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Video: Highlights from UK's win over UT Arlington

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UK in the NBA - Davis, Cousins face off in week 4

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By Nick Jones, UK Athletics


Week four in the NBA was highlighted by a heavyweight matchup between two of the most dominant big men the league has to offer. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis squared off on Tuesday night as the Pelicans edged the Kings 106-100.

Even in a losing effort Cousins was still able to battle one of the toughest frontcourts in the NBA as he scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Davis had 28 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the Pelicans' win.

Both bigs followed up their blockbuster battle with even more dominance later in the week. Cousins was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time in his career as he finished out the week with 31 points and 18 rebounds in a road win Sunday against the Timberwolves. Davis posted a career-high 43 points to go along with 14 rebounds in a 106-94 win against former Cat Enes Kanter and the Utah Jazz.

Kanter has solidified his role as a starter and major contributor for the Jazz while averaging 13 points and six rebounds through 11 games this season.

Other week four highlights

Eric Bledsoe has been a model of consistency in his first 14 games under a new contract for the Phoenix Suns. In week four Bledsoe was the focus in leading the Suns to a 4-0 record on the road dating back to last Monday. The former Kentucky guard posted 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds per game during the current win-streak for phoenix.

James Young shined in his D-League stint with the Maine Red Claws. The rookie shooting guard scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a winning effort for the Celtics' D-League affiliate. The goal for Young was to use his time in the D-League to work back into game shape after sustaining multiple injuries in the preseason. He is set to rejoin the Celtics this week for their home stand against the Bulls and the Spurs.

Week five TV schedule

Wednesday: Memphis (Tayshaun Prince) @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV
Friday: L.A. Clippers @ Houston (Terrence Jones) 8:00 p.m. on NBA TV
Saturday: New Orleans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller) @ Washington (John Wall) 7:00 p.m. on NBA TV

Player (Team)

Games   Played

Games Started

MPG

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

SPG

Eric Bledsoe (Suns)

14

14

30.4

13.4

5.3

5.5

0.5

1.1

DeMarcus Cousins (Kings)

13

13

31.5

23.2

12.3

1.9

1.5

1.1

Anthony Davis (Pelicans)

12

12

36.6

26.3

11.4

1.8

3.5

2.2

Archie Goodwin (Suns)

6

0

7.3

2.8

1.2

0.5

0.0

0.2

Chuck Hayes (Raptors)

7

0

10.9

1.0

2.1

1.3

0.1

0.9

Terrence Jones (Rockets)

4

4

29.3

14.0

7.5

1.5

1.8

1.0

Enes Kanter (Jazz)

14

14

23.5

12.9

6.3

0.5

0.2

0.2

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets)

6

6

23.3

9.8

5.5

1.3

0.8

0.2

Brandon Knight (Bucks)

14

14

33.6

18.1

5.3

6.4

0.1

1.2

Darius Miller (Pelicans)

4

0

7.3

0.5

0.3

0.5

0.0

0.2

Nerlens Noel (76ers)

11

8

29.1

7.5

6.5

1.8

1.3

1.4

Nazr Mohammed (Bulls)

2

0

10.5

0.5

3.0

0.5

0.5

0.0

Patrick Patterson (Raptors)

13

3

24.6

7.2

4.8

1.6

0.5

0.8

Tayshaun Prince (Grizzlies)

8

6

22.9

7.1

2.9

0.8

0.0

0.4

Rajon Rondo (Celtics)

11

11

33.0

11.1

7.5

10.7

0.2

1.7

John Wall (Wizards)

12

12

35.7

19.4

4.3

9.1

0.6

2.7

James Young (Celtics)

3

0

4.0

3.0

0.3

0.0

0.3

0.0

 


'100-pound coat' not weighing down UK yet

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Karl-Anthony Towns had eight points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in UK's 86-28 win over Montana State on Sunday. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Karl-Anthony Towns had eight points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in UK's 86-28 win over Montana State on Sunday. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
There was another "only at Kentucky" moment on Saturday.

John Calipari took to Twitter to wish a happy birthday to his daughter Megan. The sentiment was nice, but there was a problem.

He was a day early.

Megan quickly replied to tell him of the error. And since Coach Cal has 1.3 million followers, the story was quickly picked up by national outlets, all the way up to "Good Morning America."

