By LARRY VAUGHT
Isaiah Briscoe took a big portion of the blame for Kentucky’s loss to UCLA by saying he did not play with the energy he should have — a statement that coach John Calipari agreed with.
Against Hofstra Sunday, Briscoe had 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and six assists in UK’s win.
“We came out, we were playing good defense. The other team was making shots, but we kept calm and sooner or later we’ll get into their legs and they’ll get tired and we made our run right before halftime. We did that and once we came out for the second half, we were on our way,” Briscoe said after the game.
Calipari was not surprised by the way Briscoe played because that is what he usually does.
“I’m counting that as a one-off game (against UCLA). He yawned, at halftime in the huddle on the floor. Like, I’m getting ready to start the second half and it was a 12-0 run. I go out, guys, he goes (yawns). No. He did it. And I looked and I said, ‘Really?’ I looked and I said, ‘You know you did that,’ in my office. He said, ‘I did it. I did it.’ I said, ‘Look, man. If you take away your toughness, your leadership, your talking, your diving on the floor, your tough plays around the goal. You take that away from you, what are you left with?” Calipari said.
“But that and now make some 3s, make some free throws, get your layups, make some 15-footers, all of a sudden you’re as good as anybody in the country. But let me remind you, without the energy, without the fight, without the battle, without the toughness, leadership, talking, what are you left with?
“He said, ‘Coach, I got you.’ And I said, ‘Let’s just – that’s a one-off. That happened one time. Let’s stay away from it.’ He’s been great. I mean, he listens, he talks, he calms these dudes down because I’m trying to coach them.
“Like, I told them 20 times in this game, ‘I’m not coaching you for this game. I’m not coaching you – we’re up 25, what do you want me to sit and cross my legs? I’m not coaching you for this game. This is for the next two, the next three, the next five. And what we’re doing right now we can’t win playing this way. Individuals that I got on. He’s been great though. Been really pleased with him.”