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Cats Close In On 45th SEC Title

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Cats Close In On 45th SEC Title

Post  Carolina Kat on Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:29 pm

Wildcats close in on 45th conference title

February 13, 2012

It's time to let the engraver know he can etch in Kentucky's name on the SEC's regular-season championship trophy.

The Wildcats gave themselves a nice cushion in their quest for a 45th league title by moving to 11-0 in the conference standings with their 69-63 victory over Vanderbilt.

Including the Commodores, the four teams closest to the Wildcats when the day began on Feb. 11 all lost, leaving second-place Florida at 7-3, Mississippi State and Vandy tied at 6-4, and Alabama at 5-5 tied with three others who already had five conference losses.

Though the Wildcats eventually did get the challenge that coach John Calipari said they needed, they dominated the early going when they jumped out to a 36-23 halftime lead.

But the Commodores came back in the second half and at one point held a four-point lead at 55-51 with under nine minutes left before going cold.

The Commodores made only three field goals after that and missed their final nine shots, allowing the Wildcats to close the game out with an 18-8 run.

"We are good defensively, but it may have been them, too," Calipari said.

Kentucky, which improved to 25-1 for the season, will have a week between games before playing again. The Wildcats are host to Ole Miss next.

They have road games against Mississippi State and Florida and home outings against Vandy and Georgia left in the regular season.


NOTES, QUOTES

--With the victory at Vanderbilt, Kentucky's 16-game winning streak included six straight on the road. It was the second-longest winning streak under coach John Calipari and just three wins short of the 19-0 start by the 2009-10 team.

The last Kentucky team to win six in a row on the road in the SEC was the 2002-03 team that was 8-0 in the league away from home.

--Freshman Marquis Teague had a big game with 13 points on a 6-of-12 shooting. He also handed out eight assists and committed only one turnover in 37 minutes on the court.

"He did great," coach John Calipari said. "He broke down defensively twice, but kept playing."

--Once again, freshman F Anthony Davis threatened a triple-double by adding eight rebounds and seven blocked shots to his 14 points against Vandy. He had 127 blocks for the season at that point, seventh-best in SEC history.

"There's more physical guys, but he's just very long," Vandy C Festus Ezeli said of the 6-10 Davis. "In the first half I think he got the better of me.

"I was definitely thinking about his shot-blocking abilities, so I was trying to maneuver a little bit and I wasn't really getting my shots. He's good at what he does."


QUOTE TO NOTE

"We handled this game like we have others and will handle future games the same way. On our board, I tell the team to love the road, love this, relish this." -- Coach John Calipari, on handling the game atmosphere at Vandy.


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

--vs. Ole Miss, Feb. 18

The Rebels have veterans up front in Terrance Henry, Murphy Holloway, and Reginald Buckner. But how their guards handle playing against the Wildcats in Rupp Arena will be critical to their chances to pull off the upset.


FUTURES MARKET

Kentucky will have a week between games to prepare for Ole Miss, but the layoff may not exactly be a welcome one. The last time the Wildcats had such a break in the schedule was after their win over North Carolina, and they lost to Indiana -- their only setback of the season -- in their next game. "It is late in the season so they don't need two days off," coach John Calipari said of his players.

Carolina Kat
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Re: Cats Close In On 45th SEC Title

Post  MULECHOPS on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:40 pm

Go ahead and write this one down. It is ours to lose.
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