NCAA Tournament 2012: Kentucky Wildcats Use Second Half Surge to Drop Cyclones

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 17:  Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats drives for a shot attempt in the second half against Chris Allen #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 17, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With 16:28 to go in the second half of the NCAA Tournament game, the score was tied 42-42.  Iowa State's Royce White (a former Kentucky commitment for Calipari) looked unstoppable, and the momentum had swung towards the Cyclones.

That all changed when Kentucky went on a scoring rampage, knocking down shot after shot. Iowa State went nearly eight full minutes without making a field goal.  

When the dust cleared from this very physical basketball game, the Wildcats had advanced to the Sweet 16 with an 87-71 win. 


The Good

  • When the Wildcats shoot like this, no one can beat them.  Kentucky ended up shooting 55 percent from the floor and 50 percent (10-of-20) from behind the arc.
  • Darius Miller was huge off the bench.  He had 19 points (7-of-11 from the floor, 3-of-6 from behind the arc), including some huge buckets during the Wildcats dominant scoring stretch in the second half.
  • Marquis Teague was spectacular.  In addition to his excellent game management (seven assists against two turnovers), he was absolutely explosive on offense.  Teague shot over and slashed through the Cyclone defense for 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead all Kentucky scorers.


The Bad

  • Marquis Teague led all Kentucky scorers.  While it was great to see his offensive abilities on display (which is something I have actually been asking to see more of), the Wildcats are at their best when they are scoring inside and out with the offense running through Teague to the various weapons around him.
  • Terrence Jones was active under the basket (11 rebounds, two blocks), but only had eight points off of 3-of-9 shooting.  
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist again struggled offensively, going 0-of-3 from the floor for zero points.  He did, however, have seven rebounds.


The Weird

  • Royce White played incredibly well for the Cyclones, often seeming to keep his team in the game by himself.  He was also talking a lot of trash to the Kentucky players.  When he got his fifth foul and knocked Anthony Davis to the floor, however, White immediately went over, helped him up, and embraced him.  That's pretty impressive sportsmanship from a player who had just fouled out of a very physical game.
  • When Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg was called for a technical foul in the second half, the Wildcats sent Anthony Davis to shoot the free throws—and he made both.  How many teams have a center that can do that?
  • Ashley Judd was interviewed during the second half and analyzed the game better than a lot of "experts" would have (in my opinion, at least).  When that woman talks about basketball, my heart feels like it's trying to escape from my chest.

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