Kentucky shoots down Blackbirds

Archie Goodwin

Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin flirted with a triple-double, scoring 22 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out nine assists to lead the No. 8 Wildcats to a 104-75 win over Long Island-Brooklyn on Friday at Rupp Arena.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Archie Goodwin spends almost as much time scraping himself off the hardwood as he does soaring above it during the course of a Kentucky game.

The freshman guard from Arkansas says it's business as usual for anyone from his old neighborhood.

"That just came from growing up in the rough part of Little Rock," said Goodwin, who shook off the familiar bumps and bruises Friday night against Long Island-Brooklyn and flirted with a triple-double in Kentucky's 104-75 victory at Rupp Arena. "You know, when you play street ball, there's really no fouls called. If you don't make (the shot), you don't make it.

"Whatever you can do to win, you do, even if it's throwing somebody on the ground. And if you call the wrong fouls, you're going to argue all night, and maybe have a couple of fights. (Laughs) So with that, I learned to play through bumps."

For the second time in three days, Kentucky (4-1) found itself in a figurative tussle, trailing for most of the game's first 16 minutes. But Goodwin scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out nine assists to help the Wildcats gradually pull away from LIU-Brooklyn. He fell just one rebound and one assist shy of joining Chris Mills as the only player in Kentucky's illustrious history to record a triple-double.

Kentucky coach John Calipari claimed he was unaware of Goodwin's status late in the game. "If I had thought that, I would have thought 10 turnovers to, so a quadruple-double," he joked. "I'm not looking at that."

Goodwin, who actually had just three turnovers on the night, said he knew he was closing in on a potential historic line with about four minutes left in the game. In hindsight, he wishes he was not told.

"I knew I was close to (a triple-double) and I tried to get it," he said with a grin. "I think they shouldn't have told me and probably just let it happen. Once I found out about it, I tried to over-think too much at the end of the game."

Added LIU-Brooklyn coach Jack Perri: "(Goodwin) was great. His numbers were great... He's a tough guard. He gets all the way to the rim both to his left and his right. He made shots, too. I think he hit a 3. He gets fouled a ton. He's a talented kid, a big-time player."

For a while, it appeared that the Cats would have much more than trivial stats to worry about. LIU-Brookyln (0-4) matched the No. 8 Wildcats blow for blow most of the first half. Kentucky used a 15-0 run just before halftime, including six points from Goodwin, to take a 55-43 lead into the break.

Over the next 10 minutes, UK would outscore LIU-Brooklyn 37-9 to seize total control. The Wildcats shot what Perri described as a "ridiculous" 67.7 percent (42 of 62) from the field and racked up 28 assists with only 10 turnovers.

Kentucky scored 60 points in the paint against the smaller Blackbirds. Freshman forward Alex Poythress matched Goodwin with a team-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Freshman center Nerlens Noel followed with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots. Another UK freshman big man, Willie Cauley-Stein, added 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots off the bench.

"I thought they were great. I thought both of them played well," Calipari said of his centers. He also praised Cauley-Stein for his defensive work against LIU-Brooklyn's Jamal Olasewere, who had scored most of his team-high 22 points prior to having the Kansas native assigned to him.

Senior guard Julius Mays gave UK five players in double figures with 15 points and six assists.

"We've got a lot of questions to answer, but we're showing signs," Calipari said.

NOTES:

* Kentucky now leads the all-time series against LIU-Brooklyn 3-1. UK is 5-1 against teams from the Northeast Conference.

* UK's 69.7 field goal percentage in the first half was the highest field goal percentage in a half this season.

* Mills recorded UK's last and only triple-double against Austin Peay on Dec. 27, 1988, with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Last year's national player of the year, Anthony Davis, flirted with the elusive line on many occasions, but could not break through.

* Calipari said he has instituted a rule that will require the Cats to run "liners" for every offensive rebound they give up above 10 in games moving forward. UK allowed 16 on Wednesday against Morehead State, but only nine to LIU-Brooklyn. "So they knocked off one they owe me," Calipari said. "You don't want to run, you better rebound the ball."

* Sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow, who has missed the last four games with an unspecified medical condition and returned home to North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holiday to deal with what Calipari deemed a "family issue," is expected to return to the team for Sunday's practice. "We want Ryan back," he said. "He's got to fight (to win back his position) but he understands... We need him back. We need another guy. There's no question."

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