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John Calipari on physical game: “It’s two teams whacking each other”

John Calipari liked the way that Reid Travis knocked players around Tuesday. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

How physical was Kentucky’s 76-48 win over South Carolina?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

“It was really tough, we felt like they were fouling every time, but we knew they were going to do that coming in so we were prepared for it, so we just tried to play physical as well down low,” said Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington, who had 20 points and five rebounds. “We did a great job at that. Forcing them to get into foul trouble and then getting to the free throw line and making our free throws.”

Freshman EJ Montgomery had his first double-double — 11 points, 13 rebounds — and said the game plan was to be physical.

“To go out there and play physical and just hit first before they hit us. That’s what we did,” Montgomery said.

South Carolina is a team known for its physical play. But don’t tell that to South Carolina coach Frank Martin.

“We continued to struggle with physicality anytime we play a team that plays with physicality. We haven’t answered the bell this year yet to continue to win,” Martin said. “Physicality. It’s not just rebounding. We can’t run offense because our guys wont screen, or our guards won’t use the screens. We’re not strong enough to hold post ups. Defensively, they screen you. It’s been our problem all year. We can’t get through screens. 

“Rebounding is just the stat that represents physicality. We got beat. Rebounding demonstrates our lack of physicality. We’re not a very physical team. It’s been all year and you guys have covered us anytime we play a team that plays with any kind of physicality.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari says a team has to be ready to be physical against South Carolina.

“I like to press a pressing team. If a team is a disruptive defensive team, let’s disrupt them. If a team likes to run, let’s run them. You take their strength and make it it’s not your strength. You know what I’m saying? That’s kind of how I try to do this,” Calipari said.

So who is right? Is South Carolina physical or not?

“Maybe it’s their normal physicality, that this was a little down. I’ll tell you what, when there are people hitting the floor or you’re moving into ball screens, you’re getting whacked, the only difference was Reid (Travis) was out there whacking, too, so was P.J. It’s two teams whacking each other,” Calipari said.

“You know what? Maybe we were a little more aggressive than them. I don’t know. Or the ball bounced our way. I don’t know.”

1 comment

  1. Its an old strategy…when you don’t have better talent, have bigger muscles and beat the hell out of the better player. Refs call a lot but also let a lot go. This is how lesser teams try to even the playing field. It’s not going away, so the better teams better toughen up or give up.

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