Larry Vaught

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Numbers favor 3-point win LSU win over Cats

Immanuel Quickley (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

On Saturday morning, Kentucky was tied with LSU and Auburn at the top of the SEC standings at 9-2. By Saturday night, Kentucky stood alone atop the SEC by virtue of its come from behind win at Rupp Arena over Mississippi and LSU’s loss at Alabama and Auburn’s loss at Missouri.

Keion Brooks Jr.: “We’re clicking on all cylinders right now.”

Keion Brooks Jr. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky freshman Keion Brooks Jr. will be playing at LSU for the first time tonight but Monday made it sound like he was looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s fun just going out on the road and knowing it’s going to be a crowd that’s against you. We’re just going in knowing that we have to rely on each other,” Brooks said. “We’re not going to have a crowd like we have at Rupp to pick us up if we’re not playing really well.

Rebounding could be biggest key for Cats tonight

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Tonight against LSU could be a big night not only for Nick Richards but maybe EJ Montgomery and Keion Brooks.

LSU was the Southeastern Conference’s best rebounding team earlier in the season. However, going into tonight’s home game with Kentucky the Tigers have dropped to third in the league in rebounding.

In an overtime loss to Auburn, LSU got outrebounded by 10 after the Tigers had eight more rebounds than Auburn in the first half. Alabama had 10 second-half offensive rebounds in its upset win over LSU Saturday.
Richards is not only averaging 16.3 points per game but is also pulling down 8.7 rebounds per outing.

Can UK take advantage of LSU’s recent 3-point defensive woes?

Ashton Hagans missed all five 3-pointers he took against Ole Miss. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

After a 2-for-22 performance from 3-point range against Mississippi on Saturday, maybe the LSU defense tonight is just what Kentucky needs to face.

Through 21 games LSU opponents were shooting under 32 percent from 3-point range against the Tigers. In the last four games, LSU opponents have shot 40 percent from 3-point range and LSU has lost three of those games.

“I don’t know if anything is surprising. … It’s just not very good,” LSU coach Will Wade said.

Saying goodbye to special UK fan/friend Matt Walter not easy to do

Long-time Kentucky fan Matt Walter took his children Annie Capers, Lilla and Townsend to Benny Snell’s autograph signing and was thrilled with the way Snell treated his son. (Matt Walter Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a friend. That’s certainly the case with Danville attorney Matt Walter who passed away Monday at age 41.

I had lunch with Matt Friday at The Still to talk about many things including his passion for Wilderness Trace Child Development Center and some of the issues it was having with the Danville school system. We both planned to be at Tuesday’s night board meeting.

LSU in “little bit of rut” going into Kentucky game

Will Wade (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

LSU (18-7, 9-3) had a 10-game win streak and was 8-0 in Southeastern Conference play before losing three of its last four games to Vanderbilt, Auburn and Alabama.

Now the Tigers host Kentucky (20-5, 10-2) on Tuesday night with first place in the SEC at stake. Kentucky is 8-1 in its last nine games and has gone 12-2 since losing back to back games in Las Vegas before Christmas.

Good news, bad news from win over Ole Miss

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

Kentucky’s game last Saturday against the Ole Miss Rebels was a good news/bad news affair.

The good news is that UK won the game 67-62. They played extremely poorly in most phases of the game and still pulled out a critical SEC victory in Rupp Arena. In fact, they played so poorly that UK Coach John Calipari said this about what he thought of the game. “This was like a rock fight,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “(It) ended up being a great win.” And it was. It helped propel Kentucky into sole possession of first place in the SEC after Alabama upset LSU and Missouri did the same to the Auburn Tigers on Saturday.

Rachel Lawson’s praise gave freshman Rylea Smith more confidence

Rylea Smith (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Freshman Rylea Smith of St. Louis got a huge compliment from Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson before the season started when Lawson said she could be the best leadoff hitter she’s ever had at Kentucky.

Considering the players Lawson has coached and the success UK has had under her, that’s big praise for a freshman before she played her first game. Of course, Smith got the winning RBI in her second collegiate game.

Cats proved to themselves that they can win despite horrible shooting

Immanuel Quickley (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

What do you say after a 2-for-22 shooting performance from 3-point range like Kentucky had against Mississippi Saturday?

If you managed to win like Kentucky did, then there was only one spin.

“That’s what the tournament is about, you know, you want to be at your best when the tournament comes around. We hear all the stories about a bad shooting night in the tournament and you lose a game,” said Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley. “Just knowing that we can still win games when we aren’t shooting, you know our defense can come through for us and that’s really what it’s about.”

Versatile, unselfish Isaiah Jackson excited about what lies ahead at Kentucky

Isaiah Jackson

By LARRY VAUGHT

Just how good is Kentucky signee Isaiah Jackson?

Waterford Mott head coach David McGlown has a story that UK basketball fans should love.

“We had a game earlier this season and a guy threw the ball up to him. Isaiah was running behind him, dunked and hit his head on the backboard. That’s how athletic he is,” McGlown said.

“Yet if you see him play, he’s so unselfish. You think this kid could just dominate the game and doesn’t have to score more than six or eight points to do it because of everything else he can do. He can fill the stat sheet.”