"Why does that go all over the world, by the way?" Calipari said, who made light of the mishap by bringing a birthday balloon to his press conference after UK's dominant 86-28 win over Montana State.

Calipari's question was a rhetorical one, mostly because he already knows the answer.

The reason the story blew up the way it did is because of Coach Cal's position at the helm of the most high-profile college basketball program in the country. It's the same reason why fans throughout the country are already tiring of the word "platoon" because of how often it's already been used.

The spotlight, of course, has its perks for Coach Cal and players alike. UK is, as Calipari so often says, the "gold standard" for a reason, but there are drawbacks too.

After the victory over Montana State, in which UK set a shot clock-era record for the fewest points allowed in school history, he coined a new phrase to describe it, adding to his personal pantheon that runs the gamut from ice cream-pooping to Super Bowl-playing to brother-keeping.

"What these kids deal with to be here, to play here, to be a part of this program, they wear a hundred-pound coat," Calipari said.

The burden, Calipari admits, starts with him.

"I am rough on them, I am tough on them, I'm holding them to high standard," Calipari said. "I'm like a hawk. I see everything. I'm coaching them the entire time. They're getting better. It is not an option, you will get better. That's me."

Then you have Kentucky fans, who surely would have made concerned calls to radio shows on Monday had the final margin been much less than the 58-point one they enjoyed on Sunday evening, largest since a 62-point win over Vanderbilt in 2002-03.

"That's another 20 pounds of the coat," Calipari said.

To top it off, there's the media scrutiny that's led to a national debate about whether this UK team could beat the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, not to mention the people surrounding the players who create the "clutter" about which Calipari so often talks.

Contrast that with UK's opponents, whom Calipari says are burden-free next to the Cats.

"The people coming in to play us got windbreakers," Calipari said. "They're loose as a goose. They're just going to go play."

Karl-Anthony Towns, just five games into his UK career, has already noticed.

"Man, windbreakers?" said Towns, who tallied six of UK's 12 blocks to bring his season total to 18. "I don't even think they're wearing anything. They're going to the beach."

Dakari Johnson, who nearly had another double-double with 13 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes, is in his second year wearing that heavy coat. He knows there's no taking it off either.

"We're always going to feel that type of pressure because of the expectations and stuff like that," Johnson said. "But I feel like we're a close unit so there's not much pressure to get to us because we're so close together."

That closeness means the Cats can share the burden rather than carry it individually.

"Anytime I need any advice, anytime I need to talk to somebody, it's as easy as calling Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Aaron Harrison, Andrew," Towns said. "I have so many numbers and so much support on my side that this whole being a UK Wildcat basketball player, the pressure really hasn't gotten to me. I've just been having a lot of fun."

With five wins by an average margin of 34.6 points -- the last coming in a game where the Cats held their opponents to 19.7-percent shooting, forced 21 turnovers and had one stretch of 12:37 in which they didn't allow a single point -- it's no surprise Towns has been enjoying himself so much.

Besides, he and his teammates did at least have an idea what they were getting into when they signed to play at UK. It's not like Coach Cal hides the 100-pound coats in the closet during the recruiting process.

"You know, Big Blue Nation is crazy," said Devin Booker, who had his second straight big game with 18 points. "But, you just play through it, it's something you learn. You know, it's a good problem to have. You want to be on this stage, so that's why you come here."

That's lucky, because that coat's not getting any lighter.

"If you're not willing to wear the hundred-pound coat, you don't come here, you can't come here, because it's not changing," Calipari said.

Video: Highlights from UK's win over Montana State

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Alex Poythress was a late scratch from UK's win over Boston University on Friday night. According to head coach John Calipari, he'll be out again on Sunday vs. Montana State before his likely return on Tuesday.


Booker finds his stroke, shoots UK past BU

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Devin Booker scored 15 points, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range, in UK's 89-65 win over Boston University on Friday. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Devin Booker scored 15 points, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range, in UK's 89-65 win over Boston University on Friday. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Joe Jones used every motivational ploy at his disposal.

He told his Boston University team Kentucky would have trouble sustaining the energy the Wildcats used to blow out Kansas on Tuesday. He showed them the way Buffalo played in building a five-point halftime lead on UK just five days ago.

Jones believed in everything he was saying, but there was one fact he was still resigned to before he took his Terriers into Rupp Arena.

"They have so many guys that are so good, one of them is going to get hot," Jones said.

