By LARRY VAUGHT
When Kentucky got a 13-point lead in the first half, it looked like UK might cruise over Davidson in its first NCAA Tournament game.
Instead, Davidson got hot from 3-point range in the first-round game in Boise and Kentucky had to fight to win 78-73.
“It was a good one for this young team. First time they’ve been in the NCAA Tournament, not knowing what to expect,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “If you come out to play the way we did in the second half, our season will be over.
“The way they played in the second half, I thought defensively, to play a team that’s as efficient and an execution team like Davidson, this young team did pretty good.
“And we had some breakdowns late and I got upset with a couple of the guys, based on the fact that you cannot do what you’re choosing to do. We’re a team and you cannot just break off.
“They’re freshmen, and they’re learning. We’re learning game to game now. Every one of these experiences is new.”
Calipari has about 48 hours to get ready for a second game. Kentucky won three games in three days at the SEC Tournament and continues to push the team forward.
“I’m holding them accountable, I’m not just clapping right now. Because each time you play the next game you’re going to have to play more of a well-rounded game.,” Calipari said.
“You cannot have three bad minutes because you’ll be down 12. Now you’re down 12, you can’t come back in this kind of tournament, because those teams make free throws, they’re good defensive teams or they wouldn’t still be playing. They’re tough rebounding teams.
“You can’t have three minutes of a breakdown. And that’s what I was on them today about a little bit.”