COLUMBIA, S.C. — In addition to my column on UK’s chemistry, here are three more things from Kentucky’s 58-43 win at South Carolina.
1. Kentucky’s OPR was just 12.0. OPR is offensive rebound percentage and Kentucky entered Saturday leading the nation in that category at 44.2 percent. (Add your team’s offensive rebounds to the opponent’s defensive rebounds, then divide by your offensive rebounds.) In other words, Kentucky has been getting 44.2 percent of its offensive rebound opportunities.
Saturday at South Carolina, Kentucky got three offensive rebounds. THREE. South Carolina got 22 defensive rebounds. So UK got 12 percent of its offensive boards. Its previous was 14.7 on Jan. 29, 2011, against Georgia.
UK beat the Bulldogs that day, and the Cats beat South Carolina on Saturday. Never mind that Carolina outrebounded UK 40-28. Never mind that the book said that to beat UK, you have to beat the Cats on the boards.
2. Devin Booker isn’t Klay Thompson — not yet. Booker loves Thompson, the Golden State guard who went flat-out ridiculous on Friday night, scoring 37 points in the third quarter and 52 for the night, in a win over Sacramento.
Booker even does a “reload” gesture after making a three-pointer because that’s what Thompson does when he makes a three-pointer. And lately, Booker has made a lot of those celebration gestures.
Fan in Kentucky blue stands strong in South Carolina student section
On Saturday, Booker scored a game-high 18 points. He was six of nine from the floor, including two of four from three-point land. Over his past nine games, Booker has made 22 of 33 three-point shots. That’s 66.7 percent.
On Thursday, John Calipari tried to throw some humble pie at his freshman by saying that some guys say they can shoot in the ocean (Booker said that after UK’s win at Alabama) and then the same guy shoots an air ball (Booker did against Vanderbilt). Or did he?
“That ball got tipped,” Booker said Saturday with a smile. He said that he wanted to set the record straight but that he knows Calipari is trying to motivate him.
Whatever it is, it’s working.
3. South Carolina shot 22.6 percent. The Gamecocks shouldn’t feel too bad. They’re the 10th team this year that failed to shoot 30 percent against Kentucky this year.
Here’s the list: Kansas 19.6; Montana State 19.7; UT-Arlington 27.0; Providence 28.2; Texas 29.8; Eastern Kentucky 26.1; UCLA 26.8; Louisville 25.9; Missouri 27.1 and South Carolina 22.6.
Kentucky-South Carolina box score
South Carolina averaged .755 points per possession, the eighth team to fall below .8. The others: Grand Canyon, .666; Buffalo, .788; Kansas .669; Montana State, .400; UT-Arlington, .636; Providence, .697; Texas, .764; Eastern Kentucky, .683; UCLA, .648; Missouri, .599 and now South Carolina at .755.
Kentucky averaged a good-but-not-great 1.021 points per possession, which was below the Cats’ average of 1.150.
We should also mention that the Cats turned it over just eight times, which was two fewer than Calipari said he would have liked. Yes, fewer. Cal doesn’t mind turnovers if they occur when guys are trying to make plays. The only reason Kentucky didn’t have more, he said, is because it became more of a grind-it-out game.
Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-South Carolina
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Kentucky 2014-15 results and schedule in Excel