Gillispie received some big numbers from one starter Patrick Patterson - and two reserves Joe Crawford and A.J. Stewart. All three made their presence known against the Flames, a trait Gillispie likes to see from his players.
Patterson's numbers 23 points and 10 rebounds intimidated the guests in the paint during a contest dominated by the Cats.
He definitely has a presence offensively, but Gillispie wants more from his sensational freshman.
Dominate on both ends
"He had 23 points, but I want him to him to have 37," he said. "We've got to do a better job of getting him the ball."
"I want 37, too," Patterson said.
How good can Patterson be? Gillispie thinks added improvement on defense will lead to more toughness from Patterson.
"Patrick is going to be something else when he can dominate on both ends of the court," Gillispie said.
Patterson was one of a handful of players who were productive in the loss to Gardner-Webb, but Crawford, who managed just four points in his last outing, showed flashes of brilliance with 22 points and seven rebounds, another sign that Kentucky is developing more of a presence on the perimeter.
"He needs to be a good player both offensively and defensively and leadership-wise," Gillispie said. "He needs to do everything for us."
Crawford and Patterson were being counted on to provide the intimidator role for Gillispie's troops this season, but little was expected from Stewart.
While Kentucky struggled to keep the Flames off the boards at times, Gillispie turned to Stewart to calm the troubled waters and the freshman delivered, especially on the defensive end.
Focus on defense
Stewart had 10 points, but his biggest contributions were four defensive rebounds coupled with three blocks in the low post. He gave the Cats an inside presence that Gillispie welcomed.
"I thought he played really hard," Gillispie said. "He has a presence about him. That's something not enough of our guys have and that's having a presence. A.J. has presence and he gave us some energy and covered up for some mistakes. That's what athletic guys who play hard do."
Stewart said his main focus was on defense.
"Coach is really big on defense," he said. "When he gave me a shot tonight, I wasn't looking to score. I was just trying to keep them from scoring."
Sometimes being a presence, especially in Gillispie's eyes, involves more than just scoring points.