Saturday, January 22, 2011

Polson Ice? UK Freshman Stays Cool in Meaningful Action


John Calipari lived up to his word tonight when Kentucky battled South Carolina.

Earlier in the week, the UK head coach said he might throw freshman Jarrod Polson on the court and see how he responds. That's exactly what Calipari did.

Polson's stat line isn't all that different than any other game he's played in this season. He played three minutes, went 0-1 from the field and did not score.

His three minutes tonight were very much different, however.

Calipari trusted Polson enough to put him in the game in the first half when the outcome was still very much in doubt. While his numbers are nothing special, the former West Jessamine star showed that he can be counted on to give the Wildcats minutes without hurting the team.

Polson didn't score, but he also didn't turn the ball over or allow his man to score an easy basket.

If he continues to consistently play well without hurting the team, I think UK fans can expect to see more important minutes from the youthful looking freshman.

Providence Upsets No. 19 Louisville for First Conference Win


Providence 72
(19) Louisville 67

Final from Providence, Rhode Island


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Marshon Brooks scored 27 points and Gerard Coleman had a career-high 19 to lead Providence to a 72-67 victory over No. 19 Louisville on Saturday.

It was the first conference victory for the Friars (12-8, 1-6 Big East) in 51 weeks, and their first win over former coach Rick Pitino.

Chris Smith had a season-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds for Louisville (15-4, 4-2). The Cardinals went 4 for 23 from 3-point range - missing all 12 attempts in the second half.

Pitino has faced Providence seven times since he led the school to the 1987 Final Four, then left to coach the New York Knicks. He never faced the Friars with Kentucky.

Louisville rallied from 18 points down to beat Marquette 71-70 on Saturday, then beat St. John's on Wednesday. The Friars had not won a Big East game since beating then-No. 19 Connecticut on Jan. 27, 2010, also their last victory over a team ranked in The Associated Press Top 25.

But Providence played then-No. 5 Syracuse closely, and then went to the final minute against both St. John's and then Pittsburgh when the Panthers were ranked No. 5 in the country.

Louisville led 43-39 at halftime, but Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers at the start of the second half and Coleman added a basket to give the Friars a 47-44 lead. Providence led 54-53 - on another Brooks 3-pointer - when the Cardinals scored four straight to take a 57-54 lead with just under 9 minutes remaining.

Complete Recap

No. 9 Georgetown College Hammers West Virginia Tech


(9) Georgetown College 92
West Virginia Tech 74

Final from Montgomery, West Virginia


Four starters reached double figures for No. 9 Georgetown College men's basketball team Saturday as it finished up the first half of the conference schedule on top of the Mid-South Conference.

The Tigers (19-2, 8-1 MSC) handed West Virginia Tech (7-10, 3-6) a 92-74 loss in Montgomery. Eddie Gray led the way with 24 points.

The senior point guard blistered the nets, hitting 75 percent from the field (6-of-8) and 83 percent from deep (5-of-6). Gray was almost perfect from the line, 7-of-8. He dished out seven assists along with his points.

Vic Moses had another big day, scoring 22 points and pushing him further up the all-time scoring list at Georgetown College. The Lexington native passed the late Jim Reid, a Tiger player and coach, and Jim Shee to put him at No. 27 all-time with 1,341 points.

Matt Walls and Tyrone Shelley each added 14 points in the win.

Georgetown returns home next week for a big conference match up with No. 10 St. Catharine. This will be the third meeting this season between these two teams. The Tigers have won the previous two.

* Game recap by Georgetown College

University of the Cumberlands Holds Off Campbellsville


Cumberlands 79
Campbellsville 72

Final from Williamsburg, Kentucky


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. -- Campbellsville University was unable to overcome a once 16-point deficit to fall on the road at University of the Cumberlands, 79-72, in a Mid-South Conference game at the Rollins Center.

Cumberlands opened the game on an 8-1 run and never looked back, as the Tigers struggled from the field early. Shawn Savage hit the Tigers' first basket of the game with a 3-pointer to end a near six-minute drought from the field. The 3 sparked a 12-2 Tiger response that gave Campbellsville its only lead of the night, 14-12. Cumberlands stretched its lead to double figures, 32-22, before entering halftime with a 32-25 lead.

The Patriots grew its lead to 16 points, 51-35, seven minutes into the second half, but CU wouldn't let the Patriots gain further distance.

Caleb Harris attempted to lead a Tiger comeback in the second half, leading CU with a career-high 28 points, seven rebounds and three steals. The Chicago native cut the deficit to five, 71-66, with 1:17 remaining, but Campbellsville was unable to get a stop, followed by a basket to pull any closer.

Complete Recap

Northern Kentucky Defeats Wesleyan in Overtime


Northern Kentucky 91
(17) Kentucky Wesleyan 82 F/OT

Final from Owensboro, Kentucky

OWENSBORO, Ky. – For the fifth time this season, Northern Kentucky University squared off against a team ranked in the NCAA Division II national poll when the Norse visited No. 17 Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday.

NKU shook off a last-second basket by Kentucky Wesleyan that forced overtime and outscored the Panthers 14-5 in the extra session to pull off a 91-82 upset in the Owensboro Sportscenter. The Norse upped their overall record to 14-4, including a 7-3 slate in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Bobby Shannon and Malcolm Eleby each scored 17 points to lead the Norse, who are now 2-3 against nationally ranked opponents this season. Josh Tabb and Corey Sorrell both added 13 points apiece for NKU, which shot 56.4 percent from the field.

Depth was also a factor, as NKU’s bench outscored Kentucky Wesleyan’s reserves by a 32-4 margin for the game.

NKU owned a 77-75 lead with seven seconds remaining in regulation after Tabb converted one of two free throws. Following a timeout, Kentucky Wesleyan’s Cardell McFarland drove the length of the court and scooped in a basket with 0.6 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 77-all.

Complete recap

Message Received: Terrence Jones Plays Well for Kentucky

Kentucky's Terrence Jones responded well tonight in the aftermath of John Calipari's publicly aired tongue-lashing in Tuesday night's loss at Alabama.

The freshman scored 14 points and pulled down 7 rebounds in Kentucky's 67-58 win over South Carolina. He also had 3 steals and 2 blocked shots.

It won't show up statistically, but perhaps most importantly, Jones set the tone early and helped the Wildcats get out to an early lead.

Here is one of the plays that sent an early message:

Focused Kentucky Team Beats Gamecocks on the Road


(12) Kentucky 67
South Carolina 58

Final from Columbia, South Carolina

A motivated team of Kentucky Wildcats cruised to a 67-68 road win at South Carolina this evening.

The Wildcats (15-4, 3-2 SEC) started hot and never looked back as they rolled to a 36-26 halftime lead.

John Calipari's club extended the lead to as much as 18 points and held off a late South Carolina run.

Brandon Knight led Kentucky with 23 points and 7 rebounds. He was 6-10 from the field and 9-10 from the free throw line. Darius Miller had perhaps his best offensive game of the season with 18 points. Terrence Jones added 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Sam Muldrow put in 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Gamecocks (12-6, 3-2). Muldrow was the only South Carolina player to reach double figures.

The Wildcats shot 20-47 (42.6%) from the field and an outstanding 24-29 (82.8%) from the free throw line. Freshman Doron Lamb sealed the game late with four consecutive makes at the charity stripe.

South Carolina shot a disappointing 19-57 (33.3%). The Gamecocks were only 3-18 (16.7%) from long range.

Kentucky has a week off before welcoming Georgia into Rupp Arena on Saturday.

Hicks Leads Pikeville College Over Virginia-Wise


Pikeville 96
U.Va.-Wise 81

Final from Wise, Virginia

WISE, Va. – Two players turned in double-doubles and senior Justin Hicks scored a season-high 27 as Pikeville College knocked off U.Va.-Wise 96-81 Saturday afternoon at Greear Gymnasium.

