For a while it looked like Kentucky was going to pick up right where it left Saturday night’s game against Auburn, and had to feel good leading 33-24 on the road going into halftime.
Then things went bad, really bad.
Alabama went on a 19-6 run in the first eleven minutes of the second half to take the lead by 4, 43-39. UK was able to claw back to within 1, 51-50, with 1:20 left but Alabama (12-6, 4-1) scored 6 straight and went on to win 59-55 in Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night. Kyle Wiltjer led UK (12-6, 3-2) with 14 points and 7 rebounds; and Nerlens Noel added 8 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Noel’s 7 blocks give him 76 on the season, which is only 8 away from the single season record set last year by Anthony Davis. Julius Mays also played well, shooting 4-5 on 3s and finishing with 12 points. Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin didn’t fare as well, combining for 13 points on 5 of 24 shooting, with only 4 assists against 4 turnovers. Alex Poythress scored 6 points with 5 rebounds, but fouled out in just 15 minutes of action.
UK’s issues scoring were front and center in this one as 55 is their lowest point total of the season and 22 points below their season average. The second half was just the third time UK has scored 22 or less in a half since 2001. Central to their 2nd half issues was the 19-6 Alabama run to start it. UK went just 1 for 11 from the field during that time, including 0 for their first 8, with 5 turnovers. They finished the game shooting 39.3% (22-56) with 13 turnovers. Aside from a Ryan Harrow layup, the only scoring during that stretch came from 4 free throws, 3 by Goodwin and one by Wiltjer.
UK will hopefully get an opportunity to work on some of its issues this weekend as LSU, winless in the SEC, comes to Rupp Arena at 4.
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