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The Bison(s) of Lipscomb University are nestled in their Hyatt double beds, anxiously awaiting the beatdown they will suffer at the hands of the Wildcats in a mere 13 hours. They’ll go up against a hungry Kentucky team that has gone an entire week of two-a-days and college finals; it has been a week since the Cats’ last game. Kyle Wiltjer said the past five days were a great time for he and his teammates to improve. “We’re really working hard and coming together not only on offense, but on defense as well,” he said after Friday’s practice. “Our main focus is just making steps and making progress. Every day in practice we just want to become a better team. I feel like that’s what we’re doing.”
Wiltjer used the extra practice time to focus on his own game, from defense to rebounding to working to become a well-rounded scorer. He said, “I’m trying to mix it up, trying to get in the post a little bit, score over smaller defenders and use my pump fake to my advantage.” I’m trying to do other things, trying to play good defense and rebound.”
All that is great, but we’ll just be happy when he breaks out of his slump. He has missed 25 of his last 30 three-point attempts.
John Calipari was very pleased with Thursday’s practice; he called it the best one his team has had in two months. Calipari said the guys are doing more competing against each other, instead of relying on him to pull them along through practice. “I don’t have to drag them through everything,” he said of the new attitude in practice. “It is good because I don’t have to scream and yell and go nuts.”
Archie Goodwin said the team is making strides in their competitive spirit. He called this week’s practices “intense” and “a lot more competitive.” “We’re starting to pick it up a lot,” he added.
No more Spongebob Squarepants in Wildcat Coal Lodge. Turn it off and get to the gym, please. Thank you.
It’s Freestyle Friday at Lipscomb!!!
Class of 2014 UK signee Karl Towns made his 2012-13 high school season debut Friday night. Towns scored 18 points in St. Joe’s loss to rival East Brunswick, while battling the officiating. The outcome could’ve been in his favor had he not played most of the game in foul trouble. Will someone please remind the New Jersey high school officials that Towns is one of the best players in the country and he’s going to Kentucky? You can’t call fouls on him. That’s not how this works.
What about Andrew Wiggins, you ask? Just a cool 32 points in the win over Walnut Hill in Ashland. I don’t even think he broke a sweat. Wiggins will be in action in Ashland again Saturday night at 7:30.
Terrence Jones is back in the D-League. He’ll start for the Texas Vipers on Saturday night. Jones averaged 22 points and 17.5 in two games for the Vipes during his last D-League stint.
Daniel Orton is also getting his development on in the D-League.
In football news, UK released the contracts of three of its assistant coaches on Friday:
— Defensive Coordinator, DJ Eliot: $500,000 (through 2016)
— Offensive Coordinator, Neal Brown: $550,000 (through 2016)
— Offensive Line, John Schlarman: $200,000 (through 2015)
The $1,050,000 price tag for Eliot/Brown is significantly higher than the combined $676,000 for Randy Sanders and Rick Minter. Mitch Barnhart was kidding around when he said he’s ready to open up the checkbook.
Don’t forget: The Kentucky Sports Radio postgame show will be live from Glen’s Creek Brewery & Beer Exchange at 845 East High Street in Lexington. Stop by after the game to listen to Matt Jones take calls from Big Blue Nation. Eat a beer cheese burger while you’re there. Trust me.
That’ll do it for now. We’ll see you back here Saturday morning as we count down to the Lipscomb game. The live blog will start at 12ish.