January 4, 2011

Kentucky 86 - Pennsylvania 62

Penn took the Rupp Arena floor with serious confidence and slapped Kentucky around for the first 15 minutes of this one, hitting 7-9 from behind the three point arc and looking generally fresher than the Wildcats. UK appeared to be still a little groggy and in the grip of a hangover from their New Year’s Eve win over Louisville, and when they left Penn’s shooters open in the corners, guys like Tyler Bernardini (22 pts on 7-11 FG, and 3-4 from three) took advantage. The real Kentucky team eventually arrived, though, and went on a 12-0 run at the end of the half to erase Penn’s double-digit lead and take a one point advantage into the locker room. In the second half, not only did Kentucky defend the three, they didn’t even let the Quakers SHOOT them. Penn started the game 7-9…but ended it just 8-12. The defense of DeAndre Liggins (7/4/2 asst) and Doron Lamb (16 pts on 6-11) made a rumor out of Zack Rosen, the Ivy League’s leading scorer for the past two seasons, holding him to six points — all on free throws. Kentucky is known for its fantastic trio of freshmen, meaning Lamb, Brandon Knight (22 pts on 8-12), and Terrence Jones (10/8). But the contributions of junior Darius Miller (11pts/7rebs/6 asst/2 stls) and, the newly-anointed SEC Player of the Week, senior center Josh Harrellson (12/11/6 blks) cannot be underestimated. The latter was considered a huge liability in the pre-season, and the only reason people acknowledged him then was to point out how he was not Enes Kanter. Now he’s putting up double-doubles. You can count on Harrellson keeping perspective, though. When asked in the post-game interviews by several hovering writers about his new SEC POW award, he smiled broadly and said, “A few months ago if you’d have told me I’d be an SEC Player of the Week, I’d have laughed at you. And so would you guys.”


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