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Goodwin flirts with triple-double, shows off progress at the point

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Archie Goodwin had 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in UK's 101-75 win over LIU-Brooklyn on Friday night. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Archie Goodwin had 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in UK's 101-75 win over LIU-Brooklyn on Friday night. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Last year with Anthony Davis and this season with Nerlens Noel, it's become a rarity for 40 minutes of a Kentucky game to go by without mention of a potential triple-double.

Fans and media scour box scores every game, keeping close watch on whether a player will collect the right combination of statistics to do something that hasn't been done in almost 24 years in a UK uniform. Per usual, it was Noel triggering the speculation with his 12 points, four rebounds, four blocks and three rebounds at halftime on Friday night.

As the minutes passed and achieving the feat became more and more unlikely for Noel, Archie Goodwin came out of nowhere. With more than four minutes left, Goodwin had 20 points, eight assists and eight rebounds and he know about it. In hindsight, he wishes he didn't.

"I wish they wouldn't have told me because then I started thinking about it too much and I was trying to get it," Goodwin said.

His coach, however, was unaware, but definitely had a sense of humor about it after the fact.

"If I thought that, I would have thought 10 turnovers, too," John Calipari said. "So it's a quadruple double."

Goodwin would add a layup, an assist and a rebound in the final minutes, leaving his final stat line at 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds with two steals and a block to boot as the Wildcats topped the century mark in a 104-75 victory over LIU-Brooklyn. As for the quadruple-double watch, Goodwin had only three turnovers.

"It was still a good night for me, so I can live with it," Goodwin said.

But he'd be lying if he said he didn't want it. He knows Chris Mills is the last and only Wildcat with a triple-double and joining him in the record books would have been nice.

"There's only been one person to get the triple-double," Goodwin said. "Just to be another part of history would have been a good thing but we got the win. That's all that matters."

He was certainly a big part of the Cats winning their third straight.

With Ryan Harrow still out of town tending to an issuewith his family and missing his fourth game in a row, Goodwin once again shouldered the load at point guard. Jarrod Polson was steady in his 19 minutes, but Goodwin's attacking mentality was the driving force behind UK's 64-point outburst over the game's final 24 minutes, during which time the Cats went from trailing by three to leading by as many as 31.

"I'm learning when to attack and when to probably back it off and set up the offense," Goodwin said. "It's coming a lot easier to me now than it was a few games ago."

Calipari said after Friday night's win that he expects Harrow to return to Lexington Saturday and resume practicing on Sunday.

He has made significant progress, but the transformation is still very much in progress. Anytime Goodwin begins to think otherwise, Coach Cal is there to remind him, sometimes quite loudly.

"Still there's four or five plays he made where he tried to make the hardest play he could make," Calipari said. "Those all led to turnovers...I told him at the time, 'Why would you do that? Just make an easy play. But he's learning. I'm saying that when he goes 22-9-9."

Another player with another coach might react differently to being asked to improve following a nearly historic performance, but Goodwin gets it.

"I know that he expects a lot from the point-guard position and so I understand where he's coming from," Goodwin said. "I know he's one me for the right reasons. He's not trying to do it to put me down or anything because he wants the best for all of us, so I just look at it like that and I just get better from what he says and try to listen to what he says and execute."

Even as Calipari asks his freshman guard to calm down at times, neither Goodwin nor UK can afford to have him abandon the aggressiveness that makes him what he is.

Just 48 hours after he scored 28 points and shot 17 free throws against Morehead State, Goodwin upped his two-game totals to 50 points and 24 free-throw attempts.

"He's a tough guard," LIU-Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri said. "He gets all the way to the rim to his left and to his right...He gets fouled a ton."

According to kenpom.com, Goodwin ranked in the top 30 nationally in both free-throw rate and fouls drawn per 40 minutes coming into Friday's game. That's a testament to his ability and, perhaps even more importantly, willingness to seek out contact and play through it. Through the first five games of his college career, he has attempted 46 free throws, accounting for more than a third of his team's total.

"That just came from growing up in the rough part of Little Rock," Goodwin said. "When you play street ball, there's really no fouls called. If you don't make it, you don't make it. That's really what helped me out."

It's that attitude that led Goodwin to scoring an and-one layup with 1:14 left. Even when he knew he needed just an assist and a rebound for his triple-double, he couldn't turn off his attacking switch.

"It was still a good night for me, so I can live with it," Goodwin said.

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