As Darius Miller lined up a shot Tuesday night, he could hear Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury tell the defenders to let the Kentucky wing shoot.
"I don't mind them playing off me," Miller said after UK's 85-79 victory. "I was glad he was saying it. I don't have a problem at all. I hope everybody's saying it."
Stansbury, who has led State to more divisional titles (five) than any other Southeastern Conference coach except Kentucky's Tubby Smith (seven), was not foolishly letting Miller shoot. He was taking a calculated risk.
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"You have to pick your poison," Stansbury said. ". . . Last year, you felt you could take away a few things. This (UK) team, it's very difficult to take things away because this team is so skilled one through four."
"We knew he was a good player," State point guard Dee Bost said of MIller. "But we didn't know he'd knock down shots."
It was not certain Miller would even play Tuesday night. He said he injured his groin at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
"It's kind of sore," he said, "maybe a little tight."
But Miller came off the bench for the first time this season and contributed.
"Maybe it helped him," Calipari said of Miller coming off the bench. "Maybe it takes the edge off."
Stansbury gave Miller credit for making a key difference.
"I know the freshmen are really good," the State coach said. "Whatever publicity they get, they deserve.
"But when Miller and (DeAndre) Liggins play well, that makes the team the best it can be."
Fans call Sidney
UK fans apparently flooded the cell phone of State sophomore Renardo Sidney with crank calls.
Stansbury does not allow Sidney to do interviews. Bost confirmed the crank calls, likening them to the calls UK freshman DeMarcus Cousins received from State fans before last season's game in Starkville.
"Off the wall stuff," Bost said. "I can't say it. ... No racial stuff that I know of."
Sidney got voice mail and text messages from Kentucky fans, Bost said.
"Crazy stuff," Bost said.
State made 54.5 percent of its three-point shots (12 of 22) to become the third straight UK opponent to make at least half its attempts from beyond the arc.
"I don't know," UK Coach John Calipari said when asked about the sharp-shooting. "Maybe we should play zone and they can shoot 70 percent."
Calipari welcomed the notion of opponents trying to beat the Cats with perimeter shooting rather than pounding the ball inside.
Signees skip Derby game
When UK announced that its four signees will play in the Jordan Brand Classic, that meant Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer will not be playing in the Derby Festival all-star game.
NCAA rules limit high school seniors to two all-star games. The four Kentucky recruits are all McDonald's All-Americans, meaning they will play in the McDonald's game.