It seems as though Rupp Arena’s kryptonite is teams from Texas. Back on December 1, Baylor stepped into Kentucky’s house and handed the Cats their first home loss since Calipari took over the team back in 2009. Tonight, they suffered the same fate.
UK kicked off their conference home opener against SEC newcomer, Texas A&M. While Kentucky played a good game overall; it wasn’t enough to hold back the Aggies, who handed them their fifth loss of the season, with a final score of 83-71.
Goodwin led the scoring attack for the Cats, but it was Noel who shined. He finished with 15 points and led the team in rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
For the most part, Kentucky kept the game close, trading blows here and there and making plays. They just couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. It didn’t help much either that the Aggies answered nearly every big play the Cats made with an even bigger play.
The harbinger of those bigger plays was senior guard Elston Turner, who became a walking cliché. He lit up the scoreboard. He shot the lights out. He made it rain.
Turner went 14-19 from the field, and had racked up 40 points (a career-high for him) by the time A&M head coach Billy Kennedy finally sat him down in the final minute of the game. Kentucky fans even applauded him as he made his way to the bench.
Though “Big Blue Nation” hates to see their team lose, it has to be a little comforting seeing these players starting to come together on the court. It wasn’t a case of this squad not playing to its potential as much as it was just being outplayed. This was also the shortest turnaround between games UK has had all year. But they will need to become acquainted with that facet of their schedule awfully quick, especially since Tennessee makes a trip to Lexington this Tuesday.