By LARRY VAUGHT
As Kentucky let the game with Kansas slip away Saturday night in Rupp Arena, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said it was obvious UK’s “youth was showing on both ends” of the court.
Kansas beat Kentucky 79-73 and was the far superior team the final 28 minutes after falling behind by 12 points. While it seemed UK lost its poise and made several mental mistakes, Kentucky coach John Calipari didn’t see that as the problem in the second half.
“I think, again, the whole thing for us turnover-wise is when we make easy plays, we don’t turn it over. When we’re trying to make a harder play, like if a guy’s open in the corner, just throw it to him. Why would you ball fake him and then run a guy over. Why would you, versus an extra pass to the wing, you’re going to try to force one inside, which gets tipped away,” Calipari said.
“You’re driving and they’re in, there is no drive, it’s a swing and then a drive. I mean it’s all freshman kind of stuff. So I think it was a 10-3 run to end the half. And again, when you have turnovers and they’re going for baskets, that may have been six of those points.”
With a great atmosphere due in large part to ESPN GameDay being at Rupp Arena, Calipari liked the way UK started the game.
“We had a good lead and we were playing fast and we were playing and scrambling a little bit. They had missed some open 3’s that they normally make, which is why the lead was what it was. They went zone, a little bit of triangle and two. We turned it over three, four times,” Calipari said.
“And now we may have gotten tight in the second half, maybe a couple guys because the game was close. But, I liked the fact that we fought and we got it there and it came down to on a rebound or two, a turnover here, and we got to learn. We did the same thing at Tennessee. All right, we’re right where we want this, and it was turnover, turnover layup, layup.
“Now all of a sudden it’s four, it’s a different ball game. So, we got to look at it, cure it. The toughness in the defense, we’ll get after that and we got a couple days before Georgia. Georgia won today (over Texas) and played well, so we got another tough game. ”
Still, UK has lost two in a row and not been overly impressive since its SEC-opening win at Mississippi.
“We got out-toughed and we didn’t guard the way we need to guard, which is all curable,” Calipari said.