|Kentucky opens Gillispie era with exhibition blowout|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 31 October 2007 16:21|
The Wildcats used some impressive 3-point shooting and numerous fast break baskets to run all over Pikeville College 99-64 in Gillispie's debut.
Gillispie, wearing a gray suit and bright yellow tie, knelt just inside the coaching box at the corner of Kentucky's bench much of the game. Although it was the first of two for the Wildcats this week that won't count in the standings, the new coach intensely followed the action, barking at his players and occasionally the referees.
If Gillispie was the most-watched newcomer at Rupp Arena on Wednesday night, the second-most was freshman power forward Patrick Patterson - a bluechip recruit from West Virginia.
Patterson, who was 10-of-12 from the field for 21 points, entered the game less than two minutes in and scored four seconds later in the paint. He added an alley-oop layup late in the first half and his first dunk as a Wildcat early in the second.
Kentucky shot 63 percent, but by far the hottest touch belonged to sophomore guard Jodie Meeks. He led the way with 34 points, including going 7-of-9 from 3-point range.
Meeks' 27 points in the first half matched Pikeville's total. His career high is 18, but the exhibition totals don't count in the record book.
If the game was ever in question, the Wildcats put it out of reach early in the first half with a 16-0 run that made it 29-9. All but one point in that span came from long range, as Meeks nailed three 3-pointers and Joe Crawford added two.
Kentucky's defense was nearly as impressive, allowing no fast break baskets - compared to 18 points for the Wildcats - and only seven second-chance points.
Gillispie, who said he still hadn't settled on his starting lineup Tuesday night, furiously mixed and matched throughout the game, using 12 players and a variety of combinations.
His exhibition starting lineup featured senior guard Ramel Bradley and four sophomores: Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, Mark Coury and Meeks.
The Wildcats play another exhibition Saturday against Seattle before opening the regular season Tuesday against Central Arkansas.