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By Brian Melton
Fresh off a less than inspiring performance Saturday against an overmatched Mississippi Valley State and getting ready to head home for the holidays, the Kentucky Wildcats put on quite a performance against the Winthrop Eagles Wednesday afternoon. The Cats shot the ball extremely well from the opening tip, led by a near perfect shooting performance by freshman sixth man Doron Lamb who broke Jamal Mashburn’s freshman single game scoring record with 32 points. UK sends the Big Blue faithful home for Christmas with a smile after a 89-52 victory.
The man of the day was Lamb, whose lone miss was a three point attempt early in the second half. He entered the game when Brandon Knight had to leave the court after bumping knees with one of the Eagles and promptly hit four straight threes before he could even break a sweat. I’m not sure he even hit the rim on any shot other than the miss and never forced a single shot. Lamb has been quite a spark off the bench throughout the season and his ability to score has been most impressive.
Terrence Jones once again struggled mightily and just cannot seem to find the form that allowed him to be one of the most dominating forces on the court earlier in the season. He continues to struggle shooting the basketball, with questionable shot selection and some atrocious interior defense in falling for any pump fake within 200 square miles. Part of the frustration is that we have seen how dominating he can be, but as is the case with freshman, consistency can be an issue. I would love to see him try to get some shots out of the offense and let things come to him rather than simply trying to take everyone off the dribble.
Eloy Vargas had his best game of the season scoring eight points and showing toughness in the paint that has been missing thus far this season. His energy level was high and he showed an aggressiveness and determination to get the basketball and score. There will be games, especially in the SEC, where Josh Harrellson gets in foul trouble and Kentucky will need Vargas to give them quality minutes off the bench.
Congratulations to Jarrod Polson who scored his first basket as a Kentucky Wildcat in the closing minutes of the game on a running layup in the lane. What a great thrill for the fan favorite who has probably dreamed of that moment his entire life.
The Cats now get four days off to go home for Christmas before returning to Lexington for a Tuesday night contest against their second straight set of Eagles. Coppin State is led by their head coach “Fang“ Mitchell and is most likely best known for their first round upset of the second seeded South Carolina Gamecocks back in 1997. I don’t know about you, but I sure enjoyed that one.