Pikeville’s win raised it to 17-4 on the season and 6-3 at the mid-point of the Mid-South Conference race. With the win, Pikeville is at least tied for fourth in the league standings and could be third by day’s end, pending the result of the St.Catharine at Lindsey Wilson contest.

U.Va.-Wise fell to 9-9 overall and 3-6 in the league.

Pikeville fell behind 5-0 as the Cavaliers scored two first-minute buckets, but then scored 11 unanswered points to take a lead it would never relinquish. Sophomore Trevor Setty had six Bear points in the run, and when senior Vance Cooksey hit two free throws with 16:50 left, it was 11-5.

The first half played out that way, with the teams trading small runs, and ended with the Bears on top 43-31.

Complete Recap

Francisco Garcia Still Out with Calf Injury


Former Louisville star Francisco Garcia is expected to miss several more games in Sacramento as he battles a left calf strain.

Garcia missed his third straight game last night at Golden State.

Kings coach Paul Westphal said Garcia aggravated the calf again during Thursday's practice and is likely out for another week.

"Better" Kentucky Leads South Carolina at the Half


A different looking Kentucky team has rolled to a 36-26 halftime lead at South Carolina.

Fresh off the heels of a disappointing road loss at Alabama, a more focused group of Wildcats started hot and played consistent in the first half against the Gamecocks.

Brandon Knight leads Kentucky at that half with 11 points on 3-5 shooting. Terrence Jones added 10 points, including a pair of thunderous dunks. Darius Miller chipped in 9 points in the first stanza.

Sam Muldrow leads USC with 12 points and 5 rebounds a the break.

The Wildcats shot 11-22 (50.0%) from the field and an outstanding 12-14 (85.7%) from the free throw line.

South Carolina shot a cool 8-25 (32.0%). The Gamecocks forced Kentucky into 11 first half turnovers.

John Wall Named Kentucky Sportsman of the Year


Former Kentucky Wildcat John Wall has been named Kentucky Sportsman of the Year by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Here is an excerpt:

For all those reasons, members of the commonwealth's sports media have elected Wall the 2010 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.

"Kentucky was the team the college basketball world couldn't take its eyes off of last season — and Wall was the one player you couldn't take your eyes off of when he had the ball," wrote Mike Marsee of The Advocate-Messenger in Danville. "Wall was the rare player who provided both the sizzle and the steak."

Wrote Steve Moss of Lexington's WKYT-TV: "Wall became an overnight sensation before he ever took the floor for the Wildcats. His brief appearance in the Rupp rafters during Big Blue Madness fueled a dance craze that fans are still talking about. On the court, Wall showed poise and brilliance that belied his 19 years."

In becoming the 30th winner of the Sportsman of the Year award, Wall (369 points, 14 first-place votes) defeated another UK sports icon, football star Randall Cobb (276, four).

Cobb, who was also a first-team All-American in 2010, edged UK basketball coach John Calipari (271, eight) for second place.

Rounding out the top five were Kentucky women's basketball star Victoria Dunlap, the 2010 SEC Player of the Year, and Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel.


Complete Article

EKU Breaks Morehead State Streak in Defensive Battle


Eastern Kentucky 59
Morehead State 49

Final from Morehead, Kentucky


MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team defeated rival Morehead State, 59-49, Saturday afternoon to earn the team’s fifth consecutive road victory. The Colonels (11-9, 5-4) have held their last four opponents to 52 points or less.

Also with the win, Eastern Kentucky snapped Morehead State’s (12-8, 5-4) 24-game home winning streak and 22-game OVC home winning streak. At the time, both streaks were among the top six in all of Division I basketball.

Senior Josh Daniel paced EKU with a game-high 18 points thanks to hitting four three-pointers. Junior Joshua Jones chipped in with 14 tallies.

Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried hauled in a season-high 21 rebounds, but the Colonels limited the OVC’s second leading scorer (17.6 ppg) to just six points.

The host Eagles led by five points, 37-32, following a Demonte Harper three-pointer with 8:29 remaining. However, senior Justin Stommes quickly answered with his only trifecta before a Daniel lay-in on Eastern’s ensuing possession knotted the score at 37-all.

Morehead State answered with four consecutive points, only to see EKU respond again. A Daniel three-pointer with five minutes left gave the Colonels the lead for good, 42-41. Senior Spencer Perrin then netted a long-range shot a minute later to stretch the advantage to four points, 45-41.

Complete Recap

Singleton Leads Xinjiang Past Beijing and Former Wildcats


Former Murray State star James Singleton exploded for 22 points and 17 rebounds yesterday to lead Xinjiang to a 105-85 win over Beijing and former Kentucky stars Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris.

On the season, the former Murray State star is averaging 20.6 points.

Morris led Beijing with 22 points and 7 rebounds. He was 9-17 from the field. Crawford added 17 points on 5-9 shooting.

Xinjiang has now won 17 consecutive CBA games to top the league table. Beijing falls to sixth place with a 10-7 record.

Gorgui Dieng Out for Louisville Today



Louisville will be without big man Gorgui Dieng in today's game against Providence College. Dieng is suffering from a sprained ankle.

Calipari Gives Pregame Comments, Looking for More from Upperclassmen


South Carolina Pregame Press Conference Quotes from Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari (via UKAthletics.com):

On keeping South Carolina off the offensive glass …
“We haven’t been doing a very good job. They’re another scrappy team. If they out-scrap us it’ll be hard for us to win the game, bottom line. If they out-scrap us – watching the tape of us down there a year ago, they out-scraped us. They just were more aggressive and they weren’t afraid to foul, they just went after balls. (Devan Downey) made a couple shots at the end that were outrageous and we missed a bunch of layups. They just out-scrapped us.”

On South Carolina losing Devan Downey and others from last year’s team …
“They’re starting young guys too, they are. And they’ve been in two overtime games and a game they’ve been down 14, and they’ve won them all. The two overtime games and the game they were down 14 they could have easily got beat and they won them all. They went to Alabama and Alabama and those guys were nose to nose. Alabama, obviously, was up 20 on us. Scrapping and us playing passive, if we play that way it’ll be a hard game.”

On what it says about a team to be down 14, or down repeatedly, and be able to pull it out …
“They’ve been down – the Florida game they were up and Florida came back and it went to overtime, so they’re one of those kind of teams. Their little guard (Bruce) Ellington is really good. He has a football body and he uses it that way. He really understands angles and he’s good. The other guys, (Sam) Muldrow is way better, and the other guys all fit their role and do what they’re supposed to; they play off Ellington and they play off him well.”

On if he’s concerned about what his team will give him energy level wise on the road compared to what it has been like the last two times in the SEC …
“Again, it’s a young team going on the road and you’re counting on freshmen, and we’re expecting a lot and demanding a lot out of those guys. It’s hard and I’ve got to get on two juniors and a senior to do more. They’ve got to be a big part of what we’re doing at the end of these games. They’re the veteran guys; two juniors and a senior. Part of it is that. ‘Let’s go, what are you three doing when the game is on the line? What are you giving us?’”

On what specifically he would like to see senior forward Josh Harrellson and junior guards Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins do at the end of games …
“Make plays, make a block, get a ball, grab a rebound, dive on the floor, take a charge. Do something. ‘What are you doing to help us win?’ Or are we sitting there saying, ‘Let’s hope one of these freshmen make a play.’”

On what they did on the road against Louisville differently than what they’ve done in their two SEC road games …
“Well, one of the things we did is we shot the ball well (at Louisville). We were able to create gaps and then play a little different and not have it on us, it was on the other team and we played better. Again, Georgia and this game, we had guys start games 0-5. First five shots you miss. And it’s not just one guy, it’s another guy. So now all of a sudden, it’s a two-point game versus being a 12-point game. It’s a different ball game. At Louisville we made those shots.”

