Larry Vaught

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Hamilton Heights pulls away late to beat Mercer County girls 51-37 in Nashville

By LARRY VAUGHT

Mercer County battled Hamilton Heights (Tenn.) Christian Academy to a 25-25 tie in the first half before falling 51-37 Monday in Nashville in the Music City Classic.

The Titans had won 17 straight games since a season-opening loss to Riverdale (Tenn.) — the nation’s No. 1 going into the season. Mercer managed just seven points in the third quarter and five in the fourth.

“We were down by five points with about two minutes left in the game,” Mercer coach Chris Souder said. “Hamilton Heights is by far the most talented team in the country.”

Sacha Killeya-Jones on Jarred Vanderbilt: “Nobody knows what he is. He doesn’t know what he is.”

Jarred Vanderbilt (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Will Jarred Vanderbilt play at South Carolina Tuesday night? Will he play against Florida Saturday? Will he play at all this season?

No one seems to know — or if they know they are not saying.

That’s why sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones might have put it best today when asked about UK’s freshman forward who has yet to play this year because of a preseason foot/leg injury?

“It’s good that we don’t know what he is, nobody knows what he is. He doesn’t know what he is. We’re going to see what it is,” Killeya-Jones said.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander SEC Freshman of the Week

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after leading Kentucky with 19.0 points per game in wins over Texas A&M and Vanderbilt last week.

With starting point guard Quade Green injured and missing both games this week, Gilgeous-Alexander stepped into the starting point guard role and played 39 minutes in both victories. Gilgeous-Alexander performed at a high level for the Cats leading them to a one-point win over one of the preseason favorites to win the league in Texas A&M and then followed that up with a gritty road win at Vanderbilt.

UK Basketball: Learning To Do The Little Things

Sacha Killeya-Jones (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

Basketball is a game of little things. A failure to block out for a rebound on a free throw attempt. A loose ball that slips off the fingertips. Maybe a free throw that kicks off the back of the rim. A turnover on an inbounds play. None of them are huge but taken all together can be game changers.

Kentucky to Host 2018 Baseball/Softball Fan Dan on January 28

Vicky Graff Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky baseball and softball teams, both coming off of Super Regional appearances in 2017, will be holding its second annual Fan Day on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 5-8 p.m. ET at the Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington.

There will be a skills camp open to all first through sixth graders, with registration beginning on Monday, Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. ET. The camp, which filled up to capacity last year, will be open to the first 300 registrants. The camp will be operated by both Nick Mingione and Rachel Lawson in addition to all baseball and softball players.

Football player Evan Hinson brought needed toughness to South Carolina basketball team

Evan Hinson

By LARRY VAUGHT

When South Carolina coach Frank Martin needed some “toughness” for his team much like what Kentucky coach John Calipari has been seeking, Martin got it from an unusual source.

He added South Carolina football player Evan Hinson, a tight end who played mainly on special teams for the Outback Bowl team, for SEC play and the Gamecocks have been better since then. He had six points and two rebounds in his first start during a win over Vanderbilt and had a season-best eight points in 19 minutes in Saturday’s win at Georgia.

CHAMPIONS AGAIN — Kentucky cheer wins 23rd national championship

UK cheerleader Dallas Pringle with UK fan Danon Camic in Orlando after Sunday’s national championship win.

By UK ATHLETICS

“Keep Climbing” is the motto Coach Jomo Thompson instilled in this year’s University of Kentucky cheerleading squad.  And, keep climbing is exactly what the team did – all the way to the national championship. 

The UK cheerleaders won their 23rd national title – including their third in a row – at the Universal Cheerleaders Association competition Sunday night in Orlando, Fla.

Competing among Division IA Coed squads, the Wildcats claimed the crown with a score of 97.3 out of a possible 100 points.

Kentucky Dance Team Turns in a Pair of Top-Six Performances

Jeff Houchin Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Dance Team turned in a pair of top-six performances at the 2018 Universal Dance Association championships held Sunday in Orlando, Fla.

Slotted in Division IA, the Wildcat dancers placed fifth nationally in the Hip-Hop category and sixth in the Pom division.

“I loved our Hip-Hop routine,” Coach Dawn Walters said. “We wanted to bring a message of unity, peace and a color-blind world and we imparted that through (the song) Rhythm Nation.

“The Pom performance was very well-rounded,” Walters continued. “We were proud of the routine and the technical elements.  We hit it very solidly.”

UK women look to continue winning ways at Vanderbilt

Taylor Murray (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off its first Southeastern Conference win of the season Thursday at Florida, the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team looks to continue its momentum Monday as it travels to face Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. ET inside Memorial Gymnasium.

The game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network with Brenda VanLengen and Carol Ross on the call. Darren Headrick, in his first year with the program, will be calling the game on the UK Sports Radio Network.

Kevin Knox on Nick Richards: “He’s got one of the easiest jobs on the team. We just gotta get him to do it.”

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Just a few seconds after he put Nick Richards back into Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt, the freshman center failed to block out on a free throw after a Vanderbilt miss. Immediately Kentucky coach John Calipari brought him back to the bench.

“If you go in and you don’t rebound and the guy grabs the ball for you, I told him after the game ‘Guys, if I stick you in there and I’m saying you’ve gotta rebound and the first play, walk to the bench. You don’t have to see if I’m taking you out. You know I’m taking you out,’” Calipari said.