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Questions continue to fog Kentucky

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What a vast disparity in the two halves of tonight’s Kentucky-Mississippi contest. The Wildcats led by seventeen at the break, but fell apart defensively in the final twenty minutes, allowing Ole Miss to score 1.21 points per possession as Andy Kennedy’s squad cut UK’s lead to single digits.

Overall, Kentucky scored 1.12 PPP, but questions still linger about the team’s offense. After a stagnant showing versus Florida, Kentucky looked lost when they weren’t throwing lobs against Ole Miss’ zone. Just four of their two-point field goals weren’t at the rim, and the UK guards continued their underwhelming perimeter shooting in SEC play (just one of UK’s seven three-pointers came in the second half). Against a stingier conference team — or one that doesn’t allow opponents to score 47 percent of their twos — this could easily have been another loss for UK. For a stretch of more than eight minutes, the only points Kentucky could muster were free throws.

As for Ole Miss, this week was crucial to the Rebels’ tournament hopes, so a loss — especially considering their next opponent is Florida — is crippling. Though Marshall Henderson scored 18 points, John Calipari’s defensive machinations continue to serve as the guard’s bugbear: through eighty minutes (both UK-Ole Miss match-ups this season), Henderson is shooting 22 percent from two and and 34 percent from beyond the arc. The surprise Rebel was Anthony Perez, a 6-foot-9 wing whose minutes have substantially grown in SEC play. Perez has proven to be a difficult matchup for other conference forwards; he is too quick on the perimeter and creates offensive spacing with his shooting (40 percent from deep in SEC action). He was essentially Ole Miss’ offense when Kentucky’s lead began to diminish.

Following this past weekend’s loss to Florida, UK associate head coach John Robic stressed the team was “…the most positive I’ve seen Cal and our staff after a defeat in a long time.” He also maintained that after watching the eleven minute stretch when Florida offensively dominated, “…we now know the adjustments that we have to make, and the players really, really understand that now.” However, that rosy sentiment will likely dim in tomorrow’s film study — Calipari was at one point arguing with a member of his ‘Cat backcourt, urging him to reverse the ball along the perimeter. For each UK step forward (ten layups or dunks in the first half), there are at least two steps backward (nineteen turnovers), so it’s clear Kentucky is still an unbalanced team.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.