Shooting – and Kentucky – wins game, 77-55

The story remains the same for the Gamecocks, as they dropped their Tuesday night contest at Kentucky by the score of 77-55.  Carolina responded to Kentucky’s initial burst by taking an 18-17 lead at the 10 minute mark, but the next 10 minutes were all Wildcats.  Kentucky out-scored the Gamecocks by a 28-6 margin in the final 10 minutes of the first half, and that 22-point difference represented the final margin that separated the two teams.

For Carolina, it was a game where they did some good things, but in the end, when you’re out-shot by 34 effective percentage points from the field, it’s almost impossible to win, and the Gamecocks certainly weren’t positioned to out-play Kentucky in the other areas of the game to account for that discrepancy.

Team

Four Factors USC UK
eFG% 33.0 67.0
TO% 10.3 25.1
Oreb% 20.4 30.4
FTR 40.7 63.6
Possessions 68

There’s not much to this section because there’s not much to be said – Kentucky dominated Carolina in shooting the basketball, and that was all she wrote.

One way we thought Kentucky could affect the game, they certainly did.  Kentucky posted a block rate of 25 percent on the evening, rejecting 9 of South Carolina’s 36 2PAs (which means we were still only 12-27 on 2PAs we actually got past their defense).

On the other end of the floor, South Carolina had no answer for Kentucky’s guys inside, and were left to either give up the 2-point basket (UK hit 61% of those) or a free throw attempt (UK was 18-28 from the line).  While the Gamecocks only allowed eight 3PAs, that fit Kentucky’s style of play to a tee (they average taking 28.5 percent of their FGAs from downtown, which is 280th nationwide), and they even made us pay when they stepped outside by going 5-8 from behind the arc.

One area where the Gamecocks out-played the Wildcats was by winning the turnover battle in surprisingly dominant fashion.  South Carolina did an excellent job of both protecting the basketball from Kentucky as well as forcing mistakes on the other half of the court.

Our offense’s 10.3 percent turnover rate was the lowest of the season, and while Kentucky’s defense has the worst turnover rate in SEC play at 13.9 percent, that still means that Carolina came in well-above average (and remember, the Gamecocks 10.3 percent rate is baked into that number).  Kentucky also hasn’t done a particularly great job of protecting the basketball in conference play, but again, the defense’s 25.0 percent turnover rate out-paces the average SEC play rate of 21.2 percent for Kentucky thus far this season.  Overall, Carolina ended up with 15 additional attempts from the field (while only conceding four additional FTAs), but couldn’t convert nearly enough of these opportunities to make a game of it.

We also noted in the preview how much taller the Wildcats are than the Gamecocks, and while this team has certainly proven you don’t have to be tall to prioritize and obtain offensive rebounds, it seemed too much to ask from our guys on the evening, especially at the get-go, when we ran out one of the shortest line-ups we can field (with Jackson at the 4 and Carrera the ostensible 5).  Though our offensive rebounding was well-below what we’re accustomed to, we did an overall decent job of keeping Kentucky off the boards.

I suggested in the preview that one way we could potentially hang in against the Wildcats was to get buckets at the line, because it would allow us to hopefully put them in foul trouble while also getting us shots we could make.  We actually came close to executing the plan, although it was too little too late by the end.  We nearly matched the Wildcats in FTAs, and Poythress, Harrow, and Wiltjer all ended the evening carrying four fouls.  While it certainly didn’t lead us to victory, it must be said that we didn’t lose this game because we had the whistles going against us.

That said, it all goes back to the beginning – Kentucky dominated us in shooting from both the inside and outside, and that was that.

