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John Calipari on final play: “Why would that not be reviewable?”

LSU’s Javonte Smart celebrates after the final shot was ruled good to beat UK. (Vicky Graff Photo)

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.”

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  1. Last night’s games were very confusing.

    Officials can’t review a clearly missed offensive goal tending call that determined the outcome of a game in the last 1 second, but officials can review a missed block-charge call that determines the outcome of the game in the last 20 seconds. I must be stupid, but either both are reviewable or neither is reviewable because both were calls made (not made) by officials in real time in bang-bang plays.

    UK’s game should have gone to OT. Whether UK wins in OT or not is arguable, but they would have had a chance. That illegal tip in eliminated any chance, and was robbery IMO.

  2. I have another question, why wasn’t time put back on the clock after the “timing” review, to give UK at least a chance for a mid court shot to win the game? There was time left when that ball went through the basket was there not?

  3. The sad part is all the complaints about the last call are true, but truth is, it never should have come to that. UK put their selves in the situation. They let up on defense, missed free throws, took several ill advised shots late in the game, quit blocking out, and mostly, did not value the ball.
    Too much of any of those will always get you beat by a good team.

    1. OF, you’re right. Our second half play stunk. LSU took the fight to us and we backed off until the last 3 minutes. This team is bad about staying engaged when they have a lead. There is still a lot of ball left this season, but its gut check time right now. Saturday we will find out if we truly are contenders or pretenders and it doesn’t get any easier after that.

  4. How many games have we already lost that we shouldn’t have? How many more will we lose by end of season? I still think we are trending toward a 8-10 loss season including this week and the broom out in Knoxville. Good chance we won’t play UT for a third time because I don’t see us advancing that far in SEC tourney. On paper we have enough quality players but don’t get a full team buy-in most of the time and little bench production. We show flashes of a boundless, great team and then lose focus and consistency during same game. We are not a good shooting team in spite of Cal’s comments during the season, and we have trouble getting the ball inside and missing shots when we do. We don’t make or defend the 3 with consistency. I haven’t seen a line yet for Saturday but guess it could be 8-10 pts. This team is not getting better as they march thru February as we normally do. Could they get things turned around and play to everyone’s expectation? Yes, they could…..but will they?

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