Since this game was shown on the SEC Network – a station that apparently lacks existence on the west coast – I was unable to catch more than the first few minutes of tonight’s game. The only reason I was able to catch the beginning was because of an online stream, but it didn’t take long for it to do away with itself too, and I was left without a means to watch UK throttle Georgia. From the highlights I saw and the box score I read, here’s what I’ve gathered.
John Wall was huge. Wall’s final line read like this: 24 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, and a block. He shot 8-of-10 from the field, 5-of-5 from the foul line, and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. When Wall has games like this, it’s easy to understand why he’s as heralded as he is. I saw the first 3 he knocked down, and as long as he’s taking shots like that from deep, and not fallaway, off the dribble stuff, I think he has a right to take as many as he wants. Problem is, he sometimes falls in love with the deep jumper (or set shot, in his case), and it gets him away from what he does best. I feel like Jerry Tipton when I write stuff like that, but it’s only because Wall has the potential to do virtually whatever he wants out there, and sometimes he settles for the stuff he doesn’t do that well, AKA shooting jumpers. But on night’s like tonight, when his outside shot’s falling, and he’s making plays in transition, it’s hard to find faults in his game. I didn’t even realize this until tonight, but over his last seven games, Wall’s averaging almost 19 points/game. Impressive stuff from the future number one pick.
UPDATE: Just saw the John Wall dunk from tonight (video below), and Jesus F. Christ, there’s really no way to do justice to how amazing a play that really is. As I’ve mentioned before, Wall is the most ambidextrous dunker I’ve ever seen; he makes plays like this one look easy. He goes off his right leg (which is his weaker jumping leg), finishes with his left hand (which is his off hand), and does it over one of the best athletes in the SEC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve never (never!) seen a guy be able to go off either leg and finish with either hand the way Wall does. Of all his freakish athletic gifts, this one ranks amongst the most impressive (and least mentioned).
Kentucky shot the ball much better tonight. Wall and Dodson each knocked down three 3’s, and Patterson and Bledsoe each chipped in with a trey, as well. Kentucky’s just one of those teams that’s feast or famine from the 3-point line. On the nights when they’re off, it’s not that they’re bad 3-point shooters, but they do sometimes get lackadaisical on offense, and that seems to lead to too many outside shots. I didn’t see what happened tonight, but from the highlights I saw of Wall and Dodson, it looked like they were getting good looks.
UK did a much better job on Trey Thompkins. Last time around, Thompkins killed Kentucky. Tonight, he was held in check. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds, which I take as an encouraging sign. Nothing frustrates me more than watching a player destroy us who’s already destroyed us once before, and so far under Calipari, we’ve done a good job of making other guys beat us. That was something that happened under Tubby and Billy G that drove me crazy, and seems to be something Calipari does a solid job of.
Jon Hood saw the floor. For exactly one minute. Looks like the implementation of Hood into the rotation will have to wait until later.