LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky had played its most flawless game
of the season, but Billy Gillispie was hardly in the mood to talk.
Moments after the Wildcats dispatched Lamar 103-61 on Wednesday,
the second-year coach fought back tears while thinking about
forward Ramon Harris. The junior was rushed to the hospital in the
first half after colliding with teammate Michael Porter during a
scramble for a loose ball.
"Those are my kids out there," Gillispie said. "You feel
helpless when you can't help them."
The extent of Harris' injury was unknown, but Gillispie said
preliminary tests were encouraging. Still, the harrowing moments
when Harris lay motionless on the Rupp Arena floor left the
"We were all worried and scared," said forward Patrick
Patterson, who scored a career-high 31 points. "I thought he'd be
alright for a second. ... We played for him tonight."
Harris and Porter appeared to bang heads while teammate Perry
Stevenson fought for a loose ball, with both players falling to the
floor. Harris struggled to get to his feet before collapsing and
was taken off the court on a stretcher as a precaution. He was
alert and had movement in all of his extremities when he reached UK
Chandler Medical Center, said Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy.
"He was in a lot of pain, obviously," Gillispie said. "The
doc said hopefully everything will be fine."
Porter received 10 stitches over his left eye but was back on
the bench by the end of the first half, though he did not return.
The injuries put a damper on Kentucky's most complete
performance of the season.
Patterson was nearly perfect offensively, making 10 of 11 field
goals and 9 of 11 free throws as the Wildcats (5-2) won their fifth
straight. Jodie Meeks had 19 points and six assists and helped the
Wildcats keep their composure after watching Harris being taken out
of the gym.
"It was hard to refocus," Meeks said. "Everyone was shaken up
by it. (But) I think it showed we can fight through adversity."
DeAndre Liggins, playing in his first home game since clashing
with Gillispie during last week's Las Vegas Invitational, added 16
points, seven rebounds and five assists.
"I thought he played well," Gillispie said. "I thought
everyone played well tonight. We stayed organized for the most
part. I think we made a major step forward."
The Wildcats entered the game averaging 23 turnovers, playing so
sloppily that even Gillispie admitted his team looked lost at
For a night, anyway, the Wildcats appeared to collect
Kentucky had a season-high 25 assists on 38 field goals and
turned it over just 16 times while playing with the kind of
precision it has lacked for long stretches early in the year.
Meeks was particularly sharp. He began the night with a
team-high 31 turnovers, but he had just one against the Cardinals
while nearly matching his season total in assists.
"I thought I played more controlled," he said.
It took the Wildcats less than five minutes to build a
double-digit lead and went seven minutes without turning it over,
heady territory for a team that was giving it away once every 90
seconds coming in.
Liggins, who raised some eyebrows after refusing to enter the
game against Kansas State in the Las Vegas Invitational last week,
received a lukewarm ovation when he checked in early in the first
It took about 30 seconds for the showy freshman to win the crowd
Liggins hit Patterson with a pair of full-court passes that led
to easy layups, and he even showed off a little range. He knocked
down a pair of 3-pointers in the second half that gave Kentucky a
74-37 lead, and Liggins kept his right hand raised in the air after
making the second one as the crowd roared - with all apparently
Coy Custer and Kenny Dawkins led Lamar (5-1) with 11 points
apiece, but the Cardinals couldn't disrupt the Wildcats with their
pressure and had trouble slowing Kentucky down. The Wildcats
outscored Lamar 46-24 in the paint and had a 20-2 advantage in
"I thought that we really pushed it hard," Gillispie said.
Gillispie stressed the Wildcats couldn't afford to get off to a
slow start against the smaller, quicker Cardinals and his team
responded by making 16 of its first 20 shots. The Wildcats cruised
to a 26-point halftime lead and Lamar didn't make a serious run at
the lead in the second half.
"They came out and played aggressive and hard," Dawkins said.
"They had a high intensity level and we weren't able to match that
tonight. The transition points are what killed us."
KENTUCKY 103, LAMAR 61
Brown 3-13 0-0 6, Worrell 2-3 3-3 7, McThay 2-10 0-0 5, Dawkins 4-10 1-2 11, Hall 1-4 3-6 5, Miles 2-7 0-1 4, Ybarra 0-1 0-0 0, Mahoney 1-2 2-3 4, Williams 1-5 1-2 3, Pace 0-0 0-0 0, Riley 2-4 0-0 5, Custer 4-6 3-4 11. Totals 22-65 13-21 61.
Porter 0-1 0-0 0, Stevenson 3-3 0-0 6, Harris 2-2 0-1 5, Meeks 6-13 5-6 19, Patterson 11-12 9-11 31, Miller 3-5 0-0 6, Galloway 0-3 2-3 2, Slone 0-0 0-0 0, Krebs 0-0 0-0 0, Halsell 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 3-6 0-0 6, Perry 0-1 0-0 0, Liggins 6-6 2-2 16, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Harrellson 4-7 2-2 12. Totals 38-59 20-25 103.
Halftime-Kentucky 56-30. 3-Point Goals-Lamar 4-24 (Dawkins 2-5, Riley 1-2, McThay 1-6, Hall 0-1, Miles 0-1, Ybarra 0-1, Williams 0-4, Brown 0-4), Kentucky 7-14 (Liggins 2-2, Harrellson 2-3, Meeks 2-6, Harris 1-1, Miller 0-1, Perry 0-1). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Lamar 33 (Custer 7), Kentucky 38 (Harrellson, Liggins 7). Assists-Lamar 7 (Miles 3), Kentucky 25 (Meeks 6). Total Fouls-Lamar 21, Kentucky 23. Technicals-Williams, Lamar Bench 2, Slone. A-21,350.