LEXINGTON, KY - Kentucky's Julius Randle #30 shoots the ball while defended by D.J. Cunningham #33 of  UNC Asheville at Rupp Arena on Nov. 8, 2013. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Kentucky Wildcats 89, UNC-Asheville Bulldogs 57: Julius Randle leads freshmen in debut

a a a a
Share this story

LEXINGTON, Ky.  -  Nick McDevitt's first minutes as UNC-Asheville's coach were encouraging as the Bulldogs led No. 1 Kentucky three times on Friday night and were within striking distance of the Wildcats' heralded freshmen at halftime.

The second half was another story as Kentucky's talent and athleticism were the differences in an 89-57 loss that showed how far the Bulldogs have to go.

"I thought we did a nice job, particularly in the first half, of playing the pace that we wanted to," McDevitt said. "I just told our guys in the locker room that for us to have a chance to play against world-class athletes, you have to be in world-class shape.

"This being Game One, early November, we're just not there yet. ... I thought we did a nice job for about 24 minutes."

Will Weeks scored 19 points and Andrew Rowsey had 12 for UNC-Asheville, but the Bulldogs shot just 22 of 57 from the field (38.6 percent) and committed 15 turnovers. They were also called for 32 fouls compared to 20 for Kentucky, which made 30 of 48 free throws

See the box score at http://www.ukathletics.com/sports/m-baskbl/stats/2013-2014/uk1108.html

UNC-Asheville hit just 10 of 21 from the line.

Asked whether new rules enacted to discourage fouling worked against his team, McDevitt said, "I didn't feel we got an unfair shake. They are hard to guard. They're just enforcing rules that we've had."

"It's just hard to contain guys that are that quick, that big, that athletic, that skilled," he said.

While McDevitt was talking about Kentucky in general, he had special praise for freshmen forward Julius Randle.

Randle scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half to lead five Kentucky players in double figures and help the top-ranked Wildcats' highly touted freshman class debut successfully. The 6-foot-9 forward, considered the best of Kentucky's six high school All-American recruits in an eight-man group some are calling the best ever, grabbed 15 rebounds.

"Rarely do you see a guy with that kind of size and athleticism and skill level," McDevitt said. "(Kentucky coach John) Calipari is going to have fun coaching him."

Reserve sophomore forward Alex Poythress added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve Marcus Lee added 17 points, James Young had 11 and Aaron Harrison 10 as Kentucky's freshmen helped the Wildcats overcome a ragged start.

Kentucky shot 17 of 30 in the second half to finish 28 of 59 (47.5 percent), but its first-half play was mostly uneven as the Wildcats shot just 11 of 29 from the field (37.9 percent) and had as many turnovers as assists (four) while trying to sort things out.

Those issues caused Calipari to frequently scream at his players, who struggled to put together consistent stretches through 8 1-2 minutes. Good things such as forcing the Bulldogs into two shot-clock violations were offset by breakdowns that allowed them to beat their 2-3 zone inside. Sam Hughes also hit a 3-pointer to provide UNC-Asheville's third and last lead at 13-12.

Kentucky went on a 15-2 run helped by consecutive 3-pointers from Young and two putbacks by Poythress. The Wildcats went on to lead 41-31 lead at halftime.

Kentucky came out stronger in the second half and steadily pulled away, leading by as many as 37.

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More UK Sports News
Kentucky star Julius Randle to enter NBA draft
Kentucky star Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

Freshman forward Julius Randle will leave Kentucky after one season to enter the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top five…

'Hefty Lefty' weighs in on NCAA ruling on food
'Hefty Lefty' weighs in on NCAA ruling on food

The former NFL and University of Kentucky quarterback playfully referred to as "Hefty Lefty" is having a little fun on social media…

Kentucky brings up memories of Fab Five
Kentucky brings up memories of Fab Five

The Fab Five came onto the national basketball landscape like a thunder dunk. You had to notice the five baggy-shorts-wearing…

Yes! UK is going to the NCAA championship game!
Yes! UK is going to the NCAA championship game!

Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left, after taking a pass from his twin brother Andrew, and Kentucky beat Wisconsin 74-73 on…

Contrasting UK, Wisconsin meet at Final Four
Contrasting UK, Wisconsin meet at Final Four

Wisconsin meets Kentucky in the Final Four on Saturday, in a national semifinal between two programs that approach the sport from completely…

Big, maybe historic weekend for the Wildcats
Big, maybe historic weekend for the Wildcats

It could be a historic NCAA basketball weekend for the Kentucky Wildcats and Coach John Calipari.The big win would mark the end of a tough…

UK's Randle set for homecoming in Dallas
UK's Randle set for homecoming in Dallas

Kentucky coach John Calipari might as well have built a pipeline to Texas during the recruiting season, or at least found a nice…

One-and-done working just fine for Kentucky
One-and-done working just fine for Kentucky

The youthful Kentucky Wildcats are getting somewhat comfortable with this whole winning thing.

Ky. and Wis. govs wage friendly Final Four bet
Ky. and Wis. govs wage friendly Final Four bet

Someone is winning big when Wisconsin faces the University of Kentucky in the Final Four round of play in the NCAA tournament Saturday.

Harrison's late 3-ptr. lifts UK to Final Four
Harrison's late 3-ptr. lifts UK to Final Four

Aaron Harrison made a 3-pointer from NBA range with 2.3 seconds left Sunday to lift Kentucky to a 75-72 win over Michigan and a trip to the…