By LARRY VAUGHT
He hugged Alex Poythress before the game started after his pregame ceremony. After the game, coach John Calipari could not say enough good things about his senior forward.
Calipari took Poythress out late in the game to make sure he did not get into a scuffle with a LSU player and then put him back in so UK fans could give him a final farewell cheeer.
“Our fans are the best. And you know what, they love senior night in this state,” Calipari said. “It’s a big deal. Senior night’s a big deal. Bigger deal for our fans than those players. They’d rather have been drafted already. If you want me to lie, I’ll lie. And then come back and get their degree.
“But the great thing for Alex, he graduated in three years. He’s been a part of this program and seen all the highs and lows of it. He’s made unbelievable friends and he’s going to be a professional basketball player. It’s kind of neat to see and neat to see how much he’s grown.
“Today — and for the first time he struggled early, and he changed it. And then he became a beast. That hadn’t happened. So I told him that was a big breakthrough for him.”
Sophomore Tyler Ulis said he didn’t know if this was his last game at Rupp Arena. If it was, he had 14 points and 14 assists in the win over LSU. But he knew how special the game was for Poythress.
“Very special because this arena is crazy. Playing here for the last time, it’s just something to think about. You’re going to miss it,” Ulis said.