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Jan. 24 Performances of the Week

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Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 24:

Swimming & diving: Elvis Burrows

Senior Elvis Burrows was an integral part in three of Kentucky's top events in a loss to No. 16 Louisville this weekend. Burrows took the butterfly leg of the second-place 200-medley relay which achieved an NCAA 'B' time standard. He then led a 1-2 finish in the 100-butterfly by the Blue and White. Finally, he was the second place finisher in a 1-2 finish for UK in the 50-free. His time in the event (20.07) was an NCAA 'B' time standard and his best of the season.

Men's basketball: DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins, a 6-11 forward from Mobile, Ala., scored 16 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in only 17 minutes of action in helping lead Kentucky (19-0, 4-0 SEC) to a 101-70 win against Arkansas. It was Cousins' 10 th double-double of the season, one shy of the UK freshman record of 11 (Chris Mills) in a season. He has recorded two straight double-doubles and has recorded six double-doubles this season while playing less than 20 minutes in the game.

Swimming & diving: John Fox

Freshman John Fox gained valuable points for the Wildcats with a victory on the three-meter board and a runner-up finish on the one-meter board at Louisville this weekend. Fox's three-meter score of 324.08 was nearly 20 points more than the second-place finisher, and it is his career-best mark in the event.

Rifle: Logan Fox

Logan Fox had an outstanding week, with solid performances in both the win over Army and the loss to Alaska-Fairbanks. In the win over Army, Fox totaled a 587 in air rifle and a 573 in smallbore, with his air rifle score ranking fifth best in the match. In the match with UAF, Fox had a 581 in air rifle and a 576 in smallbore. "Logan has made some great gains in his performance this semester," assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. "He has been very focused on working and fine-tuning his mental game plan in practice. This weekend's match against Ole Miss was indicator that his training is paying off and he is ready to compete at a higher level. It's great to have such depth on our team so that ever team member continually strives for a better performance."

Gymnastics: Emily Green

UK senior Emily Green won the floor exercise with a career-high and meet individual-high score of 9.950. She became only the third gymnast in school history to record a 9.950 on the floor exercise along with former Wildcat and current assistant coach Heather Hite and three-time all-around NCAA champion Jenny Hansen. Green posted her second title of the season, first on floor exercise. Green finished second on the beam with a team-high 9.800.

Rifle: Ashley Jackson

Ashley Jackson continued to lead the UK rifle team with solid performances against Army and Alaska-Fairbanks. Jackson has had an outstanding senior season and totaled a team-best 589 in air rifle against UAF and a 578 in smallbore. In the win over Army, Jackson had the best air rifle score of the match (592) and the second-best smallbore score of the match (583). "Ashley was an unwavering force in the past three matches," assistant coach Stacy Underwood said. "Although she had solid scores, the most impressive part was the determination and focus she displayed during each match. There were several times where she had to make the decision to expect more from herself and she prevailed like a true champion."

Swimming & diving: Chatham Penrod

Junior Chatham Penrod claimed both backstroke events for the second consecutive meet, and was the only UK athlete to earn two individual victories. Her time in the 100-backstroke (55.61) is an NCAA 'B' time standard. She also took the backstroke leg in the winning 200-medley relay which also achieved an NCAA 'B' mark in Kentucky's loss at No. 13 Louisville this week.

Women's basketball: Lydia Watkins

  • Senior forward Lydia Watkins averaged 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds off the bench in helping Kentucky earn two SEC wins and improve to 16-3 overall and 4-2 in SEC play.
  • Watkins scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field in an 18-point win over Auburn. With the Tigers trimming a 20-point UK lead to 10 points midway through the second half, Watkins made a series of critical plays for the Cats. She recorded two steals, made a conventional three-point play and scored another basket, all in a span of 49 seconds to thwart the Tigers' rally and extend UK's advantage to 17 points.
  • Pulled down a season- and game-high 12 rebounds and scored six points in UK's win over Arkansas.
  • Has scored in double digits in four consecutive games while averaging just 18.0 minutes per game.

Dec. 25 From the Pressbox

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UK alum Tom Leach has been the play-by-play "Voice of the Wildcats" for the football Cats for 12 years and 9 year's for men's basketball. He is a four-time winner of the Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year award. Tom offers an entertaining and insightful perspective into UK athletics. Column entries will be posted twice per week through April. Read Tom's full biography

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Special teams could play a key role in the outcome of the Music City Bowl matchup between Kentucky and Clemson.

