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John Calipari found his closing five at Georgia

Nick Richards makes a point to John Calipari late in the win at Georgia. (Vicky Graff Photo)


One thing John Calipari normally does very well is adapt his coaching philosophy to the team he has. Sure, there are some things he won’t change — like playing zone defense — but he does adapt to what his team has to do to win, especially after giving players a chance early in the season to play and adapt to what he wants.

In the second half at Georgia Tuesday night, Calipari obviously made a decision to shorten his playing rotation and went with guards Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley along with bigs Nick Richards and Nate Sestina.

Freshman Kahlil Whitney didn’t play the second half. Freshman Keion Brooks Jr. stayed on the bench the final nine minutes. EJ Montgomery watched the final 5 1/2 minutes.

“I didn’t play the freshmen in the second half. You know why? Because we were trying to win,” Calipari said after the game.

By winning, UK now is 2-0 in SEC play and beat a team that was coming off a win on the road against Memphis, a top 10 team. The Cats now have won three straight, including a win over Louisville, since losing twice in Las Vegas and again look like a team that could win the SEC.

“Honestly, it was just a big win for my guys today. We came out, fought hard. I’s tougher for guys like Tyrese in their first (true) road game, so I am proud of them,” Quickley said. “Definitely felt great, especially getting the first one (on the road).

“With a young team, like I said, it’s always hard. The crowd is against you, everyone is booing you, things like that. I even missed a free throw, normally that doesn’t happen. Credit to my guys. We were down and came back, so credit to my teammates.”

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