Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress might be freshmen, but young players tend to grow up in a hurry at Kentucky.
The eighth-ranked Wildcats, who have had their share of electric freshmen in recent years, will continue to rely on two more talented first-year players as they host winless LIU Brooklyn on Friday night.
Goodwin and Poythress rose to the occasion on Wednesday, combining for 48 points and 14 rebounds in Kentucky's 81-70 victory over Morehead State.
Goodwin scored a season-high 28 points and Poythress added 20 to help the Wildcats (3-1) pull away in the second half.
"Alex and Archie were tremendous, for young kids," coach John Calipari said.
A quick, physical forward, Goodwin enters Friday's contest averaging a team-leading 18.3 points per game.
He could be in line for another big performance against an LIU Brooklyn (0-3) defense that has allowed 94.5 points and a 54.8 shooting percentage in its last two games.
The Wildcats, though, still have other issues to work through after allowing Morehead State to go on a 16-0 run in the first half and an 11-4 surge in the second half.
They also were beaten 16-8 on the offensive boards and had to overcome a six-point deficit in the second half.
"It's good for us," Calipari said. "It's what this team needs. There are games you may be up 25, but what do you learn other than OK we got stats and nice stats and all - this is how you learn."
With two of its three losses coming by four points or less, NEC preseason favorite LIU Brooklyn will try to apply what it has learned from a disappointing start.
The Blackbirds lean on a pair of potentially dominant big men in Julian Boyd, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds last season, and Jamal Olasewere, who totaled 16.9 and 7.5.
Olasewere scored 51 points in the team's first two games and ranks 13th in the nation in scoring (22.3). Boyd is averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Olasewere finished with 16 points and Boyd had a game-high 22, but LIU Brooklyn fell at Maryland 91-74 on Nov. 16.
Brandon Thompson scored 16 points for the Blackbirds, while Jason Brickman contributed 14 and 10 assists.
Brickman gives LIU a weapon on the perimeter, connecting on 10 of 18 3-point attempts. He ranks third in the nation in assists (8.7) and 23rd in 3-pointers per game (3.3).
The Blackbirds, however, have struggled from beyond the arc as a team, making just 18 of 62 (29.0 percent).
"It's not going to be an easy task," coach Jack Perri said of playing the Wildcats. "But we have some experience, and with that experience we're going to go in and try to win the game."
Kentucky could again be without Ryan Harrow, whose status is uncertain after he left the team on Wednesday to tend to a family matter. The sophomore guard, who started the season opener, has missed the last three games with an undisclosed illness.
The teams haven't met since the 1946-47 season, but they've faced a common opponent with LIU losing to Morehead State 77-74 in its season opener.