NEW YORK —- Maryland coach Mark Turgeon no doubt prepared to deal with Nerlens Noel. And Ryan Harrow. And Alex Poythress. And probably a handful of the latest set of stars to step foot in Kentucky’s basketball galaxy.
So, about Jarrod Polson?
The previously anonymous Polson scored 10 points in 22 minutes, calming the Wildcats in the second half of a 72-69 victory over the Terrapins at the Barclays Center.
“Absolutely zero went into thinking before the game,” Turgeon said. “He subbed in at the table and I said ‘Who’s that?’ because he hadn’t played.
It was Polson who put back a Noel miss to give Kentucky a 64-63 lead with 5:09 to play, an edge it never relinquished.
It was Polson whose steal and layup bumped the Wildcats’ edge to 67-63.
And it was Polson who made a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds left to force Maryland to take a 3-pointer —- one it ultimately didn’t get off in time, anyway —- as the buzzer sounded.
All this from a junior with seven points in 62 career minutes to his name before Harrow’s illness and ineffectiveness limited him to 10 minutes on Friday.
“He was the whole key to the game,” Turgeon said.
—- Patrick Stevens