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By LARRY VAUGHT
ATLANTA â€” Indiana managed to score 90 points against Kentucky and shoot 52 percent from the field Friday and did things to the UK defense other teams have not done.
Vanderbiltâ€™s 74 points in a nine-point loss to UK were the most points the Cats had allowed. Indiana had 18 field goals in each half and during the season the Wildcats limited five teams to 18 or fewer field goals in a game and held nine more teams to either 19 or 20 field goals.
â€œWe lead the nation in fieldâ€‘goalâ€‘percentage defense all year. Normally, we’re holding people to 56, 55, 59 (points). They had more layups in the first half than we have had scored on us for the year,â€ said Kentucky coach John Calipari after the 102-90 win. â€œNow part of it was Anthony (Davis) was out (with two early fouls).Â The other part was we were just getting broken down. We were playing pickâ€‘andâ€‘roll defense so poorly that they were getting whatever they wanted.
â€œAnd so I was aggravated. But offensively we have worked all week on we’re attacking that rim. We worked on some dribbleâ€‘drive action so that we could get to that, and we did it. But, yeah, I was somewhat frustrated.Â I’ll be honest with you. I’m coaching them like I’ve coached them all year.Â We haven’t changed. I told them forget about this tournament.Â We’re playing a basketball game. Now we’ve got another one here Sunday (against Baylor). Forget about this tournament. We’re playing a basketball game.
â€œI like my team, I like our players. I want them to play as well as they can play. If that’s not good enough, then it’s not good enough.â€
Davis, who has already won several national player of the year awards, got a foul in the first minute of the game for the first time this season and had two fouls in less than six minutes. He still finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots and helped limit Indianaâ€™s second-half inside shots.
â€œI got in early foul trouble. By the second half, my teammates told me, â€˜You’re fine. Just come out and play your game. We need you to steal, block shots, rebound, and score the ball.â€™ So that’s what I did in the second half. Don’t let the first half get to me and just come out with the same intensity the players came out with in the first half,â€ Davis said.
He says his rare foul problems wonâ€™t impact his play against Baylor in a game UK must win to reach the Final Four.
â€œIt’s game over. Can’t worry about it now. Just go out and get ready for Sunday’s game. Just play the way we normally play. Can’t worry about the past. This game is over, so I’ve got to put it in the back of my mind,â€ Davis said.
Kentucky senior Darius Miller said part of UKâ€™s defensive problems were due to Indianaâ€™s stellar play.
â€œThey were knocking down shots. They were being really aggressive and getting to the rim. We just had trouble guarding them tonight.Â That was pretty much them,â€ Miller said. â€œI don’t think we came out lacking intensity or lacking focus or anything like that. They just did a great job of executing their game plan and coming out ready to play.â€