Herald-Leader photo/Mark Cornelison
Some random notes from UK’s win over Vanderbilt.
* Kentucky played a much better game offensively. The Cats shot 51.8 percent, their highest percentage since shooting 61.4 percent against South Carolina at Rupp Arena on February 5. That was the game, remember, where USC coach Frank Martin basically quit coaching and admitted it after the game. Kentucky averaged 1.194 points per possession against the Commodores, best since a 1.999 at Ole Miss. Vandy averaged 1.158 points. Not a great figure for the UK defense, but much better than the 1.360 the Cats allowed Tennessee.
* The Cats made six of eight free throws in the final 58 seconds but were just 12-of-21 from the line for the game. That’s just 57.1 percent. Julius Mays was three-of-four from the line and Kyle Wiltjer was two-of-two. The rest of the team was seven-of-16 at the line.
* The Cats did a much better job on the defensive glass. After Tennessee got an amazing and embarrassing (for UK) 62.5 percent of its offensive rebound opportunities on Saturday, Vanderbilt managed just 26.5 percent. That was a big difference for the Cats. Archie Goodwin was a big key. The guard claimed six rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
* Rod Odom made his first five shots, then went one-of-eight the rest f the game for the Commodores. The Vandy forward hit a string of three three-pointers from the 8:34 mark to the 6:37 mark of the first half. He had 14 points at the time. He finished with 16 and did not score the final 18:13 of the game. Vandy did make 10 of 22 three-point shots on the night.
* Kentucky had 14 assists and seven turnovers, its best assist/turnover ratio since recording 17 assists against just nine turnovers in the win at Ole Miss on January 29. Back in the starting lineup, Ryan Harrow played 32 minutes without turning the ball over. Alex Poythress played 27 minutes without turning the ball over. Jarrod Polson played 16 minutes with just one turnover. Julius Mays dished six assists, by the way.
* Willie Cauley-Stein scored a career-high 20 points. This was the same Cauley-Stein who, in the team’s first game without Nerlens Noel, scored just two points and grabbed two rebounds while committing four turnovers in that loss at Tennessee. The freshman was eight-of-10 from the floor tonight and had two clutch blocked shots down the stretch on back-to-back possessions.
* John Calipari returned to the no-tie look. He deviated and wore a tie at Knoxville and you see what that got him. At one point in the second half, Calipari called a time out with such force his shirt came untucked. He didn’t seem to notice, but by the end of the timeout the shirt was tucked back in.
* Willie Cauley-Stein got a technical foul not for hanging on the rim, but for slapping the backboard after making a dunk and hanging briefly on the rim. You can’t slap the backboard.
* Nerlens Noel was at the game, on crutches. His mere presence, first in a live video of the team huddling in the hallway ready to come on to the floor, brought applause form the crowd. Noel then sat behind the UK bench.
* Kentucky shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half and 40 percent the second half. Vanderbilt shot 41.7 percent the first half and 46.4 the second. But the Commodores were six-of-10 from three in the first half and four-of-12 in the second.
* Despite hurting his shoulder, Vanderbilt’s Kedren Johnson scored 17 points and dished seven assists. He also had four rebounds. Johnson was seven-of-eight from the foul line.
* The much-talked-about Dodgeball video can be seen here. Tip: Cal says the team will play whiffle ball on Friday. Again, John Calipari asked our very own Jerry Tipton the name of the website — for the “heart monitors” video, Cal asked Jerry who correctly said, “CoachCal.com. This time, Jerry answered, “EricLinsdey.com.” Eric is the editor of CoachCal.com.
* Josh Harrellson was the Y.
Herald-Leader photo/Mark Cornelison