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By LARRY VAUGHT
It was not his best scoring game of the season and he had the same number of turnovers Ã¢â‚¬â€ four Ã¢â‚¬â€ in 34 minutes that he had in the previous 209 minutes he had played in KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first seven games.
Yet sophomore guard Doron Lamb once again proved just how valuable he will be to KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success this year with his play in SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 73-72 win over North Carolina.
In the gameÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first 29 minutes, he had four points. In the next eight minutes, he had 10 points by going 4-for-4 from the field and draining two crucial 3-pointers.
He drove inside two score on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 56-56 with 10 minutes, 36 seconds to play. His first 3-pointer gave UKÃ¢â‚¬Ë†a 66-62 lead with 5:35 left and his final trey put the Cats in front 69-64 with 3:46 to go and helped offset a turnover he made in the final minute when UK was trying to hold on to its lead.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He struggled (in the first half). The play that made me angry was in that first half when that ball squirted out and he didn’t have a basket so he was rushing in to score on 6-9 guys, got blocked. Why are you doing that? Pull it down, let’s run offense,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kentucky coach John Calipari.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought in the second half, I put the ball in his hands saying, Ã¢â‚¬ËœLet’s go down.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ He did a couple layups. He had a couple 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. They were big shots. That one in the corner was a huge shot. He knocked it down.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He also often ran the point so Calipari could rest freshman point guard Marquis Teague, who had just one turnover in 30 minutes even though he struggled offensively and went 3-for-11 from the field.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When Doron runs the point, it takes the pressure off Marquis. He can rest and see what Doron does. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge help to us,Ã¢â‚¬Â sophomore Terrence Jones said.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams admitted LambÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second-half offense hurt his team.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lamb made two bit shots back to back,Ã¢â‚¬Â Williams said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Those two 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s by Lamb were big, huge,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He just knocked them down, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what he does. If heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s open, he makes shots. We all know that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why Jones said no one was worried when Lamb was just 1-for-4 from the field in the first half Ã¢â‚¬â€ he was 5-for-8 the second time and now has scored in double figures in seven of eight games this season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what can happen on this team. But when it is your time, you have to make play. Coach put the ball in his hands the second half and he made shots like we know he can,Ã¢â‚¬Â Jones said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I told him at halftime if we were going to win, he had to help us do it and knock down shots. He said he would and then he did it.Ã¢â‚¬Â