Kentucky gets 'punked'

South Carolina earns a monster win for Lamont Paris. Any concerns about the Wildcats? Plus, Houston holds firm on the road. And how will Grand Canyon fare following its first loss of the season?

Good morning! That was a fun little Tuesday night of hoops, huh?

Let’s dive in.

1. South Carolina slows Kentucky’s roll

See this? It’s gonna cost South Carolina $100,000.

But hey, when you handle No. 6 Kentucky at home, a court-storm is probably in order. I do feel bad for the chairs, though.

South Carolina kept the league’s highest-scoring offense in check all night on Tuesday, earning a 79-62 win — its third straight against Kentucky (14-4, 4-2 in SEC). It led by double-digits the entire second half and held the Cats to just 40.3% from the floor and a measly .98 points per possession, their second-worst showing of the season.

“They were more physical. They were gonna battle us. They were gonna try to punk us. And, you know, we got punked,” Antonio Reeves told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Kentucky’s offense struggled to find clean looks against a stout South Carolina defense. The Cats’ shot just 4-of-13 from deep and ended up taking a bunch of contested 2-pointer shots.

Point guard Ta'lon Cooper's 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists was the star. Adding the true point guard gives something South Carolina didn't have a season ago, and enables Meechie Johnson to play shooting guard. As a result, Johnson is shooting better (43% from the floor, 37% from 3.)

South Carolina's chances of ending a seven-year NCAA Tournament drought are improving by the day. The metrics don't look amazing (50th in KenPom, 62nd in the NET), but at 15-3 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, it’s gonna be tough to ignore SC at this rate.

The Gamecocks scored a scorching 1.25 points per possession on UK's defense, which didn’t surprise coach John Calipari. "Everybody makes shots against us. I'm surprised they didn't hit a bank shot."

Kentucky's offense has improved with stud offensive players like Rob Dillingham and DJ Wagner. But it's caused some major defensive problems. Kentucky ranks 90th in defensive efficiency and allowed more than 1.00 PPP in each of its first six conference games.

The encore for Big Z didn’t go so well. That’s to be expected for a dude who played 16 total minutes of college hoops this season. Zvonimir Ivisic scored only one point with three fouls in ten minutes. That’s a real welcome to road college hoops. Don’t worry, Big Z will get on track again.

Calipari was also critical of his youthful team postgame. "I saw men, and I saw boys," Cal said.

2. Houston holds firm in Provo

We know Houston’s approach: Be physical, dominate the glass and grind out wins. BYU got a view of that at home on Tuesday night.

No. 4 Houston pulled out an impressive win over No. 21 BYU, 75-68, in a game that saw the visiting Cougars (17-2, 4-2 in Big 12) nearly blow a second-half lead. Noah Waterman’s triple tied it at 68 all with 2:20 remaining, but BYU (14-5, 2-4) didn’t score the rest of the game.

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