Most Recent Posts
- 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 Keith Taylor
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Doron Lamb has developed a reputation as one of KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top dependable players off the bench. If he keeps his production up, he may soon find a place in the starting lineup. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He needs to be on the court,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said afterward. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He really knows how to play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb indeed gave the Cats a lift off the bench and scored 13 points in a 91-57 rout over Boston Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. Lamb provided an instant spark when the team was struggling and scored eight points in the opening half that kept the hosts in control despite a 20-minute challenge from the Terriers.
Because of his first-half showing, Lamb started the second frame and added five more points for his final tally. In addition to his scoring output, Lamb also dished out five assists, collected one steal and had just two turnovers in 27 minutes on the floor.
In the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first outing since losing to Connecticut in the finals of the Maui Invitational, Lamb and the Cats wanted to showcase more of an unselfish attitude as opposed to the selfish showing the team displayed against the Huskies. Instead of forcing the issue, the Lamb said the team focused on making the extra pass on offense led to the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s open shots on the perimeter.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach (John) Calipari told us it was going to be a big thing in the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Maui, he said that we were selfish and we were trying to lay the ball up between three people when there were open guys in the corners. So, we were just trying to be unselfish and pass the ball to the open man and make shots.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the defensive end of the court, Lamb switched assignments with teammate Brandon Knight as part of a Ã¢â‚¬Å“new wrinkleÃ¢â‚¬Â to make matters complicated for the guests, especially in the second half. Lamb adjusted to a role that opposing teams may see more of in the future.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were impressed how he guarded on (the) ball defense tonight,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We put him on the point guard and moved Brandon (Knight) off the ball, so that was something new for us, and he gives us a little bit better size in doing that. He knows how to score the ball.Ã‚Â I mean, he knows how to play. He has a great feel for the game.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Although his offensive skills are obviously plentiful, Lamb competitive spirit on the other end of the court could result in more minutes as the season progresses.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the main thing that coach (Calipari) cares about is defense,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we play defense, we stay on the court.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Robic and Kentucky coach John Calipari would like to see Lamb become more vocal when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on the floor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to get him to be able to talk,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That’s the biggest drawback with Doron right now.Ã‚Â If we can get him to talk, that again is another way to make our team much better. Ã¢â‚¬Å“
Lamb said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s making strides with his communication skills and is getting more comfortable six games into his collegiate career.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It (communicating) was hard when I first got here, but now, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m getting better. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m starting to talk (more) on the court and in practice.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ Kentucky may not have learned a lesson in Maui, but it apparently learned a way to get inspired during halftime.
The Wildcats vowed they would not have another listless performance like the one they had in the Maui Invitational title game when they lost 84-67 to Connecticut. Yet at halftime here Tuesday they led Boston University only 40-33.
The second half, well that was a far different story. The passing was sharper, the effort better and the shot selection outstanding. Kentucky went on a 12-0 spurt to open the half and a 28-5 run in the first seven minutes to bury the Terriers 91-57 and set up showdowns ahead with North Carolina Saturday and then Notre Dame next week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All I can say is that must have been one heck of a halftime speech,Ã¢â‚¬Â Boston coach Patrick Chambers said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am going to have to ask him forÃ‚Â a copy of that. We played pretty hard for 20 minutes, then their talent, strength … We were hoping to hang. That spurt in the first five minutes was just crushing, absolutely crushing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Freshmen Terrence Jones, who had another solid game with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite going over 13 minutes in one first-half stretch without a point, said UK coach John Calipari didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say that much at halftime.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Cal told us all we did, and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do (in the first half),Ã¢â‚¬Â Jones said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We put it on ourselves to try and play harder for him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The team wore black socks in honor of CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother, who passed away Sunday. However, what made the biggest impact at halftime was what the Wildcats heard in the Boston locker room.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wereÃ‚Â upset, Coach was upset. We heard the other team talking and screaming like they were up 20 points at halftime when we were up seven,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lamb, who had 13 points and five assists, said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They were banging on lockers and everything. We all got upset. We got a 30-point lead, which is what Coach said to go do. They were in there banging on lockers like they were going to beat us. Coach Cal told us we were 30 points better than them and we wanted to prove him right.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jones readily admitted the Cats heard the TerriersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ halftime celebration.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like it, either,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Boston probably didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like seeing Kentucky going 8-for-9 from 3-point range to open the second half or the defensive pressure it increased. The Cats moved the ball, ran the court and maybe for a few minutes did put a smile on CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face.
Assistant coach John Robic did CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s postgame press conference. He said the halftime message was to go back and do the things the Cats had worked on the past few days after losing to Connecticut in the Maui Invitational.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We still didn’t really communicate very well (in the first half, and we did a much better job of that in the second half,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought defensively we picked it up. We shared the ball, made the right plays in the second half, and that’s something that we stress also. And you can see that by the 21 assists. That was something that we really worked on.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were a little leery going into it because we thought we were a little selfish in the last game, that we would pass up shots. But we were happy with the distribution and the shots we took tonight.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Jones thought RobicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worry about passing up shots was accurate and that players did that in the first half.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think we were more nervous about playing selfish. We passed up a lot of shots in the first half,Ã¢â‚¬Â Jones said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just felt like everybody was trying too hard not to be selfish. Nobody played excited until the second half and then we played the kind of basketball we can.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The second half everybody played hard, drove, passed and knocked down open shots. That is the team we can be all year. That is how we play our best. Everybody was involved and having fun. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what our team should be about.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kentucky MenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Basketball Post-Game Notes
Boston University at Kentucky
November 30, 2010, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 91, Boston 57
Team Records and Series Info
Kentucky is 5-1 this season while Boston is now 4-4.
UK leads the series with Boston 3-0, with all games played in Lexington.
UK is 6-0 all-time against the current alignment of the America East Conference.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Dec. 4, at North Carolina.Ã‚Â The game begins at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.
Kentucky used the starting lineup of Brandon Knight, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins, Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson.
Kentucky took the lead for good at 9-7 with 15:33 remaining on a layup by Josh Harrellson.
UK led by as many as nine points on two occasions in the first half before taking a 40-33 advantage at intermission.
Five Wildcats scored in the first half, with all five tallying at least six points.Ã‚Â Jones and Knight led the way with 10 each.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the fourth time in five games that Knight scored double digits in the first half and the third time this season that Jones has done so.
Kentucky scored the first 12 points of the second half.Ã‚Â The Wildcats put the game away by stretching the run to 28-5 in the first 7:10 of the half, making the score 68-38.
Kentucky led by as many as 39 points at 88-49.
Kentucky limited Boston to 28.6 percent shooting from the field, the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ best defensive performance of the season.
UK is 5-0 this season when holding the opponent under 45 percent from the field and outrebounding the opponent.
Kentucky shot 59.3 percent from the field, including 62.5 percent on three-pointers, season highs in both categories.
Josh Harrellson and Terrence Jones each reached double-doubles.Ã‚Â The last time multiple Wildcats had double-doubles in the same game was Feb. 16, 2010 when DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and John Wall did so in an overtime win at Mississippi State.
Kentucky is 20-0 at Rupp Arena under Coach John Calipari.
Kentucky is now 5-0 all-time in the first games after the WildcatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ five Hawaii trips.
Kentucky has made at least one three-point shot in 755 consecutive games.
Brandon Knight led the way with 23 points and six assists, both game highs.
It is KnightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third 20-point game of the season.
Also had personal bests with six rebounds and six assists.
Terrence Jones collected his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Josh Harrellson also collected his first double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.Ã‚Â It is the second double-double of his career.Ã‚Â The last one was more than two years ago, Nov. 29, 2008, vs. West Virginia (12 points and 10 rebounds).
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky sophomore center Eloy Vargas knew the heartache coach John Calipari felt Sunday when his mother, 74-year-old Donna Calipari, passed away.
A few weeks ago VargasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ father died in the Dominican Republic.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I told Coach I was here for him, and I said a prayer for him and his family,Ã¢â‚¬Â Vargas said Monday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are both having to deal with losses in our personal life and going through a season, it will be tough, but we have the team and other coaches to help us along the way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Vargas, a junior college transfer, says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still trying to adjust to his fatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For me it has been hard and is finally going away. Sometimes you think about it and I try just to play basketball,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I talk to my mom and friends. They tell me this is what he would want and this is my future and he is in better place than we are now. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go home right away (when he died). I knew he would want me to play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Vargas said his father had health issues that concerned the family.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We knew this might happen, but that does not make it any easier. I knew this could happen,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Vargas is continuing to concentrate on improving and helping ease the void of the potential loss of Enes Kanter all season. Kanter has been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA and will have his appeal likely heard later this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He is helping me out a lot in practice. He is a big guy to play defense against, which helps Josh (Harrellson) and I for when we have to guard guys as big and strong as him,Ã¢â‚¬Â Vargas said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am improving on a lot of things. I am improving and getting more confident and better. The first game I was kind of nervous. Now I just go in there and play as hard as I can.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He says he talks to Kanter frequently, but not about the appeal.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Enes donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk about appeal and we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say anything to him. We just play basketball. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best for both of us,Ã¢â‚¬Â Vargas said.
By RICHARD CHEEKS
The Championship game defeat by UConn was not just disappointing, it was plain ugly.Ã‚Â The whole world can identify the two areas of weakness for this team, lack of quality depth [foul trouble] and lack of a substantial inside presence, particularly on defense.Ã‚Â The differenceÃ‚Â was that UConn not just identified those weaknesses; they showed the rest of the world how to expose and exploit these weaknesses when playing the Cats.
Washington exposed the depth issue, and used that foul trouble to erase a huge first half deficit of their own, but their 1-point halftime lead was not enough to hold off the Cats in the second half.Ã‚Â UConn on the other hand managed to get the Cats into foul trouble while playing on slightly better than even terms in the first 10 minutes, and their landslide buried the Cats in a hole that they could not climb out of in the second half.Ã‚Â But for their offensive outburst at the beginning of the Washington game that produced the early 20-6 lead, the Cats would be limping home with two Hawaiian losses instead of one.
The UConn game plan was clear, first work to expose the lack of depth by getting 2 of the key players into foul trouble, forcing Calipari to move down his bench, and then pound the ball inside, each and every trip down the floor.Ã‚Â That game plan worked to perfection, and the result, a 17-point loss, frankly could have been even worse because the Cats clearly rocked back on their collective heels, wobbled, and were ready to fall to the mat.Ã‚Â To their credit, the Cats somehow managed to at least remain standing in the second half.Ã‚Â However, they never really lost that dazed and confused, glassy eyed look even at the end when they had to know that UConn had handed them their collective rear ends.
Next up:Ã‚Â Boston University, the pre-season favorite to win the American East Conference.Ã‚Â Last year, Boston University finishedÃ‚Â 21-14, losing in the third round of the NIT to Virginia Commonwealth by 13 points.Ã‚Â Boston University ended the season with a Pomeroy rating of #110.
Boston University has already played seven games, winning four.Ã‚Â They have defeated #169 George Washington by 9, #314 Marist by 21, #206 Nevada by 9, and #192 Cornell by 5.Ã‚Â Their loses have been to #159 Northeastern by 2, #207 Hampton by 1, and to #9 Vilanova by 16.Ã‚Â Boston University has played these games at an average pace of about 64 possessions, averaging 63.7 points per game and allowing 60.1 points per game.Ã‚Â This translates to an offensive efficiency of 0.994 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.947 points per possession.Ã‚Â Boston UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s turnover rate has been 20.4 percent while they have forced turnovers at an 20.8 percent rate.Ã‚Â On the Boards, Boston UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 36.7 percent and 63.0 percent respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance against its first five opponents produced 69 possessions, and a score of 76.8 to 65.6 points per game for efficiencies of 1.172 points per possession and 0.891 points per possession on the offensive and defensive ends.Ã‚Â UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s turnover rate is 16.8 percent but UK only forced turnovers at a 17.1 percent rate.Ã‚Â On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 39.4 percent andÃ‚Â 71.4 percent at the offensive and defensive ends.Ã‚Â KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.8064 while Boston UniversityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s is only 0.4865.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 66 possessions with the Cats winning for the fifth time in six starts this season by 22 points, 77-55.Ã‚Â The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.167 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.833 points per possession.
By LARRY VAUGHT
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all but official that Kentucky players have their wish Ã¢â‚¬â€ they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be going to a fifth straight Tennessee bowl.
Instead, look for Kentucky to be playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 8 at noon. While it is possible the Cats could have to play Louisville, a team they beat to open the season, a more likely scenario now seems to be that UK might face South Florida unless South Florida beats Connecticut Saturday.
South Florida is 7-4 after beating Miami 23-20 in overtime last week. It also has a 24-21 overtime win over Louisville as well as a 24-12 victory over Western Kentucky.
Kentucky would have gladly settled for Ã¢â‚¬Å“another Tennessee bowlÃ¢â‚¬Â if it had beaten Tennessee last Saturday. Instead, the Vols now will go to Nashville for the Music City Bowl Dec. 30 while it looks like Georgia will be in the Liberty Bowl Dec. 31.
Bowl pairings become official Sunday night. When that happens, then UK can start selling tickets and find out if a fan base that has flocked to bowl games the last four years will do so again.
Kentucky came into this year with big expectations based on its returning talent and the demise of several Southeastern Conference teams Ã¢â‚¬â€ Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi. Yet the Cats lost to all four of those teams that had down years by their standards.
Now many fans are grumbling about a 6-6 finish, wondering if first-year coach Joker Phillips can elevate the program and speculating about what this season will do to recruiting.
And if Kentucky goes to a bowl to drop to 6-7, then the second guessing is really going to heat up.
One could easily argue that Kentucky, a team that has had trouble with consistency and motivation this season, could be less than excited about playing anyone in Birmingham. Senior quarterback Mike Hartline tried to calm those fears after the Tennessee loss.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to put this loss behind us. We have weeks to prepare for a bowl game and we have to leave this stuff behind us right now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hartline said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think coach Phillips has done a great job emphasizing that even though we had a .500, subpar year that we did make it to postseason and our season is still good compared to Kentucky seasons in the past before I got here.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are making a bowl game and we are still doing things right. It is still winning the close games and the rivalry games that we have to learn to do and then push for more after that. But we have a lot to play for in a bowl game. Any game you play you want to win, but a win also will give us a winning season. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more than enough to get excited about.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Maybe for him and his teammates, but I am not so sure about fans based on what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read at vaughtsviews.com. There are many UK fans who pledge to still support the team, but many more are frustrated with the finish after season ticket and parking prices were raised.
Defensive coordinator Steve Brown has become a popular target for fans looking for why this season was not as good as expected. But in fairness, offensive turnovers cost UK a win at Mississippi and probably did at Tennessee, too, where the offense basically went missing in action the last three quarters.
Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders clearly was frustrated after the Tennessee loss with the three turnovers UK had.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The fumble Randall Cobb had was his second of the year and Derrick LockeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fumble was his second of the year. The interception we had didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite get the route Mike (Hartline) expected and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get quite the effort you would expect (from receiver Chris Matthews) in that situation,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sanders said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is very frustrating, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s amazing how the better teams will cause you to turn the ball over more. But we certainly did our part to help them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why so many UK fans are frustrated and just may not be all that excited about a trip to Birmingham for the BBVA Compass Bowl.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky junior guard DeAndre Liggins says the team is happy to be back playing in friendly Rupp Arena tonight against Boston University after playing a game in Portland, Ore., and three in Maui and now wants to show what it learned the last four games.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We learned that we needed to talk on defense, and everyone was being selfish, trying to get their own and not playing as a team,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We just need to learn to talk and communicate more, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be fine.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We saw some positives from the young guys. We just have to continue to grow as a team and learn to play together. The first two games we played good, but the last game we were tired a little bit and that is not an excuse. UConn is a great team. We just have to adjust and go back to the drawing board.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A loss early in the year can help us move forward tremendously. Last year we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lose until the middle of the season, but I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s better to lose early in the season, learn from it, and move on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Junior center Josh Harrellson says the team has focused on being more unselfish since returning from Maui and its loss to Connecticut.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty much what we have focused on. On offense, trying to get open shots for our teammates and just helping each other out when we can on defense.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He says the team never considered itself selfish.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Before the game we never looked at it like that. That game, when we would break down on offense, everyone would just try to do it on their own rather than as a team. You could say it was selfish, but I just think people were trying to do what was the best thing for the team but we were doing it in the wrong way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Stevie JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fine and his teammates had his back Monday, a day after the Buffalo Bills receiver was left questioning God and himself for dropping what wouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been an overtime game-winning touchdown pass.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no better way to keep JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spirits up than to continue throwing him the ball, which is what he intends to do.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have 100 percent confidence in him,Ã¢â‚¬Â Fitzpatrick said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the biggest thing. And I think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the most important thing is for him to know that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Center Geoff Hangartner isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worried either.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He knows weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got his back,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hangartner said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no need to say anything. EverybodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s made mistakes. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no different than the rest of us. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be fine.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Johnson remained the focus of attention a day after dropping a 40-yard touchdown pass with 10:30 left in overtime of a 19-16 loss to Pittsburgh. The Steelers won on their next possession, when Shaun Suisham hit a 41-yard field goal.
Johnson spent the rest of the game sitting alone at the end of the bench watching the Steelers drive on the video board at the opposite end of the stadium. He was inconsolable afterward, calling the drop something heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never get over.
And Johnson then raised eyebrows around the nation as news circulated of the tweet he posted on his Twitter account an hour after the game by wondering how God could do this to him.
Johnson laid low for most of Monday, and was the lone receiver not to make himself available to reporters in the Bills locker room.
A few hours later, Johnson provided his response with a burst of seven tweets. They ranged from him dismissing the notion that he blamed God; questioning why Bills fans would bash one of their own; and noting that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learned a lot in dealing with lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ups and downs.
And just like that, the swagger seemed back for the Bills leading receiver whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enjoying a breakout season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This will definitely test everything that he values as a player, as a person,Ã¢â‚¬Â receiver Lee Evans said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But if he can overcome it, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be much better.Ã¢â‚¬Â
It just goes to show how quickly things change in the NFL. In a topsy-turvy, seven-day span, Johnson scored three touchdowns in rallying the Bills from a 21-point deficit to beat Cincinnati 49-31 on Nov. 21. A week later, the run ended with Johnson referring to himself as Ã¢â‚¬Å“humbledÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“devastated.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kind of makes one wonder whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in store next Sunday, when Buffalo (2-9) plays at Minnesota (4-7).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nobody that can wave a magic stick to make things go away. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to figure that out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Evans said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I think thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the type of guy he is. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s come through some tough things before.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Selected by Buffalo in the 2008 seventh round out of Kentucky, Johnson had to patiently wait two seasons before getting his shot at a starting job. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thrived this season under the faith provided him by first-year coach Chan Gailey.
Johnson leads the team with 59 catches, 796 yards and nine touchdowns. Overall, he ranks 11th in the NFL in receiving yards and is tied for fifth in scores.
Gailey said he can appreciate what JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been through in having Ã¢â‚¬Å“run through the gamut of emotions in dealing with success and failure. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll deal with it and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll come out strong. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good man. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be fine.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Gailey doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t intend to change his approach with Johnson this week.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you start treating stuff with kid gloves or start treating it with a hammer, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re making a mistake,Ã¢â‚¬Â Gailey said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to make sure that things donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t change because a guy has a bad game. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had some bad games. You deal with it and you go on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari thought his team played selfish basketball in its 84-67 loss to Connecticut last week in Maui.
His players didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disagree Monday with the coachÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s postgame analysis, but they also thought there was a sense of panic, especially among the freshmen, when UConn built a big first-half lead.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The new guys are not used to being down, especially by 21 points. When it was like 10, 11 or 12, you know that was fine. We could go into halftime, especially where we had foul trouble, and be okay,Ã¢â‚¬Â said senior center Josh Harrellson. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But when it gets to 21, everyone starts panicking not knowing what to do. It was really tough to come back from that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Junior guard DeAndre Liggins hinted that maybe Kentucky did a bit too much celebrating after beating Washington 74-67 in the tourney semifinals and was not focused like it should be on UConn.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think Washington was a big game for us and was an energy game that caused us to take UConn for granted the next game,Ã¢â‚¬Â Liggins admitted before UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s practice Monday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They came out and punched us in the mouth. We were so fired up for Washington it took our energy away when they did that.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a tremendous lesson for our young guys to learn. They have to learn what college is about. I have been here for a while and know what it takes, but I have to learn, too. We have to stick together as a team.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Did he sense any panic?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. Maybe. We have to keep learning as a team and trusting each other and talking more on the court,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
The 10th-ranked Wildcats return to action Tuesday night when they host Boston University, the America East preseason favorite even though the Terriers only returned three players from last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team. Still, Boston University is 4-2 with wins over Cornell, George Washington and Nevada and lost only 82-66 at then No. 6 Villanova.
Boston returns starting forwards John Holland, who is averaging 17.9 points per game, and Jake OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Brien, who adds 9.9 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game. A third returning starter, junior Jeff Pelage, is out with an ankle injury.