On Friday night, that someone was Devin Booker.

Booker was the second-half star as UK (4-0) overcame a sluggish first half that saw the Cats manage just a five-point lead. He scored 12 of his 15 points after the break and UK outscored the Terriers 49-30 to register an 89-65 win in front of 22,485 fans at Rupp Arena.

"I finally got to see a shot go in," Booker said. "That's good to see, and most of all I wanted to get other people involved and I feel like we did that. We had a slow start, but in the second half we pulled it together."

Through his first three collegiate games, the sharp-shooting Booker managed just one make in 11 tries from 3-point range. The message delivered to him by everyone from John Calipari, his father, former NBA player Melvin Booker, and teammate Aaron Harrison was the same.

"I had a lot of talk with Coach and my dad," Booker said. "They just said, 'Keep shooting. It's going to fall.' And I came out tonight and it did."

Booker hit 4 of 6 from 3 against Boston and scored five of the first seven points in the 23-8 run UK used to close the game.

"You just gotta keep your confidence," said Aaron Harrison, who led UK with 19 points. "That's what being a shooting guard is. No matter how many shots you miss, you gotta keep going because that's what your team needs you to do: score the ball."

In spite of that positional label, Booker did more than just score on Friday. To go with his four rebounds, Booker had seven assists, the most for any Wildcat so far this season.

"Not very often," Booker said when he was asked if he's had many such games, "but it's easy when you have teammates like this."

The teammate on his mind when he said that was Dominique Hawkins, who was on the receiving end of Booker's last assist. Booker, for the fourth time of the night, lobbed a pass over BU's sagging 2-3 zone, but this one appeared out of his hand to be too high for the 6-foot Hawkins.

It wasn't.

Hawkins, making his first career start with Alex Poythress day to day due to illness, rose over a defender and slammed home the pass for UK's final points of the night on what was unquestionably the dunk of an early season that's been full of them.

"I don't even know how high I went up for it," Hawkins said. "I'll have to watch the video after this is over.

"That lob was incredible," Booker said. "Seeing it from my view, it was crazy."

Booker, having seen what Hawkins did, will surely be eager to throw more such alley-oops, no matter how he's shooting. In high school, Booker was a prolific scorer who had to put the ball in the basket for his team to win. Now, he's just another star in Coach Cal's constellation.

That means he's learning how contribute when his shot isn't falling.

"It's an adjustment that you have to make from high school to college," Booker said. "And like I said, I feel like it's coming along right now. But like I said, when you have a team like this, if you're not shooting or not scoring you can involve yourself in different ways to contribute to the win."

Booker had most of the ways covered against BU, but he still wasn't immune to constructive criticism from Coach Cal.

With UK going away from its platoons more often in Poythress' absence, Calipari immediately yanked Booker when he failed to throw the ball ahead to Aaron Harrison on a fast break. Similarly, Karl-Anthony Towns had a breakdown defending a pick-and-roll and Trey Lyles had trouble defending smaller opponents on the dribble.

It's all part of the process.

"They're still learning," Calipari said. "They're going to do stuff like that."

But the talent, indisputably, is there. And though Booker is beginning to learn to contribute in multiple ways, when he's doing what he's known for, look out.

"It's nice to see when he makes shots, we become a little bit different," Calipari said.

Recent Comments

  • joel alberto luna colon: I agree with you, UK has not only the talent, but some experience. They could go undefeated if they want read more
  • Berdj Rassam: This was expected to be an easy win for UK. read more
  • dannyone: if the cat,s play like that in every game as they should they could go all the way.so what I,m read more
  • Dale Sine: Coach Cal at it again. He is the best coach in America and the only coach that could handle coaching read more
  • Mike J.: Cal is the best coach out there. He returned Memphis to national prominence and stayed 9 years, a helluva lot read more
  • Berdj Rassam: Booker will be a key part of whether or not this team will be successful this season. read more
  • Tom Moore: Since Tubby 98 and 2003-2004 team which should've won it all, Kentucky fans ( I am true blue ) have read more
  • John Mylant: Kentucky verses Kansas I am a UK fan but bringing this into perspective, this was just one of those games. read more
  • Catherine: We have the Blue Platoon and the White Platoon, I say we should name the rest team "The Closers"! read more
  • Sandy: Great game. I couldn't take my eyes off in the second half. Proud of all of you. I thought Epps read more