By LARRY VAUGHT
Now that Southeastern Conference play has started and Kentucky lost its first league game at Alabama on Saturday, Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn’t shy Monday about pointing out some things that went wrong before his team plays Texas A&M tonight in Rupp Arena.
“We had some guys that were upset they missed shots late, and I said, ‘Listen, you gave up two offensive rebounds for baskets late. If we didn’t give those up, that game wouldn’t have been at 11. It would have been seven. Now, all of a sudden it’s a different game and you get it to two or three and instead of with 1:25 left. It’s a different ballgame,'” Calipari said.
“Again, young kids don’t understand that every possession matters as you wind down that clock and you can’t give easy baskets. They’ll make tough baskets. Live with it. But you can’t give them second shots. You can’t miss one-footers. You can’t walk on breakaways where you have a layup. You can’t do those things, but it wasn’t one guy.”
Wait. There’s more as he noted the team didn’t have “willing passers” against Alabama.
“We threw 270 passes versus 325 against Louisville. How does that happen? Why so many less passes? Our spacing wasn’t as good as it has been. But again, your spacing is good because you’re worried about the big guy. Your spacing isn’t good because you don’t have the ball and you really don’t worry about anybody but where you’re standing,” Calipari said.
“So, all that kind of stuff we hit on. We came back yesterday and practiced, and they did great. We’re shooting free throws and walking through some stuff and we’ll practice this afternoon and get ready for a tough game.
“I watched (Texas A&M) play Arkansas. They had Arkansas beat. Arkansas made four 3’s down the stretch, and they went 1 for 4 down the stretch from the 3. That’s why they lost or they would have beat Arkansas, so it’s another tough game for us.”