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November 30, 2010

Rapid Rewind: Cats torrid in victory

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KENTUCKY 91, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 57
Nov. 29, 2010
Rupp Arena; Lexington, Ky.

SUMMARY
After a slow, sloppy, are-we-there-yet kind of first half, Kentucky rode hot shooting and aggressive defense in the second half to roll over Boston University, 91-57.

Brandon Knight had a slow first half, committing a few early turnovers. He regrouped and finished spectacularly over the game's final 30 minutes. He finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, six rebounds and six assists.

The Cats were able to separate in the second half because of their dartboard precision from deep: They made 8-of-10 from deep in the second half and began the final 20 minutes with a 28-5 spurt that put the leash on the Terriers.

The Terriers, led by John Holland's 20 points, couldn't keep up with UK's aerial attack.


CALIPARI TALK
"I thought all the threes we took we all good shots. We think we have a pretty good three-point shooting team and the right players took the right shots, and they were open shots. More times than not they were off penetration and a kick-out. We got good looks and fortunately they went down." -- UK assistant coach John Robic, on the Cats' 10-of-16 three-point shooting


OPPOSING VIEW
"All I can say is that must have been one heck of a halftime speech. I'm going to have to ask for a copy of that." -- Boston U. coach Patrick Chambers


FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
"Coach Calipari told us in Maui we were selfish and we were trying to lay the ball up between three people when there were open guys in the corners. So, we were just trying to be unselfish and pass the ball to the open man and make shots." -- UK guard Doron Lamb


GAME BALL
It's been a trying 48 hours for Kentucky coach John Calipari, but it he managed to leave Rupp Arena on a high note despite the turmoil going on in his personal life. The Cats' coach lost his mother, Donna, to a long battle with cancer and spent the two days prior to the game shuttling back and forth between Lexington and Charlotte, N.C. tending to those affairs. While basketball certainly pales in comparison to the enormous emotional distress of losing a loved one it had to offer Calipari some sort of relief to be in his basketball sanctuary and see his players and assistant coaches honor his late mother by wearing as much black as possible.


TURNING POINT
The first half was anything but a clinic for the Cats, perhaps a by-product of the long trip to Maui or even a timid response to not wanting to be labeled selfish again by their head coach. Whatever the reason it disappeared at halftime. UK stormed out of the locker room and walloped Boston U. with a roundhouse left, scoring the first 12 points as part of an 18-3 spurt by the first media timeout 4:30 into the half. The pummeling didn't stop there either. Kentucky continued its blitz into the under 12-minute media timeout, eventually pushing the deluge to 28-5 and opening up a 30-point lead in just seven minutes.


DID YOU NOTICE?
Josh Harrellson continues to make his presence felt without actually having to do anything spectacular to garner attention. The senior forward has steadily improved since the season opener and opponents are beginning to take notice of his rapid rise to prominence. The 6-foot-10, 275-pounder was labeled the Cats' mother hen by Boston U. coach Patrick Chambers, who told reporters he "loves" Harrellson and that his ability to be effective and do all the little things without needing to be fed the basketball on the offensive end is the perfect fit for this particular UK team. The senior's 12 points and game-high 11 rebounds gave him the second double-double of his career and first since Nov. 29, 2008 against West Virginia.


UNSUNG HERO
Doron Lamb has always been a critical piece on his prep teams but the freshman is suddenly adjusting to life as a sixth man, which can be challenging for any youngster who is used to being a star player. Apparently Lamb is having no such problem, once again coming off the Cats' bench to provide instant offense (he had eight points in the first half and 13 for the game), but it was his all-around game that really seemed to take a major step forward. In addition to the points you expect Lamb to deliver the freshman guard added five assists and a steal in 27 minutes.


KEY NUMBER
28.6 - The Cats put on a defensive clinic, especially in the second half, rebounding nicely from being repeatedly gashed by Connecticut in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. Boston University struggled to reach 30 percent from the field in the first half and yet that would be considered torrid shooting in comparison to the 26.7 percent they managed after halftime. The Terriers' 28.6 percent mark for the game (18-of-63) was the second-lowest by any opponent since Calipari arrived at UK, falling just short of the 26.6 percent the Cats held Cleveland State to in Cancun last season.


MAY DAZE
tcp onlineOn a night when this reporter's favorite baseball team signed a centuries-old shortstop for next season the wonders of youth were on full display by the Kentucky basketball team. The Cats learned quickly from the their mistakes in the Connecticut game, suddenly failing to miss the open man with an extra pass, knocking down jumpers at an alarming rate and playing stifling defense in a sandwich game between three tough games in Maui and three upcoming high-profile rivalry games. Inexperienced and immature teams don't often lose these games but they can often look disinterested and sleepwalk through them. The Cats made sure they took care of business in convincing fashion.


NEXT
Kentucky (5-1) begins a grueling stretch of three rivalry games in the span of a week with a trip to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4.


Matt May is the basketball beat reporter for The Cats' Pause. If you have questions or comments about the Cats e-mail him here. You can also follow "@TCPMAY" on Twitter for live updates.


James Pennington also contributed to this story.


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