Coppin State (4-5) at (11) Kentucky (9-2)
Tuesday, December 28th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rupp Arena (23,000) -- Lexington, Kentucky. Television: FSN-S. Home Record: Coppin State 4-0, Kentucky 0-0. Away Record: Coppin State 0-5, Kentucky 0-0. Neutral Record: Coppin State 0-0, Kentucky 0-0. Conference Record: Coppin State 0-1, Kentucky 0-0. Series Record: Kentucky leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats continue to prepare for the start of SEC play, and they will host the Coppin State Eagles of the MEAC this evening.
Coppin State has suffered back-to-back losses to fall to 4-5 overall, including 0-5 in true road games. After a respectable 12-point road loss to Connecticut last week, the Eagles were manhandled by Wisconsin on Thursday, falling by an 80-56 final. They have played one MEAC game to date, and that ended in a six-point loss to Morgan State.
As for Kentucky, it has won its last four games to move to 9-2 overall, and the team owns a perfect 5-0 record in Lexington. The Wildcats crushed Winthrop last Wednesday by an 89-52 final behind a tremendous effort from one of the team's many impressive freshmen. The lone losses thus far have come against North Carolina and a powerhouse UConn squad by a combined total of nine points.
Kentucky won its only previous meeting with Coppin State, 77-46, in 2004.
There are three double-digit scorers in the fold for Coppin State, and the top offensive performer for the squad is Michael Harper with his 15.3 ppg. Tony Gallo checks in with 13.0 ppg, but his 39.1 percent shooting from the floor can certainly stand some improvement. Rounding out the trio is Akeem Elli, as he provides 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg despite struggling with his shot. The Eagles are netting a modest 66.7 ppg while surrendering 71.7 ppg to opponents, and they are being outrebounded by five boards per contest. In the lopsided loss to Wisconsin last time out, Gallo netted 17 points, while Harper pitched in 12 points. The Eagles made good on 6-of-12 three-pointers, but they were outrebounded by a 34-23 margin and finished with an embarrassing total of two assists. Also, they watched helplessly as Wisconsin buried 17 shots from behind the arc.
Kentucky freshmen Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight have garnered a great deal of attention this season, but it was another freshman for the Wildcats who stole the show in the victory over Winthrop. Sharp-shooting guard Doron Lamb was nothing short of sensational off the bench, as he nailed 11-of-12 shots from the floor, including 7-of-8 from behind the arc, and finished with a program record for freshmen with 32 points. That effort bested the previous record of 31 points set by Kentucky legend Jamal Mashburn almost two decades ago. Knight, the club's rookie point guard, added 21 points against Winthrop, and Jones tallied 11 points. Through 11 outings, Jones is scoring 18.2 ppg to go along with 9.6 rpg, and Knight provides 17.5 ppg. As for Lamb, he is generating 14.2 ppg and is shooting a staggering 55.6 percent from three-point range. DeAndre Liggins rounds out a foursome of double-digit scorers with 10.4 ppg for the Wildcats, who are posting 79.5 ppg while allowing 62.9 ppg.
This group of Kentucky freshmen is every bit as good as last season's crop which featured four first-round NBA Draft selections. Expect another easy win for the 'Cats this evening.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kentucky 85, Coppin State 60
12/28 10:31:34 ET