Friday, November 16, 2012
Cats roll behind seven threes from Wiltjer,
big night from Poythress to 101-49 win
There likely aren’t many teams in the country that can beat UK when the Wildcats shoot 65 percent from the field and 58 percent from three point range.
As evidenced Friday, Lafayette of the Patriot League is not one of them.
UK hit a three on each of its first three possessions and were able to cruise from there in a 101-49 blowout of the Leopards.
Even with the lopsided score, UK head coach John Calipari found areas of his team’s performance he would like to see improve.
Kyle Wiltjer hits the first of seven threes.
(Photo by Jon Hale)
“We started the game making every shot, and they were right in the game because we didn’t come up with loose balls,” Calipari said. “They had three offensive rebounds which led to baskets. It’s 15-10. You made every shot. It should be 15-4, 15-2, 15-3.”
Calipari must have gotten his message about the poor defense through during the first media timeout, as the Wildcats then rattled off a 24-2 run to open up a 25-point lead.
Sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer led the Cats in scoring with 23 points and was seven of 11 from three point range. Freshman forward Alex Poythress added 22 points on nine of 10 shooting.
Freshman forward Nerlens Noel filled up the box score with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block. Senior guard Julius Mays tallied 10 assists in the game, and freshman guard Archie Goodwin scored 13 points.
Wiltjer opened the game with two consecutive threes and helped stretch the lead in the second half with four threes in less than two minutes.
“It’s always good as a shooter when you see some going down, especially when I kind of went on a bad shooting spurt at the beginning of the second half,” Wiltjer said. “Just to see some go down is a good feeling.”
On Thursday, Calipari criticized Wiltjer’s ability to find his own shot. That wasn’t an issue versus Lafayette.
“I’m telling you what I told him: If you don’t work hard to create space and a shot for yourself before you catch the ball, and I’m watching, you’re out,” Calipari said. “So today, what he did in the second half is he saw gaps, raced to those gaps — guys found him also — and he made shots.”
Calipari spent most of the post-game news conference criticizing his team’s inability to play hard on every possession and every play. He admitted the statistics Friday looked good, but noted, “I’m looking at these guys saying I want the best version of you, and the best version of our team.”
Calipari wasn’t all doom and gloom, providing at least one acknowledgement of his team’s progress:
“Let me say this: My team is getting better.”