Point guard Tyler Ulis and star freshman Skal Labissiere posted gaudy numbers at Kentucky's Blue-White Game Tuesday.
Ulis, who has been billed as the nation's best point guard, looked the part in getting credit for 15 assists.
Labissiere nearly posted a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven fouls.
In the things-to-work-on file, Kentucky could list free throw shooting. Labissiere, who might be the object of opponents' fouling late in close games, made two of five free throws. Freshman Isaiah Briscoe made only one of six free throws while scoring 16 points. Charles Matthews, another freshman, made two of seven from the line.
Never miss a local story.
Overall, UK Coach John Calipari gave the performance mixed reviews.
"There was good stuff I saw," he said. "But at this point, as a coach you're looking at this (as) it was OK. What do we have to do to try to win? What do we have to look like? And, let me just say, it's not that."
At this embryonic stage of the season, Calipari saw defense as an area in need of attention. The teams combined to make 57.1 percent of their shots.
"I asked them at halftime, either we're one of the best offensive teams in the history of our game, because both teams shot 60 percent," Calipari said, "or we stink defensively. It's one of the two."
As for the 13-for-30 free throw shooting, Calipari asked "How do you do that and win?"
The UK coach noticed that freshmen combined for nine-of-22 inaccuracy (and that included Jamal Murray's four for four).
"They hit the rim," Calipari said. "But short of that ... it didn't look pretty."
In his first action since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament last December, Alex Poythress scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. But it wasn't enough to satisfy Calipari, who found little solace in Poythress' three-for-four shooting from three-point range.
"If that takes away from his rebounding ... then I would rather him not make any shots," Calipari said.
Kentuckian Derek Willis pleased fans and Calipari. He scored with 14 points.
"He could help us," Calipari said. "Not only could he help us,, he could get in the rotation."
But in the Blue-White Game, all players are Kentuckians. A fan carried a sign that proclaimed the game's bipartisan nature. "Two best teams in the country: Blue vs. White," it read.
Former UK player John Pelphrey worked the game as a color analyst for the SEC Network. He expected it to be revealing.
"Everyone will have a better feel after tonight," Pelphrey said before the game.
The oddity of UK fans filling Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness, yet leaving plenty of empty seats for a basketball competition in the Blue-White Game continued. When told that it seemed the fans again bypassed the greater chance for enlightenment, Pelphrey smiled and said, "Good point."
He then saluted the Madness tradition, its popularity and its whiz-bang tip-off to the basketball year.
UK announced the attendance as 15,007, which was the second-biggest crowd in Blue-White history. UK also announced that only 13 teams averaged more than 15,000 in attendance last season.
Given the ambivalent nature of such scrimmages, the first half saw plenty of offense or a scarcity of defense. The teams combined to make 57.2 percent of their shots (eight of 17 from three-point range). Ulis got credit for 10 assists.
And if you are a glass half full or empty person, you saw 17 fouls as needing a correction or an indication of the kind of competitive fight Calipari called for on Monday.
Ulis had three fouls inside the first two minutes. The teams combined for nine fouls barely four minutes into the game.
The new 30-second shot clock (five seconds fewer than in the past) came into effect. The Blue team had three 30-second shot clock violations.
The second half saw the first public viewing of a three-guard lineup featuring freshmen Briscoe and Murray, plus Ulis. Even with Labissiere and Poythress joining the trio on White team, they fell behind 8-0.
Poythress led a rally, After taking a fall on the fast break, he got up and made two free throws, then swished a three-pointer.
Using only his left hand, Dominique Hawkins shot and handled the ball during the informal pre-game activity. His injured right hand was heavily wrapped.
Calipari suggested the original timetable of being sidelined less than a month might need to be amended. "I think he's still a few weeks away," the UK coach said.
TV times are a-changin'
The Blue-White Game previewed how television timeouts are changing.
In the past, TV timeouts were called four times a half: inside the 16-, 12-, eight- and four-minute marks.
In the first half of the Blue-White Game, the TV timeouts came at 16:26, 12:23, 8:20 and 4:17.
Referee John Hampton explained. This season the window for TV timeouts will be expanded to 30 seconds earlier on the clock at each juncture.
And if a team calls a timeout in the window of a TV timeout, the timeout will be charged to the team. Plus, it will count as a TV timeout.
The purpose for the change is to enhance the speed of games, Hampton said.