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- Stoops: UK-Louisville future games “up to our administration” but “not interested” in 9 SEC games
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands obstacles, challenges at UK but “we’re going to play to win”
- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
By LARRY VAUGHT
For the first time this season, and maybe in his basketball career, John Wall is a little confused, disappointed and searching for answers.
The talented University of Kentucky freshman point guard, who will be the top pick in the June NBA Draft, has 20 turnovers in the last four games and has gone 18-for-46 from the field. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still averaged 15.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game Ã¢â‚¬â€ good numbers for almost any player Ã¢â‚¬â€ during his so-called slump.
However, Wall has faced more physical play from Southeastern Conference opponents as well as collapsing defenses designed to keep him from getting inside the lane to score. In SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 85-72 win over Vanderbilt, he had seven turnovers and was 4-for-12 from the field. Even more startling, Kentucky did not have a fast-break point despite WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blazing speed and ability to break down defenders in the open court.
So it was no huge surprise after the game when he admitted he was a bit frustrated, especially after coach John Calipari had criticized his play in UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loss at South Carolina a few days earlier.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didn’t think I played that bad. I don’t know what to expect. He’s probably going to say I played bad today, too.Ã‚Â I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said.
Say what? Try not to listen to the coach.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think every player probably tries to do that at times,Ã¢â‚¬Â former UK All-American guard Kyle Macy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We all want to do it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just that you usually donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t admit it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just how you react to criticism.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Wall has a vivacious smile and infectious personality that often is visible on the court. Yet he said after SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s win that he was not having as much fun as he had been having.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To be honest, I really haven’t been having fun for the last two weeks. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just being frustrated and things like that so, I just got to figure it out before we go further in league play,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said.
He said there was not any one thing he was frustrated over, but rather a combination of things.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Frustrated with everything,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
However, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t try reading too much into any of this. Wall is a superstar who knows he has not been playing his best. That frustrates the great ones.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Sporting News. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talked to President Barack Obama. He was playing in front of NBA superstar LeBron James Saturday. He had played in front of more than 80 family members and friends when UK lost at South Carolina.
Yet Wall seemed like the team player heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been all season when he evaluated how UK played to beat Vanderbilt.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We did the key things we should do as far as turnovers and getting rebounds. We got up on them and didn’t let them come back. We knew they wouldn’t go away easy and they were going to come back and fight hard, but we came up with a tough win,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said.
Nothing wrong with that.
But it was a physical game and Wall often was bumped, hit and knocked down even if he did just shoot four free throws. He was a bit miffed at the way, though, fouls were called on the Cats.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every time you drive, you try not to touch them because you know they are probably going to call the foul. I think they called a lot of fouls in the first half, and no one really got into a rhythm,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Again, a fair evaluation.
Then Wall dropped the comment about not having fun and stories started spreading that he was unhappy.
Last Monday he seemed just the opposite Ã¢â‚¬â€ and said so.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love college basketball. This is the probably the most fun you are going to have playing basketball. High school is fun, but college is where it is at.Ã‚Â You could be here forever,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Obviously, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not going to be at UK next year with the money waiting for him, but it still showed he is having fun this year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am not worried about it. I am just enjoying the college life. I am glad I am here. You never know if I can come back. I just love the college basketball life,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Believe him because I had watched the pure joy he had when the Cats were trouncing Arkansas. Coach John Calipari had Wall on the bench and the freshmen was UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest cheerleader. When Perry Stevenson scored, he ran 30 feet on the floor at a timeout to chest bump him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a team thing. This is a family. Coach CalÃ‚Â when we first watched Ã¢â‚¬ËœRemember the TitansÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ brought everybody together one through 13. He had to do that. Some of us were new, some of us were returning. We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know each other. He brought all the chemistry together. When you put (Mark) Krebs and (Jon) Hood and people like that in the game, we want to see those guys make a basket. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fun,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Again, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fÃ¢â‚¬Â word Ã¢â‚¬â€ and not the on that apparently got DeMarcus Cousins a technical foul against Vanderbilt Ã¢â‚¬â€ Wall was using in a positive way.
This is the first time Wall has said anything even slightly controversial since he signed with Kentucky and considering the scrutiny heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s under, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remarkable.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard for me to fault a player as talented as Wall for being a bit upset immediately after a game where he had seven turnovers and did not play his best. Competitors tend to be harder on themselves than anyone else Ã¢â‚¬â€ and Wall is a terrific competitor.
And remember, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a freshman. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have Patrick PattersonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s off-court experience on how to say the right things at all times no matter what.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes I make turnovers I should not make. DeMarcus makes some plays he should not make. We may do things we shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do, but he (Calipari) understands that we are still learning,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said last week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is our first season as college players. Like he said, when it gets to crunch time or when we need to make plays or stop, we act like veterans. But we are still freshmen. We are going to keep being freshmen until the end of the season.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That means more learning experiences, more frustrating times and more tough games. What it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean, though, is that Wall is anything but a team player and focused on anything other than playing his best to help UK chase that elusive national championship.
Editor’s note: What a huge win for the Kentucky women and coach Matthew Mitchell. Combined with Thursday’s win at LSU, this should end any doubt about UK being a factor in the SEC race this year and legitimate NCAA Tournament team.
UK Hoops at Mississippi State
January 31, 2010
FINAL SCORE: No. 23 Kentucky 69, Mississippi State 59
Ã‚Â· Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky improves to 18-3, 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State falls to 14-8 overall, 5-4 in the SEC.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky evens the series with Mississippi State 17-17. The Lady Bulldogs hold an 8-7 advantage in Starkville, but Kentucky has claimed the last three meetings away from Lexington.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky?s 18 wins on the season are the most since the 2006-07 squad posted a 20-14 overall record.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky?s current five-game SEC win streak is the longest in program history, passing the four-game win streak set during the 2005-06 season.
Ã‚Â· The Wildcats record back-to-back SEC road wins for the first time since 2005-06.
Ã‚Â· UK?s six SEC victories surpass last year?s total of five and are the most since the 2007-08 team was 8-6 in league play.
Ã‚Â· UK head coach Matthew Mitchell improves his career record to 81-64, including a 51-35 mark at UK. Mitchell is 2-2 against his alma mater, Mississippi State.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky is 593-450 all-time in 36 years of varsity women’s basketball and owns a 115-205 all-time mark in SEC play.
Ã‚Â· The Wildcats are 3-3 this season in games decided by 10 points or less and own a 25-22 record in close games under head coach Matthew Mitchell.
Ã‚Â· Up next: Kentucky returns home to play host to Ole Miss, Thursday, Feb 4 at Memorial Coliseum. Game time is set for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on the Big Blue Sports Network and Fox Sports South.
Key run: Kentucky limited Mississippi State to two field goals while outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 17-8 during the final 8:02 of the contest. The Wildcats led 52-51 at 8:02 then scored 16 of the next 18 points in the game to lead 68-53 when Amber Smith made 1-of-2 free throw attempts with 36 seconds remaining. Smith hit five free throws during the stretch while A?dia Mathies added two free throws and a three-pointer.
Ã‚Â· UK won the rebounding battle 46-38 and improves to 11-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC when it outrebounds the opponent.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky has held four of its eight SEC opponents under 60 points.
Ã‚Â· UK went 5-of-14 from behind the arc and has now made a three-pointer in 208 consecutive games, dating back to the 2003-04 season.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky forced 13 Mississippi State turnovers and has now forced all 20 opponents this season into double-digit turnovers.
Ã‚Â· The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to 33.8 percent (24-of-71) from the field and 28.6 percent (6-for-21) from behind the arc. UK has held 16 opponents to under 40-percent shooting from the field this season.
Ã‚Â· UK?s bench outscored Mississippi State reserves 15-2.
Ã‚Â· Kentucky started with the lineup of Carly Morrow, Victoria Dunlap, Amber Smith, Amani Franklin and A?dia Mathies. UK has started with this lineup in 20 of 21 games, posting a 17-3 record.
Ã‚Â· Junior forward Victoria Dunlap led UK with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds to go with two blocks and one steal.
o Becomes the 27th member of Kentucky?s 1,000-point club with 1,003 points
o Moves into 10th place on UK?s career rebounding list with 694.
o Moves into a tie for fourth place with former UK player Kim Denkins for career double-doubles with 19.
o Has scored in double figures in 19 of 20 games played this season.
o Has scored 20 or more points 14 times in her career and nine games this season.
o Moves into a three-way tie with Valerie Still and Lisa Ellis for 10th place on the UK single-season blocks list with 39.
o Has recorded at least one steal in 28 consecutive games and needs two more to move into UK’s career top 10.
Ã‚Â· Junior guard Carly Morrow moved into sole possession of sixth-place on UK?s career three-pointers attempted list at 326, making 3-of-7 attempts against the Bulldogs.
o Her three three-pointers are her most in an SEC game this season.
o Has made at least one three-pointer in 16 games this season and leads UK with 32 treys on the season.
Ã‚Â· Freshman guard A?dia Mathies finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists in 30 minutes.
o Has scored on double-figures in 14 of UK?s 21 games.
o Has pulled down at least four rebounds in 15 games this season.
Ã‚Â· Junior Amber Smith scored nine points and handed out a team-high five assists. It marked her second-most assists in an SEC game this season (nine vs. Alabama [1/17/10]).
Senior forward Lydia Watkins totaled eight points with seven rebounds. She is averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in SEC play.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Farrington Huguenin knew if Kentucky offered him a scholarship, he was going to take it.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why when UK head coach Joker Phillips made the call with the scholarship offer, Huguenin took it immediately.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have been recruiting me since last year. Coach Phillips stopped by my school when he was still the assistant head coach,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Huguenin. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been talking back and forth, but I was also talking to some other schools. But when I took my visit there Jan. 15, I just loved everything about Kentucky. I was waiting for them to offer, so when they did I committed right away.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The 6-4, 240-pound Huguenin played defensive end and tight end at Dreher High School in Columbia, S.C. He turned eyes last spring when he ran a 4.26-second pro shuttle at the Nike Combine in Charlotte, N.C. Ã¢â‚¬â€ the fastest time of any defensive lineman. He has also been clocked around 4.9seconds in the 40-yard dash, can bench press over 300 pounds and had 31-inch vertical leap.
He had scholarship offers from South Carolina State, North Carolina Central and North Carolina AT&T before Kentucky offered even though several Atlantic Coast Conference schools had expressed interest recently.
However, some academic concerns had caused numerous schools to back away. Huguenin visited both Tennessee and South Carolina last summer and Georgia, Clemson and Michigan State also expressed interest after he had 82 tackles and 11 quarterback sacks his junior season. He had 121 tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception his senior season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can stop the run, but I am more a pass rushing type player,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have been told I have a lot of speed and explosion. I can get physical, too, if needed. I played tight end and only dropped one ball last season, but I think coach Joker is going to look at me first on defense.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Huguenin, a three-year starter, says he still has to retake the ACT and SAT to improve his test scores, but says he has cleared up some other academic issues. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think I will get my scores and everything will be fine,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He says if he needs to be redshirted next year, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fine with him. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think I will know more about possible playing time after I get there. The SEC is a whole different level. I would understand if I needed to be redshirted that it would be to help me in the long run,Ã¢â‚¬Â Huguenin said.
He used to wrestle and now throws the shot put and discus Ã¢â‚¬â€ he was regional champion in the shot put Ã¢â‚¬â€ but football has been his prime sport. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have played football since I was 7 years old. It has always been the sport I love,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
His uncle, Gerald Perry, played at the same high school as him and played at South Carolina before transferring to SouthernÃ‚Â University. Perry became a second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 1988 and also played for the Rams and Raiders before retiring in 1995.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always heard stories about how good my uncle was and he always told me to make sure I picked a school where I would be comfortable,Ã¢â‚¬Â Huguenin said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He said to do what I wanted and not what anybody else wanted.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The South Carolina defensive lineman says his family and friends are excited even though he lives only about five minutes from the South Carolina campus.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are ready for me to play against South Carolina,Ã¢â‚¬Â Huguenin said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was never just stuck on playing for South Carolina. They recruited me, but then they just died off. I think I will have something to prove when we play them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Huguenin, who says he likely would have signed with South Carolina State if UK had not offered, likes Phillips.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has a lot of personality. Just being around him, you can feel the good vibes he has that others donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. I feel like everything is going to be fine under him and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad to be part of it,Ã¢â‚¬Â Huguenin said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
DeAndre Liggins thought NBA superstar LeBron James was coming to watch Kentucky play Vanderbilt here Saturday.
But since he never heard any commotion from the crowd, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think the Cleveland Cavalier standout made it to Rupp Arena because of the snow storm.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought ifhe came, the crowd would be going crazy,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Liggins, a sophomore who had nine points and four rebounds in the 85-72 win. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then I finally saw he was there and wondered why nobody had cheered. I felt like cheering myself just knowing he was here.”
James and several friends came into Rupp Arena several minutes after the game started and had courtside seats directly across from the UK bench.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I saw him a few plays in the second half. It was great with him there, and coach Cal knows people like him and that he came out to watch us play. It means a lot for us, but he told us not to try to showboat just because he was there. We just wanted to play basketball,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kentucky freshman guard John Wall, who is projected as the No. 1 pick in JuneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NBA Draft.
Kentucky coach John Calipari didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t acknowledge JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ presence, either.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I forgot he was there and I am losing my mind in the first half and then I saw him in the hallway. I forgot,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was worried about him coming because it would be another distraction (like when the president called Tuesday before UK lost at South Carolina). I was hoping with the snow that maybe he would not come.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is a good friend and great guy and great ambassador for basketball. We wear his shoe and he is proud of this team. It would have been better if he was an alum who played here and came back to watch a game. There would probably be about four more national titles up there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Junior Patrick Patterson admitted he was excited when he heard that James, one of CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s many celebrity friends, was coming to the game just as Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had earlier this month.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For him to take time out of his schedule to come here and support us means a lot to us. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty impressive that he would do that,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Jacob Tamme doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know exactly what changes new head coach Joker Phillips might make in the University of Kentucky football program, but he does expect one change.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he will be great. I think the intensity will go way up,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Tamme, a former all-Southeastern Conference tight end at UK and now a backup tight end with the Indianapolis Colts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an intense coach, but he also knows when and how to kind of be loose. He knows how to let players be loose, but at the same time push them to the limit. There is a fine balance between that, but I am excited about him taking over.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tamme knows Phillips will make sure the players work daily.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he will really push them. I think players will love him, but he will still be the head coach and some mornings at 6 a.m. it might not be as easy to like him. But theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to remember he has the right goals in mind and knows how to make a team win,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tamme said.
That doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean Tamme and his wife, Allison, are glad former coach Rich Brooks has retired.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think we both kind of knew it was going to happen (with Brooks). We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know anything other than the speculation, but we hated to see Kentucky lose the bowl game (to Clemson) just in case it was coach BrooksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ final game,Ã¢â‚¬Â Allison Tamme said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He was the reason Jacob was at Kentucky. He signed when coach Brooks offered him a scholarship after he had been turned down at Kentucky before. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll always have a special place in our heart.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jacob Tamme says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll always respect BrooksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ beliefs and approach to football and life.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Brooks is great coach, a great man. Everybody says it, but he has as much character as any coach or man I have ever been around. He was steadfast in what he believed and he believed in the right things,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tamme said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That combination allowed him not listen to critics and allowed him to steadily build this thing to where it is.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am personally grateful to him not only for the chance to come to UK, but for my time there and the leadership he gave program. The main word for me about coach Brooks is grateful.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tamme thinks it will be a smooth transition to Phillips for the program.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think will be as good as transition as you can have. I am sure he has learned a lot from coach Brooks. Coach Brooks leaves it in a place where the program is ready to explode,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tamme said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel like the past three or four years have been good with great moments and good seasons.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think like coach Brooks said that UK is on the tip of making some noise and being a top 25 team every year. I think coach Philips is the right guy to take it to the next level.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By KEITH TAYLOR
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ John Wall didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get distracted.
It would have been easy for Wall to feel nervous after talking to President Barack Obama and receiving a visit from Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James in a five-day period. With James looking on from courtside, Wall scored 13 points and fished out nine assists in an 85-72 win over Vanderbilt Saturday at Rupp Arena.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I saw him a couple of plays in the second half,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s great that coach Cal knows people like him who will come and watch us play, and it means a lot to us. But like he said before, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t try to showboat it just because he was there. We just wanted to play basketball.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Although Wall had 19 points in a 68-62 loss at South Carolina earlier this week, Wall had a hand in his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point production Saturday as five players tallied double figures, led by DeMarcus Cousins with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
It was a bounce back Wall was expecting following the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first loss of the season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wanted to come out and prove something,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wanted to come out and show people we werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to back away and one loss wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to keep us down. I think we did that and we came out here and got a win against one of the top teams in the SEC.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Commodores entered the contest with a 10-game winning streak and had gained a reputation for second-half comebacks, such as the one Vanderbilt orchestrated in an 85-76 win over Tennessee earlier this week in Knoxville. Wall said the Cats didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t relax despite leading 49-34 at the break.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let them come back,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the second half, they started making a run and we got in foul trouble. Coach told us they were a team that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to go away and they had been down at the half (against Southeastern Conference opponents). We knew they were a veteran team that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to go away easy. They were going to come back and fight hard, but we handled it well and came back to get a tough win.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky coach John Calipari wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t pleased with WallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance against the Gamecocks, but liked his numbers against the Commodores. Calipari said Wall and sidekick Eric Bledsoe, who added 13 points and three assists off the bench, were productive.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Eric and John probably played a minute or two more than I wanted them to, but those numbers are starting to look how I want them to look,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.
Wall added that he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think he played Ã¢â‚¬Å“that badÃ¢â‚¬Â against the Gamecocks.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just try to play basketball and help my team win,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Although the team is progressing, Wall is trying to stay humble in times of prosperity. The Kentucky guard said rebounding Ã¢â‚¬Å“with two hands instead of one handÃ¢â‚¬Â and defense is the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top two priorities.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are playing good,Ã¢â‚¬Â Wall said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We bounced back from a tough loss, but there is still a lot of stuff to work on before it gets time for the SEC Tournament. We need to get back in the gym tomorrow and start working again.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings joked that he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember exactly what he said to earn a second-half technical foul even though he admitted he probably deserved it.
However, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any trouble explaining why Kentucky beat his Commodores 85-72 here Saturday to end his teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 10-game win streak and leave the Southeastern Conference without any unbeaten team in league play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The story of this game I thought was two things. One was their rebounding and the other was their shooting,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stallings said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Because of the nature of how they play, they are going to come up with perimeter shots. They made shots today that they haven’t been making, or at as high a rate as they did .
Ã¢â‚¬Å“On the backboards, there were times we really fought and still lost. There were times where we probably didn’t fight like we needed to fight. So, they played very well. Very well. They are very talented, obviously. When they play and they shoot well, they are obviously very difficult to deal with.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky was 12-for-23 from 3-point range as Darnell Dodson went 4-for-8 and Patrick Patterson 3-for-4 to lead the way. The Cats also outrebounded the Commodores 41-22 with DeMarcus Cousins pulling off 10 missed shots and Dodson and Eric Bledsoe seven each.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Patterson made them and (Darnell) Dodson made them. They had a bunch of guys making perimeter shots,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stallings said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They only shot 31 percent in the second half. If you were sitting there watching the game, you wouldn’t guess they were shooting that poorly. I didn’t think they shot that poorly. But they got another try, another try and another try. Then we would foul them and they would go to the foul line.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They were just better than us today. They were quicker to the ball, more physical, played with more purpose, and like I said, they deserved to win. We have no excuses. We got outplayed today.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Stallings said it was no surprise that Kentucky played well early to build a substantial lead it never surrendered even though the Commodores won the second half 38-36.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They got their butts beat Tuesday night (at South Carolina). What do you think when you are the opposing coach coming in here? John Calipari has been on their rear ends since Tuesday. We knew they would be cranked up,Ã¢â‚¬Â Stallings said.
Guard Jermaine Beal, who led Vandy with 19 points, said it was just too much Kentucky.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was everything. Kentucky had players that were making shots, Cousins and Patterson. We didn’t have that. I give all the credit to Kentucky today for playing a good game,Ã¢â‚¬Â Beal said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Maybe some players would have been tempted to press just a little bit coming off what had been less than stellar games.
But not Patrick Patterson.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There was no reason for me to try and do anything more than usual,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Patterson. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m fine. I just play basketball and try to help my team win.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Patterson does best, and did again here Saturday. After two straight games without scoring in double figures Ã¢â‚¬â€ the first time that had happened in his three-year UK career Ã¢â‚¬â€ Patterson bounced back with 12 points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals to help the Wildcats turn back Vanderbilt 85-72.
Those still are not the kind of numbers Patterson wants Ã¢â‚¬â€ or coach John Calipari wants him to have. He still had only seven shots Ã¢â‚¬â€ and four were 3-pointers Ã¢â‚¬â€ and he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t dominate the boards the way he has at times.
However, Calipari says it is time to understand Patterson is not the reason UK suffered its first loss at South Carolina on Tuesday when he got only five points.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to keep working with Patrick daily,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s were a step (forward). WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to get him catching the ball with two hands.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the reason we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t beat South Carolina. He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play great, but we had eight other guys that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play great. I did not coach great. Everybody wants to put that loss on Pat and that is not fair.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need more from him, and have to make calls for him. In this offense, you have to go get yours. He has to be 17 (points) and 10 (rebounds). He had too many one-handed tips. But let me say this, he is the least of our worries.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because Patterson is a veteran, he will play hard and he will do what the coach asks without question. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s as happy playing defense as scoring. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s as happy setting a pick as he is dunking on the fast break.
It would have been easy for him to try and shoot much more often after Calipari said Friday that he wanted his junior forward to Ã¢â‚¬Å“demandÃ¢â‚¬Â the ball more. Instead, Patterson took only shots that came naturally in the offense
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He wants me to get the ball more in the paint. He wants me to have a score-first, pass-second mentality,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If I am down low, he wants me to call for the ball. He wants me to be more selfish and look to score more. I am fine with that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maybe, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not Patterson and maybe his young, talented teammates noticed Ã¢â‚¬â€ or should.
Freshman point guard John Wall is having more trouble penetrating because teams are clogging the middle. That has frustrated him and made the last few weeks not as much fun, but he better get used to it. He was only 4-for-12 from the field Saturday, but he had nine assists and many set up open 3-point shots that enabled UK to win the game.
Freshman center DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points, 10 rebounds and one blocked shot in only 24 minutes. He also had only one assist Ã¢â‚¬â€ on a pass to Patterson Ã¢â‚¬â€ because he seldom thinks of passing even when double teamed. There will be nights he has to recognize teams are stacking their defense to stop him and physical players that can do that.
Freshman guard Eric Bledsoe lost his starting spot for reasons Calipari wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disclose. He was 3-for-7 from the field, but got seven rebounds, dished out three assists and got to the foul line 11 times so he could still score 13 points.
Patterson, always the diplomat, liked what he saw in the win over Vanderbilt, which came into the game leading the SEC Eastern Division at 5-0.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have a will to win. We all do,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will fight and battle. We knew Vanderbilt was physical and strong. We wanted to play physical with them and play well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I learned today that my teammates will not back down and will focus on the task at hand and not let one loss destroy our season. We talked about this was a game for No. 1 (in the SEC) and this was a chance to swing momentum our way and away from them. We wanted to show we could play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And even if he wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say it, Patterson wanted to show he is still this teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leader.
He could have done that with a 30-point outing. Or he could have done it his way by listening to Calipari, arriving early at practice and playing within the system.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no surprise he chose his way and that in itself should be a valuable lesson to others.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The rumors of my demise are exaggerated,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I can still play a lot better than this, but we won and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what should be most important to everyone because that is what matters most to me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky MenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Basketball Post-Game Notes
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
January 30, 2010, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 85, Vanderbilt 72
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky is 20-1, 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference while Vanderbilt is 16-4, 5-1 in league action.Ã‚Â This ends a 10-game win streak by the Commodores.
Kentucky leads the series, 132-43, including 74-14 in Lexington.
Kentucky has an all-time record of 154-24 while being ranked No. 1 in the nation in The Associated Press poll.
UK is 11-4 vs. Vanderbilt when the Wildcats have been at No. 1.
UK is 62-2 in games played at home.
John CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s teams have a 42-6 record while ranked No. 1.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home vs. Ole Miss.Ã‚Â The game will be televised by ESPN.
Kentucky used the starting lineup of John Wall, Darnell Dodson, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins for the first time this season.
It was DodsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first start since the season opener.Ã‚Â He quickly extended UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s streak of 732 consecutive games with a three-pointer with a triple at the 18:19 mark.
Eric Bledsoe was UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first substitute.Ã‚Â Bledsoe had started every game except the Hartford contest, which he missed because of injury.
DeMarcus Cousins got off to a quick start with 13 points in the first nine minutes.Ã‚Â Included were four baskets in which Cousins got fouled, three of which he turned into three-point plays.Ã‚Â It is the third straight game, and the sixth this season, in which Cousins has reached double-figure scoring in the first half.
Kentucky took the lead at 4-3 and extended it to as many as 19 points at 46-27.
With foul trouble sidelining Cousins, Patterson, Miller, Wall and Orton, UK hung on to a 15-point lead at halftime, 49-34.
Kentucky extended the lead to 69-50, tying its largest of the game, on a DeAndre Liggins three-pointer at the 12:09 mark.
Vanderbilt got a rally going at the 9:40 mark and scored 12 points in the next two minutes to pull within 73-62.
Darnell Dodson hit three-pointers at 6:32 and 4:00 to keep the visitors at bay and the Commodores got no closer than 11 points in the second half.
Kentucky made 12 three-point baskets, most this season against an SEC opponent.Ã‚Â The Wildcats also shot 52.2 percent from long range, also the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best this season vs. an SEC foe.
The Wildcats also did a good job getting to the free-throw line and made 25 of 39, season highs in both categories.
Kentucky dominated the rebounding, 41-22, and second-chance points, 20-2.
DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his 12th double-double of the season, breaking the UK freshman record of 11 set by Chris Mills in 1988-89.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his fourth-consecutive double-double, the second time this season he has achieved that accomplishment.
Patrick Patterson had 12 points, breaking a two-game string below double figures.
Patterson made a career-high three three-pointers.
John Wall had 13 points and a game-high nine assists.
Wall has 135 assists, breaking the UK freshman season record of 126 by Dirk MinniefieldÃ‚Â in 1979-80.
Darnell Dodson had 16 points and seven rebounds, his most vs. an SEC opponent this season.
DeAndre Liggins had nine points and four rebounds, season highs in both categories.
Eric Bledsoe had 13 points and tied his career high with seven rebounds.
By LARRY VAUGHT
For the first time, Patrick Patterson has gone back-to-back games at Kentucky without scoring in double figures. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something Patterson and coach John Calipari both know needs to stop today when UK hosts Vanderbilt.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want (Patrick Patterson) to demand the ball and we want him to score more. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be fine,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Calipari Friday.
The solution might also include Calipari making sure he finds ways for others to get the ball to Patterson when he does demand the ball because that has been a problem at times this season, too.
Calipari spent extra time working with Patterson Friday and had his junior forward working out on his own even before practice started.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do this at times with certain guys if I think guys are thinking too much, in a slump or anything like that. Whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shooting, trying to get them to do more or trying to be more specific in what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m looking for in different areas of the court. I told him we are going to spend 30 minutes before every practice and get him out there early,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of times, when they start spending more time, they feel, Ã¢â‚¬ËœOK, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to get through this.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ This is in their minds. We have guys that do a five-minute shooting drill, make 68 shots, then go in the game and go 1-for-7.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Patterson says it is time now to put TuesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loss at South Carolina in the past and focus on what lies ahead.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We all took it pretty tough especially the day after. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think anybody had smiles on their faces. We were all extremely frustrated.Coach said think about it for a day and after that just let it go, move forward and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what we are doing right now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Cal said he wants me to come out early before the next couple games. He wanted to show me some stuff, and he wants to help me improve on my offensive game and build up my confidence.Ã‚Â He said I was a little bit anxious. He just wants to calm me down and get me back to the way I was.Ã‚Â It was both perimeter and low post stuff; shooting the ball, catching it so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bobble it. Coach said he has a place for me at the post.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So what happened to his play at South Carolina when he got only five points and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t score Ã¢â‚¬â€ or seldom touch the ball Ã¢â‚¬â€ in the second half.
Like he always has, Patterson blamed himself for his play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t finishing. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t catching the ball. They tried to give me the ball three times in a row and I bobbled the ball. It was just one of those days and it happens to the best of us,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My teammates tried to step up, DeMarcus (Cousins) put us on his shoulders, John (Wall) did whatever he could, Eric (Bledsoe) tried to make some plays and so did the rest of my team.Ã‚Â We had some chances to make some plays and we just came up short.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Again, no finger pointing. Only praise for his teammates. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Patterson.
And what about todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We definitely will have a better effort. Vanderbilt has a good winning streak; they are doing well right now and have an extremely tough team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Patterson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“(A.J.) Ogilvy is a tremendous basketball player. He is very strong down low. He can post the ball, and he can also run. He has improved so much on the jump shot. Last year he was able to drive the ball from the perimeter. He can do so much as a big man.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We know what type of team they have and we want to do whatever we can to win the game. We are going to bring our Ã¢â‚¬ËœAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ game and play our hearts out.Ã¢â‚¬Â