Individual

South Carolina
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Lakeem Jackson
28
8
2
1-5
0-0
0-0
0
3
0
0
Michael Carrera
24
30
18
4-7
2-3
4-7
2
4
0
0
Bruce Ellington
23
34
9
1-4
0-4
7-9
0
1
0
3
Brenton Williams
18
17
4
1-2
0-3
2-2
0
0
1
0
Brian Richardson
18
19
6
0-1
2-6
0-0
0
0
0
0
Damien Leonard
29
15
6
2-3
0-2
2-2
5
1
2
1
Eric Smith
17
19
2
1-3
0-2
0-0
0
0
2
1
Mindaugas Kacinas
15
17
1
0-3
0-1
1-2
1
2
0
0
RJ Slawson
13
15
3
0-2
1-2
0-0
0
1
0
0
Laimonas Chatkevicius
13
32
4
2-6
0-0
0-2
1
2
0
1
Shane Phillips
2
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
1
Team
0
2
0
TOTAL
200
55
12-36
5-23
16-24
9
16
5
7
0.81
33.3%
21.7%
66.7%
20.5%
69.6%
29.4%
10.3%
Kentucky
Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Archie Goodwin
33
28
13
3-7
0-1
7-12
1
4
3
3
Julius Mays
32
16
15
0-0
4-5
3-3
0
1
4
2
Nerlens Noel
30
21
10
5-8
0-0
0-3
2
8
0
2
Ryan Harrow
25
18
12
6-6
0-0
0-0
0
2
4
1
Alex Poythress
21
28
7
2-5
0-0
3-3
2
7
0
4
Kyle Wiltjer
24
18
5
0-2
1-2
2-2
1
5
0
3
Willie Cauley-Stein
22
23
13
5-7
0-0
3-5
1
5
0
0
Jarrod Polson
11
14
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
2
2
2
Jon Hood
2
2
1-1
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
0
Team
0
1
0
TOTAL
200
77
22-36
5-8
18-28
7
35
13
17
1.13
61.1%
62.5%
64.3%
30.4%
79.5%
48.1%
25.0%

Kentucky brings four main post players to its games – Poythress, Wiltjer, Noel, and Cauley-Stein – but it wasn’t just, or even mostly, those guys who killed us on the inside, as they went a combined 12-22.  Rather, the rest of the team going 10-14, led by Ryan Harrow’s 6-6 effort, left the Gamecocks completely unable to keep pace with the Wildcats.

That said, the offense splits the bill evenly with the defense on porous play Tuesday night.  Michael Carrera once again was one of the lone bright spots, hitting a majority of his shots from every place on the floor and doing so while using 30 percent of our possessions in his 24 minutes, grabbing two offensive rebounds, and not turning the ball over once.  That’s about as good an offensive game as you can ever ask for, particularly against a defense like Kentucky.

The only other real bright spot on the evening was Damien Leonard, who continues to show up in spurts, and playing a surprisingly large 29 minutes.  His main contributions came not from scoring, but from grabbing five offensive rebounds, which will make for a very happy Coach Martin during film review on Wednesday, at least when it comes to Leonard – he’ll likely ask the rest of the team why our 6’4″ shooting guard is out-rebounding the rest of the team on offense by a margin of 5-4.

Brian Richardson was also a net positive contributor on the evening, but was invisible other than his two 3PMs.

Other than that, most of the guys who had off nights did so in the way they’re prone to do so.  Brenton simply didn’t make the 3PAs he took, though he got some open looks.  Aside from Ellington (who to be fair, is the main ball-handler, so will necessarily have more turnovers than a guy like Kacinas), everyone avoided turnovers, but the problem is that the low numbers in the turnover column were replicated by low numbers everywhere else.  Aside from the defensive rebounding category for Jackson and Carrera, no one did something more than twice all evening.  Simply put, not enough players were affecting the game in either a measurable or un-measurable way.

Up Next

The Gamecocks return home on Saturday to Colonial Life Arena, where they’ll take on an under-achieving Tennessee Volunteer team.  While a number of people seem to think the season has gotten away from us, there’s nothing preventing this team from getting back on track, and a good place to do it will be against these Volunteers.

The Gamecocks are out-classed by most of the SEC this year, but they still have the potential to do good things on any given day (the games against Arkansas, Missouri, and LSU being the best evidence of this fact).  And if they go out and give one of their better performances on Saturday, a win could well be in the cards.  There are still things out there to play for, and hopefully this team can go get a few of those things before it’s all said and done.

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About marvinnedick

Blogging from the mid-Atlantic on Gamecock sports, as well as general musings on sports theory otherwise.
This entry was posted in 2012-13 Basketball, Kentucky, What Happened and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Shooting – and Kentucky – wins game, 77-55

  1. Gary says:

    This team has no chance when Lakeem gets only 2 points and 3 rebounds. Carrera is our best talent. A freshman who I heard wasn’t even ranked in high school. Let that sink in. Our guards are really bad, which explains why we have 3 new guards recruited to come in next year, and we are trying to recruit at least one more. If we sign anyone else in the spring, they will likely take the scholarship of a current player.

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