Saturday’s loss makes Calipari wonder if some players can ring NCAA bell

Marcus Lee was UK's only big that made a significant contribution in Saturday's loss. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Marcus Lee was UK’s only big that made a significant contribution in Saturday’s loss. (Vicky Graff Photo)


With just one week left in the regular season, John Calipari still has a big concern that he has had since day one with his team.

When play gets rough, the Cats back down.

That’s what happened at Vanderbilt Saturday when Kentucky lost 74-62 despite getting 33 points from Jamal Murray.

Kentucky’s bigs other than Marcus Lee were non-existent. Lee had nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots but Isaac Humphries and Skal Labissiere did not score and had only two rebounds in 22 minutes.

Senior Alex Poythress also failed to score and grabbed just three rebounds before fouling out after playing just 16 minutes — not what UK needed with Derek Willis out with a sprained ankle.

“The game got rough. Either you relish that or you run from it. They are terrific kids and great players but ….,” said Calipari before he said he had players run from the physical play of Vanderbilt.

So what is the minimum UK needs from its bigs?

“Anything,” he said. “Their frontcourt players were better than us today. They weren’t when they played us in Lexington. I wish I had the answer. I don’t. They took it right at us and we did not fight back.”

Calipari’s team has been the “best version” of itself at times this year but clearly was not at Vanderbilt — and that worries Calipari.

“This was like a NCAA Tournament game and some guys did not ring the bell. Now you worry can they ring the bell. You can say it was on the road, but we had a lot of fans here. Guys did not ring the bell. I don’t know why. You have got to want to do this.You can’t be afraid.”


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  1. Tough loss. Vandy had their backs to the wall, and needed this win more than UK did and played like it. Lot of cheap fouls called on UK if U ask me, especially on Poythrus . Basketball officiating is a lot of BS so much of the time. UK went cold in second half. They gotta get bulldog mean now.

  2. Larry, the officiatting has been terrible this season for some reason. Hope it’s not trend that’s goñna happen every year. It just plain too many obvious calls thats ruining college basketball..

  3. That fake travel call on AP was BS. However, we left a lot at the free throw line. Going 10-23 won’t help at all. Gotta play better than that. Briscoe is a liability at the line and Skal still can’t take figure his game out. How are we going to sustain a run in the NCAA tourney? Unless we did what UCONN did in 2013.

    1. Unless Willis can get healthy in the short term, this team will go as far as POY is willing to take us and that is the sad part. Anything we get from Isaac is a plus because he wasn’t given enough PT early on when Skal continued to struggle. Our bench really hasn’t been developed so that will probably continue to be a question mark.

  4. I only see 3 maybe 4 players…only 2 I would bet my money on this year.

  5. I would not bet against this team but I have to agree with the coach. It’s doubtful they can get it done; at least this year. Too many missed free throws, too many back court players asleep at the switch.

    Let’s play football!!

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