Kentucky gets Calipari's message

November 22, 2009

Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins saw Rider's Brandon Penn pull up from well behind the 3-point line and stretched every last inch of his 6-foot-11 frame in an effort to get a hand on the ball.

Guarding an opponent 22 feet from the basket isn't something Cousins does often. And he plowed into Penn as the ball clanged off the rim, but Cousins' effort was perhaps the surest sign that Kentucky coach John Calipari's message to his team that it needed to get serious about defense had come through loud and clear.

Playing with the kind of intensity sorely lacking in its first three games, No. 4 Kentucky roared past the Broncs 92-63 on Saturday, hardly looking like the club Calipari called the "worst" defensive team he's seen in 20 years following narrow escapes against Miami (Ohio) and Sam Houston State.

The Wildcats (4-0) held Rider to 31 percent shooting - including just 4-for-17 on 3-pointers - and added 10 steals and 10 blocks in easily their most complete game of the season.

"There has to be a sense of urgency defensively, we had that today," Calipari said.

Jay Gavin scored 20 points as Virginia Commonwealth upset its former coach Jeff Capel and No. 17 Oklahoma 82-69. ... Ninth-ranked Duke (4-0) matched a school record with 18 3-pointers in a 104-67 romp against Radford. ... Sophomore guard Jason Clark scored a career-high 14 points in No. 9 Georgetown's 63-44 win at Savannah State. ... Edgar Sosa scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and No. 20 Louisville (2-0) beat East Tennessee State 69-56.

•Coach Dave Rose won his 100th game at Brigham Young with Friday's 83-65 victory over Hawaii.

AP

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