Kentucky's Young picked right day for best game

broberts@herald-leader.comDecember 28, 2013 

  • Kentucky leads series vs. Louisville 31-15

    Date Winner Score Location

    Feb 15, 1913 Kentucky 34-10 Lexington

    Feb. 7, 1914 Kentucky 22-17 Lexington

    Mar. 3, 1914 Kentucky 26-13 Louisville

    Jan. 23, 1915 Kentucky 18-14 Lexington

    Feb. 27, 1915 Louisville 26-15 Louisville

    Feb. 12, 1916 Louisville 28-22 Lexington

    Feb. 22, 1916 Kentucky 32-24 Louisville

    Jan. 17, 1922 Kentucky 38-14 Louisville

    Jan. 21, 1922 Kentucky 29-22 Lexington

    Mar. 27, 1948 Kentucky 91-57 New York (Olympic Trials)

    Mar. 20, 1951 Kentucky 79-68Raleigh, N.C. (NCAA first round)

    Mar. 13, 1959 Louisville 76-61Evanston, Ill. (NCAA first round)

    Mar. 26, 1983 Louisville80-68 (OT)Knoxville (NCAA Elite Eight)

    Nov. 26, 1983 Kentucky 65-44 Lexington

    Mar. 22, 1984 Kentucky 72-67 Lexington (NCAA Sweet 16)

    Dec. 15, 1984 Louisville 71-64 Louisville

    Dec. 28, 1985 Kentucky 69-64 Lexington

    Dec. 27, 1986 Kentucky 85-51 Louisville

    Dec. 12, 1987 Kentucky 76-75 Lexington

    Dec. 31, 1988 Louisville 97-75 Louisville

    Dec. 30, 1989 Louisville 86-79 Lexington

    Dec. 29, 1990 Kentucky 93-85 Louisville

    Dec. 28, 1991 Kentucky103-89Lexington

    Dec. 12, 1992 Kentucky 88-68 Louisville

    Nov. 27, 1993 Kentucky 78-70 Lexington

    Jan. 1, 1995 Louisville 88-86 Louisville

    Dec. 23, 1995 Kentucky 89-66 Lexington

    Dec. 31, 1996 Kentucky 74-54 Louisville

    Dec. 27, 1997 Louisville 79-76 Lexington

    Dec. 26, 1998 Louisville 83-74 Louisville

    Dec. 18, 1999 Kentucky 76-46 Lexington

    Jan. 2, 2001 Kentucky 64-62 Louisville

    Dec. 29, 2001 Kentucky 82-62 Lexington

    Dec. 28, 2002 Louisville 81-63 Louisville

    Dec. 27, 2003 Louisville 65-56 Lexington

    Dec. 18, 2004 Kentucky 60-58 Louisville

    Dec. 17, 2005 Kentucky 73-61 Lexington

    Dec. 16, 2006 Kentucky 61-49 Louisville

    Jan. 5, 2008 Louisville 89-75 Lexington

    Jan. 4, 2009 Louisville 74-71 Louisville

    Jan. 2, 2010 Kentucky 71-62 Lexington

    Dec. 31, 2010 Kentucky 78-63 Louisville

    Dec. 31, 2011 Kentucky 69-62 Lexington

    Mar. 31, 2012 Kentucky 69-61New Orleans (NCAA Final Four)

    Dec. 29, 2012 Louisville 80-77 Louisville

    Dec. 28, 2013 Kentucky 73-66Lexington

It took nine minutes, 18 seconds and seven tries before James Young finally made a shot in Rupp Arena on Saturday.

He missed from all over the floor, and once he finally made a couple of three-pointers midway through the first half, he missed some more.

The freshman guard didn't have his best shooting performance — 5-for-17 from the field — in UK's 73-66 victory over Louisville, but it might have been his best game as a Wildcat.

Young tied team highs with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and he led the Wildcats with four assists. The latter two stats were career highs, and that's what helped Kentucky secure its biggest victory of the season.

"They had a lot of small guards, so I knew I could get a lot more rebounds," Young said. "I saw a lot of loose balls, so I tried to go for every loose ball."

His shots weren't falling early, but Young never stopped competing.

A three-minute sequence in the second half — not long after star teammate Julius Randle left the game for good — best summed up Young's day.

Louisville guard Russ Smith had tied the game at 53 with 8:45 remaining, and Young responded immediately. He grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed layup by Andrew Harrison and put it right back to give the Cats a lead they never relinquished.

When Luke Hancock hit a three-pointer two minutes later to cut UK's advantage to 60-56, Young answered seconds later with a three of his own to push the lead back to seven points.

The Cardinals never seriously challenged again.

"He fought," Coach John Calipari said. "He got that pass on the wing and made that three. That was a big play. They were making a run back at us. They make a three and he comes out and makes that three. Ooooh — big-time play."

That was Young's last field goal of the game, but he wasn't done yet.

On UK's next trip down the floor, Young made an impressive cross-court pass to Alex Poythress, who drove to the basket and earned a couple of free throws. The play after that, Young grabbed a defensive rebound and threw a pass all the way down the floor to Aaron Harrison, threading the ball past a U of L defender and putting it in just about the only spot that would allow for Harrison to catch it and score.

That basket gave UK a 66-56 lead with 5:21 left, U of L Coach Rick Pitino called a timeout, and Rupp Arena erupted.

"James was amazing," said Andrew Harrison. "He's a great player. A big-time player."

Young balked at the idea that it was his best showing as a Wildcat. "I've had better games," he said. But never a performance that meant as much as this one.

"We wanted to win this," he said. "Some of these guys have never been in a situation like this before. We just wanted to come out and play like a good team, and that's what we did. Everyone was involved and we had a lot of energy.

"You're going to see it a lot more now. We're coming closer as a team, and as a family."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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