On how much South Carolina forward Sam Muldrow has improved and if Kentucky is vulnerable to big guys …
“(I am) really impressed. What he’s doing is he’s shooting jump shots. That’s what it is. They’re putting him in pick-and-rolls and he’s popping and he’s doing a heck of a job with it. You have to guard him to the 3-point line because he’ll shoot it. Now we have to figure out how we play in this – how we play in these pick-and-rolls because we can’t just leave him. He’s also making 17-footers so if they stretch out the court to give the little kid a chance to go, and he’s at 16, 17 feet, he makes shots. But, again, watching the tape last year, he did that to us last year. He made that shot in the short corner that was just an absolute dagger. So, he’s good. He’s really a presence and the little kid is leading them and doing a heck of a job.”

On if he has anybody as a leader right now who will step up and say, ‘This is unacceptable and we have to change.’ …
“No, and just take responsibility. Someone’s got to say, ‘OK, this is on me,’ or, ‘This is on all of us. It’s on you and you and you…’ We’ve got a lot of guys that don’t want to take that responsibility and that’s part of the leadership of the team and where we need to go. We’ve all got to look at everything. I’m telling them there were coaching things we went through that I said, ‘If I had to do it over again I’d have done this or I would have done this.’ I’m trying to get them to say it’s OK to be wrong. It’s OK to screw up. It’s OK, you don’t have to act like you’ve never done anything, it’s always somebody else. Just understand that when we lose you have to take responsibility, all of us, including me as a coach.”

Rick Pitino Has Done an Excellent Job in 2010-11


RushtheCourt.com feels that Rick Pitino has been outstanding in what he's managed to do with this season's Louisville team.

Pitino makes the list of "best coaching jobs this season".

Here is an excerpt:

Rick Pitino- One of the premier programs in college basketball, Louisville has faced seemingly endless hardships and obstacles since their Elite Eight berth in 2009. Despite star center Samardo Samuels bolting early and the loss of senior backcourt cogs Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith, the Cardinals sit at 15-3 (4-1) in the vicious Big East. But the loss of Samuels was just the beginning of the nightmare: heralded recruit Justin Coleman didn’t quality academically, Memphis transfer and impact shooter Roburt Sallie lost his case for immediate eligibility and starting power forward/leading returning scorer Jared Swopshire needed season-ending surgery on his groin. Overcoming such odds is a challenge, but the coaching genius of Pitino, a hectic full-court press that often masks talent disparity and the three-point heroics of Preston Knowles have the 15th-ranked Cardinals achieving what even the most ardent ‘Ville supporter couldn’t have imagined during a supposed rebuilding season. Give Pitino tons of credit for keeping the ship afloat.

Patrick Patterson Not Interested in Sponsor's Technical Foul Plan


Xu Zhihua, the CEO of Chinese shoe and apparel brand Peak, has offered to pay the fine for any technical foul based on showing emotion given to any player wearing his company's shoes.

Former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson, the first player signed to Peak America, has no plans to take advantage of the offer.

Here is an excerpt from Chron.com:

"It's free, but it's still not a good look to get techs," Patterson said. "In my history, I just got two in college. I respect him for doing that. It's not going to happen, though."


Photo: NBA.com

Centre College Blows By Southwestern in SCAC Action


Centre College 72
Southwestern 54

Final from Georgetown, Texas


The Centre men's basketball team improved to 12-3 on the season and to 7-1 in the SCAC after they pulled off a 72-54 win against conference opponent Southwestern on Friday, January 21 in Georgetown, Tex.

Both teams struggled to score during the opening 1:30 of the game, but freshman Donovan Whiteside (Knoxville, Tenn.) would finally get the Colonels on the board by making a layup to put the score at 2-0.

Nick Caputo responded on the other end of the court for Southwestern, as he converted on a three point attempt to make it a 3-2 game with 18:05 to go in the first half of action.

The game would go back and fourth until the 9:18 mark when junior Jeff Mullaney (Louisville, Ky.) hit a layup to give Centre the 14-11 advantage. Centre would hold onto the lead until their was 4:25 to go in the first half when Nicholas Atiee made a three pointer to put Southwestern ahead 20-19.

Junior Greg Ross (Cincinnati, Ohio) put the Colonels back in the lead with 2:06 on the clock, as he hit a three to put the score at 25-23. Centre went into the break leading 28-23.

Complete Recap

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hood, Harrellson Give Pregame Comments for USC


Kentucky's Jon Hood and Josh Harrellson gave pregame comments today for the Wildcats' weekend game at South Carolina (transcript via UKAthletics.com):

#4, Jon Hood, G, So.

On the mood after the Alabama loss …
“Yeah, we should have won it. We have been in every game this year and we think that we should win every game. We have always thought that. Even when we lose we come out looking back and feel bad, because an L is an L. You always want to win.”

On if playing on the road has been the problem or other factors …
“I don’t know. I think that it is just not coming to play certain plays and certain stretches. I mean, you can’t really say that we haven’t come to play for the whole game. We came back from 20 points down. We just have to put the whole game together.”

On watching the Alabama game on tape and if there were some things they saw that will help in the future …
“It is evident on tape (the mistakes we made and how much better we are as a team when we don’t make them.) I don’t know what it is but it is like something clicks and we are two different teams. We just have to bring it into one and play the whole game. When we do that we are one of the best teams in the nation.”

#55, Josh Harrellson, F, Sr.

On coach Calipari having to coach effort instead of basketball recently …
“It really has been (frustrating). At times you see that some guys aren’t playing hard and that is when coach really starts to get on us about playing hard and playing every possession. If you can’t go, then come out. We are trying to build reserves and backups and the only way to do that is to let them get in the game and play. He is trying to say if you are tired now you have to come out of the game. I think the first 10 minutes of the Alabama game I don’t think anyone came out. I was the first one to ask for a sub at the 12-minute mark. He said something about me being the only one that asked for a sub the entire game. No one body can play their best effort for 40 minutes. So he wants us to play as hard as we can all the time and if we are tired take a sub.”

On the overall mood of the team …
“Yesterday, actually we had a tremendous practice; everyone came out with a great intensity because we know how it is after a loss now since we have had a couple. The guys are starting to mature and we know that we have to come out and play in practice with great intensity and be ready to go. We can’t keep going down this road losing and stuff. We just come out and practice and have great intensity and hopefully we can carry that over to the game now.”

On what has happened on the road in the SEC that didn’t happen at Louisville …
“I don’t know. Maybe it was because at Louisville we were more excited because they are our rival and stuff. I don’t know. We just have to focus like that every game and come out with great intensity from the get go. In the Louisville game they scored the first couple of buckets but we didn’t let that affect us. We came back and score like the next 10 points or something. That is what we have to do every game, is get the crowd out of it and come out and play our game and get them out of their game. We have to continue playing like that.”

Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Robbing Antoine Walker


A man accused of robbing former Kentucky star Antoine Walker was sentenced to 13 years in prison today after pleading guilty to home invasion.

Demorris Hill pleaded guilty to one count of home invasion. Two other men, Antoine Larkins and Gregory Reedfield, have already been sentenced. Another man, Phillip Allison, is still awaiting trial.

Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Walker testified that he was in his garage sitting in his Cadillac Escalade with $1,500 in cash and a cell phone when three men accosted him.

“They asked me who was in the house, what was upstairs,” Walker, 34, said.

The men took Walker’s briefcase that had $10,000 to $20,000 inside as well as 15 to 16 custom-made watches, cuff links and a diamond necklace, Walker said.

Then they forced Walker and an assistant into a closet and restrained them with duct tape before telling them to count to a thousand, Walker said.

One man came back and asked for the keys to his Mercedes CL550. He returned yet again because “he didn’t know how to start the car, so he asked me how to start the car,” Walker said.


