CRAWFORD | Halftime hysterics unwarranted, UK rolls again vs. Bo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Halftime hysterics unwarranted, UK rolls again vs. Boston U.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You can almost hear the text messages flying when the University of Kentucky is involved in a close game at halftime. The beeps, the vibrations, the tones.

Did you hear? UK is only up on Boston U by five at the half. Better watch.

Here's what you should watch -- putting any stock in halftime scores.

Yes, in a perfect world, this UK team, which may be as talented as any team in college basketball since the dominant 1996 UK NCAA champions, would blow everybody out right away.

But this isn't a perfect world, or a perfect team.

UK, after leading Boston by only five at the half, won 89-65 at Rupp Arena Friday night.

Afterward, UK coach John Calipari said this to reporters: "We still had a lot of guys do a lot of good stuff. It's just we all expect this team to be world-beaters every night out, and let me say, folks, they're not going to be, and there are games I'm going to have to drag them across the finish line. They're normal 19, 18, 20-year-old kids."

It won't help, of course. Everybody still is going to go all aflutter over halftime scores, not the least of which will be Big Blue Nation, which will gripe as much as anyone.

But a little history is in order.

That 1996 title team we were talking about? It led Rider by eight at the half. Won by 25. It led Iona by 3 -- won by 27. It led South Carolina by five -- won by 29. In its first round NCAA Tournament game, it led San Jose State by only six at the half. It won by 38.

In short, the halftime score doesn't matter.

This team will have its nights when it blows people away from the opening tip. But not until its zone offense gets a little more polished. And in the meantime, it's hard to knock on the final results -- which of course, are the ones that really matter.

"We didn't drive it enough," Calipari said. "We didn't get in gaps, but it's hard when they're really backing up (in the zone) like they were. . . . But again, here's the good stuff: You shoot 58 percent, you have 24 assists and 13 turnovers, you win by 24 and we're all upset. So it probably means we're not bad."

If you play "platoons" as Calipari is doing, even though he had to rearrange them Friday night, it's designed to win a game of attrition, not necessarily put an opponent on the ropes in the first round.

Eventually, in the final 10 minutes, the Wildcats took control. Freshman guard Devin Booker became a one-man platoon. He scored 15 points, made 4 of 8 three-pointers, and dished out seven assists -- including one on a highlight-reel lob to sophomore Dominique Hawkins, who drew his first UK start and left an impression with that lob slam.

Calipari said after UK's blowout of Kansas that he needed to get Aaron Harrison going, and that objective was accomplished Friday. The sophomore finished with 19 points, even though he made just 1 of 6 three-point tries. He did take a quarter of the Wildcats' shots.

So the next time a game rolls around and UK leads by single-digits at half, or even trails at the break, even against a team that shouldn't be challenging it, give your cell plan a break. The texts and Tweets should wait. It's not the halftime score that goes on the final books.

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