Most Recent Posts
- Joe Lunardi: “Take the name off the jersey and this team is very ordinary by Kentucky standards”
- Update from Kentucky on renovation of Commonwealth Stadium
- Willie Cauley-Stein on John Calipari: “If he’s wrong about something he’s going to say he’s wrong and he’s going to fix it.”
- WR Blake Bone says he has the “size” to play immediately, but knows he will be playing “against men, not boys” at Kentucky
- Single-session seats still available for Kentucky NCAA tourney games in Memorial Coliseum
- James Young says Kentucky has to be more physical on defense
- UK signee Blake Bone on middle school football, dunking a basketball, academics, work and more
- Greater Atlanta UK Alumni Club hosting pep rally at Hawk Walk Friday
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky players didn’t offer any real insights into what the mysterious offensive tweak was that coach John Calipari hopes will transform a team that has had trouble scoring and making shots the last five games into a team again that was projected to be a national title contender.
“I can’t tell you. You got to wait ‘til Friday. But we’re all excited about it,” freshman Julius Randle said.
Randle wouldn’t confirm that UK wore football pads at Monday’s practice.
““Might have. I’m not telling you. I’m just going to say it was physical. It was just a long, hard, physical practice. A lot of scrimmaging and kind of a different style of play,” Randle said before emphasizing again that he was not talking about what the tweak was.
Randle didn’t even want to guess what the punishment might be for revealing what the tweak was.
“You’re asking the wrong person. Ask the man (Calipari) upstairs,” Randle said. “I don’t want to see the treadmill (as punishment for talking about the tweak).”
Freshman James Young was just as mum about the tweak.
“We just got to wait till Friday to see it. I think we’re just going to be playing a lot better,” Young said.
He said he “wouldn’t say all that” about the tweak being something magical to fix UK’s woes, but it “definitely” helped.
Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein was a bit less secretive.
“We just made practice more physical. He (Calipari) was talking about here on out, we’re only guaranteed two more games and those games are going to be a full-out war, really physical, so we just made practice extremely physical and really competitive,” Cauley-Stein.
So did anything specifically change?
“No, just mentality,” he said.
ST. LOUIS – Kentucky freshman Julius Randle continues to add to his list of postseason accolades after the United States Basketball Writers Association tabbed him to the All-District IV team on Tuesday. Randle is the only freshman selected to his region’s squad that encompasses the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Randle was one of eight Southeastern Conference players selected to the region’s squad. Louisville senior Russ Smith was named region player of the year.
Kentucky’s freshman forward ended the regular season leading the team in points (477) and rebounds (324). He also shot 52.0 percent from the floor and held a 72.2 rate from the free-throw line. No freshman in the SEC scored more points than Randle, who ranks sixth in the UK freshman record books for points in a season.
Randle led the SEC with 18 double-doubles and averaged 10.5 rebounds per game. He hauled in five more boards than Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes for the season to lead the league in that category as well. The Dallas native ranked fourth in the league in field-goal percentage and also led the conference in defensive rebounds per game at 6.9 per outing. His 324 rebounds is the fourth most of any freshman in UK history, and it also is the 22nd most by any player in program history in a single year.
While Julius Randle was strong inside during UK’s short second half rally at Florida Saturday, coach John Calipari was more impressed with something else — a pass.
“He was good getting it to the rim, but he also made that pass for the 3 You know what I mean? Well, just keep making that pass. Make it 22 times. Just keep passing that ball right there,” Calipari said to emphasize how much passing could help this team.
“We still – they went zone and we held the ball, which we haven’t done all year. We reverted. Like, we were: catch it and bounce and catch it and hold it, look around then throw. It’s all – we come in and out at times. Like I said, we have the ability, we have the skill, we have the size, we have length. We have all the stuff you need to do this. Now we just got to do it. It’s time. Let’s do it.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Give Julius Randle credit for at least having a brutally honest sense of urgency, something this team has often lacked, after Saturday’s loss at Florida when asked how important the SEC tourney will be for UK.
