By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the Wildcats “weren’t passing the ball to each other” against in Tuesday night’s loss to Evansville and added his team’s lack of toughness, especially in the post, continues to be an issue.
“We were just coming down and we were saying post it and the dude twice jacked up 3’s like it’s high school,” he said. “Just shoot it. And you’re looking like, really? Like, do you understand we’re in a dog fight here? … the game got physical and he wasn’t as tough as their guy. And that’s bottom line. So he’s got to know that I can’t play that way. I’ve got to be strong and hold my position. Nate (Sestina), same thing. We couldn’t post Nate. We couldn’t get him the ball.”
Calipari praised former Kentucky standout Walter McCarty and his ability to get his team ready to play in a hostile environment.
“They smelled they could win the game and they finished,” Calipari said. “They finished strong. And we didn’t. This was a great lesson for all of us, including me. I mean, we could say they got outplayed and I could tell you I got out-coached.”
Kentucky’s players, including Tyrese Maxey, agreed.
“Losing period is disappointing, whether you were ranked number one or not ranked, we all hate to lose, I know that for a fact, but like I said we are just going to come (back) ready to work and bounce back,” he said.
Calipari, who said the loss “all comes back to me,” hopes the setback will result in a successful bounce-back starting Monday against Utah Valley State.
“I’ve done this 35 years and stuff like this happens,” he said. “You want to grow from it, you want to learn from it. We may look back in a couple of weeks and say, this is the greatest thing that ever happened to this team. We also may look back in a couple of weeks and say what in the heck?”
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Gametracker: Utah Valley State at Kentucky, Monday, 7 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPN2, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.