Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis go crazy, No. 20 Kentucky beats Florida by 19
Jamal Murray scored a career-high 35 points and became the first Kentucky player to hit eight threes in a game since 2010.
Tyler Ulis had 18 points and 11 assists.
As a result, No. 20 Kentucky bounced back Tuesday’s loss to Tennessee -- when the Wildcats blew a 21-point lead -- as they blew out a good Florida team, 80-61. The final score doesn’t really do the beat down justice, either. Kentucky was up 24-5 seven minutes into the game. The Gators, who look like they may end up being seeded as high as the No. 6 line on Selection Sunday, never had a chance.
If Kentucky was trying to prove a point, they did. I’m not sure if Murray and Ulis make up the nation’s best back court in college basketball, but on Saturday, they looked like the best back court in the entire world. They were awesome.
So awesome, in fact, that they were responsible for 64 of Kentucky’s 80 points tonight.
And that’s where this win can be a bit concerning.
Look, the issue with Kentucky is that they don’t get near enough production out of their front court, and if the knee injury that kept Alex Poythress out of the lineup on Saturday ends up being at all serious, than UK’s most productive big will be out of commission. On Saturday, Kentucky’s front court -- minus Derek Willis, who is more of a wing that’s been slotted at the four -- finished with a grand total of 10 points, 15 boards and 12 fouls.
That issue isn’t going away just because Ulis and Murray played an unbelievable game against one of the nation’s top five defenses, according to KenPom.com. You don’t buy a house with termites just because you love the way that it’s furnished.
But what this performance shows you is what Kentucky’s ceiling is, what they are capable of on the night’s when their two stars play like stars.
If they get hot at the right time, they can beat anyone in March. Hell, this could be enough to carry them to the Elite 8, maybe further.
When those two can play that well in a season where there is no dominant team, you can’t really count anything out.
But it also means that Kentucky is capable of losing to anyone on any given night, and all it takes is one cold shooting night for Kentucky’s run in March to come to an early end.