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By Keith Taylor
ktaylor@winchestersun.com

LEXINGTON — It didn’t take long for DeMarcus Cousins got his first taste of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry. It took just 45 seconds for Cousins to realize the Wildcats were in for a showdown in the yearly showdown for bragging rights between the two rivals.
“It’s pretty intense,” Cousins said following Kentucky’s 71-62 triumph over the Cardinals in front of the largest crowd in Rupp Arena history. “The game was fun, but it was intense. Everybody played hard and we left it on the floor. It was fun.”
Although Cousins was slapped for a technical foul after battling Louisville’s Jared Swopshire for a lose ball at the 19:15 mark of first half, the Cardinals tried to rattle Cousins during pre-game warm-ups. It was the kind of greeting the Wildcats were expecting from the Cardinals.
“I think that Louisville did everything they could to get his goat,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said afterward. “We told him they were going to do that and they did it was we walked in and off the court (before the game) and the kid never budged.”
Cousins said Jerry Smith tried to rattle him prior to tipoff, but Calipari said Cousins wasn’t alarmed and was focused on the task at hand.
“He said, ‘it’s not bothering me,’” Calipari said. “I am going to play.”
Cousins said the emotional beginning provided a spark instead of the opposite reaction the Cardinals were trying to create.
“I enjoyed that game from start to finish,” he said. “It was an intense game – everybody was going hard and leaving it on the floor.”
As for the technical foul, Cousins said both players “were going after a lose ball” and got caught up in the heat of the moment. A television replay showed Cousins using his forearm in an exchange of wills between the two players.
“I don’t know anything about a forearm,” he said. “I was just going for the ball.”
Once Cousins got into the flow of the game, he dominated in the post. The Kentucky center had a double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds. Cousins carried the Cats until freshman sidekick John Wall took over down the stretch that kept the Wildcats perfect on the season.
“He played and he is pretty good,” Calipari said. “He missed some free throws that he has been making, but if we can get him consistently playing and get him focused in the court (we will be fine.). He did a pretty good job (of being focused.”
The demeanor that Cousins displayed following the heat-of-the-moment beginning pleased Calipari.
“He is growing up and really maturing,” Calipari said. “He is playing with a lot more confidence. He still does the reverse dunk and reverts to AAU every once in a while, but he is getting better.”
Cousins won’t be surprised the next time opponents try to get him rattled. As indicated by his performance against the Cardinals, Cousins showed he is maturing and can handle the adversity.
“I expect it,” he said. “We just have to stick together and play hard. We just have to keep fighting and never give up.”

12 Responses to Cousins didn’t need long to find out how intense Kentucky-Louisville rivarly is

  • Siva says:

    I tried to give Cousins my John Wall flu before the game in ther tunnel but he just went out and put up 18 and 18 on us. Plus he throws some mean elbows.

  • HDCKY says:

    I really think alot of teams are have been and are going to try and rattle the big guy because they know how emotional he is. They know if they push his buttons he will explode. But Cal has done a great job of getting DeMarcus to keep his emotions in check. Swopshire is lucky that Cousins didnt knock his brains out. IF this game was played a month ago then Cousins would have really hurt the guy and got ejected. But he held his own and really kept himself in control. He is really going to be a big asset to the Cats come March. 18 and 18 against a Pitino team is outstanding. I know Pitino is a royal piece of s**t, but he is a great coach. We are porud of you DeMarcus!!! You won the game for us today!

  • larryvaught says:

    Cuz is growing up. NO doubt about. And he will see more of this in SEC play

  • UKFMLY says:

    I said it at the beginning of the season and I will say it again. Few teams have the talent to beat us so cheap shots both physically and verbally is there only hope. If they can get in our heads and rattle the young guns they have a chance. If not turn out the lights. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE OR STAY HOME.

  • J. Stamper says:

    If I were the UK coach, and if there were a clone of Patrick Patterson out there in high school somewhere, I would recruit him over any player in the country.

    Tremendous player. Great human being.

  • bryan mceuen says:

    correct me if im wrong guys, it seems that here lately that patterson has been left out of the offense end were not giving him the ball enough.

  • King Ghidora says:

    I think Patterson is willing to take a back seat so young players can learn to step up. He’s always there as a go to guy when the Cats need him. He’s a real team player and he’s glad to see Cousins and Orton learn to raise their level of play. When tournament time comes you can bet he’ll be in the mix big time. And so will the other monsters of the middle. The Cats will have freshmen playing like sophomores because they had a chance to learn to play. They will be even more ready to take the title. 18 and 18 against Loserville proves the strategy is already working. Those are awesome stats.

  • grant combs says:

    the only thing i saw with big cuz and the elbow thing, is that he should have found a way to throw the other one in.

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    Trying to get Big Cuz mad might be a bad idea. Can you say 18 and 18? LOL

  • GoBigBlue37 says:

    Cousins is definitely a work in progress. You can tell he is used to getting his way on the court, because of his reactions after a foul but he is getting better about that. I would like to see him lose about 20 lbs, he must have 10″ vert. lol. When he learns to play under control from start to finish he will be unstoppable. GBB!!!

  • Andy P. says:

    I doubt it’s a conincidence that Wall has cramped up in the two most intense games we’ve played in Rupp. That’s a concern going forward.

    We will get the very best recruits next year to replace Wall and Cousins, but they will not be as good. Those two guys, along with Patterson, are going to be impossible to replace.

    Let’s all enjoy this special season.

  • Larry Vaught says:

    Patterson was a huge factor the first half, then the Cats made some bad passes to him early in the second half and Louisville also changed a few things. Of course, Wall also came to life.
    But I would also like to see a few more touches for Pat.
    And Cuz is Cuz. He’s just going to get better and better.
    As Andy noted, we better enjoy this year. Wall, Cousins and Pat won’t be back

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