Cats drop 3rd straight, 0-2 in SEC Play

The Kentucky Wildcats lost their second straight SEC contest and their third straight game overall Saturday at Rupp Arena, to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 68-64.

The Kentucky Wildcats lost their second straight SEC contest and their third straight game overall Saturday at Rupp Arena, to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 68-64. Jermareo Davidson scored a career high 28 points and Alabama shot a scorching 72.2% from the field in the second half to overcome a huge Randolph Morris output for the Cats. Morris finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Sheray Thomas led the Cats in rebounding for the game with seven. The two straight losses at home against SEC competition marks the first time that has happened to Kentucky since the 1973-74 season. That year Kentucky lost to Alabama and Florida back to back at Memorial Coliseum in February.

"I thought that this was another game where we didn't really execute and we didn't play very smart," coach Tubby Smith said, "Alabama was able to execute in the second half and they did what they had to do. When a team shoots 72 percent against you [in the second half], you're not really doing much defensively. We were trapping early and tried to trap in the second half, but we just didn't have an answer for Jermareo [Davidson]. He was able to get down there and obviously had a great day against us. We tried to counter that. I thought we rebounded the ball well, but there weren't a lot of rebounds to be had in the second half when we give up 72 percent. We turned the ball over in situations where we had to make a play. Shooting is something that we have been struggling and we shot what our season average was – 42 percent. We had some guys make some shots. I thought Ravi [Moss] and Joe [Crawford] made some shots late for us. We wanted to put the ball in certain guys' hands to make something happen, but it just didn't happen. After we had six turnovers in the first half, we just started to throw it all over the place in the second half and for no reason. It wasn't like they were really pressing us or forcing the tempo. We just gave the ball up too much."

Kentucky dominated the battle of the boards 32-22, but could not overcome the hot shooting hand of the Tide. Ronald Steele added 14 points for Alabama.

Kentucky put together a much more spirited game against Bama, in contrast to the game they lost at home against Vanderbilt on Tuesday. UK even led at halftime, 32-29. But after leading the game at one point 32-23, Kentucky's biggest lead of the game, Alabama went on a 10-0 run from the last of the first half into the second half. The Cats again seemed to labor to find offensive scoring, except for the big output by Morris. The big man continued to raise eyebrows, since his return a game ago, with his inside scoring ability.

The Achilles Heel for UK against the Crimson Tide was clock management. On two occasions, Kentucky seemed to not know how much time was left on the shot clock and took ill-advised shots at the last second. Rajon Rondo was guilty of this offense at a critical time in the contest. Down two points, with 32 seconds remaining in the game, the Cats benefited from an out-of-bounds call against Alabama during a scramble for a loose ball. The shot clock did not reset and the Cats would inbound from under their own goal with 6 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Rondo received the inbounds pass and did not start the play, instead opting to back up. As a last resort, he launched a 30 foot jumper that did not hit the rim, and Kentucky turned it over. Alabama was well on their way to a victory.

"Everybody's down a little," said Obrzut, "We have to try to keep our heads up. We want to win and it's been hard for everybody, not just the players, but the coaching staff as well."

Ramel Bradley had 14 points for Kentucky amid some selfish play and bad shot selection, and Joe Crawford contributed 11.

Next up for the Cats, they will try again for their first SEC win, this time on the road, traveling to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday night from Athens, Georgia.

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