UK basketball notes: Aggies' Jamal Jones on fire heading into game against Cats

jtipton@herald-leader.comJanuary 20, 2014 

Kentucky Vanderbilt Basketball

Kentucky guard James Young said "nobody" will score 40 points against Kentucky this year, referencing the feat of Texas A&M's Elston Turner last season.

MARK HUMPHREY — AP

James Young to Texas A&M: Don't think about riding another 40-point performance to a victory over Kentucky Tuesday night.

"Nobody's going to do that this year," Young said Monday.

If an Aggie were to duplicate Elston Turner's 40-point game in Rupp Arena, it would likely be junior college transfer Jamal Jones. UK assistant coach John Robic likened Jones to Turner.

Each is a "A-No. 1 scoring option," Robic said.

Jones, listed as a 6-foot-8, 197-pound guard, is averaging 20.8 points in four Southeastern Conference games. That puts him second — behind Auburn's Chris Denson — in scoring in league play.

"Pretty looking stroke," Robic said of Jones' shooting motion.

Young and Aaron Harrison are UK's defensive stoppers on the perimeter.

Robic said each played "solid" on-ball defense. Each needed to concentrate on playing defense throughout the 35-second shot clock.

'Got rattled'

A&M is coming off an 81-72 overtime loss at Mississippi State. The way the game ended disappointed Coach Billy Kennedy.

Jones was ejected with 1:07 left after being hit with two technical fouls. He was escorted off the court by assistant coaches.

"We were frustrated some," Kennedy said. "We showed some immaturity at the end."

The referees called 27 fouls on A&M.

When asked about the lessons he hoped his team learned, Kennedy said, "Just to be able to be strong and under control in tough times. We didn't demonstrate that as a team. We got rattled. We got frustrated at the officials. We got frustrated at the other team. ...

"Hopefully, we'll be ready to move on. (Rupp Arena) is probably the toughest place to have to move on to."

Missed free throw

Aaron Harrison brushed off missing a free throw with 32.5 seconds left against Tennessee. UK made their first 17 in the game, and finished 23 of 24.

"It's not really a big deal," he said.

Harrison said he was not aware at the time that Kentucky had not missed a free throw in the game.

'Thinking too much'

Harrison noted his brother's starring role against Tennessee (career-high 26 points, three assists and no turnovers in 33 minutes).

"He's definitely been getting in a lot of extra work lately," he said. "It was going to come sooner or later."

When asked what held his brother back, Harrison said, "Maybe thinking too much. He just went out there and played, and did his thing, really." Slow starts

A good shootaround and pre-game warm-up led UK coaches to expect a fast start in the Tennessee game, Robic said. Instead the Cats continued their habit of slow starts, this time falling behind 9-2 barely three minutes into the game.

"We thought we were ready ... ," Robic said. "I don't think they had prepared themselves for how physical the game was going to be. That's something we really can't simulate."

Calling in sick

When Turner scored 40 points at UK last season, Coach John Calipari said his assistant coaches talked him into having Alex Poythress defend Turner.

To which, Robic jokingly said "You'd have to ask Orlando (Antigua) and Kenny (Payne) about that. I think I was sick that day." Polson-Hawkins

Robic cautioned reporters against reading anything in to how Jarrod Polson's minutes have increased (40 in the last three games) while Dominique Hawkins' minutes have decreased (17 in the last three games).

"When they're both in there, they both gave us energy that we didn't have and it picked up us," Robic said. "... They may not score a bunch of points (Polson's six at Vanderbilt is all the duo has scored in the last three games).

"But (the energy is) getting into the legs of the other team, and hopefully picking us all up."

Etc.

Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and Shannon Spake will call the game for ESPN.

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

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