Exhibition: Kentucky 122, Dillard 54

Dillard no match for Cats in final exhibition

Cats overwhelm Dillard with high-speed fury

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 6, 2010 

Freshman Terrence Jones grabbed the rebound. He made the outlet pass. He sprinted downcourt. He cut to the basket. He took a pass from Darius Miller and dunked.

Jones seemed everywhere on the play that typified a game where Kentucky seemed everywhere at once in overwhelming Dillard 122-54 Friday night.

This final tuneup gave UK Coach John Calipari the effort and "viciousness" he saw lacking in the first exhibition four nights earlier.

Jones' 23 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three steals encapsulated that startling contrast.

"Terrence Jones was off the charts," Calipari said. "... He had a passion about playing. There was no coolness. A high school kid, when things don't go well, they try to be cool like they don't really care."

Jones, who had nine points and six turnovers against Pikeville on Monday, cared against Dillard.

Dillard Coach Dale Brown, the former defensive stopper for UK, came away impressed.

"I loved him," he said of Jones. "He's an inside-out guy. He can put it on the floor. He's a pro. He's going to be playing on the next level."

When told of Brown's comments, Jones downplayed any link to the pros.

"I just wanted to improve from the game before," he said before adding, "That's a wonderful compliment."

As a group, the Cats maybe did not look like pros. But they bore little resemblance to the team that — much to Calipari's annoyance — got pushed around by Pikeville.

UK outrebounded Dillard 46-20 and dominated around the basket to the tune of a 58-12 advantage in points in the paint. With those rebounds, Kentucky reeled off a 22-0 edge in fast-break points. Those sprints contributed to 13 dunks.

The difference Calipari made a point of mentioning was in sharing the ball. The same UK team that had only seven assists against Pikeville got credit for 28 against Dillard.

The passing and dunking seemed contagious.

Most memorable were back-to-back fast-break dunks within a 22-second span late in the first half. On the first, Jon Hood took a pass from Jones and glided to a two-hand throw down.

On the second, Hood returned the favor with a lob pass. Jones had to reach backward as he rose for the pass, but the freshman had no trouble re-directing the ball through the rim.

"When I threw it, I thought I threw it out of bounds," Hood said. "I thought: terrible pass.

"Terrence is an athletic freak. He can jump out of the gym. I've never seen anybody that big that athletic."

Those shots were part of a 26-5 run late in the first half that "bleu" away the Dillard Bleu Devils.

The game did not start so well. Within the first three minutes, Kentucky had five fouls. DeAndre Liggins picked up his second at the 18:03 mark and went to the bench. With the Cats struggling to get into a good rhythm, Liggins returned at the 16:43 mark.

Afterward, Calipari noted how the kiddie Cats must learn to play aggressively without fouling.

Veterans helped Kentucky get the rout started. Miller hit two straight jumpers to start a run of nine straight points by non-freshmen. That burst began an 18-3 run that put Kentucky ahead for good.

Dillard made three of its first five shots, including two driving layups (a day after Calipari said the Cats should not surrender layups). For the rest of the half, the Bleu Devils made only five of 23 shots.

By contrast, Kentucky made 69.6 percent of its shots, including 16 of 17 to start the second half.

"I had heard a lot of reports the team couldn't shoot the ball," Brown said. "But the way they shot the ball, wow."

Hood made seven of nine shots, including four of six from three-point range.

"When the first shot goes down, it helps," he said. "It helps a lot."

Hood noticed when he hit some shots his teammates looked to pass to him when he got open.

"It helps immensely," he said of the confidence that comes with making shots early.

All the while, Kentucky kept passing and dunking and defending.

Freshman Doron Lamb helped punctuate the night. He dived for a loose ball and whirled a half-blind pass downcourt. Brandon Knight caught the ball and fed Jones for a dunk.

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