BBL: Basketball exhibition, football Homecoming


Big Blue Links for Saturday:

Jerry Tipton: “UK’s greater intensity and effort coalesced with about six minutes left. Dominique Hawkins took a pass in transition and immediately re-directed a lob over the basket that Jon Hood slammed home. That play produced the biggest cheer from the Rupp Arena crowd. More importantly, it punctuated a second half that saw the Cats return to supposed strength: power play and Dribble-Drive action at the basket.”

Jennifer Smith: “It has been 56 days since Kentucky has won a game. It’s been 56 days since the Cats have left the football field feeling good about themselves. ‘I just like seeing the scoreboard,’ senior Raymond Sanders said when asked the best part of a victory. ‘You’re able to go in the locker room smiling and sing the fight song. Everyone is happy.'”

Brett Dawson: “Some of that, perhaps, was attributable to the absence of Andrew Harrison, UK’s starting point guard, who sat out the game with a bone bruise in his knee, ceding point guard duties to his shooting-guard twin brother Aaron Harrison. But while execution might have suffered in Andrew’s absence, Calipari was concerned more with effort — or lack therof — in stretches of the blowout.”

Kyle Tucker: “It wasn’t the total domination one might expect from the No. 1 team in the country against Transylvania, a Division III outfit whose starting lineup was collectively almost two feet shorter than the University of Kentucky’s and had five fewer future NBA players. The Wildcats were sloppy early, more hospitable to the little team from just a mile away than coach John Calipari would’ve liked.”

John Clay: “Not because Kentucky played well. It didn’t. And the fact that it didn’t play well was just what John Calipari’s heralded team needed right out of the chute as it all but sleep-walked its way through a 76-42 win over tiny Transylvania in the season’s exhibition opener.”

James Pennington: “Calipari’s halftime locker room surely wasn’t pleasant—a detail Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson and Jarrod Polson (all three players available to media after the game) confirmed—and whatever it is he said, didn’t say, did or didn’t do, it seemed to work. Kentucky scored the first 13 points of the second half, taking a 54-30 lead with 15:19 to play. The Pioneers did not score their first points of the second half until a Logan Wade jumper with 14:24 to go. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half, Kentucky went on a 23-2 run.”

Jon Hale: “With just less than eight minutes remaining in the second half of UK’s exhibition opener vs. Transylvania the score was not in doubt, but John Calipari was not finished with his lessons for the night. After a three-minute stretch with seniors Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood, sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshmen Dominique Hawkins and Marcus Lee in the game, Calipari decided to make a wholesale lineup change and insert freshmen Aaron Harrison, James Young, Derek Willis, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson.”

Alex Forkner: “One of the few embers on the floor was Marcus Lee, who didn’t see action in the first half before logging an active nine minutes in the second. Lee was all over the place — defending, going after balls, clapping his hands like Orson Wells in ‘Citizen Kane.’ But his performance was an exception.”

Guy Ramsey: “Though he may have been among the five players replaced in the aforementioned timeout substitution, Randle doesn’t need the bench as a motivation. He delivered a handful of plays that made Calipari’s comparison of the freshman forward’s motor to that of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seem not so farfetched. In fact, he plans to take it upon himself to reinforce what his coach is trying to teach.”

Larry Vaught: “Johnson also impressed Calipari with his nine points, eight rebound, one steal and one assist in 17 minutes — and Calipari said he would have played more except he wanted to let freshman Marcus Lee play the second half. ‘We have a ways to go. That doesn’t look like the No. 1 team,’ the UK coach said.”

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