By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky blew all but one point of an 18-point second half lead at Mississippi State Saturday before winning. The Cats also let off the rope against Auburn in the second half earlier this season before winning.
Kentucky had a nine-point lead in the second half Tuesday in Rupp Arena before losing 73-71 to LSU when Kavell Bigby-Williams tipped in Skylar Mays’ missed shot when the ball appeared to still be on the rim, which is offensive goaltending. However, officials cannot review judgment calls such as basket interference or goaltending.
Kentucky coach John Calipari gave a quick history lesson when asked about the controversial goal
“Do you remember we lost in the Final Four (to Wisconsin in 2015 when UK was 38-0) when there was a goal, a shot clock violation and they said it was not reviewable and then they changed the rule to say, why would you want to lose a game on a shot clock violation and it’s easy to go check? ” Calipari said.
“Well, this one easy to go check, too. Just go check it. Why would you not — why would that not be reviewable? So we’re like Wilt Chamberlain; we change rules. I don’t know.”
The officials did review the play — but only to make sure time had not expired and it clearly had not.
“I wasn’t nervous. We’re always in close games. I was thinking, ‘Dang, I hope we don’t go into overtime.’ We’re so used to every game going into overtime, so that’s one thing about us,” LSU’s Emmitt Williams said. “We’ve got the extra motivation. Our big guy, Kavell Bigby-Williams, we work on (tip-in) drills every day, and as you can see, it finally went through. Everyone came up tonight, and we have a great team.”
Kentucky freshman guard Immanuel Quickley, who played 21 minutes , wasn’t going to add to any controversy.
“I think we just want to let other people deal with that. What they (the officials) decided is what they decided,” Quickley said. “You just have to come out there and win that game and try to find another way.”
Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington, who had another 20-point game, said much the same that Calipari did.
“We never should have put ourselves in that position. We made a lot of breakdowns in the last five minutes and we can’t win games like that,” Washington, who also had nine rebounds, said. “So, we’ve just got to get in practice and work on it.
“They’re a really good team and they played well, but we just allowed them to get offensive rebounds, and that was the biggest thing coming into this game, not letting them get offensive rebounds, and the last five minutes that’s all they were doing.
“So, we feel like it’s on us. We just have to rebound in the second half. That was big for us, and we didn’t get the job done. They outrebounded us and unfortunately won the game.”