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But for all the talk about his freshmen, Calipari is getting plenty of contributions from those who hung around beyond their first year. Start with Jones, a sophomore forward who passed up the draft. He scored just one point in the opening half, but in the end his fingerprints were all over Kentucky's dominating performance: nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals -- most in the first 10 minutes.
"It's kind of hard to play us," Davis said. "We're very long and very athletic. It makes it tough on the other team."
Quincy Acy led Baylor with 22 points, and Pierre Jackson added 21. Not enough. Not nearly enough.
"They're a great team," Acy said. "They've got some good dudes down there."
With Baylor's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III cheering from the stands, Acy tried to send an early message early that the Bears (30-8) would not be intimidated by the Wildcats.
Jones was going in for a fastbreak layup when the 235-pound Acy came up from behind, took a whack at the ball but mainly just crashed into the Kentucky player, sending him flying into the Baylor cheerleaders along the baseline. Jones was OK, and the officials doled out a flagrant foul on Acy.
The Bears, seemingly inspired by Acy's bravado, ripped off an 8-0 run that led Calipari to call a quick timeout. He already had yanked Doron Lamb from the game for trying to make the highlight reels rather than taking a layup. The sophomore guard passed up a clear path to the basket, instead opting for a lob pass to the trailing Davis, who missed the dunk.
After Quincy Miller hit an uncontested 3-pointer from the top of the lane to give Baylor a 10-5 lead, Calipari lashed into his young team.
"I told them we've got to step on the gas here," he said.
Boy, did they ever. Sixteen consecutive points, an NBA-like display of defensive dominance and easy baskets that sent the Georgia Dome, and the predominantly blue-clad crowd, into a frenzy.
They might as well have cut down the nets right then.
"It's a great feeling to be part of something special," Davis said.
Kentucky's only serious scare came early in the second half when Davis went down with an injured left knee. The 6-foot-10 freshman was driving to the basket when he banged into Baylor's Perry Jones III, going down hard along the baseline. A hush fell over the massive stadium as Davis, writhing in pain, grabbed at his knee.
Finally, he limped to the bench, but it was clear the injury wasn't too serious when the trainers kept flexing the leg, then rubbed it with an ointment to ease the pain. Just a couple of minutes later, he was back in the game.
"The knee is doing fine," Davis said. "I wasn't going to sit out, especially with a trip to the Final Four (one the line). All of us want to go to the Final Four."
Louisville will be waiting.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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