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Lamb knows freshmen didn’t play their best

Doron Lamb takes a shot against Princeton. (Victoria Graff photo)By LARRY VAUGHT

TAMPA — Doron Lamb was just 3-for-7 from the field, made three turnovers and grabbed just three rebounds in 34 minutes of play Thursday in Kentucky’s 59-57 NCAA Tournament win over Princeton here.

However, the freshman guard wasn’t worried about his seven-point performance or UK’s narrow escape thanks to Brandon Knight’s last second-shot — the first game-winner he’s made at Kentucky in the closing seconds. Instead, Lamb was just happy UK (26-8) survived and will now get to play West Virginia Saturday.

He shared these thoughts after the game.

Question: What did you think of your first NCAA Tournament game?
Lamb: “I am just glad it is over. We were trying to win a game. We didn’t worry about who was scoring or who was hot. Me, Terrence (Jones) and Brandon (Knight) didn’t play the best we could play, but the veterans stepped up and led us to victory.”

Question: Was there a time you maybe worried Kentucky was not going to win?
Lamb: “No. We always had confidence in ourselves to win the game. We just knew we had to get some (defensive) stops and we did that. Darius (Miller) and Terrence (Jones) hit big 3’s in the second half and that helped us a lot.”

Question: Were you, Knight and Jones nervous even though all of you have played in national all-star games, nationally televised games this year and won the SEC Tournament last week?
Lamb: “We were. I had a few butterflies at the beginning of the game in my first tournament game. When the game started, I was ready to go. My shots didn’t fall, and that didn’t help. But we won.”

Question: Does it surprise you that all three freshmen could have an off game in the same game?
Lamb: “It surprised me a lot, but things happen. The veterans helped us win and move on.”

Question: Why were you struggling with your shot?
Lamb: “It was just a night that they were not dropping and then you have to do other things to help your team win. That doesn’t happen a lot, but when it happens at this time of year your season can be over and glad that did not happen to us.”

Question: How confident were you that Knight would score on the final drive of the game?
Lamb: “I knew it would be a great shot, maybe even a tip-in. But it went in and I was happy with that.”

Question: Did you know he was 0-for-7 from the field at the time?
Lamb: “I knew that. I knew he had no points and no field goals. I don’t know what was going on. He missed every shot, but things happen and other players have to step up.”

Question: Did you know Jones only had two rebounds and one came in the final three minutes?
Lamb: “I knew that, too. But Terrence got a tough rebound late. Next game he has to step up.”

Question: How do you know all these statistics when you are trying to play?
Lamb: “I heard Coach (John Calipari) tell them. That’s how I knew.”

Question: Do you believe Knight when he says he didn’t know he had missed every shot until the game-winner?
Lamb: “I think he did. He had to know.”

Question: Were you supposed to commit a foul when Princeton inbounded the ball with two seconds to play since UK had only three team fouls in the half?
Lamb: “I was going to foul, but I didn’t want to foul him (Kareem Maddox) in case he was shooting. The plan was to foul him, but I didn’t want to chance it and just let him go and figured if it happens, it happens. Coach (Orlando) Antigua was yelling for me to foul, but I wasn’t going to do it because I remembered when Brandon got  fouled (by Mississippi State) in a similar situation.”

Question: Was Princeton better than maybe you thought?
Lamb: “Yes. They are real good. They ran their offense well and gave us problems.”

Question: Did you watch any of UK’s loss to West Virginia in last year’s NCAA Tournament?
Lamb: “I watched a little bit of it. I know we lost and missed a lot of shots, but I have to worry about our team and playing them Saturday. I know we can shoot. I think we will all play good and win the game.”

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  1. Karen Sprinkle

    So, in Cal’s words, they’ll owe him one. I think they owe him 5, as in 5 great games…. That would be good.

  2. You tell ‘em Karen. And I expect them to do just that. Just continue to give us your best TEAM and we’ll be alright.

  3. LindaS

    The freshmen are freshmen…enuff said.
    However, where is the love for Josh? Double-double, no fouls, 1 to and steals and blocks. I think he was the MVP of the game even thought Brandon scored the last points. Josh was DA MAN today, he did it all and he never stepped back or down. Go Cats!

  4. Shelley

    I think I’m glad that they got this game out of their systems…now maybe they will come out on fire for the rest of the ride! Generally they don’t shoot poorly in back to back games…would love to see the shots falling on Saturday. GO CATS!! (BTW…I agree w/Karen…5 great games would be awesome!)

  5. gmoyers

    Freshmen have to get better. If they do, Cats will roll Saturday. If not, no trip to play Ohio State

  6. SeylerAngelica525

    Larry did you nail your first article for the Advocate-Messenger. I doubt if it comes close to the great work you do today. Pressure to prove these players belong at Kentucky has been overwhelming this year. They have stood the test and proved to be invaluable part of this team. Now after 1 bad game in their first NCAA tournament we question them. This can create doubt and also destroy a players confidence in himself. I’m a Cat fan and want Kentucky to win every game. We need to remember there are 63 other teams with dreams of becoming the National Champs and they will give anything to make that happen. Please just enjoy the ride.

  7. Ben

    You always have at least one close game in the tournament! Jones was sick and Knight and Lamb were off on their shots. They need to beat West Virginia on Saturday and they will probably be underdogs in the remaining games. This team seams to play better against the higher ranked teams. I could accept a loss to Ohio State more than West Virginia! Of course, I want to win it all!

  8. gmoyers

    Gary, lot of pressure no doubt. But these guys get few second chances in March. Luckily, they have won now and as Ben noted, hopefully they are ready to roll now

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