Quick thoughts from Kentucky’s 64-55 loss to visiting Baylor.
What it means: Kentucky lost for the first time at home in the Calipari Era, a streak that had lasted 54 games. Actually, it was a 55-game home court winning streak when you count the 2009 NIT game Kentucky won over UNLV at Memorial Coliseum with Billy Gillispie as coach. Coupled with Thursday’s loss at Notre Dame, it’s the first time Kentucky has lost back-to-back games since February 1 and February 5 in 2011 — 71-69 at Ole Miss and 70-68 at Florida.
What I didn’t like: Let’s start with that one first. If Kentucky’s softness has been revealed on the defensive end previously, it reared its ugly head on the offensive end in this loss. The Cats shot 29.6 percent, the lowest percentage of the Calipari Era. (UK shot 29.8 in beating Louisville in Rupp last season.) But here’s the real bothersome stat. Kentucky had 21 offensive rebounds and got 40.4 percent of its available offensive rebounds, a high percentage. But the Cats were credited with just eight second-chance points. Nerlens Noel was three-of-14 from the floor, despite getting a career-high and game-high 16 rebounds. Willie Cauley-Stein was three-of-seven and I had two of those made field goals being fast break jams, the other a jam off a lob.
What I liked: We got to see a little of what Ryan Harrow could do. Calipari lamented Harrow’s one-of-nine shooting, but he had a couple of assists and helped the Cats close the gap a bit on the Bears, though in the end Baylor held on. Harrow played 18 minutes. He is probably the answer at point guard. Coming off his mysterious illness, Harrow now has three weeks leading up to Christmas break to start getting in better game shape and learning how to run this team’s offense.