Upon Further Review: Kentucky

Kentucky blitzed IU Coach Tom Crean's team with a 32-6 run to open the game and cruised to a 72-54 over the Hoosiers. HoosierNation.com breaks down the game, including what we found most impressive, surprising and concerning about the contest. We also name our game MVP…

Game MVP - Daniel Moore. The freshman point guard totaled just five points, three rebounds and five assists, but he played a team-high 33 minutes and played as important a role as anyone in settling the team down in the second half and keeping the basketball game from getting completely out of hand. Moore turned the ball over twice in the game's first three minutes to help land IU in a cavernous hole early on, but he turned it only one more time in his final 30 minutes on the floor. That helped IU cut its turnovers down to five in the second half after 15 miscues in the game's first 20 minutes.

Moore also didn't shy away from attacking the Wildcat defense when the opportunity presented itself. He scored on a couple of tough layups over taller defenders and attempted to do the same on a couple of other occasions before being turned away by the Wildcat shotblockers. While it wasn't Moore's best game by any means, he shook off a shaky start to get the Hoosiers going a little bit offensively in the second half.

Biggest Surprise… You can call it a pleasant surprise, and it's that Verdell Jones was back on the floor for the Hoosiers after a three-game absence due to a concussion suffered two weeks ago against Cornell. Jones' contributions were relatively minimal – he scored six points on 1-of-5 shooting and had three turnovers in 19 minutes – but his return is very much welcomed by an IU team that needs his ball handling and versatility. His return will allow Moore to get an occasional breather as far as running the team from the point, and Jones also gives Crean another scorer. While Jones wasn't knocking down shots from the perimeter Saturday, he is one of the team's best at getting into the lane and creating contact to get to the free-throw line. For a team that can go through offensive lulls, Jones' return gives them someone who can create scoring opportunities for himself as well as others.

What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana didn't quit. Kentucky overwhelmed the Hoosiers early with a feverish defensive approach and the athleticism of frontcourt standouts Perry Stevenson and Patrick Patterson. By the time Indiana had scored its first points it had already turned the ball over seven times and missed six shots to put it in a 14-0 hole. Any doubt about the game's final outcome was settled soon afterwards when the lead ballooned to 26 with eight minutes remaining in the first half, but Indiana's players continued to battle and ultimately did enough good things in the second half to give them something to build on going forward.

It's a credit to the players as well as the coaching staff that IU's intensity didn't wane despite the readout on the scoreboard. Considering the Hoosiers' youth, inexperience and other deficiencies, most fans have accepted that there will be tough afternoons like this one this season. The concern for many has been if there will be a point where the lopsided losses sours the players and affects their approach on the floor. Thus far, there's been no sign of that.

What I Found Most Concerning… Indiana simply doesn't have an answer for long, athletic frontline players like Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. Crean said as much after the game, when he talked about how there's simply no way for his team to try to mirror those traits in practice because they don't have anyone on the roster who is remotely similar to that Kentucky duo.

That length and athleticism produced a handful of easy baskets early on for Coach Billy Gillispie's team, and it also contributed to the Hoosiers' early struggles with turnovers. It's an issue that IU will continue to work on throughout the season, but it's also one that will most likely remain to some extent until next season when the Hoosiers add some more athleticism to its frontline with the arrival of Christian Watford, Derek Elston and others.

Turning Point: This game was decided in the first 12 minutes when the Wildcats raced to a 32-6 lead. Kentucky connected on 10 of its first 11 shots and 14 of its first 19 to build the 26-point lead, while Indiana, meanwhile, was 3-of-14 from the field during that same time span and turned it over 11 times. Credit goes to Indiana was battling back, but the Hoosiers were no match for the Wildcats when they were at their best for the first 12 minutes of the first half.

Quotable: "We were delivering the ball to them. Our youth showed up today, but (Kentucky) turned it up and had another gear and they used it today." – IU Coach Tom Crean

"We have to get better. We really have to focus more. We have to play the full 40 minutes, especially when times are tough. We don't have starts like that at home. So, we just have to start off like we are at home every night." – Devan Dumes

"It was a great atmosphere and we knew that it would be. They have a tremendous program here. They know how we feel (about basketball) at Indiana and I know how they feel at Kentucky . When you have fan support and tradition and the way they travel and care about their program, which is the same that we have at Indiana, I think that it is awesome." – Crean

"I don't want to say we were stunned. We haven't had great starts on the road this year. I think it was their game plan to get a great start on us and they did and we weren't ready to play for the first seven or eight minutes." – Daniel Moore

"(on getting open shots) "I was really surprised. Coach Crean recruited me from Indiana and he knows that I can shoot. They kept leaving me open. I was kind of shocked and wasn't ready to shoot some of them. I shouldn't have shot some of them. I should have been more set." – Josh Harrellson

"Perry played great today, and I wasn't surprised that he did. I told him that I wanted him to have seven blocks and he had six. I wanted him to have four by the first half and he had three. He is a good and smart player. Sometimes he defers to other players too much and he needs to learn to change that. Perry is on track to play as well as he can, and when he does that, he will help our whole game." – UK Coach Billy Gillispie

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