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- Limited number of eRUPPTion Zone tickets for Belmont, Mississippi State available
- Freshman star Julius Randle admits UK ‘harder’ than expected, but nothing ‘I can’t handle’
- Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart wants to “create great environment with students” around recruiting room
- Kentucky running back JoJo Kemp: “It’s all about the program, not me, and I like that we are getting good people.”
- Boise St. coach Leon Rice: “I have never ever underestimated” Calipari
- How close is Kentucky to being “unleashed?”
- Photo Gallery: Kentucky tops Boise State
- Kentucky Wildcats TV: Highlights from the Cats’ win over Boise State
Here’s part of what Kentucky freshman Julius Randle — and you have to like his answers — had to say after Tuesday night’s win over Boise State.
On what they did well defensively …
“Communication. We fixed a lot of things from last game. We talked a lot better on the floor. We still had some breakdowns but we got better.”
On if this entire experience has been harder than he expected …
“Yeah, way harder. It’s nothing I can’t handle. The mental aspect of getting yourself ready everyday. It’s not high school or AAU where you can take days off. You have to be ready to compete every day. Coach is going to coach you hard every day. You have to be mentally prepared to do that as well as physically. You have to take care of your body.”
On how he evaluates his performance after a game …
“First, I think about how the team did. I think collectively we did well. Next, I can assess my individual play. Still left a lot out there. Four turnovers—that’s easy to fix. One of them I did something stupid and threw it to Dakari (Johnson). One was caught in the post. It’s just little stuff. It’s easy to fix. It’s not like I’m trying to do something outrageous, other than that Dakari pass.”
Boise State Head Coach Leon Rice
On how much the size of Kentucky played a factor…
“I said it all along. Some of the things that they do, it’s like me with my 10 year old son in the driveway. We can do all of the right things and try to battle, but they are just so physically imposing and I thought they were really, really dialed in, and I knew they would be. I have never ever underestimated Coach (John) Calipari. He’s one of the best out there and they’re getting better. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it on film. They’re coming. They are going to continue to get better. The loss to Baylor sometimes recalibrates, maybe opens up their minds to listen a little bit more. The more they trust him, the better they are going to continue to get.”
On preparing for the size disadvantage…
“It was funny. I was talking to a coach who played them and he said you need to simulate playing against a 7’1” guy who can move and block shots and I’m not sure I knew how to do that. You just can’t simulate their size in practice. They can make mistakes and then make up for them and that’s what they did a great job of tonight. With (Willie) Cauley-Stein, you get to the rim and he blocks nine of them, and he alters probably 10 more of them. We have been able to get to the rim a little bit in the preseason, but not on him. That’s the difference for them. They were dialed in, they were focused defensively, and when they did make a mistake, they made up for them with their hustle plays.”
On the team’s offensive output …
“I knew coming in here we would have to play an A-plus game, a perfect game. The great thing about a game like this is it prepares us for the league that we play in, which we have some athletic teams. We have to play the right way against them and we slid away from that a little bit. You know, these guys are competitive guys and they want to do it, but they got away from doing it together and tried to make some plays on their own. It’s something that we can learn from and when you play a team that is this athletic, isolations don’t work and one-on-one doesn’t work. We have to beat them with our ball movement and player movement. We got away from that just enough that we couldn’t score.”
On if James Young’s shooting was a factor of the collapsing defense in the paint …
“It’s a pick your poison. If we don’t do that, Julius Randall gets 30. It’s a little bit of trying to make them shoot jump shots, and that’s what a lot of teams are going to try and do. We just weren’t physical enough to get those defensive rebounds, or enough of them to stay in the game when they did miss.”
On only getting to the line six times …
“Again, it is their length and athleticism. The other thing that makes it tough too is when you drive, it isn’t easy to find the kick-outs either because there are long arms everywhere and they close down those lanes quickly. They aren’t just athletic at one position, they are athletic at every position.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari was asked after Tuesday night’s win over Boise State how close the Cats were to being “unleashed” as he predicted they would be at some point this season. Enjoy his answer.
“We’re not close. I’ll give an example. 20 seconds on the shot clock, Andrew (Harrison) ran in and ran the kid over. Pull it out. He should know that. He doesn’t know that yet,” Calipari said. “What I did like is we went to our grind it out stuff and he yelled at Julius (Randle), so he and Julius knew what the play was. He caught it, drove baseline, got fouled, made two free throws, game over. Big for us that we’re communicating. It’s two of us working together, three of us working together, five of us working together. But we have a ways to go.
