The 104-75 victory over LIU Brooklyn on Friday night contained some advice for Kentucky: The next time freshman Archie Goodwin threatens to make history ... don't tell him.
Goodwin came oh-so-close to achieving only the second triple-double in UK history. He came one assist and one rebound short. So another freshman, Chris Mills, remains the only UK player to post a triple-double (19 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds against Austin Peay in 1988-89).
"They told me with like three minutes left," Goodwin said. "I wish they wouldn't have told me, because then I started thinking about it too much and trying to get it. But it was still a good night for me, so I can live with it."
Goodwin scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds and got credit for nine assists.
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"There's only been one person to get the triple-double," he said. "So just to be another part of history would have been a good thing."
A twisted ankle may have cost Goodwin a historic moment. Teammates Nerlens Noel and Julius Mays helped him to the bench with 8:40 left. He returned shortly thereafter to finish out a 36-minute stint. Through five games, he's averaging 34.2 minutes.
Goodwin dismissed concerns about cramping, which caused him to go to the bench against Morehead State on Wednesday.
"I just have to make sure I keep fluids in my body and eat a banana here and there," he said.
Toward that end, his step-father sent him a helpful reminder. The text message consisted of a series of banana emojis.
"I don't like them that much," Goodwin said of bananas. "They're all right. I'd rather eat something sweeter. I know I need to eat them. But, sometimes, I'm like, 'Just forget it.'"
Like most coaches, John Calipari dismisses the importance of the starting lineup. It's how his team finishes the game that's matters.
But the UK coach sounded ready to amend that philosophy because of another slow start. LIU Brooklyn led by as many as six points midway through the first half and held a 43-40 lead as late as the four-minute mark.
"We let these people think they can beat us," he said. "They go in at halftime saying, 'We can beat these guys. ... '
"We're going to get in games in our league where we'll be down 25 at half playing the way we're playing."
Jarrod Polson started the second half instead of Kyle Wiltjer. Calpari said he wanted a smaller lineup in order to defend the smaller LIU Brooklyn team.
"It was unexpected," Polson said. "I had never started the second half before. I think we had a run going with the lineup that was in right before the half. I think Cal just wanted to keep that going. ... It was a surprise."
Jon Hood gave the crowd a thrill. He rebounded Alex Poythress's missed free throw, then got in position to make a three-point shot.
"I was happy for Jon Hood," Calipari said. "Jon Hood played well. I told him after (the game) nothing makes me happier than seeing him play well."
Lost in transition
LIU Brooklyn exploited UK's transition defense in the first half. It was never more glaring than when Goodwin tied at 13-13 with a driving shot. Five seconds later, Julian Boyd countered for the Blackbirds with a fast-break layup.
That prompted a UK timeout.
"They're a young team," LIU Brooklyn Coach Jack Perri said of the Cats. "Transition defense, that's what (can be exploited) in some of the early games. It's usually what young teams struggle at."
Perri saluted UK for getting so-called 50-50 balls.
Perhaps an unprecedented moment came with 9:33 left. Although UK got whistled for a 35-second clock violation, many fans rose and applauded.
The fans cheered Nerlens Noel for repeatedly trying to out-scrap LIU Brooklyn players for the loose ball.
The box score and scoreboard distributed to reporters referred to UK's opponent as LIU-Brooklyn.
The school prefers no hyphen.