Previewing Campbell

After a rare three-day break for the Christmas holiday, the Wildcats returned to practice Monday in preparation for Wednesday night's game with the Campbell Fighting Camels. It's the first meeting between UK and Campbell, who became a Division I school during the 1977-78 season.

No. 8/10 Kentucky Wildcats (8-1)
Campbell Camels (2-6)
Wed., Dec. 29 - 7:00 p.m.
Rupp Arena - Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky has won its last four games by an average of more than 23 points. It gets a chance to pad that figure Wednesday.

The eighth-ranked Wildcats will return from their Christmas break and try for a fifth straight win when they meet Campbell at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky (8-1) was off for three days following its 92-47 win over William & Mary last Wednesday. The Wildcats returned to practice on Monday and are intent on producing another lopsided result.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing against," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "You want to go out and learn and compete, no matter who is on the court or who is wearing the opposing jersey. You've got to give it your best. That's tough for a young team to learn."

Chuck Hayes scored 18 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 17 as Kentucky used its superior depth and talent to overwhelm William & Mary. The Wildcats had 11 dunks and led by as many as 48 points.

Kentucky held a 52-8 advantage in points in the paint, taking advantage of an opponent that had no starter taller than 6-foot-6.

The Wildcats finished with a season-high 27 assists, including seven by Patrick Sparks. The 6-foot Sparks missed all six of his shots and was scoreless for just the second time in his career.

"Patrick Sparks is a great team player," Kentucky center Shagari Alleyne said. "He just knows the game of basketball. People can underestimate Patrick because of his size, but when you see his skill out there on the court, you've got to respect him."

The Wildcats have followed Smith's lead to take preparations seriously.

"Coach is always hard (on us), whether it's William & Mary or Kansas," Alleyne said. "He's real intense in every game. It really keeps us focused and humble, so we can focus on the task at hand."

This is Kentucky's final game before beginning Southeastern Conference play against South Carolina on Jan. 5.

Campbell (2-6) has lost 38 of its last 39 road games. The Camels snapped their 35-game road losing streak with a 68-67 win at North Carolina A&T on Dec. 11.

Since that game, Campbell has lost three straight, including a 90-49 defeat at Tennessee on Thursday. Maurice Latham was the only player to reach double figures, scoring 10 points, as the Camels committed a season-high 27 turnovers.

Campbell is 1-25 against current SEC teams.

It will be a special game for reserve forward Reggie Gibson, who is a native of Henderson, Ky. Gibson has struggled this season, shooting only 27.6 percent.

Kentucky and Campbell have never met.

Scouting the Camels
Campbell has struggled to a 2-6 record so far this season with victories over William & Mary and North Carolina A&T. The Fighting Camels have lost three in a row, including a 90-49 defeat at Tennessee on Dec. 23.

Maurice Latham leads the team in scoring with 10.4 ppg and is second on the team in rebounding with 5.9 rpg. Anthony Atkinson adds 10.3 ppg, while Comerlee Poole leads the team on the glass, adding 7.9 rpg.

Former Auburn assistant Robbie Laing is in his second season as head coach at Campbell. His team went 3-24 last season as the youngest team in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Probable Starters

Pos. # Name              Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG   RPG Notes
F   44 Chuck Hayes       6-6 242 Sr. 11.9  9.3 Game-high 18 pts vs. W&M
F   24 Kelenna Azubuike  6-5 208 Jr. 14.4  5.0 17 pts, 5 steals vs. W&M
C   33 Randolph Morris  6-10 266 Fr.  8.6  4.3 Shooting 48.1% from floor
G    4 Rajon Rondo       6-1 171 Fr.  6.7 *2.4 8 pts in 20 mins vs. W&M
G   22 Patrick Sparks    6-0 180 Jr. 12.1 *5.0 Season-high 7 assts vs. W&M

Pos. # Name              Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG   RPG Notes
F   21 Maurice Latham    6-6 205 Jr. 10.4  5.9 Double figures in last four games
F   44 Comerlee Poole    6-6 220 Jr.  8.1  7.9 Two double-doubles on the year
C    1 Diego Aguiar      6-7 235 So.  9.3  2.6 Eighth in A-Sun for FG% (55.6%)
G    5 Ruell Pringle     6-1 195 Fr.  8.3  1.4 Double figures in three of last four
G   11 Anthony Atkinson 5-10 160 So. 10.3  2.9 Fourth in A-Sun for 3FG% (51.6%)
*assists per game

AllWildcats Top Stories