No surprise when Doron Lamb rose for a three-point shot in the left corner. That's his signature spot along the arc. The stunner came after the shot bounced off the far side of the rim.
Teammate Terrence Jones outhustled several South Carolina players to the ball in the far right corner.
"Haven't seen that in a little while," UK Coach John Calipari said. "He did stuff that he's done in the past, and now he builds on this."
The term "breakthrough game" filled the interview room after No. 2 Kentucky beat South Carolina 79-64 Saturday. But Jones' 20-point performance was less an unveiling and more a return to form for a player billed as an All-America candidate, then re-defined as a capable rebounder/complimentary scorer.
Ever demanding, Calipari said that Jones now must keep up with this reinvigorated Jones.
"This isn't, like, 'OK, now I back up and go put my toes up and eat Cheetos,'" the UK coach said. "'Now, I'm going to go work harder.'"
More weight lifting. More conditioning. More shooting.
"'I'm not going back to where I was,'" Calipari said of the attitude he wanted Jones to adopt. "We've all been in that abyss, and say, 'I'm not going back there, I know that.'"
When a reporter asked about eating Cheetos in triumph, Jones smiled broadly and lowered his head. "He always uses that term," he said when he came up for air.
Of course, the abyss came at Indiana on Dec. 10. That's when Jones all but loitered on the court, then suffered the indignity of sitting the bench as his teammates battled an inspired opponent and a shrieking capacity crowd.
To explain his five-point scoring average in a five-game span beginning at Indiana, Jones repeatedly cited the finger on his shooting hand he dislocated a week after UK's loss to Indiana. But Calipari wasn't buying it.
When asked how much the finger injury contributed to Jones' pedestrian play lately, the UK coach said, "None of it. He can say that if he wants to."
The answer is "taking everything up a notch in practice, playing harder and playing with unbelievable intensity, sprinting that floor," Calipari said.
To hustle is to be set free.
"It changes your mentality," Calipari said. "You know what? Your finger doesn't hurt so much anymore when you're playing so hard."
Jones insisted the finger injury was a problem, maybe the problem. "Well, it was," he said before starting to say of Calipari, "He's just ... "
Jones voiced trailed off. He didn't play that well.
"My finger getting hurt, I felt my confidence got shot," Jones said. "Just because I didn't want to be aggressive because of the pain."
On Friday, Jones dismissed the importance of scoring. He said he aimed to be the rebounder Calipari wanted. But the sophomore forward from Portland, Ore., played with new-found assertiveness on the offensive end. He made eight of nine shots. He hit a three-pointer. He posted up. His five free throws were the most he'd attempted since the St. John's game on Dec. 1.
"He flew up and down the court," Calipari said "When you run fast, and you try to play that hard, you'll be aggressive offensively.
"When you're passive on defense and passive going for balls and you don't want to mix it up, there is no possible way you can be aggressive offensively. ... Your body doesn't switch on one end, and go soft on the other."
Jones' hustle didn't trump South Carolina as much as match the visitors' zeal in this Southeastern Conference opener. The Gamecocks, 8-7, competed from start to finish. But poor shooting by leading scorers Malik Cooke and Bruce Ellington — a combined eight for 27 — doomed South Carolina.
"That's the difference in where Kentucky is and a lot of other teams are," South Carolina Coach Darrin Horn said in reference to UK, now 15-1, winning when Jones labored.
Jones contributed a three-pointer in an 11-0 Kentucky run to close the first half. That gave the Cats a 34-18 halftime lead, which looked enormous given South Carolina's intention to slow the pace and make it a possession-by-possession game.
Jones scored back-to-back baskets to start the second half to dull any thoughts South Carolina had of a comeback.
The comeback this day belonged to Jones, who said that even All-America candidates can lose confidence.
"Coming back not feeling the same and not being able to do what you used to do," he said. "It's real tough."