D.R. sweeps two-game set vs. UK Pros
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Dominican Republic swept its two-day exhibition tour of Kentucky, beating a team of former Wildcats Pros 91-86 Tuesday night.
The intensity on the court sure didn't feel like an August exhibition.
NBA star Rajon Rondo led fellow former Wildcats John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in a final-minute full court press but couldn't complete a comeback over the Dominican squad coached by John Calipari. Rondo and Knight both took fourth quarter charges.
"We did everything we could to try and win," Rondo said. "We tried to press them, we took some charges, whatever we could do. We just didn't finish the game out strong and smart."
Wall, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick for the Washington Wizards in 2010, led the Pros with 26 points. Backup Eulis Baez had 17 points and nine rebounds for Dominican, which also won Monday night at Lexington's Rupp Arena, 106-88.
Calipari rested NBA All-Star Al Horford and former University of Louisville stars Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa in the second half. Calipari said he needed to see more players as he tries to winnow his roster in preparation for the Americas tournament, set for Aug. 30-Sept. 11 in Argentina. The winner of that event will earn an automatic bid to London's 2012 Olympics.
"We have 15 guys on the roster. Only 12 can be in Argentina."
National championship winners Denny Crum and Joe B. Hall coached the Pros, though their titles were largely ceremonial. The group had just a shoot-around to prepare prior to Monday's game while the Dominican national team has been in practicing with Calipari in Lexington since July 31.
Crum, who brought national titles to Louisville in 1980 and 1986, was impressed with his players' individual abilities but more so with the Dominicans' team play.
"You won't find better one-on-one players than those guys but it's hard to beat a good team," said Crum.
Kentucky fans took over the Louisville Cardinals' home court and turned it blue.
"It was kind of like being in Rupp again," said Sosa, who finished his career at Louisville in 2010. "It was blue out there, but I felt comfortable. I saw the big bird in the middle of the floor so I felt comfortable."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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