Miller shows up as UK wins 91-61

As Darius Miller sat down for postgame interviews, the blue UK chair ripped, forcing Miller – and the horde of media prepared to ask him about one of his best game of the season – to relocate.

“You set me up!” Miller said to a media relations director nearby.

Miller had what his coach said was his best game of the season. Although he only scored seven points, he did the “other things” for the team: six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block, and plenty of floorburns.

“I loved it,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “That’s as good as he’s played in a long time. And the main thing was he got aggressive. … I mean, I’d like to have a few more points, a few more rebounds, but then again I’d like to have everything.”

Miller didn’t contribute much to the scoreboard, at least in the direct sense. That was taken care of by the freshmen trio of Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, who combined for 52 points as UK (10-2) rolled over Coppin State (4-6) 91-61.

“We tried to shut (Lamb) down, but they just had too many guns,” Coppin State head coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell said. “And it wasn’t .22s, either.”

One of those other guns was Jones, who scored 18 points, and more importantly, did so on efficient 9-for-12 shooting. He was tweeting in the wee Tuesday hours about being sick and being unable to go to bed. Regardless, he came on in the second half, scoring 12 of his points.

“Right now they say it’s just a cold. I took my medicine before the game, and it helped me,” Jones said. “Last game I was rushing all my shots, short armed a lot of them, played faster than I needed to. Today, starting off with a couple passes first really helped me.”

UK had to (theoretically) fight against any rust from the holiday break, avoid looking ahead to the big game Friday (against Louisville, if you weren’t aware), and remain focused against a lesser opponent (who had to play without its leading scorer due to illness).

The Cats didn’t have any trouble, jumping out to a 17-4 lead, earning a season-high 29-point halftime lead, and shooting 74 percent in the second half in a thoroughly dominating performance.

It was also an experimental opportunity for the Cats. They played an extended stretch in the first half with a zone defense, and played the opening seven minutes of the second half with the small lineup.

The zone lineup slowed the game down, and Coppin State was close to committing shot clock violations on more than one occasion.

“I don’t like coaching that way,” Calipari said. “I mean, I don’t know if there were people here that said, ‘Boy, this is fun to watch them pass the ball 22 times.’ I wasn’t one of them.”

UK outrebounded Coppin State 43-22, and only five of UK’s rebounds came from the beardless Josh Harrellson and Eloy Vargas. UK also passed the ball plenty, recording 21 assists, which Calipari attributed to Coppin State primarily playing a zone.

“We had one play where we swung it three times to Doron in the corner and finally got a wide-open shot,” Jones said. “We’re playing unselfish and having a lot of fun, compared to the beginning of the season.”



Calipari discussing Miller’s play, the smaller lineup, playing zone defense, and his rotation:

Calipari, part 2, discussing the Louisville game and more Miller: