UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES (Provided by UK Athletics)
KENTUCKY AT SOUTH CAROLINA
COLONIAL LIFE ARENA | COLUMBIA, S.C.
JAN. 16, 2018
Final Score: South Carolina 76, #18/16 Kentucky 68
See Box Score below
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky fell to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina improved to 12-6 overall, 4-4 in league play.
UK still leads the series 51-12 and 20-8 in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Wildcats dropped to 2-2 on the road this season.
After playing four on the road over its last five games, Kentucky will return home Saturday to host Florida. That game will be at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN. ESPN College GameDay will make its season debut from Rupp Arena at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
In the First Half
Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the fifth time this season and third game in a row. UK lost its first game with that lineup.
South Carolina opened the game on a 7-0 run. Richards settled the Wildcat down with a jumper at the 17:45 mark. He scored UK’s first four points as South Carolina staked to an early 11-4 lead.
After falling behind 21-12, the Wildcats locked down on defense. Kentucky held South Carolina without a point for 2:31 of game time to climb back to 22-20.
Kentucky took its first lead at 26-24 on a Richards’ layup with 6:40 left in the half. Richards scored four straight points to give the Wildcats the lead.
The Wildcats held South Carolina without a field goal from the 13:22 mark until 2:53 left in half. Kentucky turned a 19-12 deficit into a 30-30 tie.
Knox led the Wildcats with 10 points and four rebounds in the first half. Richards pitched in with eight points.
Knox’s 10 points marked the fifth time he’s reached double-figure scoring by halftime but the first since Jan. 3 at LSU.
Kentucky made (17) and shot (22) a first-half season high at the free-throw line.
UK’s 15 first-half fouls were its most in any half this season and the most it’s committed in a half since 15 personal fouls in the second half vs. Missouri on Feb. 21, 2017.
Kentucky fell to 10-2 this season when leading at halftime.
In the Second Half
Kentucky opened the half on a 7-0 run to take 44-34 lead. Stretched back to the first-half-ending 5-0 run, the run was 12-0 overall.
When UK took a 44-34 lead with 16:34 left in the game, it marked the Wildcats’ first double-figure lead in any game since the 29-point win vs. Louisville on Dec. 29.
Kentucky extended its streak of 1,031 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Knox hit a long ball with 7:00 left in the game. It was the Wildcats’ only trey of the game.
The Wildcats hit one 3-pointer for just the seventh time in the John Calipari era and first since only knocking down one at Vanderbilt on Jan. 10, 2017.
UK took its largest lead of the game at 57-43 with 11:43 left, but that’s where the game turned. South Carolina answered with a 7-0 run to get it to 57-50. Gilgeous-Alexander ended the run with a pull-up jumper, but South Carolina would continue its comeback.
Kentucky seemed to have an answer and took a 65-58 lead with 6:12 left, but South Carolina promptly answered with another 11-0 spurt to take a 69-65 lead with 2:47 to go, an advantage it would never relinquish. Overall, the Gamecocks closed the game on an 18-3 run.
After Vanderbilt made a jumper with 6:12 left in the game, UK failed to make a field goal the rest of the way.
The Wildcats also went 3 for 8 from the free-throw line during that stretch and 6 for 14 for the half.
Kentucky’s 32 personal fouls are the second most of the Calipari era. UK committed 33 at Kansas on Jan. 30, 2016.
The game featured 59 fouls overall. UK went 23 of 36 from the free-throw line while South Carolina shot 25 of 38 from the charity stripe.
South Carolina’s 25 makes are the most a Kentucky opponent has made since Tennessee sunk 30 on Feb. 2, 2016, and the 38 attempts are the most by a UK opponent since Kansas attempted 47 the game before, on Jan. 30, 2016. Usually a recipe for disaster, both of those games were losses as well.
The Wildcats have shot 34 or more free throws and made 22 or more in three straight games.
Three players fouled out. It’s the first time three players have fouled out since Jan. 30, 2016, at Kansas, which was also a loss.
Three other Wildcats were also in foul trouble with four fouls.
UK shot 44.9 percent from the field, making 22 of 49 shots.
The Wildcats made just one of their 11 3-point field-goal attempts. Kentucky was outrebounded 40-35, falling to 1-3 when the opponent wins the battle of the glass.
UK limited South Carolina to just 37.7 (23 of 61) percent shooting from the floor. It was the lowest field-goal percentage for an SEC opponent this season against the Cats. It was the lowest percentage by a UK opponent since Louisville shot 34.8 percent.
Kevin Knox led the Wildcats with 21 points and eight rebounds.
He scored in double figures in both halves.
It’s the fifth time he’s scored 20 or more points, a team high, but the first time since Dec. 16 vs. Virginia Tech.
Nick Richards added 12 points in 23 minutes before fouling out.
His 12 points are his most since his career-high 25 vs. Fort Wayne on Nov. 22.
He made his first five field-goal attempts.
PJ Washington chipped in with 10 points for his fifth straight game in double figures.
Jarred Vanderbilt (pictured) made his Kentucky debut after missing the first 17 games of the season with a left foot injury.
He was active early. After checking in at the at the 13:08 mark, he took his first field-goal attempt with 12:42 to go in the half and grabbed his first rebound at the 12:32 mark. He scored his first career points from the free-throw line with 2:26 remaining in the opening half.
Vanderbilt displayed his versatility late in the first half. Listed as a 6-foot-9 forward, Vanderbilt took over the “point guard” duties when Gilgeous-Alexander and Diallo picked up two fouls apiece. He promptly found Sacha Killeya-Jones on a nifty pass underneath for a traditional 3-point play. It was his first career assist.
Vanderbilt finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists and a block in 14 minutes of play.
Quade Green (back), Tai Wynyard (back) missed the game with back injuries.
Coach John Calipari
Calipari has a 708-197 all-time on-court record.
Calipari is now 263-57 at Kentucky and remains tied with Tubby Smith for the third-most wins at Kentucky, behind only Adolph Rupp (876) and Joe B. Hall (297).
Calipari dropped to 13-3 vs. South Carolina.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught