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Alex Poythress anxious to see what Notre Dame fans will say to Cats Thursday

Alex Poythress works inside against LIU Friday. (Victoria Graff photo)

Alex Poythress works inside against LIU Friday. (Victoria Graff photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky freshman Alex Poythress had no problem with the aggressive style Morehead State and Long Island-Brooklyn both used against UK last week.

“You want teams coming at you. You don’t want no easy games. You don’t want no cakewalk game early. You just don’t want to breeze through your schedule,” said Poythress, the first UK freshman to have four straight 20-point games since 1979. “You want some tough opponents and people that will challenge you early. I think that is what all our opponents have done.”

He’s sure it will happen again Thursday, too, when UK plays at Notre Dame (6-1) in its first true road game of the season.

“It is going to be our first road test and we have to come prepared. We have to get off to a great start and not have slow starts like we have been having. I think we should be fine. We have couple days to prepare, so we should be ready,” he said after Friday’s win over Long Island-Brooklyn. “I know I am anxious to see how the Notre Dame fans react and what they have to say to us. It should be a pretty nice environment.”

Kentucky had trouble shutting down both Morehead and Long Island in the first half last week. Against Long Island, UK went on a big scoring run to end the first half and dominated the second half to win 104-75.

“We just tried to buckle down in the second half. They were hitting too many shots. I think they were hitting around 60 percent from the field and that is unacceptable here,” Poythress said. “We just made sure that we were blocking out and grabbing the board and that everybody was rebounding on the defensive end.

“We were just battling. It should not have been that close at halftime. Once we turned up the defense, we were fine.”

He’s not sure there is a specific reason for UK’s slow starts defensively.

“I don’t think there is no reason. Just getting used to the game play really. He (John Calipari) just keeps coaching us hard to we realize we have to get it going from the start,” Poythress said.

Calipari continues to insist that his freshman-dominated team is “just learning” as it plays.

“That’s why we wanted to play these kind of teams that would come after us, not be afraid, come in here with an attitude that they could win,” Calipari said Friday. “Then the way we’ve been starting these games, whether I got the wrong starting unit in there I don’t know, but the way we’ve been starting these games, we let these people think they can beat us.  They go in at halftime saying, ‘We can beat these guys.’ So we’re learning that right now.”

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6 comments

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  1. Mark Russell

    I am looking forward to saying something at the ND game too – “Go Big Blue” (from the not-so-cheap seats purchased on StubHub). Hope MANY of my BBN brothers from northern IN are there rooting on the guys in Blue!!!

  2. Juan4UK

    Lot’s of reports that UK hired Stoops from FL State.

  3. Larry T Clemons

    Alex, if I can make one observation…” Over rebounding ” , in the excitement of going for the BOARDS, I’m seeing two and three Wildcats, leave their feet at the same time, allowing the opponent to slip in and steal a few boards. Talk to each other,”Block Out” then jump, right after your Team Mate. Instead of all jumping at once, try more of a One…Two…Three, having two and three block out First, then jump….

  4. Bob

    Alittle quiz anyone know what happened on this date 36 years ago Nov. 27th 1976 ? Kentucky played it’s first game in Rupp agaisnt Wisconsin in which it won 72-64 . This was also the year i hit Black Jack 21 . You know Larry as an old man looks back at life it’s hard to see an Lexington Kentucky without an Rupp Arena .I just though this should be an National Holiday LOL

    1. King Ghidora

      Some of us were long time UK fans before the downtown arena was built. I loved being able to walk down the street from my dorm on the same block as Memorial and watch the Cats play. It was a great place for basketball IMO. Now Rupp has a longer history than Memorial had (by 10 years). That really makes me feel old.

  5. UKFAN197TONE

    Let ‘em talk Alex, hold up “8″ fingers and go out there and just play your game…

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