Kentucky Rallies To Defeat Cleveland State 68-61

11/25/2013 08:45 PM

The Wildcats came dangerously close to losing a game they should have easily won. But Kentucky pulled ahead late for a 68-61 win over Cleveland State.

“I was calm. If we lost, we lost. We showed a will to win. We made the plays we needed to down the stretch,” head coach John Calipari said. “This is a game we needed. The question we have is if you can play this way, why don’t you start that way. Cleveland State deserved to win, but we fought back the last seven minutes. Losing never enters my mind until the horn goes off.”

UK went on a 13-0 run to reclaim the lead on a James Young three pointer with 3:11 left in the game. They closed out the game with a 24-7 run to clinch the victory.

“I thought Kentucky did a great job fighting back. I whispered into John Calipari’s ear ‘you needed this more than I did.’ You don’t have to lose to learn, and a loss tonight would put him further behind in his process,” Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters. “I felt bad for our kids because they got us in a position to win the game but they faltered at the end. Kentucky competed in the last five minutes. They didn’t want to lose.”

Cleveland State played Kentucky tough, scoring 22 points in the paint and 18 second-chance points. They led by four at the half and extended their lead to 10 points with 7:41 left in the game. At the end of the game, Big Blue Nation showed their appreciation for a tough opponent

“We got to have the greatest fans, the classiest fans to give a standing ovation to the Cleveland State as they walk off the court, because they enjoy good basketball,” Calipari said. “Classy, classy move by our fans. They never cease to amaze me. It’s 25,000 people going nuts. Wouldn’t you want to play here?”

Julius Randle recorded his sixth straight double-double of the season scoring 15 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The Wildcats had a horrible night shooting, making a mere 35.8% of shots from the field, and this was the first time this season UK did not have a 20-point scorer. But when the Cats needed baskets, the Harrison twins and Young stepped up to provide enough offense for the Cats to take the win. Andrew Harrison ended the game with 12 points and 5 assists, while his brother Aaron ended the game with 11 points. James Young scored all nine of his points and grabbed all five rebounds in the second half.

“They’re tough. Don’t let anybody fool you,” Waters said. “They’re tough, and they’re winners. This year is going to be special for Kentucky. How special? I don’t know, but it’s going to be special.”

The Wildcats next match up is this Wednesday Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN3.


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