Kentucky’s lack of a killer instinct

In this morning’s column, I mentioned that one complaint about this current Kentucky basketball team is the lack of a killer instinct. It can’t seem to stand success. Consider the following examples.

Jan. 10 at Vanderbilt: Kentucky leads the host Commodores 47-31 with 13:48 left at Memorial Gym. Vanderbilt promptly goes on an 18-0 run and takes a 49-47 lead with 6:11 remaining. The Cats do recover and pull out a 60-58 victory, but it was definitely a bumpy ride in Nashville.

Jan. 15 vs. Tennessee: The Cats were up 47-39 with 13:37 remaining at Rupp only to see Tennessee score eight straight points to tie the game at the 10:36 mark. Tennessee actually led 54-53 with 7:15 remaining and the game was knotted at 56-56 with 6:27 remaining. Kentucky came through at the end, however, for a 75-65 win.

Jan. 26 vs. LSU: Kentucky led 49-37 with 17:32 remaining and 65-54 with 6:52 left only to see the Tigers claw their way back into it. LSU went on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 66-63 with 3:10 remaining. Johnny Jones’ team was down 71-70 with three ticks left. Kentucky held on for a 75-70 triumph.

Jan. 29 at Ole Miss: Kentucky appeared to be in complete control at Tad Smith Coliseum, enjoying a 73-56 lead with 10:16 left. The Rebels came roaring back with a 16-0 run to slice the lead all the way down to a single point at 73-72. The Cats regained their composure and registered an impresive 87-74 victory.

Feb. 2 at Texas A&M: When Julius Mays drained a three-pointer just before the shot clock buzzer with 3:46 remaining, Kentucky had a 60-52 lead on the Aggies. From that point on, however, UK failed to stick the landing. Texas A&M outscored John Calipari’s club 10-2 to send the game into overtime. Thanks in large part to Mays, who made five of six free throws in the extra period, Kentucky escaped College Station with a 72-68 win.

Kentucky’s game-by-game results and schedule.


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