UK basketball notes: Randle one double-double short of school record

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 25, 2013 

Julius Randle's sixth straight double-double to start Kentucky's season sparked talk of the stud freshman posting at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in every game this season. Absurd?

"Yeah, it is," UK Coach John Calipari said after Monday's 68-61 victory over Cleveland State. "But I'd like him to try to."

Facing what's becoming the customary double- and triple-teaming by an opponent, Randle scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Cleveland State. His sixth double-double left him one shy of the UK record of seven, attained by Jim Andrews to start the 1971-72 season.

Randle deflected a question about how realistic a double-double throughout the season would be.

"You're asking the wrong person," he said. "I have no clue."

Teammate Andrew Harrison suggested it was possible, especially if opponents would cooperate by assigning one defender on Randle. "If they don't double- and triple-team him, he'll get 25 and 25," Harrison said. "Definitely."

A reporter noted that Randle had five turnovers. That increased his team-high total to 22.

Calipari seemed to think of that as lamenting a freckle on Jennifer Lawrence's forearm.

"Pass a little more, stop turning it over," Calipari said of Randle's turnovers. "But keep getting those double-doubles. They're really nice."

Exempt games

Monday's game was the third of four for Kentucky in the Keightley Classic, named in honor of the late UK equipment manager Bill Keightley.

It is not a tournament. There is no advancement to the next round. The teams do not play for a trophy.

The event's function is to allow its teams to dribble-drive through a loophole in the NCAA's limit on games in a season.

The NCAA limits schedules to 27 games plus a "multi-team event" or 29 games with no multi-team event.

With its freshman-oriented team, Kentucky could benefit from the four games of the Keightley Classic.

To qualify as a so-called "exempt" event, the Keightley Classic had to meet criteria that included:

All games played within 14 days.

Only one team from any conference.

All games in site(s) in the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, the U.S. or one of its territories.

Kentucky wraps up play in the Keightley Classic on Wednesday against Eastern Michigan.

Freshman of the week

The SEC named James Young its Freshman of the Week. He scored a career-high 26 points to lead Kentucky past UT Arlington. He made five three-pointers, and eight of his 14 shots. He also got credit for three assists while grabbing two rebounds and making two steals.

The SEC named Tennessee's Jordan McRae SEC Player of the Week after averaging 22.5 points, three rebounds, 2.5 blocks and two assists in wins over The Citadel and Tennessee State.

Har-dee-har-har

UK and Cleveland State have long been united in humor. Jerry Tarkanian's pointed commentary on NCAA justice endures.

"The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it's going to give Cleveland State two more years' probation," he said.

Cleveland State Coach Gary Waters suggested the famous joke was a tribute to Kentucky basketball.

"I think people get frustrated at people who are having success," he said. "They try to find ways to compete and pull them down."

Waters called UK "the best program in the country. And Cal has been recruiting to that. When you have that and you don't take advantage of it, I think you're pretty stupid."

Hood is out

Jon Hood watched the game in street clothes. He was held out as a precaution because he banged his head on the court during a practice Saturday. He's listed as day-to-day, UK said.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.

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