By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari offered an interesting thought after his Wildcats lost 82-80 at Tennessee Tuesday night.
“I hate to lose, but sometimes it’s good. Maybe we got arrogant,” said Calipari.
Considering UK had struggled to win road games at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State the last two weeks and had lost two of its previous three games in Knoxville, it’s hard to fathom why UK would have been “arrogant” going into this game.
Kentucky just never seemed in sync even though freshman De’Aaron Fox, who had sprained his ankle Saturday, was able to start and played 25 minutes and had 17 points. The Cats never got their fast break offense going, made critical turnovers and allowed Tennessee way too many easy shots.
Kentucky shot 41.7 percent from the field (25 of 60). It was the first time UK shot under 50 percent in SEC play and the first time UK has lost in SEC play this season.
Malik Monk led UK with 25 points, but was just 7-for-19 from the field and 3-for-13 from 3-point range. Monk is just 10 of 36 from 3-point range in road games. Still, he tied Jamal Murray for most 25 point games as a freshman under Calipari with six.
Bam Adebayo had 21 points as he went 7-for-8 from the field and foul line. He demanded the ball more in the second half to help UK overcome most of an 11-point deficit but UK went away from him in the final minutes.
Isaiah Briscoe had 14 rebounds and five assists to go along with 11 points. However, he was just 5-for-12 from the field and missed a wide-open breakaway lay-up in the second half.
Kentucky missed nine of its last 12 shots in the first half, including its last seven, and went 4 minutes, 28 seconds without a field goal. Early in the second half UK had another drought of almost three minutes.
“Tennessee was better than us. They deserved to win the game. It would’ve been a shame if we made a three and won it,” Calipari said.