By LARRY VAUGHT
BENTON — Kentucky coach John Calipari came to the Marshall County Hoop Fest to see signees Trey Lyles and Devin Booker play, and both put on a show for him and assistant coaches Orlando Antigua and Kenny Payne.
Lyles had 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting and 14 rebounds to lead Indianapolis Arsenal Tech to a stunning54-51 victory over Huntington Prep, a team filled with Division I signees and prospects.
Lyles hit a 3-pointer and made three free throws to secure the win for Tech (3-1) and then got to shake hands and speak to Calipari as he headed off the court. It capped a big day for him as he had 30 points and 19 rebounds earlier in an overtime win over Ballard.
Lyles also quickly spoke to Booker, who had watched his game after scoring 40 points in a 92-71 loss to Ballard.
Booker was 9-for-18 from the field and made 20 of 24 free throws, a pleasing statistic to UK fans considering the shooting woes the Cats have had at the line this season. Booker collected nine rebounds, converting three into scores, and had just two turnovers against Ballard’s pressure defense. He got a standing ovation when he came out of the game with about 90 seconds to play and chatted with Calipari as he was waiting for Lyles’ game to start.
“It was great. I wanted to come here not just for me, but for my teammates so they could experience this,” Booker said.
His team won a rivalry game Friday night in Mississippi, ate and then spent about 12 hours on a bus to get here.
“We’re tired, but it was worth it,” Booker said.
Calipari also watched junior Montaque Gill-Caesar of Huntington Prep, who both Lyles and Booker indicated they hoped would sign with UK this year if he reclassifies, score just five points on 2-for-8 shooting in the loss to Arsenal Tech.