Jones shines as UK routs Dillard 122-54



Friday night’s basketball win was what an exhibition against an overmatched opponent is supposed to look like.

UK scored, and scored, and scored some more in its 122-54 win. The Cats led 57-22 at halftime, hit the 100-point mark with 8:15 left in the game and shot 71 percent from the field.

Of course, the lopsided result can only be expected against an opponent named Dillard. But as unorganized and soft as UK looked in its first exhibition game against Pikeville College, the Cats were the opposite in its last warmup before the regular season begins. UK shot well, defended well, passed well and, in total, played well.

The same could be said of Terrence Jones, who finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals.

“I guess he went and rethought how he played, and went back to the old Terrence,” Brandon Knight said. “It was a monstrous game, rebounding everything, dunking everything. Just playing the way he can play.”

At times, it looked like he was toying with his opponents. But that didn’t seem to bother Dillard head coach Dale Brown, who saw Jones do a little bit of everything against his players.

“I love him,” Brown said. “I love that he’s an inside out guy. I love the versatility in his game. He’s a pro.”

Jones’ performance was a complete reversal from the first exhibition game, when he scored nine points after getting in early foul trouble.

“He had a passion,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “There no coolness. High school kids, when it doesn’t go right, they try be cool, like ‘I don’t really care.’ He even started the game a little bit that way.”

After getting off to another slow start, where Jones said he shot twice when he should have passed, he was wary of another letdown performance. Avoiding foul trouble, which happened against Pikeville, helped Jones establish a rhythm.

“Coming out for fouls really messes me up, and being able to play without worrying about being subbed really helped,” said Jones. “It was a lot more fun today.”

Jones was part of a couple plays during the game seemed indicative of developing chemistry for UK. In the first half, Jones blocked a shot and had an open court in front of him. He passed the ball ahead to Hood.

On the ensuing possession, Hood returned the favor by lobbing a pass up to Jones on a breakaway alley-oop, a play Calipari said he “loved.” The willingness to pass can get the rest of the team involved.

“Now all of a sudden Jon Hood’s shoulder are back, chin is up and he’s ready,” Calipari said.

The breaking point for Dillard occurred early in the contest.

Down 7-9, with the first five minutes reminiscent of the slow start against Pikeville, Darius Miller hit two jumpers in a row to give UK a 12-9 lead. That was only the beginning of a 13-0 run that put UK up 20-9 and well on its way to the blowout.

During that stretch, Jon Hood and Josh Harrellson displayed what their roles, when playing effectively, could be. Harrellson grabbed rebounds on three straight possessions, including a put-back after trailing on a fast break, and finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Hood drained two open corner threes during the stretch and finished with 18 points and shot 4-of-6 from the 3-point line.

The game served as a potential indicator of what’s possible for UK.

“It’s kind of in between where we want to be, but there are signs,” Calipari said. “We shot well, so we scored a whole lot of points. We defended fairly well, rebounded fairly well, but we’ve got a long way to go.”


Game notes:

  • Brandon Knight scored 20 points and dished out six assists, including handing the ball off to Jones on a breakaway, another play Cal said he “loved.”
  • DeAndre Liggins scored 13 points, pulled in six rebounds, and his played his customary stifling defense.
  • Darius Miller scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had five assists and four steals.
  • Jon Hood scored 18 points and lit it up from behind the arc, making 4-of-6.
  • Eloy Vargas scored 10 points and grabbed two rebounds.
  • Harrellson finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
  • Doron Lamb scored seven points.
  • Polson watch: Polson entered with 5 minutes left to play and scored one point, on a free throw after driving the lane and earning a blocking foul. As usual, the crowd loved every second of it.