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By Keith Taylor
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Doron Lamb has developed a reputation as one of KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top dependable players off the bench. If he keeps his production up, he may soon find a place in the starting lineup. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He needs to be on the court,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said afterward. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He really knows how to play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Lamb indeed gave the Cats a lift off the bench and scored 13 points in a 91-57 rout over Boston Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. Lamb provided an instant spark when the team was struggling and scored eight points in the opening half that kept the hosts in control despite a 20-minute challenge from the Terriers.
Because of his first-half showing, Lamb started the second frame and added five more points for his final tally. In addition to his scoring output, Lamb also dished out five assists, collected one steal and had just two turnovers in 27 minutes on the floor.
In the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first outing since losing to Connecticut in the finals of the Maui Invitational, Lamb and the Cats wanted to showcase more of an unselfish attitude as opposed to the selfish showing the team displayed against the Huskies. Instead of forcing the issue, the Lamb said the team focused on making the extra pass on offense led to the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s open shots on the perimeter.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach (John) Calipari told us it was going to be a big thing in the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In Maui, he said that we were selfish and we were trying to lay the ball up between three people when there were open guys in the corners. So, we were just trying to be unselfish and pass the ball to the open man and make shots.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the defensive end of the court, Lamb switched assignments with teammate Brandon Knight as part of a Ã¢â‚¬Å“new wrinkleÃ¢â‚¬Â to make matters complicated for the guests, especially in the second half. Lamb adjusted to a role that opposing teams may see more of in the future.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We were impressed how he guarded on (the) ball defense tonight,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We put him on the point guard and moved Brandon (Knight) off the ball, so that was something new for us, and he gives us a little bit better size in doing that. He knows how to score the ball.Ã‚Â I mean, he knows how to play. He has a great feel for the game.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Although his offensive skills are obviously plentiful, Lamb competitive spirit on the other end of the court could result in more minutes as the season progresses.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the main thing that coach (Calipari) cares about is defense,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we play defense, we stay on the court.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Robic and Kentucky coach John Calipari would like to see Lamb become more vocal when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on the floor.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to get him to be able to talk,Ã¢â‚¬Â Robic said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That’s the biggest drawback with Doron right now.Ã‚Â If we can get him to talk, that again is another way to make our team much better. Ã¢â‚¬Å“
Lamb said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s making strides with his communication skills and is getting more comfortable six games into his collegiate career.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It (communicating) was hard when I first got here, but now, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m getting better. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m starting to talk (more) on the court and in practice.Ã¢â‚¬Â