Complete Article

Hilltoppers Earn Important Win at South Alabama


Western Kentucky 84
South Alabama 75

Final from Mobile, Alabama


MOBILE, Ala. -- Four WKU players had a double-digit scoring night led by Sergio Kerusch with a game-high 20 points, and WKU won for the third consecutive year at South Alabama, 84-75, on Thursday night. The win also marked WKU’s sixth consecutive overall against South Alabama, the most consecutive wins for the Hilltoppers over the Jaguars since 1985-88.

Steffphon Pettigrew added 19 points and eight rebounds, Kahlil McDonald posted a career-high 15 points and four three-point shots, and Juan Pattillo had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kerusch also added nine rebounds, as he, Pattillo and Kerusch combined for 27 boards, only four less than the entire South Alabama team.

“It felt good, and you have to start somewhere,” said head coach Ken McDonald. “Tonight we did some good things. The first half was one of our better halves of the year. In the second half, they made a run but I’m kind of glad because we were able to show what we are made of. Jamal (Crook) did a good job on the offensive end and gave us a spark on the defensive end, and he converted a huge 1-and-1 free throw situation at the end.”

WKU improves to 6-11 overall and 1-4 in Sun Belt Conference play, while South Alabama falls to 7-10 overall, 1-5 in the conference.

“They have players who are going to make plays,” McDonald said. “We talked a lot about minimizing what their three key players do, and we did that, especially in the first half. We also did a good job against their zone. Our post players have to be active, and our guards have to move and get into gaps. Tonight we put it together and everyone did a good job of working together.”

Complete Recap

John Calipari Talks to Media About South Carolina

Kentucky head coach John Calipari discusses Saturday's game at South Carolina:





* Videos from Bluenationblog on YouTube

Seth Davis Thinks Kentucky Will Roll at South Carolina


Seth Davis think Kentucky will regroup following a disappointing loss at Alabama and roll to a big win at South Carolina on Saturday.

Here is his prediction:

6 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 12 Kentucky (14-4, 2-2) at South Carolina (12-5, 3-1)

So much attention was paid to John Calipari's profanity-laced tirade at Terrence Jones late in the Wildcats' loss to Alabama that few seemed to notice that Kentucky nearly won the game after being down by 20 points. You could see this young team's identity getting forged during that comeback as the 'Cats cranked up their D and attacked the rim instead of settling for jump shots. Even though South Carolina has been on a roll of late having won four of its last five games, I think these young Wildcats learned something in their loss in Tuscaloosa, and they'll be eager to prove they're growing up.

Davis' Pick: Kentucky 75 South Carolina 65

Complete Article

My Prediction:

I'm a little cautious after seeing how the young Wildcats have responded at Georgia and Alabama, but I'll take the Cats to win 74-67.

Video: UK Staff Working with Enes Kanter and Eloy Vargas

Here is a video of Kentucky big men Enes Kanter and Eloy Vargas working out in a recent practice session:



* Video from uksportsinfo on YouTube

Calipari: Last Play at Alabama was for Lamb, but Jones "kind of grabbed it"


John Calipari has again made a statement directed at freshman Terrence Jones. The Kentucky head coach said the last play at Alabama was designed to go to Doron Lamb but Terrence Jones "kind of grabbed it".

Of course, Jones fired up a desperation heave from halfcourt and missed badly, sending Alabama to an upset victory.

Here is an excerpt from GoUpstate.com:

Jones may not have helped his case by badly missing a midcourt shot at the buzzer on a play designed for Doron Lamb.

"That was to go to Doron, so the other guy just said, 'I'm doing this myself' and kind of grabbed it,'' Calipari said. "But that was for Doron, and Doron was open.

"I'm learning, who do I go to? We went to the wrong guys.''

Calipari apologized for the verbal assault, saying he "got caught up in the emotion of the game," but added that it's not an excuse.

Complete Article

Jeff Goodman Talks Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com talks about Kentucky's recent road woes, the team's growing process and Calipari's strong language:

Eastern Illinois Upsets Murray State


Eastern Illinois 61
Murray State 60

Final from Murray, Kentucky

The Murray State Racers dropped a 61-60 loss to Eastern Illinois Thursday in Murray, Ky., and suffered a back-to-back home loss for only the fifth time in 13 seasons of basketball in the CFSB Center.

MSU trailed by four with 1:47 remaining when Jeffery McClain made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to two.

After an EIU miss, B.J. Jenkins sank two free throws for a 57-57 tie with 1:26 remaining.

MSU, who scored their final field goal of the game with 10:17 left, took the lead from the line with 24.4 left on two free throws from Isacc Miles.

The Panthers ran the clock down for Jeremy Granger who hit a shot in the lane for a 61-60 lead with 3.9 second left.

Miles tried a long three-pointer in traffic just inside the mid-court line which fell short and the Racers suffered a 61-60 defeat and dropped to 12-6 overall and 5-3 in league play.

MSU had a hard night from the free throw line making 18-32 for 56 percent, but shot 48 percent from the field on 18-37.

The Racers had things going their way in the second half when they had a 51-43 lead with 8:43 remaining.

“You’ve got to give Eastern Illinois credit,” MSU Head Coach Billy Kennedy said. “I thought they did a good job of not beating themselves, executing their offense and stepping up and making free throws when they needed to.”

Complete Recap

Kentucky Wesleyan Rebounds with Win Over Indianapolis


(17) Kentucky Wesleyan 87
Indianapolis 79

Final from Owensboro, Kentucky

Three nights after being thumped by 29 points at rival Southern Indiana, the Panthers of Kentucky Wesleyan College got back on track Thursday evening.

Kwan Waller, Cardell McFarland and Anthony Young all played pivotal roles as No. 17 KWC turned back Indianapolis 87-79 before a sparse but spirited gathering at the Sportscenter.

“In a lot of ways, this was the most important game of the year for us,” said McFarland, who scored a game-high 25 points. “Coming off a disappointing loss, we had to get things turned back in the right direction.

“We came out with a lot of focus and determination. Indianapolis is a tough basketball team, and we knew we would have to play hard and play well to win this game. Fortunately, we got the job done.”

Nothing about it was easy for Wesleyan, which saw a 13-point lead dwindle to five when stellar guard Darius Adams hit a pair of free throws at 2:52 to pull the Greyhounds within 79-74.

The Panthers, however, scored seven of the next eight points over the next 21⁄2 minutes to finally put Indy away.

Complete Recap

Chuck Hayes Set to Battle a Murderer's Row of Big Men


Former Kentucky Wildcat Chuck Hayes, who is again playing the center position in the NBA, is getting ready to face a murderer's row of talented big men.

Hayes, who stands a mere 6'6", is playing the center position again in the aftermath of another Yao Ming injury.

Coming off a battle with New York's Amare Stoudemire, the road doesn't get any easier for the former Wildcat.

The next four games for Houston will see Hayes matched up against Memphis' Zach Randolph, Orlando's Dwight Howard, Minnesota's Kevin Love and the Clippers' Blake Griffin.

Hayes recognizes the challenge:

"You know what? I saw a schedule a few days ago, right after the Hawks game, looked at the big men we have coming up — man, there's a lot on my plate" Hayes said. "It's a team plate, but I know I have my work cut out for me if I get the assignment on those post players."

Things won't get easier. After the four-game test, he faces Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Utah's Al Jefferson.

Source

Ohio Valley Conference Race is Heating Up


The Ohio Valley Conference race is surprisingly heated to this point. I say surprisingly because Murray State and Morehead State were expected to be a step ahead of the competition in 2010-11, but the Eagles and Racers are currently looking up to a pair of unexpected contenders.

Tennessee State and Austin Peay currently lead the league standings with matching 6-2 records. The MSU tandem sits in a 5-3 logjam with Tennessee Tech.

Eastern Kentucky and suddenly hot Eastern Illinois are just behind at 4-4 with Southeast Missouri State currently holding the eight spot at 4-5.

