South Carolina fans “rattled” Kentucky

Kentucky’s bench had no reason to smile when Tuesday’s game ended. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

COLUMBIA, S.C. — How many times have you heard Kentucky coach John Calipari warn that every time UK goes on the road it is a “Super Bowl” for the opposing teams with all kind of special promotions and giveaways.

South Carolina’s crowd certainly had an impact during Tuesday’s 76-68 victory over Kentucky.

“We’ve got incredible fans at this school. They make an unbelievable difference for our basketball team when they show up,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said after the win.

“The students are back. Our level of energy in this building, when we were struggling there in the second half, going through that moment, we made a shot, then we got a stop and the crowd started going nuts and it gave our guys life. … And it rattled Kentucky and that gave us an opportunity to get back in the game.”

It was Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox’s first trip to South Carolina. The crowd left an impression on him even if he led  UK with 21 points.

“They got loud. They weren’t loud when we were up 14, of course. When it kind of changed the game with the intentional foul and they started hitting some shots, the next thing you know the crowd started getting into it,” Knox said.

“We missed some key free throws that we should have made down the stretch. I think the crowd definitely played a big impact because they got up and got loud and they were really into it.”

Calipari tried to tell his players when they lacked focus during Tuesday’s shootaround that South Carolina would have a “packed house” for the Wildcats.

“Normally we have some fans here too. I imagine they never could really get into the game, especially at the end. It was a great crowd. I imagine they had a good time and enjoyed themselves,” Calipari said.

 

11 comments

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  1. When will they ever learn?

  2. Frank Martin is not in the habit of coddling his players.

    1. Martin is a coach I love

      1. One of the best, IMO.

  3. Can you imagine what Frank could do if he had the talent that UK has? I have always liked his coaching and demeanor over the years.

    1. Why Mike you will complain regardless who’s coaching at UK.

  4. Who’s in a panic mold, not me yes we got ways too go. I never expect this team to be perfect or any other Cals team. I Do not expect this team will bring no.9 but I will cheer them on regardless. My biggest fear is if Cal doesn’t bring in a another title soon there’s going to be a up roar to get him removed.

  5. No coach in the country can recruit like John Calipari. That said, this team is trending a little behind many UK basketball teams of the recent past as this season unfolds, with the exception of the 2012-13 team, and the NIT bust that year. I think Calipari is a great recruiter, but just a good to average coach. That is just my opinion, and many will disagree with that since he is a “hall of famer.” I would love for Calipari to recruit a group of exceptional basketball players one given year and then convince them to stay at UK for 3 or 4 years, get a degree, and then go into the NBA draft after their UK careers are final. Maybe recruit one or two exceptional players as needed every year to blend in. That will never happen since he seems preoccupied with inking a brand new class of freshmen stars every year, and kids today think they are ready for the NBA after a successful high school and pre college career. If that ever happened UK would probably win several more national championship banners were he to change his yearly recruiting methods. These kids, while some are leaving for millions after just one year, or two, some leave early and are not ready for the NBA, finding out very quickly. They are missing out on some really great college memories, and athletic achievement at the major college level. I say it would make Calipari’s job easier in many ways too. It has to be difficult trying to sign a No. 1 class every year, and then trying to develop then=m into a winning team . Also answer this, could Calipari take a group of kids that are not as talented as other teams maybe, top to bottom, and mold them into a champion? Does superior talent always carry the day? It did not last night at Columbia, SC. Don’t misunderstand, UK must recruit the best talent they possibly can because talent with great coaching win championships. Just wishful thinking on my part I guess. But the “one and done” era has hurt college basketball in so many ways, particularly for the fans, far more than it has helped IMO. The rules need to change, but they won’t because of the injury threat to kids, and the current NBA policy. I don’t think Calipari will either.

  6. If Coach Cal is going to play the one and done game, I expect him to WIN at the one and done game. Right now, he’s not winning.
    Coach K is beating Cal at his own game. Cal’s old tried and true talking points are sounding more and more hollow with each passing year.
    It appears the Gold Standard is losing its lustre and that really worries me.

  7. There have been many good points posted above. I do feel there is a growing perception that “one and done fatigue” is increasing from year to year especially since other people have knocked Cal off the perch of getting his “pick of the litter”, and I realize my crow consumption could increase if we get Zionized on Saturday. However, I think that is increasingly unlikely to happen. Cal seems to be getting out-coached more frequently by peers that don’t have his talent. He is definitely a Top 5 recruiter but not a Top 5 coach. I, and I am sure many others, used to think that Cal would bring additional championships to Rupp, but I now feel that will be more of an aberration than an expectancy. UCLA will not be threatened as long as we continue to hear “they are just freshmen”, and “they are not robots”

  8. The way I see it as a fan …

    The One & Done era produces 2 championship races.
    1) The race for #1 on the court.
    2) The race for #1 on the recruiting trail.

    Right now, we’re losing on both fronts.

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