“We had one of these games and we came back and we reverted, we stepped back. This is going to be an everyday process. We now have to go to North Carolina on the road. It’s going to be a hard game. We have two days of practice.
“Good news is, then we got finals and we got time. After that we got a week, then I believe we have another week. We have time, whatever we’re going to do, whatever changes we’re going to make”
Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.
By KEITH TAYLOR, WINCHESTER SUN
LEXINGTON — Kentucky got the bounce-back game it desperately needed following last weekend’s disaster in Dallas.
The Wildcats, who fell from third to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 after dropping a 67-62 loss to Baylor last weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, recovered nicely and handed Boise State its first loss of the season 70-55 Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
The swagger the Cats lost in Texas, found its way back to Lexington and gave the team a renewed purpose going into the last three games of the non-conference schedule.
“We really needed this win,” said Kentucky guard James Young, who led the Wildcats with 21 points. “We don’t ever think we are going to lose here at Rupp. We don’t ever have our minds that we are going to lose. It is just not something we think about.”
Willie Cauley-Stein changed his hairstyle, going with a blonde look. He flirted with yet another triple double and did so with his presence in the post. Cauley-Stein finished with nine blocks and had five of those in the first half. He only scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds, but his dominance on defense more than makes up for his numbers on the offensive end of the court.
His biggest contribution was switching on defense, creating issues for Boise State’s guards, part of a Broncos unit that entered the contest as the second-highest scoring team in the nation. Boise State’s scoring took a rest against the Cats.
“We play small ball,” Boise State’s Anthony Drmic said. “They took advantage of that.”
Boise State coach Leon Rice compared Kentucky’s dominance in the post to playing a pick-up-game with his 10-year-old son in the driveway.
“We can do all the right things and try to battle, but they are just so physically strong,” he said. “I thought they were really, really dialed in, and I knew they would be.”
Calipari took note of his team’s active communicating on defense, which consistently limited the Broncos’ scoring production.
“(Cauley-Stein) was able to switch out on guards and play them,” he said. “They couldn’t score on him.”
Asserting himself as a leader, Cauley-Stein made sure the Wildcats stayed huddled up before shooting free throws, a point of emphasis Calipari made in his team’s last outing. To Calipari’s liking, Kentucky took the group sessions a step further against the Broncos.
“You notice? We huddled,” Calipari said. “How about this one — we touched each other, and in the huddle we touched one another. Touch and talk, that’s how you start to become a team and come together.”
Young added the Wildcats are doing more things behind the scenes to become a better unit.
“We are doing it (communicating) a lot during practice now,” Young said. “If you can see, like, after a free throw, we all touch each other and when you come off the court, everybody stands up and gives you a high-five. It is just the little stuff that is making us become better as a team.”
In addition to demonstrating better team chemistry, the Cats also fared better at the charity stripe. After making just 12-of-23 against Baylor, the Cats swished 12-of-18 against the Broncos. Kentucky also won the rebounding battle 43-27, another downfall in the Baylor debacle.
“We rebounded the ball and did some good stuff,” Calipari said.
Kentucky will attempt to defeat a ranked opponent for the first time this season Saturday at North Carolina. Calipari said the team remains “an everyday process” but likes the spacing in the scheduling following the trip to Chapel Hill.
“It’s going to be a hard game (at North Carolina), but the good news is, we have finals and we have time,” Calipari said. “We have time for whatever were going to do and changes we’re going to make.”
Calipari hopes the path to making those changes began Tuesday night.
Follow Keith Taylor on twitter @keithtaylor21.
Kentucky Basketball Postgame Notes
#11/10 Kentucky vs. Boise State
Dec. 10, 2013
Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.
Team Records, Notes
With the win, Kentucky moves to 8-2 on the year, including a 7-0 start at Rupp Arena. The loss was Boise State’s first of the season, moving the Bronco’s record to 8-1. Boise State is 2-1 away from Taco Bell Arena.
Kentucky notched its 501st win in Rupp Arena. Kentucky has a 501-62 record (.890) in its 38 seasons in the facility.
This was the first meeting between the two schools in men’s basketball with Kentucky now leading the all-time series 1-0. The Wildcats improve their record to 22-2 against teams comprising the current alignment of the Mountain West Conference. Boise State was the third first-time opponent for Kentucky this season.
Tonight’s game marked the third of five matchups in the month of December for UK that features a team that is either receiving votes or ranked in the top 25 in the Associated Press poll.
Kentucky will return to the hardwood Saturday, Dec. 14 at No. 18/21 North Carolina. Tipoff is set 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Tonight’s attendance was 21,565.