Fresh off a win last night, Tennessee-Martin stands at 2-7 and a struggling Jacksonville State is still searching for a win in conference play.

OVC Standings:

- Tennessee State (9-9, 6-2 OVC): Surprise, Tennessee State has won 8 of its last 11 games, including wins over Morehead State and Austin Peay. Last night's 68-63 comeback win over Jacksonville State vaulted TSU into a first place tie with Peay.

- Austin Peay (12-8, 6-2): Behind the hot shooting of transfer Tyshwan Edmonson, Peay rolled to a 6-0 OVC record. The Governors have now lost two straight, however. With upcoming games against winless Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky, Peay will have a chance to right the ship before heading into a battle at Morehead State.

- Morehead State (12-7, 5-3): The Eagles were my preseason pick to win the OVC and I'll still stick with Coach Donnie Tyndall and reigning league MVP Kenneth Faried. The Eagles went through a tough three-game losing streak in December, but rolled to six consecutive wins. Their last result was a disappointing 47-40 loss at Eastern Illinois. Eastern Kentucky will be walking into the Eagles' nest (literally) when the Colonels visit Morehead on Saturday.

- Murray State (12-6, 5-3): The Racers were the predominant favorites to win the OVC heading into the season, but Billy Kennedy's club has not shown the same ability as last season's team. Murray State has won seven of its last nine games, but already hold losses to Morehead State and Austin Peay. Last night's home loss to Eastern Illinois has to be considered a disappointment.

- Tennessee Tech (9-8, 5-3): The Golden Eagles have rallied behind coach Mike Sutton and find themselves in the thick of the OVC race. Tech lost to Morehead State and Murray State, but pulled off a crucial 71-68 victory over Austin Peay last night. They'll have another test Saturday when they travel to State.

- Eastern Kentucky (10-9, 4-4): It feels like the Colonels have been disappointing this season, but they have reeled off five wins in their last six games. If they want to seriously compete for an OVC crown, they'll have a chance to earn it in the next three games. EKU heads to Morehead State Saturday, then faces Austin Peay, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech in consecutive games.

- Eastern Illinois (8-10, 4-4): The Panthers are a team that I can't explain. They have been without star Tyler Laser for eight games, but still find themselves at 4-4 in league play. The strange thing is that EIU lost to SEMO and EKU but somehow managed to upset both Morehead State and Murray State.

- SEMO (5-14, 4-5): The Redhawks opened the season 0-10, but managed to win five of their next six games. Unfortunately, they are now mired in a three-game losing streak, including a disappointing loss at the hands of Tennessee-Martin last night.

- Tennessee Martin (6-14, 2-7): UT-Martin has ended a seven-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Jacksonville State and SEMO. The Skyhawks have work to do if they hope to make it to Nashville for the OVC Tournament.

- Jacksonville State (2-17, 0-8): There isn't much to say about the Gamecocks. They have been competitive in their last two games, but they have no wins in the league and are currently riding a 13-game losing skid.

UK Still Best in SEC but Toughness is a Major Concern


Jason King of Yahoo! Sports still believes the Kentucky Wildcats (14-4, 2-2 SEC) are the best team in the Southeastern Conference, but he has concerns about the team's mental toughness.

Here is an excerpt:

Mental toughness, that is. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe had it. This crop of youngsters doesn’t. Or at least it hasn’t shown it yet.

“That will to win we had a year ago, we don’t have [it] now,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “All that is is toughness. A year ago we didn’t win every game, but when it came down to it, we made the plays we were supposed to make and came up with the balls we were supposed to come up with.

“We’re not doing that now.”

That was especially the case in Tuesday’s 68-66 loss at Alabama, where a boisterous, raucous crowd clearly rattled the nerves of Kentucky’s young players. The No. 12 Wildcats trailed by as many as 20 points five minutes into the second half before an impressive rally cut the Crimson Tide’s advantage to one in the waning minutes.

Complete Article

King's SEC Rankings for the week:

(Last week’s rank in parenthesis.)

1. Kentucky (14-4, 2-2) – Despite their recent struggles, the Wildcats are still the SEC’s top team. (1)

2. Florida (14-4, 3-1) – Chandler Parsons is averaging 15 points over his last four games. His season average is 10.2 (2)

3. Tennessee (12-6, 2-2) – The Vols’ lack of consistency is maddening. (5)

4. Vanderbilt (13-4, 2-2) – Festus Ezeli averages 2.4 blocks. (3)

5. Georgia (13-4, 2-2) – The Bulldogs have lost two of their last three games. (4)

6. Alabama (11-7, 3-1) – JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell combined for 33 points in Wednesday’s upset of Kentucky. (7)

7. South Carolina (12-5, 3-1) – Two of the Gamecocks’ three SEC wins came in overtime. (9)

8. Mississippi State (10-7, 2-1) – Dee Bost, Renardo Sidney and Ravern Johnson form quite a trio. (6)

9. Arkansas (12-5, 2-2) – The Razorbacks’ two conference losses have come by a combined 10 points. (11)

10. LSU (10-8, 2-1) – The Tigers have had a week to recover from a 38-point loss at Kentucky. (10)

11. Ole Miss (12-7, 0-4) – The Rebels can’t afford a loss at LSU on Saturday. (8)

12. Auburn (7-11, 0-4) – The Tigers are improving – even if it isn’t showing up in the win column. (12)

Even Dennis Rodman Notices Morehead State's Faried


Morehead State senior Kenneth Faried has been such a prolific rebounder during his MSU career that even former NBA great Dennis Rodman has noticed.

Faried, who leads the nation in rebounding at 13.3 boards per game, spoke with Rodman on the phone last summer:

"When he got on the phone, he said, 'You’re the kid that everybody keeps comparing to me?' " Faried said.

"I said, 'Yes, sir.' He just told me that he'd heard I was a pretty good rebounder and to keep doing what I was doing. He said you have to believe that every rebound that comes down is yours.

"It was pretty amazing. I can't put it into words what it means to be compared to a guy who played in the NBA at that level. So when I go out there, I try to believe that every rebound is mine."

FoxSports.com notes that there are several similarities between Rodman and Faried:

Here is where the Rodman comparisons fit. Both guys are undersized – Rodman 6-7, Faried 6-8. Both were born in New Jersey – Rodman in Trenton, Faried in Newark. Both developed outside the college basketball mainstream. Both go directly to the glass with an amazing ability to get up and down twice before mortals return to the ground the first time.

But know this: Faried has Rodman’s relentless motor without the train-wreck personality, millions of tattoos or Technicolor hairdos.

"Kenneth is 12 hours from becoming the first person in his family to earn a degree," Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall said. "He's not a drinker, and he's not a smoker.

No. 9 Georgetown College Bashes Rio Grande


(9) Georgetown 91
Rio Grande 70

Final from Rio Grande, Ohio

Rio Grande --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm men's basketball team gave a very solid effort on Thursday evening against NAIA No. 9 Georgetown College at the Newt Oliver Arena. Unfortunately, they were not rewarded for their efforts, losing by a 91-70 score at the Newt Oliver Arena.

Rio Grande (5-14, 0-8 MSC) bounced back from an early 9-3 deficit to tie the game at 9-9. After a timeout by Georgetown, the Tigers went on a 9-2 run to push the lead to 18-11 and Rio Grande would not be able to get any closer.

Georgetown (18-2, 7-1 MSC), the preseason pick to win the MSC, pushed the lead to 19 points at halftime (44-25).

In the second half, Rio Grande displayed the never-say-die attitude, but could never really make a dent in the deficit.

Senior guard Doug Campbell (Salisbury, NC) had a big second half as he scored all 16 of his points after intermission to pace the RedStorm offense. Senior center Robbie Jackson (Aberdeen, MD), who is coming on for the RedStorm, added 15 points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked three shots. Junior guard Brad Cubbie (Dayton, OH) chipped in 10 points.

Georgetown was lead by Tyrone Shelley with 25 points. Vic Moses added 23 points off the bench and Maurice Pearson tossed in 11 points. Eddie Gray was on the verge of a different type of double-double with nine points and eight assists.

Complete Recap

Happy Osborne on Tiger Talk Weekly

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Former Kentucky Walk-On Dusty Mills Gets Into Coaching


Remember Dusty Mills?

He is the young man who walked on at Kentucky and was dismissed from the team by then head coach Billy Gillispie.

Mills transferred to Ball State University and managed to walk-on there, as well.

After a season, Mills decided to give up on playing basketball and try his luck in the coaching profession.

The former Kentucky walk-on is now an assistant to head coach Ron Hecklinski at Anderson (Ind.) High School.

Hot-Shooting Bellarmine Takes Care of Northern Kentucky


(2) Bellarmine 85
Northern Kentucky 74

Final from Louisville, Kentucky


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jeremy Kendle scored 22 points Thursday night as No. 2 Bellarmine posted an 85-74 win against Northern Kentucky University in Knights Hall.

Nick Holmes added 13 points and seven rebounds for Bellarmine, which is 17-1 overall, 10-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Bellarmine shot 51.7 percent from the field and snapped NKU’s five-game winning streak.

Josh Tabb led NKU (13-4 overall, 6-3 GLVC) with 14 points, while teammates Bobby Shannon and Malcolm Eleby each scored 13 points. Eleby also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and dished out five assists.

Bellarmine jumped out to a 14-point lead (38-24) in the first half, but NKU used an 18-5 run to pull within 43-42 at the break. Chris Knight hit a jumper midway through the second half to bring NKU within a point at 59-58, but Bellarmine responded with a 14-5 run to extend its lead to 73-63 with 6:37 remaining.

NKU cut the Bellarmine lead to 76-70 with 3:08 left when Eleby made one of two free throws, but the Knights scored nine of the next 11 points to seal the win. Justin Benedetti added 12 points for Bellarmine, while Chris Dowe scored 11 off the bench.

Complete Recap

Cumberlands Upsets No. 10 St. Catharine


Cumberlands 68
(10) St. Catharine 59

Final fom Williamsburg, Kentucky

In the battle of Patriots, University of the Cumberlands held off No. 10 St. Catharine 68-59 tonight in Williamsburg.

Cumberlands jumped out to a 33-20 halftime lead and then held off the St. Catharine charge to earn the victory.

Matt Daniel led the way for Cumberlands with 17 points. Tanner Jacobs added 16 and Jared Cunningham put in 15.

St. Catharine was led by 22 points and 10 rebounds from Ervin Williams. Josh Edwards scored 13 and pulled down 9 rebounds.

Cumberlands was hot all night, shooting 28-54 (51.9%) from the field, despite going only 1-12 (8.3%) from long range.

St. Catharine was 22-56 (39.3%) from the field and could not overcome 24 turnovers.

John Wall is Still Struggling with Injuries


Mike Prada of BulletsForever.com had an opportunity to speak to former Kentucky point guard John Wall recently.

Prada feels that Wall is likely struggling with injuries a little more than he's letting on.

Here is an excerpt:

I had a chance to catch up with John Wall one-on-one for a bit after the scrum exited following the 98-95 win over the Toronto Raptors. We chatted about a couple of things, but the main takeaway is that Wall is still struggling with injuries. I wrote a long feature about that issue for SB Nation D.C., and this was the money quote to me.

"It's just kind of tough for me because of the injuries. "That's the only thing really I think that's stopped me from being who I want to be and controlling myself."

The same old injuries (foot, knee) are still there, and now, Wall also has a jammed thumb that's affected his jump shot. I believe he suffered the injury in the Philadelphia game, and while it's nothing serious, he did have some sort of bandage on his hand.


Lindsey Wilson vs. Campbellsville Has Been Postponed


COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Due to inclement weather statewide in Kentucky -- including icy conditions in and around Columbia -- tonight's Mid-South Conference basketball games between Lindsey Wilson College and Campbellsville (Ky.) University have been postponed.

Both the women's and men's games have been postponed and no make-up date has been announced.

For updates on the status of the make-up games, check back at http://www.lindseyathletics.com/ for the most up to date announcements.

UK Recruit Perry Ellis may be the Best Ever from Kansas


Jeff Fedotin of Rivals High says Kentucky recruit Perry Ellis may be the best basketball player ever to come out of Kansas.

Ellis is a 6-8, 222-pound junior at Wichita Heights (Kan.) High School.

Here is an excerpt:

At 6-8, 222 pounds, Ellis has size, strength, speed and quickness and seemingly can do everything on the court. He owns the paint but can also run the break. The versatile big man averaged 19.2 points and 11.7 rebounds as a freshman and 22.2 and 10.4 as a sophomore.

Then there's this: For all the amazing college players the state has produced, almost all are imports. Since the inception of the McDonald's All-American roster in 1977, only seven have come from Kansas.

Convinced yet? His coach, Joe Auer, certainly is.

"He definitely is going to be one of the greatest in Kansas," Auer said. "He's certainly in unchartered waters. There has not been a high school basketball player that has been this productive in his first two years at the 6A level."

Opposing coach Jay Osborne, a Kansas native whose Nixa (Mo.) High team lost to Heights, 86-69, at the recent Hy-Vee Shootout in Kansas City, Mo., is too.

"He's a man among boys," Osborne said. "He's the real deal."

Complete Article

Ellis is ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect for the Class of 2012 - and the No. 6 power forward.
He has trimmed his college list to Kansas, Kentucky, Kansas State, Memphis, Wichita State and Oklahoma.

Some will go a step further and say that it will end up being Kansas or Kentucky.

Photo: Rivals.com

Kentucky Recruit Marquis Teague Scores 26 in Win

Future Kentucky Wildcat Marquis Teague led the way by scoring half his team's points in Pike (Ind.) High School's 52-49 win over Carmel.

Teague's 26 points were highlighted by the game-tying and game-winning shots.

Here is footage from the game (via Fox59.com):

 

ESPNU Picks Up Murray State vs. Tennessee State


The Murray State Racers have been selected to get an additional game on ESPNU when they travel to play Tennessee State in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 3.

When the OVC announced its ESPN basketball schedule on Oct. 7, there were two dates designated as "wild card" dates where the game to be aired was not selected until 21 days before the contest, making sure an attractive matchup was televised, instead of having to determine the full schedule a month before the season began.

At the moment, the Racers and Tigers are tied for second in the OVC with 5-2 records, one game behind leader Austin Peay.

The game at the Gentry Center will tip at 8 p.m.

The Racers won the first meeting between the two by a 64-53 score on Jan. 6

Murray State and Tennessee State have had several memorable games in recent years including having squared off against each other in the OVC Tournament in each of the past three seasons.

The other wild card matchup previously selected was Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech in a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU tonight (Jan. 20).

* Article by Murray State University

John Calipari Knew He Had an Issue When His Wife Called After Alabama Game


Kentucky head coach John Calipari spoke on Lexy.com yesterday and again apologized for the profanity-laced comments he shouted at Terrence Jones during the Alabama game.

Calipari said he knew he had an issue when his wife called right after the game:

"I knew I had an issue when my wife called me right after the game and said, 'They could read your lips ... You got a 14-year-old son. Are you crazy?'

"And I said, 'Well, I did step over the line,' and I apologized. I apologize to anybody who's been offended. Anybody that walks in my practices and is around knows that's not how I coach."

Coach Cal on Lexy:



In related news, Jerry Tipton (in true Jerry Tipton fashion) called Jones' aunt to force her into an opinion on the situation:

"I don't have any worries about it," said Ava Mashia, Jones' aunt. "Terrence can take it."

Her nephew came to Kentucky to be pushed, she said. Calipari cursing is part of getting pushed.

"(Jones) sees him as a person who's trying to help him," Mashia said. "That's (Calipari's) method. That's the way he talks to everybody on the team."

Complete Article

Bozich: SI has Joined the Bash DeMarcus Cousins Bandwagon


Rick Bozich of the Courier-Journal writes today that Sports Illustrated has joined the Bash DeMarcus Cousins Bandwagon. In the latest SI, the magazines asks if the former Kentucky Wildcat should be considered "a big bust."

Here is an excerpt from Bozich's article:

SI quotes an unnamed scout from a Western Conference team saying, "I don’t think he has the will to play -But he’s lazy. He takes way too many plays off. He needs structure and that staff isn’t giving it to him. He’s got so much potential, but I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole. Somebody out there is going to pay him someday and once he gets his money, he’s done. He will turn into Derrick Coleman."

Complete Article

My thoughts: I think Sports Illustrated is way off base. As a rookie, Cousins is averaging 12.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Not to mention, he has turned it on lately and continues to improve. I personally think Cousins has a terrific NBA future.

Dig Into John Calipari's Mailbag for the Week


Coach Cal’s Mailbag: Week of January 17

LIVE Chat with Cal Takes Place Monday, January 31 at noon ET

FOX Sports South, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari, presents “Coach Cal’s Mailbag,” an interactive webpage found exclusively on FOXSportsSouth.com.

“Coach Cal’s Mailbag” features Calipari in video responses to reader-submitted questions every week throughout the 2010-11 college basketball season. Readers can submit questions by visiting FOXSportsSouth.com.

In addition to the latest Wildcats basketball news and videos, “Coach Cal’s Mailbag” will also feature live chats with Calipari, the next of which will take place Monday, January 31, at noon ET on FOXSportsSouth.com.

This week in Coach Cal’s Mailbag:

You’ve publicly stated that the team’s effort has been lacking and they need to break bad habits. How are your players responding to the challenge? Do they “get it” yet? – Deb, Lexington, KY

Coach Cal – “I don’t say they lack effort. I say there’s a difference in being content with what you’re doing and being totally committed – to each other, to the team, to execution, to winning. We’re not there yet… but you know what? I’ve got a great team… Our practices have [gotten] better, our last few games have been better. Now we’ve got to take it on the road and see how committed we really are.”

Were you always this smooth with the media? Be honest. Do you ever get nervous in front of the camera? – Trish, Pittsburgh, PA

Coach Cal – “You say that I’m good with the media or smooth with the media, but you have to understand, whether they admit it or not, there are agendas. There are agendas to damage certain guys and to build up other guys… I try to stay above that fray. But I will tell you, I’m comfortable because I speak from the heart.”

Ten seconds left on the clock and your team is down by one. You can only choose one player you’ve ever coached. Who do you want taking that last shot? – Chris, San Jose, CA

Coach Cal – “I had Derrick Rose – I wouldn’t mind him shooting that ball. I had Tyreke Evans. I had Antonio Anderson against Tulsa with two seconds to go. And Mike Williams when I was at UMass. Edgar Padilla… But of all of them [I’d choose] ‘Sam-I-Am’: Sam Cassell.”

Who was the biggest trash talker in the NBA when you were coaching? What was his best line? – Jason, Miami, FL

Coach Cal – “Well, [there was] a lot of back and forth and talking, but the guy that would intimidate the most was Michael Jordan… He was the kind of guy that would take your players out the night before and befriend them and then take their heart out the next day… Michael was the guy that moved people.”

Have you been in contact with any of the players from last year’s team that are now in the NBA? How are they adjusting to professional basketball? – Will, Lebanon, KY

Coach Cal – “Every player that I coach that goes into the NBA I stay in touch with. But in most cases they say the same thing: ‘Coach Cal, I wish I was back. I wish I was still [at Kentucky].’ It’s a family here; it’s a business in the NBA. [These players] like the drapings of the NBA, but I think they like the environment of what we have and the family we’ve created.”

If you could coach any sport outside of basketball, what would it be and why? – Greg, Salyersville, KY

Coach Cal – “I would say golf… Maybe track. The sport I could never coach, would never coach: football. Not because it’s rough. But how do you remember 70 names?”

Barnhart, Cousins Have Big Blue Reunion in Sacramento

University of Kentucky Athletics Directory Mitch Barnhart met up with former Wildcat big man DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento last night:


* Photo from Cousins' assistant Andrew Rogers on Twitter

Video: Get to Know Future Wildcat Anthony Davis

Here is a video of future Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis in action at the recent Flyin' To The Hoop Invitational:



With Kentucky head coach John Calipari in attendance, Davis exploded for 32 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

Event Site

Transylvania Rolls to Big Win Over Earlham


Transylvania 90
Earlham 54

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Transylvania handled Earlham Wednesday 90-54 in men's Heartland Conference basketball play at the Beck Center to earn coach Brian Lane's 161st win.

Transy is 11-5 overall, 5-4 HCAC, while the Quakers are 2-14, 0-9 in conference play.

With tonight's win, Pioneer Lane passed Lee Rose for No. 3 on Transy's all-time list with 161 wins. Lane is 161-95 in 10 seasons, trailing only Don Lane (509) and C.M. Newton (176) on the coaching list. Rose went on to guide North Carolina Charlotte and Purdue to NCAA Final Four appearances after leaving Transy in 1975.

The Pioneers had 14 players with their names in the scoring column. They were led by Ashley Hatfield who scored 14 points. Right behind Hatfield was Brandon Rash shooting five-for-eight for 13 points. Ethan Spurlin led the Pioneers in rebounds with eight, while Barrett Meyer led in the assists column with five.

Complete Article

Buzzer-Beater Gives Thomas More Win Over Saint Vincent


Thomas More 67
Saint Vincent 65

Final from Latrobe, Pennsylvania

(LATROBE, Pa.) - Senior shooting guard Aaron Miller (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) hit the game-winning jumper at the buzzer in the Thomas More College men's basketball team's 67-65 win over Saint Vincent College tonight (Wednesday, January 19, 2011) in a Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) game at the Carey Center in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

With the win, the Saints improve to 9-8 overall and 5-2 in the PAC. With the loss, the Bearcats fall to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in the PAC.

Saint Vincent raced out to an early 9-3 lead with 16:13 to play in the first half when Tavoun Pettiford made two-free-throws. Thomas More answered with an 11-3 run capped by a jumper by Miller with 13:38 to play in the opening half to tie the game at 12-12. The Bearcats responded with a 9-2 run to take a 21-14 lead with 8:48 to play in the opening half when Dennis Bassich made a three-pointer. The Saints came right back with a 9-3 run to cut the lead to 24-23 with 5:06 to play before halftime when senior shooting guard Brian Muse (Bethel, Ohio/Bethel) made a lay-up. Saint Vincent closed out the half on a 9-8 run to take a 33-31 lead at halftime.

Complete Recap

Kentucky is Recruiting God's Gift for 2011


Kentucky has joined the growing list of high-major schools that are interested in recruiting God's Gift...literally.

That's 2011 JUCO recruit God's Gift Achiuwa, a 6-8 power forward from Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York.

Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua has been in contact with Achiuwa.

Here is an excerpt from ZagsBlog.com:

In his last three games, God’s Gift has put up 25 points and 19 rebounds, 25 and 10 and 32 and 15, respectively. His team has won 10 straight games and is ranked No. 3 nationally among Division II junior colleges.
Achiuwa on Wednesday was named the Region III male co-Athlete of the Week by the league office.

“So many schools are calling,” ECC coach Alex Nwora said. “He’s still looking at St. John’s, Cincinnati. Kentucky is calling.”

Nwora said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and assistant Darren Savino and Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua were involved.

