Kentucky basketball whips North Carolina to pass first test without Poythress
By Jerry Tipton | December 13, 2014
When Karl-Anthony Towns stepped to the foul line to try to extend a 16-point lead Saturday, a Kentucky fan could be heard calling out to Roy Williams.”Hey, Roy!” he yelled at the North Carolina coach. “How about ‘dem Cats?!”
By then (4:56 left), No. 1 Kentucky was well on the way to a heady 84-70 victory over the Tar Heels and, maybe more importantly, showing that the sudden loss of Alex Poythress less than 48 hours earlier might not be problematic. It certainly wasn’t in game one of the post-Poythress portion of the season.
But even with a convincing victory over No. 21 North Carolina, UK Coach John Calipari advised the Big Blue Nation to proceed cautiously.
“I’m going to tell you, the biggest issue (remains) with us missing Alex,” Calipari said. “And it doesn’t go away. Don’t think, well, they played well without Alex.”
Somewhere, sometime, maybe against UCLA next Saturday or at Louisville the following Saturday, Kentucky will need an athletic play that can’t be scripted or taught.
“Trey doesn’t do that,” Calipari said of Trey Lyles, who started in Poythress’s place against North Carolina. “Trey’s a totally different player. Karl does some of it, but not like Alex does.”
Poythress could do that. But he’s gone after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in practice Thursday. To compensate, Calipari said, Kentucky must become more efficient on offense and even better on defense.
“So we’re not in the position to have to have that play,” he said. “Because it’s not there anymore.”
UK is undefeated and ranked number one in the nation, with one more currently ranked team on its schedule, the #4 University of Louisville Cardinals on December 27th.
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