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Justus says Cats better be ready for another street fight

John Calipari, Kevin Knox (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

How will Kentucky react to its loss at Tennessee Saturday night?

Assistant coach Joel Justus admitted Monday there really was no way to know going into tonight’s game with Texas A&M in Rupp Arena.

“You never can really tell until  the next game or a month from now until something like that happens again,” Justus said. “We got thrown out of a basketball game into a street fight and we took a step back. That’s the bottom line.”

He’s right. Tennessee was down eight points at halftime when it decided to get much more physical — and UK backed away.

“I mean, anyone who was there or watched it and didn’t see that obviously was sleeping and not watching the game because that’s exactly what happened when the second half happened,” Justus said.

“They came out and basketball wasn’t played. It wasn’t dirty and I’m not saying (it was). It was just a straight-up, ‘We’re going to out-tough you for the next 20 minutes.’ And they did.”

Justus says the key is not letting that happen to UK again. He said tonight will be another game “where toughness is going to come into play” after what Tennessee did to UK.

“For us as coaches or for them as players, to think that is not being shown in their locker room or their (Texas A&M) film session is somewhat reckless because that’s what I would imagine was said in the locker room Thompson-Boling Arena the other night when we’re ahead by eight points and a totally different team came out of the locker room and made it a street fight and not a basketball game,” the UK assistant said.

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