Lamb sets record as UK rolls, 89-52

UK has a little Lamb, who fleeced Winthrop for a record-breaking point total.

Doron Lamb scored 32 points, a UK freshman record, leading the way as UK (9-2) tore away from Winthrop (5-7) with torrid shooting to an 89-52 victory.

“It’s an honor to break the record,” Lamb said. “Kentucky basketball is the biggest program in the country. I give thanks to my teammates for finding me on the court and giving me the ball.”

Lamb only missed one shot on the day, and 32 points on just 12 shots is quite the efficient performance. He made 7 of 8 three-pointers, but broke the record on a backdoor layup.

“(He was) feeling it,” Brandon Knight said. “That’s when the basket is wide open, anything you put it up is going in. Just keep shooting it.”

Lamb wasn’t hesitating to shoot, and UK wasn’t hesitating to give the ball to the hot hand.

“That’s a lot of self confidence,” Josh Harrellson said. “He came down in transition one time and pulled up and knocked it down. Once you’re doing that we’re going to keep finding you the whole game.”

UK looked like it had blown the game late in the first half, but Winthrop went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to nine points with 2:32 left.

UK promptly answered with a 10-0 run to close out the half, capped by a Lamb layup at the buzzer. The only thing in question after halftime was whether or not Lamb would reach the freshman record, which had been held by Jamal Mashburn since 1991.

Before the Rupp crowd was tense about the scoring record, the constituents were tense when Brandon Knight fell to the floor clutching his left knee and pounding the floor in the opening minutes of the game.

“The thought wasn’t pleasant leaning over him asking (if it was knee-to-knee or twisted),” UK head coach John Calipari said. “But after he told me (it was knee-to-knee) I was like, bang, let’s go. Get him to the back and get ready.”

Knight was able to get up under his own power and walk to the locker room.

“It didn’t scare me because I knew it was just a bumped knee,” Knight said. “I knew it was fine, I just needed to walk it off.”

The immediate grimace as he fell to the floor and pounding the hardwood gave the immediate impression that it might be a serious injury. Knight said he pounded the floor because he was frustrated because of the pain, and the knee was already sore.

It ended up as a knee contusion, but Knight was able to return quickly – and effectively. He ended up with 21 points, 14 of which came after the knee injury.

Lamb and Knight led the way in the first half, shooting a combined 12-for-13 as UK got out to a 19-point lead. While Calipari wondered how the game would have been different had the Cats not been shooting lights out, UK’s defense also contributed to the win – Lamb’s especially.

“He was great, huh,” Calipari said. “You know what else? He was good defensively. … He had a big time game.”

Also earning the coach’s approval was DeAndre Liggins. He recorded nine points and nine assists.

“I thought DeAndre was ridiculous,” Calipari said. “He was so good. And we were going at him because we wanted him to score some points because he deserved it.”

Terrence Jones had another off-night. The offensive rhythm stopped when the ball got in his hands, and it felt like he was forcing shots. He finished with 11 points on 5-for-16 shooting. His play was enough to make Calipari put him on the bench to start the second half.

“(I was) letting him understand, I’m going to play these guys that are playing better than you,” Calipari said. “You come off the bench, now start performing.”

Before the game, Calipari was worried about the players thinking ahead to a holiday break. Knight said it was in the back of their heads, but they were able to focus and get the win.

“I think we all approached this as a game we don’t want to lose before we go home and have a miserable Christmas,” Harrellson said.


John Calipari part 1: discussing Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight’s injury

Calipari part 2: discussing Eloy Vargas and, at the end of the video, Jamal Mashburn

Josh Harrellson discusses his performance, Calipari on him for having nine rebounds, and what help it would be if Eloy Vargas continues improving