John Calipari knows with 17-point lead UK should win

Ashton Hagans (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky seemed certain to extend its winning streak to nine straight when it built a 17-point lead in the second half against Tennessee Tuesday night before totally collapsing and losing 81-73.

Kentucky coach John Calipari — who did not do his postgame radio show — noted the Cats had been on a “heck of a run and this team has done a lot of good stuff.”

True, but not in this game where Tennessee got physical and pounded the Cats. That left Calipari again talking about the need for center Nick Richards to learn to handle physical play two weeks before the start of NCAA Tournament play — and that’s not a good thing.

“We have got to learn to play in these kind of games. You have a lead — we came out of a timeout or I had to call one, we’re running a play to try to get something near that basket, we take a jump shot. Like, just shoot it. Like, What?” Calipari said.

“And again, for all the guys, if you want that thing near that rim, just ask for it, we’ll throw it to you. So it was total. I mean, again, you have a 17-point lead as a coach, you should win the game. Come on.”

I think most Kentucky fans think winning a game when you have a 17-point lead in the second half at Rupp Arena is something Calipari’s team should do so good to see the coach agrees.

“We got manhandled, I got manhandled,” Calipari said.

Assuming he meant manhandled by Tennessee coach Rick Barnes devising a better strategy and motivating his players much better than Calipari did.

“I know I got to watch the tape. I’m not going to look forward to watching this tape, but you got to watch the tape. Now we got another tough one. We go to Florida (on Saturday),” Calipari said.

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