Karl-Anthony Towns shines in UK’s 84-49 victory over Eastern Kentucky


UK forward Karl-Anthony (12) lays up the ball during the first half of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball game vs. Eastern Kentucky University at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, December 7, 2014. UK led 41 – 14 at the half. Photo by Tessa Lighty

By Kyle Arensdorf

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Eastern Kentucky went for the homerun Sunday night by attempting the most 3-pointers by a UK opponent all season.

EKU launched 30 shots from beyond the 3-point arc (six more than Boston University attempted Nov. 21).

The problem was that EKU was nearly as out-of-sync from 3-point range as the Cats have been the past three games and made only six of its 30 attempts.

However, EKU head coach Jeff Neubauer was pleased with his team’s offensive performance, and applauded just how good UK’s defense is instead.

“That is what Kentucky has done to every opponent that they have played so far,” Neubauer said. “We knew coming into this game, as a coaching staff, that they were holding opponents to 28 percent from the field, and that’s absolutely amazing.”

EKU is a team that relies heavily on its 3-point shot, and shoots it at a relatively high efficiency (36 percent on the season before Sunday).

However, without it, the Colonels couldn’t give UK a fair fight.

Riding a dominant game by Karl-Anthony Towns, the Cats cruised to an 84-49 victory over their in-state foe.

“I did come out with a different mentality today,” said Towns, who made his first three of the season against EKU. “I don’t always use all the tools in my tool box. Today I tried to use a new one.”

Despite a career-high 19 points, and a fourth straight game with double-digit points, assistant coach John Robic harped primarily on Towns’ defensive performance.

“That’s probably the best he’s been defensively as far as (vocally),” he said.

As far as Towns’ offensive game, Robic praised the way he sat low in the post and called for the ball, also saying he played with “great confidence.”

“He played with a lot of energy and just went out there and did what he needed to do,” freshman forward Trey Lyles said.

Lyles, who had a slight bounce-back game after a few below-par showings, was also one of a few players who launched 3-pointers attempting to prolong the 908-game 3-point streak in the second half.

But as it was the Cats’ matchup against Texas, a Harrison made the team’s first 3-pointer with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

“Who else would you expect to make that three? I mean, come on,” Towns said of sophomore guard Aaron Harrison’s corner three.

Despite rumblings of fear in the crowd of a second potential streak-breaking game in a row, the streak was pushed to 909 games with Harrison’s 3-pointer and all was good in Rupp Arena.

Robic quipped after the game, “Good thing he was on the left side of the court.”