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What did Calipari think of UK’s play in win?

Derek Willis hit four 3-pointers in the first half Tuesday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s 83-58 victory over Tennessee Tuesday night seemed to be about as close to a complete game that Kentucky has played since Southeastern Conference play started.

The Cats had 17 assists and only seven turnovers. They hit a season-high 10 3-pointers in the first half and did not give up a fast break point. They outrebounded the Vols and outscored them in the paint.

So what did Kentucky coach John Calipari think? Here’s his rather long answer to that question:

“It was good. A team we, that beat us and beat us good, we could say it was a 2-point game. It wasn’t a 2-point game, it was a 10 point game that we tried to fight to get back in. They did whatever they wanted last time,” Calipari said. “I think you see us different defensively. I think you see us different in transition defense. I think you see the difference offensively.

“Some of the rebooting you’re seeing. And that’s part of the what we did. The other side of it is, a friend of mine calls and says it looks like you’re more intense than your team. That you want it worse than they want it. Well, I said that I’m not doing that. No. No. I’ll coach them in practice and in the game, their energy and their effort and enthusiasm, that’s on them.

“Now, as I back up, I said, now you got to be responsible for your play. So if you play poorly, I can’t take responsibility anymore. Someone got to come out there and say, this is on me, I didn’t play well. And I said, I’ve taught you that by me doing it. Now, I’m backing up, you do it. If you didn’t play, you come out there and you tell them, I was awful today, I hurt us.

So, today was — it’s kind of growing up. It’s being a man.

“It’s all the stuff that we got to teach. But this is only the beginning of what we started what was it? Ten days ago? I worked yesterday and I will work again up 18, how do we play? Can I tell you, they didn’t know. I said, well, what would you do here? And so what we did was we went three segments. Three. Up 18, four minutes on the clock, how are we going to play? This is what your mindset is. This is how you get to 25.

“So we’re going to keep working and we got to get better at our zone defense and offense, because I think teams coming up are going to play us some zone. They’re going to pack it in. But when you shoot the way we shot from the three, it’s hard to say, okay, we’ll pack it in on them.
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