LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky coach John Calipari can live with
missed shots and turnovers. It's part of the process when trying to
mold a team littered with underclassmen.
The one thing Calipari can't live with, however, is a lack of
grit, a trait he said the 11th-ranked Wildcats had in abundance
during a sometimes sloppy 97-66 exhibition win over Pikeville on
"We're not tough enough, we don't play vicious enough,"
Freshman point guard Brandon Knight scored 22 points and Darius
Miller added 21 points for Kentucky, but Calipari was alarmed by
the way the Bears outworked his team.
Pikeville, an NAIA school, led for a short period in the first
half and trailed by only 11 early in the second before the Wildcats
were able to pull away.
"We got beat to everything," Calipari said.
Not exactly. Kentucky outrebounded the Bears 52-35, forced 17
turnovers and blocked 10 shots. Yet it was a struggle for the
Wildcats to put Pikeville away.
While Calipari allows a steep learning curve is to be expected
on a team trying to replace five players who from last season's
squad now playing in the NBA, he didn't expect to have to teach his
players how to fight.
"What you have to have as a player is an understanding that
it's one of two things: he outworks me or I outwork him," Calipari
said. "This isn't about cool, this isn't about style points."
There weren't a ton to go around against the Bears. Kentucky
made 1 of 10 3-pointers and managed just seven assists.
"We've got to play together better," Calipari said. "We're
just trying to figure each other out and create for each other
Knight, the latest in a long line of high-profile point guards
recruited by Calipari, fought through some pregame nerves to add
seven rebounds and do whatever he wanted while operating Kentucky's
"I know it takes time, but (fans) will have high expectations
because of last year's team, but even they struggled a bit towards
the beginning," he said. "I think if we just continue to work,
we'll get better over time and it will fall into place."
DeAndre Liggins had 18 points and Doron Lamb added 16 as
Kentucky pulled away in the second half.
Vance Cooksey led Pikeville with 15 points, but the Bears shot
just 32 percent from the field and wore down under Kentucky's
The Wildcats host Dillard in another exhibition on Friday then
open the season on Nov. 12 against East Tennessee State.
Kentucky freshman center Enes Kanter watched the game in a grey
sweatsuit from the bench. Kanter, who spent portions of three
seasons playing for a club team in his native Turkey, must sit
while his amateur status is being reviewed by the NCAA.