Complete Article

My Thoughts: My first thought, obviously, is that God's Gift is the greatest name in the history of college basketball. My second thought is that Eloy Vargas will likely transfer or be relegated to the end of the bench in 2011-12. Kentucky is recruiting the JUCO ranks to find a big man who can come in and contribute immediately, which doesn't bode well for Vargas.

Murray State to Play in 2011 Great Alaska Shootout


Murray State head coach Billy Kennedy has confirmed that the Racers will play in the 2011 Great Alaska Shootout.

Here is an excerpt from WPSDLocal6.com:

Murray State coach Billy Kennedy confirmed to us Wednesday the Racers will play in the 2011 Great Alaska Shootout.

This tournament is historically played right around Thanksgiving.

Not long ago, this was one of the most prestigious early season tournaments in college basketball. But with the recent influx of tournaments in Cancun, Puerto Rico and Anaheim, the tournament doesn't quite the top-tier teams it used to. With that said, this will still be great exposure for the Racers.

Late Milligan Rally Sinks Union College


Milligan College 90
Union College 86

Final from Barbourville, Kentucky

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. -- Milligan's Hudson Fricke scored 20 points and knocked down an eventual game-winning three in the final seconds to cap off a late comeback to beat Union, 90-86 on Wednesday night in Appalachian Athletic Conference action.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fell to 9-10 on the year and 3-2 in the AAC. Milligan improved 8-9 overall with the win, 4-1 in the AAC.

In the first half, Union came out of the gates on a torrid shooting pace, opening up a 13-2 lead in the first four minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs never looked back the rest of the period, as the closest Milligan got to the Union lead was six points (14-8). The Bulldogs rode the momentum into the locker room at halftime holding a comfortable 51-33 lead. In the half, Union sot 63 percent from the floor, while Milligan shot just 44 percent.

Complete Recap

NCAA Tightens Security, Partly Because of UK Fans


The NCAA has enhanced security due to recent vitriol over NCAA enforcement decisions. NCAA president Mark Emmert has even been forced to block outside posts from his Facebook page.

There are several reasons why the NCAA has increased security, with one being University of Kentucky being outspoken in the aftermath of the Enes Kanter decision.

Here is an excerpt from USAToday.com:

The detail wasn't new, says Bob Williams, the NCAA's vice president of communications. But the necessity was underscored by loud, often angry and occasionally alarming reactions to a series of recent rulings — stiff sanctions against Southern California's football program, clearance for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to finish the season despite his father's involvement in a pay-for-play scheme, a suspension of five Ohio State football players delayed to next season to allow them on the field for the Sugar Bowl, a declaration that Kentucky basketball recruit Enes Kanter is permanently ineligible.

Via phone and e-mail, blogs and social networks, Kentucky followers have been particularly outspoken, flooding Emmert's Facebook page with so much vitriol that the NCAA was compelled to block posts by outsiders. Without specifying the source or subject, Williams says he got an e-mail a couple of weeks ago warning, "You'd better check your car."


No. 19 Louisville Hammers St. John's


(19) Louisville 88
St. John's 63

Final from Louisville, Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Preston Knowles scored 25 points, Kyle Kuric added 20 and No. 19 Louisville continued its torrid shooting in an easy 88-63 victory over St. John's on Wednesday night.
Peyton Siva bounced back after being benched in a win over Marquette last Saturday to score 10 points and hand out a career-high 10 assists as the Cardinals (15-3, 4-1 Big East) dealt the Red Storm (11-6, 4-3) their worst loss of the season.

The Cardinals shot 53 percent (33 of 62) from the field and made 12 3-pointers despite playing without center Terrence Jennings, who missed the game with a hip injury.

Paris Horne led St. John's with 13 points, but the Red Storm turned it over a season-high 25 times and couldn't keep up when Louisville pushed the pace.

Four days after a stunning rally from an 18-point deficit in the final 5:44 against the Golden Eagles, Louisville made sure no such heroics were necessary against the Red Storm.

The Cardinals broke it open with a 19-2 run midway through the first half. Louisville's small lineup and full-court pressure flummoxed the Red Storm, who struggled dealing with the sea of hands in the passing lanes.

Louisville held St. John's without a basket for more than 7 minutes during the burst, often the Red Storm couldn't even get a shot off before throwing it away. One St. John's pass sailed over Louisville coach Rick Pitino's head and into the third row of seats while another rolled innocently past two Red Storm players and out of bounds.

The Cardinals had no such issues. If centers Gorgui Dieng or George Goode weren't stepping out and making jumpers from the corners, then Kuric was knocking down 3-pointers or Stephan Van Treese was getting free for a layup.

Louisville made 15 of its first 19 shots as the lead ballooned to 40-19. The Red Storm briefly collected themselves after Knowles went to the bench with two fouls, closing within 44-31 at halftime.

Complete Recap

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Former Kentucky Wildcat Patrick Patterson is Adjusting to NBA Life


Former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson is still adjusting to the NBA rookie roller coaster.

Jason Friedman of Rockets.com writes about Patterson's ups and downs as a rookie with the Houston Rockets.

Here is an excerpt:

Patterson wasted little time, dropping 15 points and 10 rebounds on the Toronto Raptors during a New Year’s Eve victory. Two nights later he produced another double-digit game on the glass against Portland. And though he certainly experienced his fair share of rookie moments along the way, Patterson displayed a knack for making a positive impact every chance he got. He proved especially potent offensively on the wings, where his midrange jumper bordered on automatic. Such was the case in Atlanta this past Saturday, when Patterson drained three such shots in the span of his first four minutes on the floor.

And that’s when the rookie roller coaster took one of those dips you never see coming.

Hours before the game began, Patterson came down with a bad cough. No big deal he thought. Surely no little cold or flu bug was going to prevent this rock solid, 6-9, 235 pound man from playing. He thought so little of this ailment, in fact, that he didn’t even bother telling anyone how he was feeling. Only the more he ran up and down the court, the harder it became to breathe. During a timeout, Patterson sat down on the bench clutching his chest. That’s when Rockets’ Head Athletic Trainer Keith Jones came over to ask him what was wrong. Minutes later, Patterson was headed to the locker room to get checked out. Come halftime, he was headed to the hospital in an ambulance.

Just like that, in the span of no more than 30 minutes, Patterson went from torching the Hawks to touching off a scare that had the team spooked enough to believe an emergency hospital visit was in order. Even by the typical NBA rookie standards, that’s one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Complete Article

Prayer Request for Ryan and Josh Whitaker at Pikeville College


I wanted to pass along some sad news tonight as Pikeville College's Ryan and Josh Whitaker lost their mother unexpectedly tonight.

I'd like to ask all readers to extend a prayer to that family.

Former Wildcat A.J. Stewart Leaves Texas State


Former Kentucky forward A.J. Stewart has left the Texas State program after playing nine games.

Stewart played two seasons at Kentucky but left when John Calipari replaced Billy Gillispie as head coach of the Wildcats.

In 9 games, he averaged 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

There is no indication as to why he left but head coach Doug Davalos said, “We just got rid of some negative energy..."

Stewart is now at NAIA Rogers State, according to Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com.

Here is an excerpt from Yahoo! Sports:

There were two very significant changes to the team that head coach Doug Davalos thinks have had a lot to do with his team’s mental turnaround—a turnaround that has the Bobcats thinking once again they are capable of making some noise in the SLC West this year.

First, Kentucky transfer forward A.J. Stewart left the team.

Then, New Mexico transfer Matt Staff, a 6-10 forward, joined the team after sitting out a season per NCAA transfer rules.

“We just got rid of some negative energy and for Matt to come back and sub in when we played Ole Miss (a Dec. 22 loss), he was so happy to be playing, it rubbed off on everybody else,” Davalos said in the San Marcos Daily Record. “We needed that and from that point on, we’ve been a pretty good team.”

Complete Article

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