SEC Morning Five: New Year’s EditionPosted by Brian Joyce on January 2nd, 2012
- Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost broke the school’s all-time assist record on Saturday. Bost recorded four assists in the two=point win over Utah State giving him 515 in his career. He broke the career mark set by former Bulldog Derrick Zimmerman. “That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider all the guys that have played at Mississippi State,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. Otherwise, it wasn’t a banner night for Bost. He was just 1-10 from the field scoring just five points as the Bulldogs struggled to put the Aggies away.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist thrived in a physical and rough win for Kentucky as the Wildcats defeated intra-state rival Louisville Cardinals. “He wasn’t bothered as much as some of the other players by the physical play,” coach John Calipari said. “He almost relished it and just went after it, and that’s why he played the way he did. […] He was vicious today.” Kidd-Gilchrist agreed with Calipari’s assessment. “I’m built for this,” he said after Kentucky’s 69-62 victory. “I just love the challenge. I’ve always been that way. I’ve got a lot of heart.” Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds, both career highs, in 39 minutes of play. Kidd-Gilchrist has showed up for big games. He scored 17 points and 11 rebounds against UNC, and 18 points and nine rebounds in a one-point loss at Indiana. He is quickly becoming not only the best freshman in the country, but one of the best players overall in the nation.
- The Lexington Herald Leader had more love for Kidd-Gilchrist, but Kidd-Gilchrist was giving all his love to his mother. She was in the hospital last week, but was healthy enough to make it to Lexington to watch her son play. “My mom was here,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “She smiled at me,” he said admitting he was looking at her in the stands. “I had to smile back.” With the way he played on Saturday, Calipari should find a way to get Kidd-Gilchrist’s mother in Rupp Arena more often. Kentucky won by seven despite shooting just 29.8%. Kidd-Gilchrist’s play was a big reason why the Wildcats were able to preserve the victory.
- Tennessee’s coach Cuonzo Martin turned to the bench on Saturday to beat The Citadel. Reserve center Yemi Makanjuola had a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. His coach knew it was possible. “I’m not surprised. I knew eventually it would come at some point, maybe next year,” Martin said. “I just think you’re happy for a guy who puts the work in and doesn’t complain and puts his head down and works every day and doesn’t make excuses.” The Citadel’s coach may have been a bit surprised by Makanjuola’s performance. He didn’t even know his name. “The guy coming off the bench killed us. We did not expect that,” coach Chuck Driesell said. The Volunteers needed a comfortable victory after several close calls. This 86-55 win gives Tennessee a three-game winning streak
- Vanderbilt’s defense is usually the subject of scorn and criticism, but in the their win over Marquette it was the defense that led the way. Vanderbilt switched its defenses several times confusing the Golden Eagles’ offense. Marquette was held to 32.2& shooting, a season’s best for the Commodores’ defense. In fact, they have only held one other opponent under 40% percent on the season, a 37.8% shooting night for Xavier in an 82-70 Musketeers win. Vanderbilt’s backcourt, not normally known for its stellar perimeter defense, held its own against Golden Eagles’ guard Vander Blue. The sophomore guard averages 9.4 points per game, but was held to one of seven shooting for only three points.