- Monday, November 24 2008 -
Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational (at Lexington, KY)
Longwood - 57 (Head Coach: Mike Gillian) - [Unranked]
|Jan van der Kooij||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
Kentucky - 91 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||4||2||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||3||0||1||0||2||4|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 51, Longwood 24
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Delaware State 71 - 42|||||Kansas State 74 - 72|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Patterson's career night lifts Cats
Patrick Patterson hadn't been out of sight in Kentucky's first three games but too often he had been out of his teammates' minds. That was more than enough to drive the point home.
The Cats need Patterson to be involved and dominant on the offensive end while their point guard situation settles itself. He was both of those things and more in UK's final tune up before heading west to Las Vegas for a pair of more telling games, setting the tone from the opening tip in a 91-57 smashing of Longwood.
"He was the dominant player on both ends of the floor," UK coach Billy Gillispie said. "He played like he should play."
The sophomore forward looked mortal in shooting just 4-of-10 from the floor against Delaware State two days prior, leading to suggestions - including from himself - he was rusty after missing much of the off-season while recovering from ankle surgery. Consider it knocked off.
Patterson scored a career-high 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, added a season-high 12 rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists. He exited to thunderous applause with 5:44 remaining and the Cats leading by 35.
It was only moments later he found out he had flirted with the resplendent triple-double.
"I didn't know I was close until after Coach Gillispie took me out of the game and a manager came up behind me and asked me why I couldn't get four more assists," Patterson said. "There could have been times I could have passed more. If I had known I would have passed more."
When asked if he knew only one player in UK's illustrious history - Chris Mills - had accomplished the feat Patterson smiled.
"Now I wish I really would have gotten it," Patterson quipped. "I could have been on the list. I wish one of the managers would have told me earlier."
The very fact that Patterson's performance had been such a hot topic of conversation meant he was not living up to the lofty standard he had set for himself in a breakout freshman campaign. Troubled by his slow start Patterson sought the advice of family and coaches to get back in gear.
"I haven't been pleased at all," Patterson said. "I had a slow start in the first three games so I was trying to build up my confidence and get back to where I was last year. The previous games I started off pretty slow but when I start fast that's when my confidence gets going. The first one rattled out and my teammates got on me and said to keep my head up. Once I got a couple down I got rolling."
Patterson's teammates wasted no time finding the big man against the smaller Lancers. After rattling out a short bank shot in the first 10 seconds of the game Patterson dropped in a lay-up off a pass from Darius Miller, turned a Perry Stevenson lob into a bucket, converted a three-point play off a DeAndre Liggins assist and capped the early flurry with a second 'and-one' on a high-low pass from Josh Harrellson.
The variety of ways Patterson scored and who the basketball came from signified a more stringent effort to find the bell cow early and often.
"We got Pat some good looks," Miller said. "He was posting really hard and we have to feed him the ball. In my opinion he's the best player on the team so we have to get him looks. He's been working really hard and things weren't going as well as he wanted them to but that's partly our fault."
Patterson said whispers of the dreaded second year step back motivated him.
"It's a situation where you start off real slow and you hear stuff like it's a sophomore slump going around," Patterson said. "Stuff like that you think about in the back of your head. I heard it from fans, around campus, on the message boards, stuff like that. I just look at it sometimes, I don't know, I can't help it. When it's on the computer I can't resist looking at it."
His next online experience promises to be much more enjoyable.
MILLER STARTS, DOESN'T FINISH
Darius Miller is going to be a superstar, at least that's the opinion of Billy Gillispie. It won't happen until he responds better to being rewarded for superior effort and play.
Miller earned his first collegiate start due in large part to how well he has rebounded, replacing junior Ramon Harris just before game time. While thrilled to be starting Miller did not continue to hit the glass with the ferocity Gillispie rewarded him for and spent much of the second half on the bench. Miller finished with one point and one rebound in 13 minutes.
"He got the start because he was rebounding the ball and then he didn't rebound," Gillispie said. "I don't understand I guess. I'm not very smart in a lot of ways but you get the start because you're rebounding better than the guy in front of you then the guy sitting on the bench gets six rebounds and you get one before the half.
"That blows my mind. I guess that's young people. He's not going to be a start, he's going to be a superstar, no question, but he has to change his mindset."
Jodie Meeks can only look as three Longwood defenders converge on the loose ball
Patrick Patterson shoots in front of Longwood's Dana Smith