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Immanuel Quickley, Nate Sestina own mistakes that cost UK against Evansville

Nate Sestina (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Evansville’s “super small” lineup Tuesday forced Kentucky to make adjustments it obviously was not ready to make.

“They just started driving the ball which forced us to go small. I don’t think we ever played Keion Brooks at the five in practice,” Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley said after UK’s loss. “That was a good coaching adjustment on their part.”

Yes it was. But the Aces got some help from Kentucky.

“We had a couple of guys that didn’t box out. We got so antsy to get rebounds that we all kind of went into the lane including myself, but we just have to make that adjustment, box out and get back to the other fundamentals,” Quickley admitted.

Senior grad transfer Nate Sestina had no trouble accepting blame for the loss.

“I said it the other day where a team like this could come out and play harder (than us) and they did,” Sestina said. “I got outplayed today, gave up a bunch of points at the end of the game, couldn’t really guard anybody, so I got to take a lot of blame to that and late in the game just not being  able to guard guys that are smaller than me.”

Sestina also said Calipari was right about Evansville being the tougher team.

“Just got to be mentally tough late in the game, especially when I’m tired, and I wasn’t,” Sestina said.

So think about it:

— Evansville had a strategy that Kentucky was not ready for.

— Kentucky didn’t go after rebounds.

— The Aces played harder than UK.

— Kentucky was not physically and mentally tough.

All are fixable problems, so maybe as devastating as the loss appeared, could it help UK in the long run?

“I think just like Duke last year, when we got smacked in the face it kind of woke all of us up and we were able to regroup and we’re playing for March and hopefully April,” Quickley said.

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  1. We should not have needed another whooping to be ready to play this year. The whooping Duke gave us last year in game 1 should resonate with us for years. How could we not be prepared for this? Evansville sure was…maybe Coach McCarty put a plan in place to get his team ready where our coach didn’t. We also have a chemistry problem. Hagans and Quickley are not happy getting outplayed by Maxey. As a result, both are playing for themselves and not for the team. Whitney and Brooks are still raw, and Nick will only be as good as our guards allow him to be. If the only time a 7’0″ center touches the ball is at the top of the key, there is a major problem with coaching and being coached. Get this chemistry/jealousy thing addressed now. Calipari needs to get to work and playing a 2 – 3 zone because Montgomery is not any better at guarding a 6-6 guy on the perimeter than Sestina is. We should be a more disciplined team with 2 returning guards and bigs and Calipari should be more focus on getting this team to play instead of blaming them when they don’t. Bench a kid if they don’t listen, bench 3 of them if that is what it takes. I would rather lose with a kid who is listening and trying instead of watching a selfish NBA wannabe play for himself and not the team. Of course, all of this comes back to coaching or the lack of it. 2022 will not get here soon enough.

  2. Florida lost for the second time today. They seem to have the same problem we do, trigger happy guards who took 38 or the total 55 shots for Florida. Blackshear and Johnson had a combined 13 shots. If those two had gotten 3 more shots each, Florida would have won the game. Guards are shooting 25% and the bigs are shooting 65%. We have the very same problem, but that is Calipari’s game…let the wings and guards go wild and ignore the big guys. Its no wonder Calipari can’t recruit bigs anymore. Coach White better wake up or he will soon suffer the same fate.

    1. Geez man you are gonna have a mental breakdown. Go ahead and mouth off now while you can Mr. Spartan, LOL. Go find the perfect team, it will help your mental health tremendously. GO CATS!!!!

      1. You forgot to mention Mr. Spartan that Blackshear fouled out. Can’t exactly get him the ball while he is riding the pine. How does Mr. Spartan know if Blackshear and Johnson would have hit those three additional shots had they had the chance? You just know right? They could have been blocked, just missed, or rolled off the rim. I don’t see “IF” on the stat sheet hoss. The UConn defense was pretty solid IMO. Florida was having trouble getting the ball inside the whole second half and never led. You just know right? I guess you are some sort of physic. Talk to Cal, he could use a man like you that can predict the future.

    2. Your silly comments are laughable. There’s a part of me that says give you a pass on the bet because you bring so much levity to the table.
      Don’t get your hopes up.
      The bet’s still on.

      1. YES…I’m talking to YOU, Catmandoo.

        1. It was a tough loss the Evansville game, no doubt, but it does not define UK’s season because this season is not in the books yet. I am constantly amazed that many UK fans on this site, past and present, let this Catmandoo1000 dude insult our team and coach all the time, win or lose, without any consequences, never calling him out.

          No coach in UK history, IMO, has done more for this program than John Calipari. This site used to be a the best UK support site around, and that is IMO what is should be, generally, but he has denigrated this into a constant resource to demean the UK coach, and UK players. There is a time to complain, I get that, that is why Billy Clyde is no longer here, but our basketball program is in real good hands right now. Does anybody besides Hornet and Cats79 agree with this assessment?

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