Big men battle in UK's Blue-White Scrimmage

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Two of the best big men in America went head-to-head Monday at Rupp Arena as sophomore center Dakari Johnson and freshman forward Karl-Anthony Towns highlighted Kentucky’s annual Blue-White Scrimmage with a spirited battle on the low block.

Towns scored 20 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots to help lead the Blue squad to a 94-66 win over the White, which got 13 points, 14 rebounds and four assists from Johnson.

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The Wildcats exchanged a few hard block-outs, bumps and even a couple of unintentional elbows in the competitive scrimmage for the nation’s preseason No. 1 team. All in an effort to make each other better, the combatants said.

“We were a little more juiced (than UK’s typical practices),” said Towns, a 6-foot-11, 255-pound New Jersey product who was Scout’s No. 4 prospect in the Class of 2014. “Having a lot of people in the stands and just competing shows that we really were competing really hard and acting like we were playing against U of L. We really went hard against each other, and I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed today and I just can’t wait to play the other teams.”

Towns added that playing against the 7-foot, 255-pound Johnson is like going up against “a bear.”

Said Johnson: “You know we have a lot of competitive guys on this team, and when you put us out on the court, we are going to compete against each other... That's how we practice all the time, so it's nothing new. He's real physical and I'm real physical, so we like to get each other better.”

Another member of UK's talented freshman class, guard Devin Booker, scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field, although his final stat line also featured eight personal fouls in the informal scrimmage format that saw a few players switch teams at times.

Sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison led the Blue squad with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but John Calipari was somewhat disappointed in his expected leader's seven turnovers. The teams combined for 24 miscues in what the UK boss deemed a competitive, but sloppy performance that was occasionally lacking in focus.

Harrison’s twin brother, Aaron, added 15 points for the Blue but struggled to get his perimeter shot falling on a 4-for-15 night. He was 7-for-10 at the line.

Junior forward Alex Poythress, who split time between both squads, tallied 20 points. Fellow junior Willie Cauley-Stein, another 7-footer on UK's deep roster, finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

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