Willie Cauley-Stein scored a career-high 20 points, and his two crucial blocks and key rebound in the final 34 seconds helped Kentucky outlast Vanderbilt 74-70 Wednesday night for its first win without injured star center Nerlens Noel. Cauley-Stein, the 7-foot freshman is now in charge of controlling the post for Kentucky (18-8, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) with Noel sidelined, blocked attempts by Kyle Fuller and Kedren Johnson 9 seconds apart before grabbing Johnson’s missed 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and drawing a foul.
That will make for an interesting matchup on Saturday when Alex Oriakhi squares off with the freshman. What’s more interesting is the approach that Kentucky coach John Calipari took in getting his Wildcats ready for the game. He set up a game of dodgeball.
Chad Hobson of CoachCal.com writes, “To lighten the mood and get his team smiling again, John Calipari surprised his players with a game of dodgeball after the team’s pre-Vanderbilt walkthrough on Tuesday. What happens when you get a bunch of 18- and 19-year-old kids matched against a team full of coaches and staff? Watch and find out.”
Coach Cal plans on playing wiffle ball for Friday’s pre-Missouri walkthrough.