WKU's Harper says Cats must shoot much better from perimeter

jtipton@herald-leader.comMarch 15, 2012 

LOUISVILLE — After his team lost 81-66 Thursday night, Western Kentucky Coach Ray Harper struck a cautionary note about Kentucky's hopes of winning the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

"If they want to advance and win a national championship, they're going to have to shoot the ball better from the perimeter," Harper said.

Terrence Jones made a three-pointer for the third straight game. Other than Doron Lamb, no other UK player made a shot from beyond the arc.

"They're going to have to find somebody else that can make a shot from the perimeter," Harper said.

General vicinity

The most memorable moment of UK's second-half dunk fest came when Anthony Davis bent backward to catch and then slam home a lob from Darius Miller.

"When I know it's Anthony, I just throw it," Miller said. "He catches it 99 percent of the time."

'Like home game'

Davis noted the largely partisan crowd as a factor.

"Like a home game," he said. "I thought it got into the other team's head."

Reunion

The game reunited Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with former high school teammate Derrick Gordon.

Kidd-Gilchrist said he jokingly told Gordon before the game that UK would blow out the Hilltoppers.

"That's my best friend," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "So I didn't mean anything."

Gordon called Kidd-Gilchrist, "like my brother. One of us had to lose. . . .

"I do wish him the best of luck and hope he does win it all."

Kidd-Gilchrist called playing against Gordon "weird and hard for me, and him, probably. I didn't want to score on him and he didn't want to score on me."

UK-WKU series?

Harper used the post-game news conference to lobby for a UK-Western series.

When asked about a series, he said, "We're open (to the idea) if we have room on the schedule. I think it would be a great home-and-home series."

UK Coach John Calipari deferred the question to assistant John Robic. Robic does the scheduling, Calipari said.

"I think we're probably almost full for next year," Calipari said. "We will play some of the Kentucky teams. That's good for both programs. But at this point, I don't know."

17 rebounds

Murray State's 58-41 victory over Colorado State featured what might be the tournament's top rebounding performance. Although Marquette's Jae Crowder nearly matched it, grabbing 16 rebounds' in the Eagles' 88-68 victory over BYU.

Colorado State's Pierce Hornung grabbed 17 rebounds. He had eight rebounds before the 10-minute mark of the first half.

Hornung is not related to NFL Hall of Famer — and Louisville native — Paul Hornung, who sat near the court. "Not that I know of," said Pierce Hornung, who met the former Green Bay Packer before the game.

Hornung, a 6-5 junior, came into the game as Colorado State's leading rebounder (8.4 per game). When asked about grabbing 17 rebounds, he said he took a simple approach to the task.

"I just try to work hard," he said, "locate the ball and go get it."

Colorado State Coach Tim Miles smiled when Hornung hesitated before responding to a reporter's question about the 17 rebounds.

"I don't think Pierce ever considered an individual statistic in his life," Miles said. "You befuddled him."

Pope in Kentucky

Ex-Cat Mark Pope is an assistant coach for BYU. He gave up a career in medicine to become a coach.

"I love it," he said after BYU lost to Marquette. "I have no second thoughts. We're just made certain ways. I just love the opportunity to do this. The players are so courageous and so vulnerable."

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