On the 17th day, Kentucky rested.
After playing seven games in a 16-day period, a stretch that ended with last Sunday's beating of Mississippi Valley State, UK took Monday off. Then UK took Tuesday off before returning to practice.
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"We just needed some rest," said UK Coach Billy Gillispie, a man more noted for grueling practices the day of games.
To hear Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson, the rest did UK good.
Patterson used one word to describe the days off. "Heaven," he said before elaborating. "It was heaven."
Patterson acknowledged his surprise when Gillispie, who normally promotes exhaustion as a means toward peak fitness, told the players to take time off.
"I was very surprised," he said. "But I'll take it. There were no phone calls asking why (and) no going to the office and asking why."
Stevenson noted how good his legs felt. "It can't do anything but help," he said of the rest.
Patterson suggested the rest brought new spring to the legs of walk-on Mark Krebs. "Krebs was dunking," he said. "That blew away my mind."
UK hopes to break its habit of slow starts. Gillispie said he wasn't sure why the Cats fell behind early against VMI (21-7), North Carolina (15-2 and 25-6), Kansas State (16-7), West Virginia (9-2) and Miami (20-9). Against Mississippi Valley State, the Cats led only 30-28 with 3:06 left in the first half.
"It could be personnel," Gillispie said. "It could be (lack of) attention to detail."
When asked if he'd thought about changing the starting lineup, the UK coach said. "I've definitely thought about it. It's not the right thing to do yet."
Stevenson had a novel idea. "We've just got to get the other team to have a slow start," he said.
And how could UK accomplish that? "Pay them money," he said. "Whisper in their ear."
UK offered a news release that noted the progress made by Ramon Harris, who was hospitalized after a head-to-head collision with teammate Michael Porter in the Lamar game.
Harris is no longer wearing a neck brace, UK said. He'll be re-evaluated early next week.
Harris continues to experience "muscle soreness," the UK release said. "... Once the current muscle soreness subsides, he can return to basketball activity."
Gillispie suggested that UK fans should not expect a quick return.
"He's got a long way to go, as I understand it," the UK coach said.
IU Coach Tom Crean noted his satisfaction with the attitude his team brings to its task. There's no strutting. There's plenty of gratitude and appreciation.
Of Kipp Schutz, a .300-hitting IU baseball player who caught Crean's eye in a three-point shooting contest, the Indiana coach said, "He never has expectations of what he should or shouldn't get. That's one of the reasons for his success."
So far, Schutz has missed all three of his three-point attempts.
Added Crean, "We don't have a group of guys who feel like they have the answers. I think that's good."
Crean on Liggins
UK freshman point guard DeAndre Liggins caught Crean's eye.
"He's fearless," the IU coach said. "When you watch him, especially in the Miami game, he wants to make something happen."
After averaging 22 turnovers in the first seven games, the Cats have averaged only 14 turnovers in the last two games. . . . Tickets are available for UK's next five games. Fans can get tickets by calling 1-800-928-2287 or 859-233-3535 or at UKathletics.com or Ticketmaster.com. . . . Verne Lundquist and Greg Anthony will call the game for CBS.