Join us for discussion of tonight's Big East-SEC Challenge game between the Cats and Irish.
Irish 'clock' Cats
Purcell Pavilion has always been a tough venue for even the best squads, though, and the Fighting Irish showed why in a 64-50 win over the No. 8 Wildcats as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge.
Notre Dame (7-1) won its 49th consecutive November game in the tradition-rich gymnasium, formerly known as the Joyce Center, and has won 41 of 42 overall on its home floor. The Irish did so by holding Kentucky (4-2) to 40 percent from the field and the lowest point total in John Calipari's four years as UK head coach.
"I'm glad we played them now because they're really young and talented and are going to be better in January and February," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of the Cats. "We're good (at home). We're really good here."
It marked only the second time the Wildcats have lost a game by double-digits under Calipari, the first coming 84-67 to UConn in the 2010 Maui Invitational.
"We got clocked," Calipari said. "The thing that disappointed me is we didn't compete, we didn't battle through plays, we didn't battle through screens, we didn't come up with loose balls. It was OK that they beat us to balls -- things that are unacceptable when you're coaching.
"You're not going to win every game, but you're going to compete like crazy."
Kentucky jumped out to a 12-6 lead, but suffered though a seven-plus minute stretch with only one field goal as the Irish surged to a 27-18 advantage. Notre Dame closed the half with a 9-4 run to take a commanding 36-25 lead into the locker room.
The margin swelled to 20 by the midway point of the second half, thanks to a 10-0 spurt by the Irish that included two of their eight 3-pointers on the night.
The Wildcats scratched within 60-50 with 2:27 to play, but gave up two offensive rebounds and committed two turnovers to erase any thoughts of a late combeack.
Notre Dame got 16 points from guard Eric Atkins, 13 apiece from center Jack Cooley and guard Jerian Grant, and 10 from swingman Cameron Biedscheid. Cooley also had a game-high 11 rebounds for the double-double.
"They deserved to win," Calipari said of the Irish, who beat the Cats on the boards 33-27.
Freshman guard Archie Goodwin, who was coming off a 28-point performance in his last game, scored only three points for UK on 1-for-7 shooting. Fellow freshman Alex Poythress, who was handcuffed by foul trouble most of the night, was also held to 3 points. The duo entered the game averaging a combined 37.4 points per game.
"They sagged in and were making Archie pass the ball," Calipari said. "... He was an unwillig passer. I told him if he's going to do that, I can't have him in there."
Senior guard Julius Mays led the Cats with 16 points, going 5-of-10 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Freshman center Nerlens Noel was the only other UK player in double figures with 10 points.
* The Wildcats are 42-19 all-time against Notre Dame and 5-3 in Purcell Pavilion.
* It was UK's first loss as a ranked team to Notre Dame since the 1980-81 season when the No. 2 Cats lost to Digger Phelps' No. 8 Irish 67-61 at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
* UK's previous low-point total under Calipari also came to a Big East team, a 56-55 Final Four loss to UConn in 2011.
* Sophomore guard Ryan Harrow returned to action after missing the last four games, scoring his first basket of the season. He went 1-of-4 from the field, scored two points and recorded one steal in nine minutes of play.
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