UK calls on upperclassmen for road game



UK got on the road-win board against South Carolina. But that doesn’t pacify the team.

The freshmen, in particular, are wary after some lackluster individual performances in past road games. DeAndre Liggins felt the same way his freshmen year. So he tries to help them out, any way he can.

“I talk to the freshmen at hotels,” Liggins said. “Go in their room the night before the game and tell them what to expect, what to do. Just stay poised, play hard.”

Head coach John Calipari has put the onus on Liggins, Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson to take on the challenge of guiding the team through road trips.

“You three, this is your team,” Calipari said. “And you understand what it means to go on the road and win in this league.”

If those three play solid on the road all the time, that gives UK some leeway if one or two freshmen are having bad games. Which, by the way, was a luxury Calipari had in abundance last year, when he had Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson — both former starters — to plug in.

“I met with the older guys again and said going on the road, man, this is you guys,” Calipari said. “It’s not those freshmen. If the freshmen plays well, then we’ll win. If they don’t play well, we have to win anyway.”

Winning against Ole Miss doesn’t appear to be a tough challenge, on paper. They’re tied with Auburn for least victories in conference play. They’ve lost to all four SEC East teams they’ve played so far (Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee).

“We’re all four points from each other,” Calipari said. “But their other guys play off him pretty well. They’re athletic, they drive the ball. They’ve done a good job spacing the floor out so they can all drive.”

Ole Miss is led by 5-foot-10 guard Chris Warren, who is averaging 18.2 point per game.

“Obviously, he scores the ball,” Calipari said. “He takes big shots. He makes shots that change the game, and you have to guard him and keep an eye on him.”

That assignment will fall to Liggins, who is set to defend another short guard.

“The rest of our games, whoever we play I’m guarding their best player so it doesn’t really matter,” Liggins said.