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Fan to Tyler Herro: “You can lose every game just not the Louisville game.”

Tyler Herro

By LARRY VAUGHT

Freshman Tyler Herro still remembers one of the first things a Kentucky fan told him when he got to Lexington.

“One of the fans told us when we got here: You can lose every game just not the Louisville game,” Herro said.

Well, that Louisville game is Saturday at the Yum Center in Louisville in what will be  UK’s first true road game of the season. The Cats have played three games at neutral sites — and lost two.

“I heard the atmosphere is crazy in Kentucky-Louisville. It’s going to be fun. Just going to approach that game like any other game and go out there and compete,” Herro said.

“Just go out there and take care of business. I think we’ll come out with the same mindset of just wanting to win. That’s what we do,” freshman Keldon Johnson said.

Kentucky fans had been more than a bit distraught after UK’s blowout loss to Duke and overtime loss to Seton Hall. Last week’s win over North Carolina helped ease the stress level for fans.

“The coaching staff does a good job of telling us to stay off social media in regards to reading what people say,” Herro said. “We just work hard in practice every day. We got our team that we stick to and we stick to each other and we work hard to get better every day in practice.”

Still, the players knew they needed a resume-building win like the 80-72 victory over North Carolina.

“It’s definitely a big win I think, but I mean, it was a great game. I think we came out and were very aggressive and just played all phases like in practice. It’s just a big-time win,” Johnson said.

Herro said the work UK has done in practice daily this month is showing.

“I think we’re seeing that pay off game by game. We’re getting better each game,” Herro said. “Defensively we still have to things to improve on but it’s getting better each and every game.”

Kentucky got to play at a much faster pace against North Carolina than it had in any game except the Duke loss. The Tar Heels wanted to play fast and coach John Calipari encouraged UK to do the same.

“I just think that with him trusting us more and more each and every day, we like to get out and run, and just get each other involved and pass the ball to each other and give great shots. I just think that obviously executing with that, I think he’ll let us play,” Johnson said.

The pace likely won’t be as fast against Louisville, a team that relies on intensity to wear down foes. But getting that “must win” over North Carolina should help UK.

“Just talking before the game at the hotel and stuff, at dinner a couple days before the game, this was a must-win for us. It’s a resumé win. It was important to finally see something pay off,” Herro said.

5 comments

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  1. GO BIG BLUE !!!

  2. Kentucky is playing better because they are working and passing as a team. They still need to learn to make the other team to work harder on defense! This means to pass up the first open shot, until our team is in position and the other team works harder to defend. This will give us more open opportunities with our rebounding strength to score on missed shots. We are in the process of learn this and we will improve each game on a pace for March. I am very optimistic for this team to surpass the level we saw in Atlantis.

    This is particularly true of Tyler who like to take open shots before the rest of the team is in position and P J, who does not play with a high intensity level all the time. Nick Richards shows flashes of greatness too. E J and Jemarl have a great upside for this team.

    there will be many ups and downs this season, but i love our chances in March! So much will depend on development and the luck of the Bracket.

  3. Oh! you can beat Louisville by 1,000 points and it will not make up for losing the rest of your games. I know it is just a saying, but it is not true in basketball. It has happened in football though and the natives were restless.

  4. I don’t think passing the ball around more will help the team. They sometimes failed to attack the defense at all against UNC. Their players were playing very good defense at the time and UK seemed lost as to how to attack. That needs to not happen. If they pass the ball around just to make the defense work harder they are going to run into shot clock problems. We learned that lesson all too well during the Tubby Ball era.

    They are definitely a young team with much to learn. Learning to stall with the shot clock the way it is now is not something they need to do. Deliberate style basketball went out of style when they put in the first shot clock.

  5. I am not talking about stall ball like Tubby played! I am talking about 15 seconds of a thirty second shot clock. We to often take a shot within 2-3 seconds of crossing mid court and no one is in a position to rebound. Rebounding is one of our strength and we need to use all our strengths. The first open shot is not always the best option.

    I agree that our stall ball at the end of UNC game was terrible and we should continue to play deliberately. If you are going to stall, it should always be with the intention to score later in the shot clock. It is a necessary part of any teams game plan.

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