- Wednesday, December 3 2008 -
Lamar - 61 (Head Coach: Steve Roccaforte) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 103 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Unranked]
|A. J. Stewart||11||3||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||1||2||6|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 56, Lamar 30
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|West Virginia 54 - 43|||||Miami 67 - 73|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Injuries mar rout
Patrick Patterson set a career high in scoring for the second time this season but his big night was lost in the aftermath of a nasty collision that injured two of Patterson's teammates.
Kentucky jumped on Lamar from the outset and cruised to a 103-61 victory behind Patterson's 31 points but that was hardly the talk of Rupp Arena. Most of the crowd and UK family was concerned about the well being of Michael Porter and Ramon Harris after the two banged heads during a first half scramble for a loose ball.
Harris appeared to suffer the more serious injury and was taken off the court on a stretcher after having a neck brace put on and being immobilized. The junior forward was taken to UK Chandler Hospital for tests, where he was alert and had movement in all of his extremities. Porter went to the locker room and received 10 stitches before returning to the bench but not the game.
"You get scared," UK coach Billy Gillispie said, pausing to control his emotions. "Those things don't happen very often luckily and you just get scared, you know, fear a lot of times is created by the unknown. You just...feel bad for both of them. Those are my kids out there and you feel helpless that you can't help them. You just hope and pray everything is going to be okay for both of them."
Porter and Harris banged heads during a scramble for a loose ball at the 13:42 mark of the first half. Porter appeared to be moving toward the basketball just as Harris got up off the floor and turned down court. The two immediately went down to the floor and did not get up as Perry Stevenson was whistled for a foul a few feet away.
Team doctors and trainers rushed to each player's side with Porter having a towel held up to his left temple before being helped off the court. Harris got up to one knee holding the back of his head but went back down to the floor. UK doctors and Gillispie went to Harris' side before calling for his mother - Carmen Bowles - from the stands.
"We were all worried and scared," Patterson said. "Looking at Ramon twitching on the ground, his hands were all curled in, his toes and feet were twitching. I thought it was going to be fine for a minute when Mike got up and it was a breath of fresh air but then Ramon didn't get up and it was scary. His mom comes out on the court and is saying a prayer for him and Ramon is crying. We knew it was serious when he's crying and shaking, but when they lifted him up he looked at us with that glance in his eyes that everything was going to be alright.
"We see it on TV in a million different sports, especially in football, but when you're actually in the moment and it happens right in front of you there is nothing like it. It takes your breath away."
The eight-minute delay must have seemed like an eternity for the Cats but it did not rob them of their focus or energy level. UK doubled its 12-point lead to 24 over the next five minutes on the way to a 56-30 halftime edge. The Cats further put the game on ice with a 21-0 run early in the second half, proving they weren't going to let Harris and Porter's situation affect their play on the court.
Gillispie said he was impressed with the way his team handled the uniquely trying circumstances.
"Those are family members right there and it's a really close group and they really care about each other," Gillispie said. "It's a strong testament to their care and love for each other when you can continue to concentrate. They didn't put it out of their minds - there is no way you could - but they did an outstanding job (concentrating). It's very easy for you because of your love for your teammates to lose focus and your energy level. They didn't do that to their credit. I think they were determined to not let that happen."
Understandably downplayed in all of the madness was Patterson's dominating offensive effort. The sophomore forward, who made 11-of-12 field goals, bested his previous career high of 28 points on two free throws with 6:20 remaining and then broke 30 for the first time in his career on a lay-up in transition with 3:57 left in the game. UK coach Billy Gillispie immediately called a 30-second timeout and replaced his bell cow with Josh Harrellson.
Patterson didn't feel like basking in his career night after the game.
"It's hard to enjoy wins like this when a teammate is in trouble and in the hospital," Patterson said. "We wanted to finish the game for them and enjoy it with them when we see them. We were all worried while we were still playing."
Darius Miller tomahawks as he sails past Lamar's Skyler Williams
Patrick Patterson slides past Lamar's Kenny Dawkins and lays the ball up
Coach Gillispie can only look on as both Ramon Harris and Michael Porter are tended to by the medical staff after a freak collision mid-way in the first half