The Big Blue Lowdown

Insight, Analysis and Expertise on All Things Kentucky Basketball


Doron Lamb Shines

UK 89-52 Winthrop

Doron Lamb set the UK Freshman scoring record with 32 points and was a capable sideman to Brandon Knight in today’s drubbing of little ol’ Winthrop.  UK scored early and often, jumping out to a 29-11 lead by the second TV timeout and finished the first half on a 10-0 run squashing Winthrop’s last best hope of a comeback.  Lamb and Knight rode roughshod over the Eagles, doing anything they wanted.  Winthrop is a team that UK should never struggle with, but we’ve seen UK do exactly that from time to time, and traps like these can be occasionally disastrous.  When you’re used to playing top flight competition, its easy to let your guard down against a squad you see as inferior. To his credit, Coach Cal doesn’t tend to let his teams go down that road.  He likes to keep the offense going whether its needed or not.

Lamb was 11-12 from the field, 7-8 from 3-point and was just flat out untouchable this afternoon. Knight did just what he needed to do and poured in 21 points too (though 2 assists to 4 turnovers is not so good).  But DeAndre Liggins was the player of the game: 9 assists, 2-3 shooting, perfect from the foul line and feisty on defense—that’s what Liggins can do! It occurred to me listening to the game that if Liggins still fancies himself NBA-worthy (and his body and athleticism are capable even if his game isn’t), he needs to fashion himself into a defensive specialist.  This advice makes me cringe thinking about it but here goes: his role model should be Dennis Rodman. Rodman had marginal basketball skills but he had a nose for the ball, great defensive skills, a sense of his place on the team and the ability to crawl into the head of his opponent. He could guard Alonzo Mourning one night, Magic Johnson the next and Karl Malone the next and never miss a beat. Liggins already has more offensive game than Rodman ever had, if he could emulate his leaping ability and his tenacious d, then Liggins might still yet find himself on an NBA roster. He’s got length and quickness and is developing a sense of his offensive limitations and possibilities. Like today: 9 assists!  That’s freakin’ awesome!  He was hitting Knight and Lamb where they needed to be hit and his stats got the reward. Liggins was my player of the game despite Lamb’s record-setting day and Knight’s overall brilliance. 

I wasn’t able to watch the game, but listening to it on the radio it seemed like Terrence Jones completely disappeared today.  So looking over the box score, I was surprised to see he hoisted up 16 shots in 25 minutes. After the first few minutes of the game, I don’t remember hearing his name much, except an occasional report on Coach Cal’s animated gestures in his direction.  Even today’s Herald-Leader featured Jones’s reluctant acquiescence to Cal’s tough coaching style. Jones acknowledged that Cal is trying to make him into a better player and, hey, Coach Cal is a motivator, so his preferred method of teaching is to scream loud and often.  That’s bound to get on a young man’s nerves, especially one as highly regarded as Jones.  I certainly hope that Jones learns to take Cal with a grain of salt and that Cal doesn’t overdo it with the casual ego-crushings that he must surely lay on his young proteges from time to time. Jones is a great young talent but his game still has plenty of room to grow.

Josh Harrellson had 10 boards in 30 minutes and showed some post-up skills with a hint of offensive aggressiveness. Excellent! Exactly what I hoped he’d do. He doesn’t need to be the star of the show, he needs to augment the star of the show. And going to the basket, with or without the ball, will help his teammates get better shots and better rebounding position. Harrellson doesn’t have all-world skills but he can really help this team and today showcased his potential.

Eloy Vargas played only 13 minutes but he made the most of them, getting into his offensive rhythm for the first time all year.  He ended up with 8 points on 3-7 shooting, 3 boards and 3 blocks, a nice contribution. This team is not terribly deep, we need more Vargas! Nice to see he’s got some offensive skills, all this time I’ve been wondering what he was supposed to bring to this team. If he can provide a little scoring inside off the bench, whether its in a post-up set or just by playing garbageman, then bring it on, Calipari teams thrive on endless offense.

Jon Hood got some regular run today. Didn’t tear the place up or anything, but he looked confident, looked like part of the team. Harrellson has really grown in the last coupla weeks, here’s hoping Hood will grow in the coming weeks.

Stacey Poole and Jarrod Polson got some good minutes in there today—and considering the beatdown in progress, I’m still surprised Cal waits so late to get those guys in. Winthrop never got anything like offense going in the second half, so why not give these guys a little more time to show us what they can do? This team is pretty thin, if there’s ever any injuries these guys will have to play. Oh well, I guess there’s a method to Cal’s style—he’s won a ton of games so I guess he must know what he’s doing.

And finally, Darius Miller…4 shots in 25 minutes. Just…why…I mean…Darius…what…? I don’t know, man, I just don’t get it: the best shooter on the team and its like he’s allergic to the ball.

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Kentucky freshman Charles Matthews is transferring, the school announced. Former ESPN 100 prospect. - via @ESPN App…
1. This loss means nothing. UK lost a game on the road in bizarre circumstances vs a very good team. If anything,...
Time to put Texas A&M to bed and get tuned up for a high seed in the big dance.
Epic collapse by UK tonight. Still something not right with this team.
Tough loss over the weekend, but the Cats showed heart...they'll be back.

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