Courtside From WVU/Kentucky


Perhaps the most under rated aspect of this Kentucky team is defense.   The Wildcats have held their opponents to an average of just 65 points per game.   Teams have shot just 38% percent from the field in all games this season.   In the previous three games in the tournament, Kentucky has held opponents to just 34% shooting.    In this one, the Mountaineers have missed nine of their first 11 shots as Kentucky used an early 11-0 lead to take control.  

–Joe Mazzulla, in the starting lineup tonight, snapped that 11-0 run with his first made three point shot of the season.   

–With Mazzulla starting tonight in place of the injured Truck Bryant, the first subs off the bench were Casey Mitchell and Deniz Kilicli.  

–Mountaineers are struggling to shoot as are 3-15 from the field in the first 12 minutes.    All three made field goals are three  point shots.  One each by Mazzulla, Wellington Smith and Kevin Jones.  Kentucky is also controlling the boards at 15-7.

–The Mountaineers are 7-12 from 3 and on a 12-2 run as they take a 21-18 lead.  They are shooting 58% from three and 0% (0-10) from two.   But you have to believe it will catch up with WVU if it doesn’t start to rebound better.   Kentucky leads 21-7.  

–Key half time stats:    WVU went 8-15 from three, but 0-16 from two.    Overall, WVU shot 25.8%.  The Mountaineer defense was very good again holding Kentucky to just 35% shooting.    WVU forced 10 turnovers while turning it over just three times themselves.   Butler led all scorers with 15 points.   Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson led all players with eight rebounds.   John Wall scored eight points but was just 3-9 from the field.   Kentucky out rebounded West Virginia 29-13.

–Another three to open the second half.   This one by Jones.   WVU’s ninth three point shot of the game. 

–WVU’s first two point basket of the game came on a driving layup by Mazzulla with just under two minutes gone in the second half.    That was followed by three pointer #10 of the game.   It was John Flowers hitting from three, just his 7th made three point shot of the season.  

–Mountaineers have Kentucky frustrated, especially freshman DeMarcus Cousins.   That was the book on him–according to the Mountaineer players–you could get him to take himself out of the game.   WVU has hit five of its first eight shots in the second half including two more threes. 

–West Virginia has hit ten threes in the game.   Kentucky, meanwhile, is 0-13 from three. 

–New career high for Mazzulla who has 16 points.   His previous career best was 15 points vs. Pitt in Feb. of 2008.

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