Lamar-Kentucky Preview

Kentucky has one final tuneup before a major showdown for which

it hopes Terrence Jones will be ready.

Jones, though, could return to action Wednesday night when the

No. 3 Wildcats try to improve to 42-0 at home under John Calipari

as they meet Lamar.

Kentucky (11-1) is close to welcoming back Jones, who has missed

the last two games with a dislocated finger. The preseason

All-American is third on the team with 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds

per game.

Jones has been practicing in preparation for this game. The

Wildcats have a bigger one set for Saturday when their longest-ever

win streak at Rupp Arena will get a more stern test against No. 4

Louisville.

Kentucky has not played since Thursday’s 87-63 win over Loyola

(Md.). Although Calipari let his team have some time off for the

holidays afterward, he’s making sure his players focus on the

season since they do not have class at this time.

“I told them, ‘Between now and Jan. 9, you’re eating, sleeping

and playing basketball. That’s it. You’re playing basketball,

you’re eating and you’re sleeping,'” Calipari said. “They don’t

have anything to do now.”

The Wildcats have won three straight by an average of 27.0

points. Darius Miller has averaged 15.0 points in starting the last

two games in place of Jones.

Doron Lamb averaged 25.0 points in the first two games of this

win streak before being limited to nine against Loyola. But

individual statistics mean little for a Wildcats team loaded with

talent.

“At the end of the day, I like my team,” Calipari said. “I’ve

got a good team. And when we click and we all come together and

we’re all playing aggressive and we’re all bouncing and talking and

we’re all making easy plays, this stuff gets scary. We’re not close

to that right now. But this thing could get scary.”

Lamar (8-4) is playing a ranked opponent for the second straight

game, falling 70-50 at No. 2 Ohio State last Tuesday as the

Cardinals shot 35.1 percent.

“The bottom line is, even if you don’t (win), we’re not going to

play anybody as good as they are,” coach Pat Knight said. “We’re

not going to play in front of this many people. So from that

standpoint, this does nothing but help our team get ready for (the

Southland) Conference.”

Stan Brown had 10 points and 10 rebounds as Lamar had a

four-game win streak snapped.

The Cardinals missed all 12 3-point attempts, failing to make at

least one for the first time since a win over Tulane on Jan. 2,

2010.

“We can’t shoot 3s,” Knight said. “The problem is, that was

their goal last year, to shoot a lot of them.”

These teams are among the nation’s best on the glass. The

Cardinals are tops in the Southland with 42.3 rebounds per game

while the Wildcats lead the SEC at 41.3.

Kentucky has won both previous meetings, 71-56 on Dec. 13, 1986,

and 103-61 on Dec. 3, 2008.