Kentucky started with the lineup of sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshmen Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young. That lineup is 4-2 on the year. UK has used that starting five in each of its last three games.
Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins were the first subs in the game. It marked the fourth time Poythress has been the first player in the game off the bench this season and the second for Johnson and Hawkins.
Kentucky held an 8-5 lead at the under 16-minute media timeout after a 3 by James Young. The two teams traded baskets coming out of the timeout to give UK a 5-point lead at 10-5 and 12-7.
With 13:20 to go in the first half, Boise State earned its first lead the game after a layup by Anthony Drmic put the Broncos on top 14-13. UK regained the lead with a 9-0 run over the next two and a half minutes to take a 22-14 lead. Boise answered but so did the Wildcats, who led 27-20 at the under 8-minute media timeout.
Kentucky continued to increase its lead for the remainder of the half, leading 41-31 at intermission. UK is 7-1 this season when leading at halftime.
UK has now made a 3-pointer in 870 consecutive games when James Young sunk a 3 at the 16:42 mark in the first half.
Kentucky has scored 40 or more points in the first half five times this season, holding a 5-0 record in those games.
This was the fourth time this season UK has held a double-digit lead at halftime, improving to 4-0 this season.
Kentucky scored the first four points of the second half to grab a 14-point lead, its largest of the game at the time at 45-31.
The Wildcats went on a 14-2 run later in the second half to grab complete control of the game with a 62-43 lead with 8:33 to go in the game. The 19-point lead was the largest of the game for UK.
Boise State cut the UK lead to 11 at 62-51 with 6:32 to play, but the Wildcats would extend the lead and hang on for the 70-55 win.
Boise State’s 55 points is the lowest they have scored in a game this season. The previous season low for the Broncos was 69 against Utah.
Kentucky limited Boise State to 31.9% from the field, marking its lowest field goal percentage in a game this season.
The Wildcats outrebounded the Broncos 43-27, which was the lowest rebounding output for the Broncos this season.
One of the main reasons for Kentucky’s strong defensive showing was its ability not to foul, committing only 12 fouls in the game, which is a season low.
Aaron Harrison scored 13 points to go along with steals. The guard played 38 minutes, which ties a season high. He also played 38 minutes vs. Providence.
Andrew Harrison had 13 points as well to going 4-of-7 from the field and 5-of-7 from the FT line. He has now scored double-digit points in five games.
Julius Randle posted 17 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double on the year. This was his 10th game scoring in double figures. He went 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
James Young lead Kentucky in scoring with 21 points with nine rebounds. Has knocked down multiple 3-pointers in six games this season, including three or more five times. Young has at least one 3 in nine of UK’s 10 games this season. Had a great first half with 17 points, including four 3s. The 17 first-half points were the second most in an opening half for any UK player this season. Aaron Harrison had 19 first-half points vs. Robert Morris. This is his third time to lead Kentucky in scoring. Young’s four 3s are tied for second most this season. He now has hit four or more 3s in back-to-back games.
Willie Cauley-Stein ended the game with nine blocks, seven rebounds and six points. Was key defensively for Kentucky in the first half with five blocks and five rebounds, adding in six points. Ended the game with nine blocks, tying a career-best mark. He also had nine blocks against Providence.
By LARRY VAUGHT
What’s wrong with Kentucky? That’s the question I posed to two NBA scouts I know. Here’s what they said”
Scout one: “I feel bad for Cal. This group just wasn’t taught well in HS, and its too much for a college coach to catch them up quickly. Really looking forward to the game against Boise St. Those guards can score in bunches and could be huge problems for UK.”
Scout two: “It’s defense. The team is terrible defensively. The big guys also don’t play with the passion and tenacity necessary at key times. They play great at times, but they don’t get key rebounds or stops when they really need them. Could be too much thinking about next year and not enough about this week.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky signee Devin Booker, one of the best shooters in the 2014 recruiting class, regularly watches the Wildcats play.
What has he seen from Kentucky this year?
“I see a lot of talent. I still don’t think they’ve come together, but toward the end, I’m still sticking with them. I’ve played with a lot of them on the Nike EYBL circuit, so I feel like toward the end of the year, they’re going to be special,” Booker said.
He knows some Kentucky fans are in a bit of a panic after Friday’s loss to Baylor, but he’s not worried about the Cats.
“They’re panicking, but it’s top-20 teams they lost to (Michigan State and Baylor). It’s not like they really got upset, upset. So I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s going to end up,” Booker said.