a 16-minute stretch and 23 turnovers were evident in post game press conferences. Gillispie seemed unmoved by the glass-half-empty questions.
"We started turning it over and started getting a little soft with the ball and not playing as smart as we need to," Gillispie said. "It's hard when you get a 26-point lead, I'm not making excuses but it's hard.
"We shot 50 percent for the game and that's about what we're shooting for the year so whatever happened let's try to do it again. I say let's get a 26-point lead and then shoot 15-for-45 as much as we possibly can."
Despite the offensive hiccups the Cats never relented on the defensive end. Indiana wound up shooting 36.8 percent from the field but nothing came easy for the Hoosiers.
"We were pretty familiar with their play calling and where they were supposed to go so we were pretty prepared," Meeks said. "Our main focus was the take them out of what they were comfortable doing and their offense would be disrupted, push them beyond the three-point line so they'd have a tough time scoring."
In that respect, UK did indeed get its revenge.
Josh Harrellson led the way with 15 points for UK, while Perry Stevenson added 10 points and nine rebounds and Patterson chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.
Perry Stevenson reacts after a dunk
Darius Miller fights IU's Devan Dumes for the ball