Game Rewind | Cats destroy South Carolina – The Courier-Journal

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FINAL: Kentucky 89, South Carolina 62

UK 87, SC 60 (2:24, 2H): Tyler Ulis now has a new career high with 12 assists to go with 27 points. He has scored or assisted on 19 of Kentucky’s 30 field goals. Jamal Murray has 26 points on 9-of-21 shooting. Isaiah Briscoe is also in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. UK shooting 50 percent (30 for 60) from the field and 47.8 percent (11 for 23) from 3-point range. South Carolina shooting 32.7 percent from the field and 28.6 percent (4 for 14) from 3-point range. Texas A&M is up on LSU at the half. An Aggies’ win there would give UK sole possession of first place in the SEC.

UK 75, SC 43 (7:57, 2H): Looks like Kentucky will be at no worst tied for first place in the SEC after today, and could be alone in that spot depending on the outcome of LSU’s game. Tyler Ulis has tied a career-high with 11 assists. He is now averaging 6.6 assists per game, topping John Wall’s 6.5 assist-per-game average during his record setting 2009-10 seasons. Marcus Lee has his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jamal Murray has also topped the 20-point plateau with 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Murray appeared to injury a couple of fingers during the last stretch, but has remained on the court.

UK 68, SC 39 (11:38, 2H): Marcus Lee now in double digits with 11 points. That’s his largest total since scoring 13 in the SEC opener against Ole Miss on Jan. 2. He is also one rebound from his third double-double of the season and first since Nov. 30 against Illinois State. Tyler Ulis already has a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists. That’s his third double-digit assist game of the season. He is just the second UK player in the John Calipari Era with multiple double-digit assist performances. John Wall did it four times during his one season at UK.

UK 55, SC 31 (15:54, 2H): Cats rolling to what might be their best performance of the season. Tyler Ulis is up to 16 points and eight assists. Jamal Murray has 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Marcus Lee has posted his best game since early January with eight points and eight rebounds so far. Even the foul trouble issue that appeared worrisome in the first half has lessened somewhat. Skal Labissiere, Derek Willis and Isaac Humphries each have three fouls, but with a 24-points lead at the first media timeout of the second half it’s difficult to imagining those numbers having an effect on the outcome. UK is shooting 50 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (6 for 13) from 3-point range.

HALFTIME: Kentucky 42, South Carolina 27

Who in America has a better pair of guards than the Wildcats? Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray took over, as they so often have, and not only steadied Kentucky after coach John Calipari’s early ejection, but stepped on the gas. After a late flurry in which Murray hit a 3-pointer and Ulis scored the next six points – including a pair of shot-clock-beating jumpers – the lead grew as big as 17. Ulis and Murray combined for 25 points in the half. Ulis went for 14, plus four assists and a steal with just one turnover.

Fouls hit Kentucky hard in the half, starting with two rapid-fire technical and the ejection of Calipari less than three minutes into the game. Big men Skal Labissiere and Isaac Humphries both have three fouls, too, and the Cats have 11 total already. To overcome all that and be rolling South Carolina (21-3, 8-3) is pretty impressive. Marcus Lee, struggling of late, showed up today. He had six points, seven rebounds (five offensive) and a block in the first half.

32-20 UK, 3:53 1H: The whistle keeps blowing but Kentucky somehow continues to build its lead. Isaac Humphries and Skal Labissiere both now have three fouls (the Cats have 11 total),but slam dunks by Lee and Labissiere – off a slick Ulis bounce pass and Briscoe lob – have ignited UK. Briscoe is playing very well, taking a pair of charges and producing six points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the half. These fouls, though … With no Alex Poythress today, the Cats are in trouble in the paint.

25-16 UK, 6:55 1H: UK’s guards are doing their thing again: carrying the Cats. Murray steal and slam, Ulis jumper and the lead ballooned in a blink. Ulis and Murray have seven points apiece and Briscoe has six.

21-16 UK, 7:37 1H: Fouls are piling up on Kentucky – most called by Sirmons, who ejected Calipari – and frustration is mounting for the Cats. Players and coaches look like they’re biting their tongues after every whistle. Eight fouls have been called on UK, two each on Willis and Labissiere, but the Gamecocks are just 3 of 9 at the line. A well-timed Ulis 3-pointer settled the Wildcats at bit as USC started closing the gap. Colonial Life Arena is a howling madhouse right now. And still nobody really understands what happened with Calipari.

16-10 UK, 11:58 1H: Kentucky has settled itself since the Calipari ejection, using a Marcus Lee offensive rebound, Tyler Ulis to Isaiah Briscoe for a layup, Briscoe steal, Jamal Murray corner 3-pointer and Ulis floater (plus the foul, with a free throw coming) to surge ahead. Good sign for the Cats: Lee has four early rebounds, three offensive. Ulis already has three assists and Murray/Briscoe have nine points between them. Bad news for UK: Derek Willis has two fouls already. Coaching note: Looks like assistant Kenny Payne, not John Robic, is coaching this team with Calipari out.

JOHN CALIPARI EJECTED: In a stunning scene, Kentucky’s coach has been ejected after just 2:26 of game action. Somehow, Calipari drew a technical foul call after officials whistled South Carolina for a personal foul. Calipari was beside himself, ran to the scorer’s table to argue with the official and was summarily ejected. At that point, his players had to hold Calipari back as he went nuts trying to get at the official who ejected him, Doug Sirmons. The Cats now trail 8-7 with 15:58 to go in the first half, but the story is Calipari’s quick toss.

Kyle Tucker can be reached at (502) 582-4361. Email him at

Game Rewind | Cats destroy South Carolina – The Courier-Journal

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