C.J. Spiller is arguably the most dangerous returner in the country, having already returned four kickoffs for touchdowns this season. And with eight kickoff or punt return TDs, Spiller is one away from a setting a national record. Kentucky All-American Derek Abney is one of the players with whom Spiller is currently tied.

UK special teams coordinator Steve Ortmayer has great respect for Spiller, but he also trusts his kickoff coverage team and kicker Craig McIntosh.

So don't look for the Wildcats to do what several teams did to try and contain Spiller, which is to squib the kick. That's part of the reason Clemson's average starting position for its drives this season was the 38-yard line.

"We're just not willing to give up that 20 yards of field position that other teams have," said Ortmayer, adding that UK will at least start off by kicking the ball down the field as it has all season.

"We've done that with everybody we've played against. We feel like if we've got our normal set of guys, we've got enough speed on that team that we can challenge them," he continued. "He's a speed guy who likes to do this, so he can create some things for himself and then his ability takes over. When he played him when he was a freshman but he didn't scare you like he does now."

Ortmayer also has confidence in McIntosh, despite the cold weather that is forecast for Nashville.

"That kid has come along over the course of the last six weeks, to become a quality kicker. It remains to be seen if he can play in the kind of weather we'll get here," Ortmayer said. "If affects kickoffs tremendously. There's no air in the ball. It's just a cold, hard rock. It won't hang in the air like we need it to and it won't go as far--so we'll need to adjust to those two things.

"We're challenge our guys," he added, "to make sure this is not the 'C.J. Spiller show'."

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ESPN's Jay Bilas knew the Kentucky basketball team was loaded with talent but because of the great lack of experience, he has questions about whether the Wildcats can go as deep into the NCAA Tournament as the Final Four. But after watching the Cats beat North Carolina earlier this month, he started to revise that opinion.

"I think he (Calipari) is striking the right balance of giving them the freedom to make mistakes but holding them accountable," Bilas said. "Some of these things you learn, you learn through experience. When it comes down to the end of the year, are they going to be vulnerable to getting beat by an older team? Yeah, they are--but you knew that going in. But I think Kentucky is going to be better than I thought. They've got a lot of talent and they play really hard. That's one thing that may trump some of the experience issues. And it looks like they're attentive to what the coaching staff wants. They're so certainly not afraid (of big games) and that's a plus. These kids play high-level basketball every summer. I think, generally, an 18-year old kid is better than they were 20 years ago."

And obviously, Bilas is quite impressed with John Wall.

"His explosiveness is off the charts," he told tomleachky.com. "I just haven't seen a guard that young that is, frankly, that good."

Rifle 101 -- part 4

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Video by Evan Crane, UK Media Relations

Arguably no program has been more successful at UK over the last two decades than the rifle team. Since head coach Harry Mullins took the reins of the program in the mid-1980s, the UK rifle team has been downright dominant.

Under the tutelage of Mullins, UK has posted nine consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including 15 of the last 16 years. Last season, the Cats nearly pulled off their first national championship, finishing the year as national runner-ups. The Cats have captured five Great American Rifle Conference championships and three regular season conference titles during Mullins' tenure.

That's simply dominance. But, admittedly, not everyone knows what goes behind posting top-10 rifle finishes. What better man to tell you himself than one of the nation's best rifle coaches? Over the next four Thursdays, Mullins will take you behind the scenes to show you the basics of rifle, the difference between smallbore and air rifle, how rifle is scored and much, much more.

Without further ado, here's part four of Rifle 101:

Rifle 101 -- part 3

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Video by Evan Crane, UK Media Relations

Arguably no program has been more successful at UK over the last two decades than the rifle team. Since head coach Harry Mullins took the reins of the program in the mid-1980s, the UK rifle team has been downright dominant.

Under the tutelage of Mullins, UK has posted nine consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including 15 of the last 16 years. Last season, the Cats nearly pulled off their first national championship, finishing the year as national runner-ups. The Cats have captured five Great American Rifle Conference championships and three regular season conference titles during Mullins' tenure.

That's simply dominance. But, admittedly, not everyone knows what goes behind posting top-10 rifle finishes. What better man to tell you himself than one of the nation's best rifle coaches? Over the next four Thursdays, Mullins will take you behind the scenes to show you the basics of rifle, the difference between smallbore and air rifle, how rifle is scored and much, much more.

Without further ado, here's part three of Rifle 101.

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