UK vs. Alabama Game Breakdown

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No. 16 UK men’s basketball won Tuesday night against the Alabama Crimson Tide with little resistance. The Tide were led by guard Retin Obasohan with 29 points but unfortunately for Alabama he would be the only player to score in double-figures for the team. UK was able to hold Alabama to 35 percent shooting from the floor and won both the rebounding battle and points in the paint.

MVP: Jamal Murray

The birthday boy could do no wrong in the matchup with Alabama. Everything was falling for freshman Jamal Murray and with every and-one and lucky bounce it just seemed like it was his night. He finished with 23 points and four rebounds.

With scoring coming so easy for the freshman it was nice to see him work just as hard on the defensive end. The extra effort in staying with his man on drives was noticeable and it saw him force tougher shots and even force some turnovers.

Game Defining Moment:

Alabama had a six-minute scoring drought in the first half and the Cats took advantage with an 8-0 run. From that point on UK was never threatened by the Crimson Tide and the Cats were able to win handedly. 

Trending Up: Alex Poythress looking good in his return

Senior Alex Poythress showed no rust in his return from sitting out five games with a knee injury. The forward was strong and decisive when attacking in the paint and the Tide had no answer for him. Poythress scored a career-high 25 points in UK first matchup with the Crimson Tide this season, and while he didn’t match that, his 14 points are a good sign for UK going forward.

Trending Up: Marcus Lee attacking the offensive glass

After coming off a game where UK game up 20 offensive rebounds, UK was on the opposite end of the spectrum against Alabama thanks to junior Marcus Lee. The Crimson Tide had no answer inside for Lee and that allowed him to attack the glass and give UK some extra opportunities on offense. He finished the game with 12 rebounds with six coming on the offensive end.

Trending Down: Derek Willis’ condition

After sustaining an ankle injury against the Aggies this weekend, things don’t look good for junior Derek Willis to play anytime soon. Willis was seen on the bench during warmups in street clothes and wearing a walking boot. UK was fine without the forward tonight but the team is at its best when he is on the floor and will need him in March.

Stat of the Game: Points in the paint: 40-22 UK

UK won in dominant fashion and it was thanks in part to the team being able to go inside and finish. The addition of Poythress helped in the half-courts sets giving UK a guy to throw it down low to for offense, but most of these points came in transition. With UK’s magician of a point guard, Tyler Ulis, running the show everything is easier to get in transition whether it’s an Isaiah Briscoe backdoor cut or Lee alley-oop. It showed with Ulis’ double-double of 19 points and ten assists.