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Rewind: UK outguns LIU-Brooklyn

KENTUCKY 104, LIU-Brooklyn 75
Nov. 1, 2012
Rupp Arena; Lexington, Ky.

Nerlens Noel starts his post move during Kentucky's win over LIU-Brooklyn on Friday (TCP/Matt McCarty)

Most fans probably arrived at Rupp Arena the day after Thanksgiving expecting Kentucky to feast on leftovers in the form of winless Long Island-Brooklyn. Instead, the capacity crowd was treated to a festive holiday delight as the Blackbirds forced a frenetic tempo in a 104-75 UK win.

Kentucky had already posted 55 points by halftime while shooting a staggering 70 percent. LIU-Brooklyn, which led much of the first half, stayed in the 60 percent range much of the half but trailed off in the closing minutes before intermission, hitting 49 percent.

That swoon also enabled Kentucky to finally overtake the Blackbirds and forge a 55-43 lead at halftime. The Cats were trailing 43-40 before ripping off a 15-0 run to close the half.

The run continued into the second half as UK opened 13-5 to build a 20-point cushion at 68-48. At that stage, Alex Poythress had 18 points, Archie Goodwin 17, Nerlens Noel 12 and Julius Mays 10.

”This is still my team. I don’t want it to be my team. I want it to be their team. But this is going to take a little longer – John Calipari

“That big 15-0 run obviously turned the whole game around. Kentucky did a really good job of getting 50-50 balls. –LIU-Brooklyn coach Jack Perri

“There’s only been one person to get a triple-double so to be a another part of history would have been a good thing. But we got the win and that’s all that matters. – UK guard Archie Goodwin after 22 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

One could throw a dart and not come up with a bad choice, but let’s go with the boxscore stuffer Nerlens Noel. The 6-foot-11 freshman had 18 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and, most notable, five assists.

Trailing 43-40 with 4:00 minute left in the half and in a battle from the opening tip, Kentucky ripped off that 15-0 run to close the half and never looked back. Alex Poythress scored the first five points in the run. Archie Goodwin had six in the clinching minutes.

Jarrod Polson, the hero of the first game in the Barclay’s Classic against Maryland Nov. 9 in Brooklyn, gave Kentucky a nice lift in the event’s final contest against Long Island-Brooklyn on Friday at Rupp Arena. Polson had five points on 2-for-2 shooting, including a big three-pointer. He even started the second half in place of Kyle Wiltjer.

70 - Kentucky’s field goal shooting remained in the 70-percent range for nearly the entire game. At the 4:21 mark, the Cats were at 98 points on 40-of-57 for 70 percent, including 17-of-24 in the second half. Kentucky finished at 68 percent.

The whole concept on non-conference games for John Calipari is to expose his young team to as many different styles as possible. While Morehead State on Wednesday was a slugfest, Friday’s game with LIU-Brooklyn was a throwback to Loyola-Marymount, score and go. It took Kentucky a while to figure out just how quickly they had to get back on defense. In terms of Calipari’s goal, mission accomplished. This will help Kentucky come March.

Kentucky (4-1) has nearly a week off before two of its biggest non-conference games. The Cats travel to Notre Dame on Thursday as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge and then face Baylor at home on Dec. 1.

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