By LARRY VAUGHT
How good is Kansas center Dedric Lawson? So good that after he got 20 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday night’s 71-63 loss to Kentucky that UK coach John Calipari admitted he thought his team had done a good job against him.
“He’s a relentless player. So how many rebounds did he get on the second and third bounce, where everybody else stops and he just keeps going. He has an unbelievable feel to get the ball in the basket. You know, they are playing him around the goal based on they have to, but that kid could shoot 3’s, he could beat you on the bounce. He is a really, really good player,” Calipari said.
Yes he is.
He was 7-for-18 from the field and Kentucky used four different players — Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery — against him.
“We tried to throw some length at him. Nick had five blocks. Nick played pretty good. But no, he’s that good,” Calipari said.
Kansas coach Bill Self knew Kentucky made it hard on Lawson and like Calipari, Self thought Lawson displayed well despite missing 11 shots.
“We’re obviously very light in the butt to put it mildly, in going in as big, heavy bodies and men. You’re going against a fifth-year guy (Travis), and PJ (Washington) is beyond his years physically, and Nick (Richards) is, as well,” Self said. “Of course, EJ is going to be terrific. Basically, we’ve got one guy ready to go against that, and that’s an awful lot to ask from one guy.”
Especially against Travis and Washington, who combined for 38 points and 25 rebounds.
“Something you can’t teach is length, and those guys were very athletic. They went to the glass very hard, and our guys competed,” Lawson said. “They definitely threw a lot of bodies at me. The times when I scored, I felt like I was one-on-one. Some of the times there was more congestion than others.
“They did a good job one time at the end of the shot clock, caught it on EJ Montgomery, and they shrunk the floor. Things like that, you’ve got to give them credit. They came a long way from earlier in the year. They’re a very good defensive team.”