No. 9 Kentucky's offense struggles in 68-59 loss

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm •  Published: January 9, 2014
Advertisement
;

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Three times in its last six games, No. 9 Kentucky's high-powered offense has shot 35 percent or less.

However, Wildcats coach Matthew Mitchell isn't worried yet.

"It's a long, long season. Sometimes you go through patches like that," Mitchell said after their 68-59 loss to No. 10 South Carolina on Thursday night.

South Carolina (15-1, 3-0 SEC), held the league's best offense to 33 points below their average, set a school record with 14 blocked shots and forced the Wildcats (13-3, 1-2) to shoot just 32 percent (23 of 73). Kentucky was the eighth opponent this year to shoot that poorly or worse against the Gamecocks.

For long stretches of the game the Wildcats looked hesitant, especially inside. When the Gamecocks weren't blocking shots, Kentucky was shooting tentative and short. The Wildcats missed 19 shots in the lane.

"You could actually see it," sophomore guard Tina Roy said of the uncertainty in Kentucky players' eyes. "Coach Staley said keep going at them."

Mitchell didn't think his team played scared. He thought they just had a bad night shooting.

"I didn't think we gave poor effort tonight," Mitchell said. "We just couldn't find a way to get the ball in the basket."

The Wildcats lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2012, when they lost three in a row to LSU, Tennessee and Alabama. They have started the SEC season at 1-2 for the first time since 2011.

The Gamecocks trailed 10-4 early, but outscored the Wildcats 50-22 over the next 27 minutes. They had 10 more rebounds than Kentucky, who came into the game third in the SEC in rebounding margin averaging 8.5 more boards than its opponents.

The Wildcats twice went almost 4 minutes in the second half without scoring a point, falling behind 52-30 with 9 minutes left. But they clawed back into the game, cutting South Carolina's lead to 59-51 with 3:04 to go.



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Colorado Is Consuming Way More Pot Than Anyone Ever Believed
  2. 2
    What Dan Gilbert said to LeBron James to get him to return to Cleveland
  3. 3
    Female Yahoo Exec Sued By a Female Employee for Sexual Harassment
  4. 4
    A company wants you to experiment on Facebook — by quitting
  5. 5
    LeBron's face vandalized on Miami mural that took 2+ years to create
+ show more