By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Kentucky needed a break to get over a shocking 67-74 loss to Evansville.
“Everybody was down, but the next day everybody got back in here,” junior center Nick Richards said Sunday. “We just talked and we took it as a learning experience. We didn’t take it as a loss even though we did lose, but we just took it as a learning experience.”
Along with Richards, Kentucky freshman guard Johnny Juzang also was disappointed in the three-point loss to the Purple Aces, but agreed the setback served as a learning experience.
“It was a tough one for sure, a tough loss. Not one that you see coming. But I think with anything, you take what you can from it. You can learn a lot from a loss. Luckily, it’s early in the season and not in March, when it really counts. (We’re) definitely learning a lot from it,” Juzang said.
The top-ranked Wildcats (2-1) return from a five-day layoff with a contest against Utah Valley Monday, the first of three games in a six-day span. Kentucky coach John Calipari said the layoff was beneficial for his squad.
“We needed it. I needed a day and a half to come outside from under the covers,” he said. “When you’re under the covers like that for a day and a half – that’s not true, 24 hours I was. … I think they know now that every game, we have a chance to beat anybody – and lose to anybody if we don’t compete. If we play great defense, we’ll have a chance in every game. We’re still trying to figure out the offense.”
Calipari isn’t sure how his team will respond following the loss but is optimistic his squad will rebound from a loss likely will cost the Cats the top-ranking when they are released Monday.
“My guess is we’ll start the game tentative just because you’ll have the dregs of the last game, and then hopefully they’ll just get going and play basketball and play free and literally play like you have nothing to lose — because they (the other team) will,” Calipari said.