Letting Coury shoot threes just the start of Cats’ problems

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana led UK 37-25 at halftime of Saturday’s game. Apparently IU wasn’t comfortable with the lead, because the Hoosiers scored nine quick points to turn a nice advantage into an overwhelming deficit for UK.

Sensing the game was just about to get out of hand at that point, UK did the only thing it knew to try to save the game: set up sophomore forward Mark Coury for a wide-open 3-point shot.

Coury rewarded his teammates’ dumb decision to pass it to him by bricking the shot off the backboard and to the right of the rim. It was a “what are you doing?” moment, kind of like when former UK quarter-pounder Jared Lorenzen used to run the option play.

That option play with J-Lo hardly ever worked. Coury from beyond the arc probably won’t ever be a successful option either.

Given the circumstances of Saturday’s game, though, Coury’s shot couldn’t have been that bad. Even though he should never take a shot from that distance under any circumstances, the rest of UK’s players were equally egregious in their 70-51 loss to IU Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall.

This loss by no means falls on Coury. In fact, he was just a minor part of the loss, but his ineptitude on offense was a great example of how bad UK played.

The clumsy Cats turned the ball over 19 times. They shot 56.3 percent from the free-throw line and 38.8 percent from the field. Point guards Ramel Bradley and Michael Porter combined to dish out zero assists in 44 minutes.

“I think that we all played horrible,” freshman forward Patrick Patterson said. “Everybody on the team.”

The bad part is, that comment might be an unbelievable understatement.

Quick, what do you get when three of your starters are out for a game, including your best player, and another starter is on the bench for a large portion of the first half because of foul trouble? A 19-point win.

Soon-to-be NBA lottery pick and freshman phenom Eric Gordon, who averages a Big Ten-best 24.3 points per game, was out with an injury. Starters Armon Bassett (game suspension) and A.J. Ratliff (semester suspension) didn’t play. D.J. White joined them on the bench for 10 minutes in the first half.

That means the Hoosiers were without 44.9 points per game if you include Ratliff’s average from last year. And the Hoosiers still busted UK.

“They whipped us in every aspect,” head coach Billy Gillispie said, “and did it with a short-handed team.”

They sure did, which showed how unprepared UK was for IU’s bench.

Jordan Crawford, Joe Crawford’s little brother, dropped 20 points on his big brother. The freshman IU guard, who was starting in place of the injured Gordon, made the matchup with his older sibling a lopsided battle while earning chants of “Jordan’s better” from the Assembly Hall crowd several times during the game.

DeAndre Thomas scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds for IU. After the game, Patterson referred to Thomas by jersey number twice while calling White by name during the same answer to a question.

Patterson wasn’t the only member of the team to slip up in the interview session after the game.

During his opening remarks, Gillispie called IU the University of Indiana. I’m sure Scott Stricklin, UK’s sports information director, reminded Gillispie soon after that it’s IU, not U of I. It probably won’t ever happen again.

UK is lucky Gillispie didn’t call them the University of Indiana before the game. If he did, and the Hoosiers had found out about it, they probably would have beaten the Cats by 30.

Then Coury would have had to hit 10 3-pointers to get UK back in the game.

Jonathan Smith is a journalism senior. E-mail [email protected].