|Anthony Davis doing some celebrating|
Breaking it down into 10 phases
By Shane McCarthy on April 3, 2012
The game began with Kansas winning an awkward tip followed up by Tyshawn Taylor making a contested layup to put the Jayhawks on the board first. On Kentucky’s first possession, Jeff Withey put a Terrence Jones shot in the seats which was then followed up by a Terrence Jones airball. Not a great start for Jones. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled hard going up for an aggressive layup by Elijah Johnson and yelled ‘oh shit’ loud enough to be picked up by the camera’s microphone. Thomas Robinson was playing hard under the basket, but you can tell he has his work set out for him all game. Marquis Teague starts hot as he hits a few shots.
Score: Tied 7-7
Taylor attempts to throw up an alley-oop to Withey which was easily snatched from thin air by Davis. This exchange creates a furious pace to ensue for the next few possessions. Teague is finding gapping lanes to the basket as Kansas focuses much of their attention on Davis. Withey then makes a nice move to draw a foul and converts a three point play. Seconds later he puts a Doron Lamb shot 25 rows deep on the other end of the court.
Score: Kentucky 19-14
With Thomas Robinson already having one foul, Terrence Jones takes advantage of his cautiousness by calling for the ball down low and converting an easy bucket. Kansas is slowly fading away as Davis goes to work on the defensive end and MKG goes to work on the offensive end.
Score: Kentucky 28-19
Kansas continues to be very inefficient on the offensive end which is allowing to Kentucky to capitalize on a bunch of run outs, pushing the floor and getting easy points in transition. This is being exasperated by the fact that the Jayhawks cannot pound the ball inside. Robinson is playing hard, but every one of his shots is heavily challenged and Davis has already blocked him a few times.
Score: Kentucky 34-21
Davis takes a shot to the face which knocks loose his contact. It takes him approximately three minutes on the bench to put it back in. Obviously he does not use a mirror to do this because he has clearly never used a mirror in his life. As the game chugs along the body language of the Jayhawks is awful and Withey could not look more terrified when receiving the ball in the lane. He actually got the ball and put it up as quickly as possible at one point without even looking at the rim, in fear of Davis’ presence. He missed the shot.
Score: Kentucky 41 – 27
Both teams come out of the half with the mindset to play ferocious defense. This is exemplified by the fact that only five points were scored in the first four minutes of the half. Clearly Kansas realizes at this point that they need to start knocking down long-range shots to get back in it.
Score: Kentucky 43-30
Up until this point Anthony Davis did not have a single point in the game, but his presence was being more than felt on the defensive end of the court. Well that drought came to an end when he got to the foul line for his first points of the game. After Davis forces two straight turnovers, as if he had not already done enough, Kansas forces three straight turnovers of their own, but Taylor kills the momentum as he takes a pull up two with his teammates at the other end of the floor. Robinson was able to throw down his signature dunk in which he attempted to rip down the entire structure during this time.
Score: Kentucky 48-36
At this point in the game it seemed as if Kentucky had eased up and stopped playing as aggressive as they had been. Kansas was not able to take advantage of this on the scoreboard at this point, but you can tell they were not only getting desperate, but gaining some confidence out there. Elijah Johnson drained a three that looked as if it could get things rolling for the Jayhawks.
Score: Kentucky 56-44
OK, maybe they weren’t beginning to gain confidence. Travis Releford got a wide open look at a three that he airballed and that was followed up by Johnson taking a three that got nothing but backboard. But, not so fast, as Taylor hits his first three pointer of the tournament, Withey blocks Davis, and Taylor gets an old school three point play in transition off of Withey’s block at the other end.
Score: Kentucky 59-50
Kansas cuts Kentucky’s lead to five as Johnson converts a three and Robinson makes four straight free throws. But Kentucky was too much for the Jayhawks as they stiffened up their defensive play and made their free throws down the stretch. Teague whips the ball into the air and confetti falls.
Final score: 67-59
And yes, a fully armed Syracuse Orange team would have been fun to see play against the Wildcats. Oh well.