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Big Night for UK Athletics

Tonight was a big night for UK athletics as the men's basketball team tipped off their season at home officially, defeating UNC Ashville 89-57. The women's hoops also had a win over Marist on the road 75-61. The UK women's volleyball also had a win in Memorial tonight, as #20 UK defeated South Carolina in the largest kill-margin of the season for the Cats, sweeping USC. 

With men's basketball, Julius Randle made his college debut with a double-double scoring 23 points and 15 rebounds in his 26 minutes on the court. James Young, who was a game time decision due to an ankle sprain in an exhibition game posted 11 points with 1 assist and four rebounds. Andrew Harrison, making his return to the court after an injury in a scimmage had 8 points and 5 assistes. Marcus Lee came off the bench to score 17 and Alex Poythress had a double-double as well, scoring 10 points and 13 rebounds. UK went 30-48 at the free throw line. 

On Andrew Harrison and Marcus Lee's preformance, Coach Calipari said, "Yeah, he's an energy guy.  I mean, he did good.  We missed ‑‑ well, Andrew was five assists, one turnover, and the only thing, again, there were plays where the ball movement will start with him, so he's got to attack and then he didn't have to make a scoring pass, just get us started.  You know what I'm saying?  This isn't the showcase game.  This is a basketball game.  Try to make a play.  You can't make it, then move that ball, and it starts with him and Aaron (Harrison) and James (Young), and I grabbed all three of them after the game and told them. James made one play where he swung it, it swung, they drove and he got the shot on the weak side.  That's how it is.  You came up, you didn't have it, you swung the ball, it went to the other side, they drove middle, you end up getting the shot.  But you've got to trust that you're going to get it back, and right now we're still learning. Again, I'll say this:  I don't think they're selfish in any way.  I just think they've always played this way.  If I get it, I try to take my man.  If I've got to go three bounces, I'm going to try to do that.  That's done.  You can't play that way in a good college game."

Calipari also said he thought Julius Randle should have had more rebounds, although that was his third straight double-double. When asked about it, Calipari said: "Well, when he's going after it and he's getting the ball by people and getting that third and fourth play around the goal, there's no one better.  He can also score, and how is he shooting free throws?  So what do you think you'll tell him?  Get fouled.  Wow, you guys are basketball bennies.  (Laughter.) So you get fouled.  So go to the basket and ball fake and get fouled.  Don't avoid and miss a one‑footer.  Get fouled.  Get to the line.  We've told them if you don't have a clear path, come to a one‑two stop and get the ball to the basket.  Get fouled. But again, he stopped a bunch today, and you may say, here's a guy that had 21 and 15, and you're like, he didn't do enough.  No, for us to be what we're trying to be, we've got to be a bunch of guys out there that are playing the entire time they're on the court, and if they can't go, they sub themselves and we go with someone else, and that's why I said, I thought Alex and Marcus gave us great minutes.  Both of them did.  And that's what you need off our bench."

For women's hoops, DeNesha Stallworth scored 9 points and had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Janee Thompson, the sophomore, had her first start at point tonight. She was 6-11 on field goals and made 1 of two three point attempts. She had four rebounds, three on defense and three assists and one point shy of her career high of 14 points. Bria Goss had 10 points in her 32 minutes, Kastine Evans scored team high 15 points with one assist and one steal and 8 total rebounds, and Jennifer O'Neill posted 11 points. Freshman Linnae Harper had 2 assists and one steal and one free throw point in her 8 minutes. Samarie Walker scored 12 points and pulled a game-high 10 boards. It marks the 20th time in her career that she has recorded double-digit rebounds. The Cats shot 46% from the field and all 11 players saw the court except freshman Makayla Epps, who was out with a stomach virus. Four UK players scored in double figures. Each team had 19 turnovers. 

In volleyball, UK defeated USC 3-0 (25-17,25-15, 25-19). The Cats are now 9-3 in conference play and 17-6 for the season. They had 23 kills this match and held USC to under 20 points in each set, the third time they have done this to an opponenet this season. 

“I liked our aggressive serving,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “I thought we did a good job from the serving line. We picked up our defense after the first set. In the first set, we had only five digs, it was nice to pick that up and get some people involved offensively like Kayla Tronick and Anni Thomasson. It was good to see that the people that went in were able to maintain the same level of play for us."

UK outblocked the Gamecocks 6-5. Four Kentucky players had at least 7 kills. Freshman Anni Thommason had a match-high 12 kills and senior Whitney Billings added 9, six digs and 2 blocks. Sophomore Kayla Tronkick made her first start for the season, posting 9 kills and hitting .353 with three blocks. Sophomore setter Morgan Bergen had 38 assists and two kills as well. 

“Kayla has been playing well in practice and she deserves the opportunity to play,” Skinner said. “Morgan is comfortable setting to her and it adds some diversity to the offense. Jessi Greenberg did a great job serving for us during our scoring runs as well.”

UK Athletics returns to action tomorrow with the football team taking on the Missouri Tigers at home at 12:00, men's soccer playing at New Mexico at 7:00, Women's tennis playing at the ITA Championships all day in New York, and Rifle all day at home. On Sunday, Volleyball plays again against LSU in Memorial Coliseum at 1:00, Women's basketball is at Wagner at 1:00, men's basketall takes on Northern Kentucky at Rupp at 4:00 and women's tennis will still be competing in New York. 

Lyndsey Gough is a contributing writer for WLXG 1300. You can follow her on twitter @lyndseygough. 

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Locations : KentuckyNew MexicoNew YorkNorthern KentuckySouth Carolina
People : Alex PoythressAndrew HarrisonAnni ThomassonAnni ThommasonCalipariCraig SkinnerDeNesha StallworthJames YoungJanee ThompsonJessi GreenbergJulius RandleKastine EvansKayla TronickKayla TronkickLyndsey GoughMakayla EppsMarcus LeeMorgan BergenSamarie WalkerWhitney Billings

11/09/2013 12:14AM
Big Night for UK Athletics
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