John Wall had his first “moment” against Miami of Ohio in his very first game as a Kentucky Wildcat. Kentucky was struggling against an overmatched opponent and appeared headed for overtime when Wall’s last second 15 footer rescued the Wildcats.
And now in their sixth game, the Harrison Twins have their first defining moment as they rescued a lethargic Kentucky team from a sure defeat and led them to a 68-61 win over overmatched Cleveland State.
Trailing 54-44 with 7:41 left, Andrew Harrison found Willie Cauley-Stein for a couple of lobs that closed the gap. Andrew followed that with a trey at 3:55 that tied the game at 54 and thn another trey that brok a 57-57 tie. Aaron then sealed the game with another late trey. And Kentucky closed with a 24-7 run to snag victory from the jaws of defeat.
Kentucky played, well poorly for the majority of their game and deserved to lose and get a wake up call. Fortunately, UK got the wake up call without the loss. We shall see as the Wednesday afternoon “Thanksgiving” get away game is traditionally one of UK’s sloppiest of the year. Hopefully the Cats got the message last night.
This youth-will-be-served display of clutch play prompted Cleveland State Coach Gary Waters to whisper to his UK counterpart, “You needed this more than I did.”
Waters explained his message to UK Coach John Calipari. “It doesn’t look good for us to beat Kentucky,” he said.
Calipari saw the game as a 40-minute lesson for his freshman-dependent team. The lesson? Play 40 minutes.
“It was a game we needed,” he said. “‘OK, are you ready to start changing?’”
His heady freshmen needed a crisis, he said. “Not Michigan State, where you come back and almost win. They think they’re OK.
“Cleveland State deserved to win.”
With the November signing period past, John Calipari turns his eye to finishing off the 2014 recruiting class. And it looks like UK is going back to an old target to help finish off this class. If the name Torian Graham sounds familiar it is. Graham was a member of the 2012 high school class, but has had some issues and finds himself in junior college right now. But hopefully the last couple of years out of the spotlight may have helped Graham. Kentucky hopes so.
However, the Wildcats might have found one talented target over the weekend, when assistant coach Orlando Antigua journeyed to Marianna, Fla., to check out Chipola Community College shooting guard Torian Graham.
Close followers of the recruiting scene might remember Graham from the high school Class of 2012.
In his second year at Chipola, Graham has continued to produce as a volume scorer, establishing himself as one of the nation’s premier junior-college players.
After watching Graham, a North Carolina native and four-star prospect coming out of high school, put on a scoring show Saturday evening, Antigua could very well begin to heavily target the shooting guard, as the two already have a pre-existing relationship.
“Coach Orlando (Antigua) came to our game last night,” said Pat Blake, head coach of Chipola Community College. “He saw a great performance by Torian, who scored 29 points and went 6 for 9 from three. He’s done that all year for us. He’s a great offensive spark.”
Although I don’t see it, there are some that think John Calipari has an easy job. I certainly don’t see it. But I guess there are. Colorado coach Tad Boyle has four freshman on his roster and he certainly does not think Cal gets the credit he deserves.
Enjoying that much success with an annual lineup filled with freshmen has been impressive, Boyle said.
“I think John Calipari does not get the credit he deserves,” Boyle said. “The success he’s had in doing it that way – now, he’s getting the cream of the crop, but still that doesn’t make it easier. It makes it easier to win some games, but to win a national championship and to play at that level every year (is impressive).”