Jones dominates, UK pulls out 76-64 win


Terrence Jones laughs with Doron Lamb after the second half of UK’s win over ETSU at Rupp Arena on Friday Nov. 12 , 2010. Photo by Britney McIntosh

Terrence Jones’ game thrives overseas as well.

In the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, Jones provided all the tropic beauty UK needed to beat Oklahoma 76-64.

The freshman posted another monster stat line, recording 29 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocks to push UK (3-0) past the Sooners (3-1).

For Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel, who recruited Jones out of high school, it was a sight he knew he might see.

“I thought Terrence Jones was the best player in the country,” Capel said. “I didn’t see anyone who could have had an impact on a game like he could. He certainly did that today.”

UK head coach John Calipari took a slightly more understated approach in assessing Jones’ performance, who tied for the second-most points by a freshman in UK history with his 29.

“He’s all right,” Calipari said, leaving the words hanging as everyone waited for him to elaborate. It didn’t come immediately, but a few questions later Calipari added: “Today he was terrific.”

UK didn’t receive major contributions from many of the players Calipari was hoping to see turn in solid performances. Junior Darius Miller scored five points, and centers Josh Harrelson and Eloy Vargas combined for four points and seven rebounds.

Still, Brandon Knight scored 13 points, DeAndre Liggins scored 12 points and added five rebounds, and Doron Lamb sparked the Cats with 10 first-half points off the bench. UK shot 50 percent from the floor as a team.

And with Jones making the key plays down the stretch, it didn’t matter.

“I loved him,” Capel said of Jones, before he witnessed the freshman carry UK to victory. “I didn’t love him this afternoon.”

While Oklahoma never led during the game, it closed to within five points after being down by as many as 18 in the second half. UK’s transition defense allowed Oklahoma to slice to the basket for easy layups.

The test – UK’s first close game of the season – was beneficial for the Cats.

“I was in the huddle telling them, we need this,” Calipari said. “I want to see who can step up. I want to see who can make a play. And the only way you learn is in a close game like this where we can lose this.”

Jones was the one making the plays. He kept pouring in baskets and made two critical blocks down the stretch.

One possession saw Jones rip down a rebound, gallop the length of the floor with the ball in his hands on the fast break, and zip a pass to Harrellson for a layup that extended the lead to 13 with under five minutes to play.

“I saw Josh running the floor hard, and I just wanted to hit him,” Jones said.

Calipari was relayed Capel’s statement that Jones was the best player in the nation.

“Today,” Calipari said. “Today he was.”



– UK opened the game on a 16-6 run and held a halftime lead of 42-28.

– Jones’ 29 points was the second-most all-time by a UK freshman, two points behind Jamal Mashburn and tied with Eric Bledsoe.

– Jones has all seven dunks for UK this season.

– UK shot 11-22 (50 percent) from the free throw line and 29-58 (50 percent) from the field.

– DeAndre Liggins injured his shoulder during the game and said it was sore, but he should be fine and expected to play in Tuesday’s game.