“Every game is important for us. We’ve got to get this thing. We don’t know what we’ve got to do but we’ve got to get going. Every game’s important to build our confidence and chemistry. As guys in the locker room we all still believe, but there’s a point where, you know, we have to put it into action and I still think we will,” Randle said.
Why does he believe that?
“Because of, like, the spurts we went on in the second half just shows how good we can really be on both ends of the floor. It’s encouraging because, we both know – the coaches and the players know – that we can do it, but we just have to do it all the time. We can’t do it when our backs (are) up against the wall. We’ve got to play like that all the time,” Randle said.
Photos by Victoria Graff, and property of Schurz Communications, Inc., and vaughtsviews.com. All rights reserved; images may not be reprinted in print or online without permission of the owners. Reprinted images must be attributed to vaughtsviews.com and linked to the original site.
Kentucky Basketball Postgame Notes
#1/1 Florida 84, #25/24 Kentucky 65
March 8, 2014
Stephen O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Fla.
Team Records, Notes
Kentucky falls to 22-9, and 12-6 in conference, while Florida improves to 29-2, and 18-0 in Southeastern Conference action.
Kentucky still leads the series 94-36 including a 33-24 record when the game is played in Gainesville.
Today’s contest concludes the 2013-14 regular season. UK has clinched the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 12 in Atlanta, Ga. UK has a double-bye and will not play until 7 p.m. ET on Friday, March 14.
Kentucky is now 6-14 all-time against teams owning the Associated Press’ No. 1 ranking. UK is 1-2 when Florida is the nation’s top-ranked squad.
Today’s attendance was 12,604.
Kentucky’s starting lineup was sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshmen Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young. UK previously used that lineup for the first three games of the season and again for a 13 game stretch in the middle of the season. UK is 11-6 with that lineup as the starters.
Alex Poythress was the first sub off the bench for UK. It was his team-leading 17th time this season as the team’s first substitution.
Young hit a 3-pointer at the 17:50 mark in the opening half to extend UK’s 3-streak to 891 consecutive games. It is the third largest streak in the country.
UK trailed 49-28 at halftime. It is the largest halftime deficit of the season for UK. The Wildcats are 4-7 overall and 2-5 in conference this season when trailing at the break.
Florida’s 59.6 field goal percentage and 60 percent from behind the arc marks the best shooting performance by a UK opponent this year.
First Half Facts
A 5-0 spurt in between media timeouts gave the Gators a 17-8 advantage into the second media break with 11:46 remaining in the opening half.
Trailing 44-22, it marked the largest deficit the Cats have faced this season.
Second Half Facts
A 15-0 run by Kentucky brought the game all the way back to a two possession contest on a hook shot from Dakari Johnson to make the score 53-47 with just over 12 minutes to play. The run tied the most consecutive points scored by the Wildcats this season.
Leading 72-60 with 3:49 to play in the game, Florida scored seven consecutive points to pull away and take a 19-point lead with 1:45 remaining.
Andrew Harrison tallied eight points and five assists.
Logged a career-high three steals.
Had four assists before halftime.
Dished out five assists, his most assists in a game since Feb. 4, vs. Ole Miss and seventh consecutive game with at least three assists.
Dakari Johnson recorded nine points and five rebounds.
Has scored at least eight points in each of the last three games.
Julius Randle led Kentucky with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Notched his team-leading 26th double-figure scoring effort of the year.
Logged his 18th double-double of the season. He has seven in the last eight games.
James Young knocked down three 3s in the first half.
Posted his 22nd double-figure scoring effort of the season.
MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Patric Young scored 18 points in his final home game and No. 1 Florida routed 25th-ranked Kentucky 84-65 on Saturday, becoming the first team in Southeastern Conference history to go 18-0 in league play.
Fellow seniors Casey Prather (15) and Scottie Wilbekin (13) also reached double figures for the Gators (29-2, 18-0), who have won 23 straight and 32 in a row at home.
Coach Billy Donovan called timeout with 36.9 seconds remaining to get his four seniors another standing ovation.
They certainly deserved this one.
Young, Prather, Wilbekin and fellow starter Will Yeguete have now won 113 games in four seasons, four shy of tying the school record held by Walter Hodge.
The latest one seemed a lock early but was in doubt for a while in the second half.
Julius Randle, who had his right knee treated during the first half, led the Wildcats (22-9, 12-6) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. James Young added 14 points, and Aaron Harrison chipped in 10.
With Florida’s ranking, the finale for four popular seniors, history at stake and the opponent, it was the biggest home game in school history. Single tickets to the nationally televised matchup were going for as much as $500 on the street, and there even was a successful marriage proposal on the court beforehand.
The Gators delivered, especially early.
Florida made 14 of its first 21 shots. Young, who scored 14 points in the first half, did most of the damage inside. Michael Frazier II, who made a school-record 11 3-pointers Tuesday at South Carolina, got hot again from outside.
Frazier’s consecutive 3s pushed the lead to 19 and had the O’Dome rocking.
The Gators were up 22 after Dorian Finney-Smith’s third 3 of the half and led 49-28 at the break.
But Kentucky coach John Calipari must have delivered some kind of halftime speech. The Wildcats opened the second half by pounding the ball inside, getting Randle more involved.
Kentucky used a 15-0 run to cut the lead to 53-47, quieting the arena and giving the Wildcats confidence they could pull off the upset.
But Wilbekin responded with a huge 3 with 12 minutes remaining. Prather followed with several driving layups, none bigger than the one that turned into a three-point play and pushed the lead back to 17.
Florida coasted from there, and shortly after the final horn, Young announced to the crowd that they would cut down the nets. The Gators opted not to do that after they clinched the SEC regular-season title last week, but wanted to do it Saturday.
It was a fitting end to what was an emotional day for the seniors, who have national title expectations.
They were honored at midcourt before the game and presented with framed jerseys. They had to notice the sign that read, “Hey Kentucky, this is what Senior Day looks like.”
They topped the first celebration with the net-cutting ceremony.
The conference played an 18-game conference schedule from 1967 through 1991, and then expanded the league slate last season with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M. Only two SEC schools have managed a 17-1 mark: Kentucky accomplished the feat twice (1970, 1986), and LSU did it in 1981.
But no one had gone 18-0 until now.
No. 1 FLORIDA 84, No. 25 KENTUCKY 65
KENTUCKY (22-9): Cauley-Stein 2-3 0-0 4, Randle 7-11 2-5 16, Young 3-6 5-7 14, Aa. Harrison 3-7 3-4 10, An. Harrison 3-14 2-2 8, Polson 0-1 0-0 0, Poythress 2-5 0-0 4, Johnson 3-4 3-7 9. Totals 23-51 15-25 65.
FLORIDA (29-2): Yeguete 2-4 1-2 5, Prather 5-5 5-9 15, Young 8-13 2-4 18, Wilbekin 4-7 3-4 13, Frazier II 3-8 0-0 9, Hill 1-1 6-6 8, Finney-Smith 3-6 2-2 11, Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, C. Walker 1-1 0-0 2, D. Walker 1-2 0-2 3, Kurtz 0-0 0-0 0, Donovan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-47 19-29 84.
Halftime_Florida 49-28. 3-Point Goals_Kentucky 4-10 (Young 3-4, Aa. Harrison 1-3, An. Harrison 0-1, Poythress 0-2), Florida 9-15 (Finney-Smith 3-4, Frazier II 3-7, Wilbekin 2-2, D. Walker 1-2). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Kentucky 27 (Randle 10), Florida 32 (Yeguete, Young 7). Assists_Kentucky 10 (An. Harrison 5), Florida 20 (Hill 7). Total Fouls_Kentucky 22, Florida 19. A_12,604.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By LARRY VAUGHT
While some Kentucky fans continue to wonder about James Young’s outside shooting and defense, ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford has upgraded Young to a top 10 pick in the upcoming June draft.
Ford still has Julius Randle as the first UK player in this rankings at No. 6, he elevated Young from No. 14 to No. 9 and wrote that NBA scouts feel he could “be a star” even though he was only 1-for-9 from the field in UK’s win over Alabama Tuesday.
Young averages 14.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and has scored 20 or more points seven times this season.
Ford also left twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison out of his first-round projections.