Cats rout Gamecocks behind Miller’s career day



The opposition had some idea UK would score.

But they really weren’t prepared for that type of overwhelming performance.

“My biggest concern heading into the game was Kentucky’s ability to score in general,” South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn said.

That was after UK (19-7, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) scored, and scored some more, in a 90-59 victory over South Carolina (13-12, 4-8 SEC).

It was an utter dismantling from the start. South Carolina didn’t score for the first five minutes as UK opened up a 15-0 lead, an immediate deficit that stunned UK’s opponent.

“Just keeping them to zero for so long means we were really defending, and that’s where it starts off, “Terrence Jones, who wore a pair of 1995 Air Jordans on the way to 19 points and 12 rebounds, said.

Jones only took two shots from outside, largely avoiding allowing the three-point success of the team to infect him. His teammates did all the work from outside.

Darius Miller made his first six on the way to 75 percent shooting from the perimeter. UK followed suit, shooting 47 percent on twos and 55 percent on threes.

“After I hit a couple, I was feeling it a little bit, so I just let it go,” Miller said. “You kind of get in a zone where you’re knocking down shots.”

Miller scored a career-high 22 points, besting the 20 he scored against Wake Forest in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Must be something about South Carolina; his second-highest point total this year was 18, when UK played the Gamecocks the first time.

“I think it’s a joke people refer to those two guys (Miller and DeAndre Liggins) as role players. Role players don’t score 22,” Horn said. “He hit everything he threw up. One was right in front of me. He didn’t even have his feet set.”

And Miller showed solid play in the other facets of the game, collecting nine rebounds and blocking three shots. Miller’s defensive performance was part of a good night by UK as a whole, who limited South Carolina to 21.6 percent shooting in the first half.

Much of that was keyed by Liggins, who harassed Bruce Ellington into 1-for-11 shooting. Liggins came off the bench for the first time all season after a couple lackluster performances — he said he was tired and stressed out around the Mississippi State game because of classes, practices and a newborn son — and was informed at practice a day before South Carolina.

“Me not starting gave me a different perspective on what they were doing,” Liggins said. “I came off the bench last year. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Five UK players scored at least 11 points, including Doron Lamb’s 18 and Brandon Knight’s 12, to go along with a career-high nine assists.

The rest of the bench all saw game time, as well. Eloy Vargas, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson saw their customary minutes, and Stacey Poole played for the first time in over a month.

Sometimes it’s the simplest quotes that sum up the game.

“We played great defense and Darius’ shooting was unbelievable,” Jones said.


Calipari, part 1:

Calipari, part 2:

DeAndre Liggins on coming off the bench: