Radford-Kentucky Preview

BY foxsports • November 22, 2011

Kentucky's youthful starting lineup needed a little veteran help to stay undefeated over the weekend.

John Calipari will be looking for progress from his youngsters in the second-ranked Wildcats' two home games this week, starting Wednesday night versus Radford.

In capturing the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament, Kentucky (4-0) got a stiffer-than-expected challenge from Old Dominion, which took an early 18-11 lead and was within one point well into the second half of Sunday's final.

The Wildcats finished strong to win 62-52, getting help along the way from senior Darius Miller. All of the teams' starters are freshmen or sophomores, but Miller came off the bench to total 13 points, five assists and four rebounds against the Monarchs.

"We got out of here alive somehow, and the reason we got out of alive is because Darius played," Calipari said. "If he didn't play, we'd probably get beat by 10 or 12."

Calipari said his less experienced players struggled to penetrate the Old Dominion zone defense, which contributed to the team's season-worst 45.3 percent shooting.

Kentucky also had 21 turnovers, the team's most since the early part of the 2009-10 season. The Wildcats had at least 21 three times by Dec. 5 two years ago, but still went 35-3 and came within one win of the Final Four.

"We're a good team," Calipari said. "But we have a long way to go. And we want to be special, guys have got to start making incremental steps."

With a showdown against No. 1 North Carolina looming Dec. 3, the coach may be most eager to see improvement from freshman point guard Marquis Teague, who had six turnovers with just two assists and six points against Old Dominion. Teague has 18 turnovers and 11 assists overall.

Leading scorer Doron Lamb had just eight points on 2-of-7 shooting Sunday after scoring 26 against Penn State on Saturday. Anthony Davis fouled out for the first time versus Old Dominion, although he did have 11 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes.

Davis is shooting 72.4 percent for the season, ranking among the top five in the nation, and the 6-foot-10 freshman is taller than anybody on Radford's roster.

The Highlanders (3-3) were also in Uncasville, Conn., over the weekend, playing in a different bracket of the same tournament as Kentucky.

Radford lost both games, including a 60-47 defeat to Marist on Sunday. Kentucky opened its season with a 108-58 win over Marist on Nov. 11.

The last time Radford faced the nation's No. 2 team, it lost 101-58 to North Carolina in the 2009 NCAA tournament.

Both Kentucky and Highlanders coach Mike Jones appeared at last season's Final Four. Jones was hired by Radford in June after two seasons as an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth.

This is the first meeting between the teams.


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