The Next Big Game!

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By LARRY VAUGHT

This has been such a strange season for Kentucky that there was no way coach John Calipari was going to let LSU get off a potential game-tying, 3-point shot.

Who could blame him considering that it might have taken a heads-up move by associate coach John Robic seconds before to keep UK in position to claim a 75-70 win.

Calipari had Archie Goodwin foul Anthony Hickey before he could take a shot after Kyle Wiltjer hit two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to play to give UK a 73-70 lead. Alex Poythress, UK’s player of the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds, got Hickey’s miss, made two free throws after getting fouled and got a huge hug and smile from the UK coach.

And Robic?

His assist came with 3.9 seconds left before UK inbounded the ball after the Tigers got a follow shot by Johnny O’Bryant to cut the lead to 71-70. After the timeout, the Cats sent Archie Goodwin, Poythress, Wiltjer, Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays on the court. But Nerlens Noel also stepped on the court and seemed to be on the floor as UK inbounded the ball before he was pulled off by Robic.

LSU coach Johnny Jones immediately protested and the officials conferred. They did not review the play and refused comment after the game to a pool reporter after indicating they would explain what they saw — or didn’t see.

Did Jones think Noel was on the floor when play started, a move that would have resulted in a technical foul against UK and free throws for LSU?

“That is what it looked like to me. I thought that was what was going on,” said Jones. “I wasn’t sure. We asked the refs if there was any way possible (to check). I thought the ball was in play. It didn’t happen. We have ample opportunities prior to that to make plays. I don’t think that was a game changer there.”

LSU did have opportunities, but that call could have been not only a game-changer, but a season-changer for Kentucky. The Wildcats are clinging to the NCAA Tournament bubble. They have already lost at home to Texas A&M and blown a big lead at Alabama. Now they face road games at Mississippi and Texas A&M. Losing another home game would have been disastrous.
Calipari said he “didn’t see all that stuff” with Noel.

“I just know when the ball was handed, we had five guys on the court,” Calipari said

However, he also knows UK was dangerously close to perhaps giving a win a way.

“I think we got sloppy in that timeout, and I got on my staff after the game and said, ‘You need to be responsible for that.’ So that may have happened, but again he was off the court,” Calipari said.

16 Responses to Did Robic earn potential season saving assist by getting Noel off the court

  • I Like the Fact that Nerlens, took himself out of the Game, when he appeared to have strained his calf muscle…..Take ” No Chances ” with this Big Man….I hope Bowie taught all our Player’s that lesson, in his New Documentary… Every Coach and College Player should see this Film.

  • Larry Pup says:

    Had UK gotten a tech. foul it would have been a killer. I don’t know if Noel was on the floor or not. Jones thought so. It was a tense moment. Whew!!!! Hey! a win is a win.

  • LindaS says:

    Are the basketball gods mad at us, playing tricks on us or just trying to make us pull our hair out? Did anyone expect this game to be like it was in the second half, oh, wait, we did, it has happened more then it should. Thank heavens for Robic and Alex they saved the game. I was just gliding along watching the game in the first half and then BAM! BANG! ZAP! KABOOM! What the heck happened the second half? Please tell me this is not going to happen again, 11 pt lead and they almost blow it? 6 players on the court. PLEASE someone save me from this, please take me to another place, like some place warm. Respectively submitted by Evil Twin Sister…Linda is still trying to recover from pulling her hair out.

    • Jim Boyers says:

      I feel your pain Linda. This second half performance isn’t an isolated incident. This team is so much worse in the second half of games, it’s like watching two different teams.

    • Kokamo Joe says:

      Thank goodness the refs did not blow the whistle or check the monitor on this one. We are blessed with the Rupp karma. I will gladly accept any ref favors that we receive as devine guidance.

  • Jim Boyers says:

    I was staring directly at Nerlens when this happened. I was in disbelief that he was on the court in an obvious foul situation, due to his extremely poor free throw shooting. Just as I was starting to point it out to my brother, Robic yanked him off the court. I had no idea (and neither did anyone around us) what was going on with the delay. We had no idea that Nerlens was the sixth man. Everybody just thought they were checking for the correct time to put on the clock or something. I can’t believe we were that close to such a disastrous ending. Robic definitely gets the game ball.

    I felt mentally and physically drained after sitting through that game. I actually stood for the final 7 minutes because I couldn’t sit still (That is one perk of being in the top row. You can stand on the benches and lean back against the wall. It’s actually a pretty comfortable way to view a game). I know any win is a good win, but that was way closer than it ever should have been. I am already starting to hold my breath about Tuesday’s showdown.

    • Larry Pup says:

      Jim UK has to find a way to slow down Henderson. UK needs to get pumped and get after Mississippi. If they can win that one I believe they will finish the regular season strong. Ole Miss will be pumped I know.

      • Jim Boyers says:

        I tend to agree. If they can actually beat a quality team, it may just catapult them to a higher level of play. The problem will be making that a reality. I don’t know how it is possible, but they still don’t seem to get the concept that every team is going to play them like it is the biggest game of the year. They still appear to be taking opponents lightly and start relaxing, especially when they get a double digit lead.

        I really like these guys, but man are they frustrating. It is just hard to wrap your head around.

    • Nice,” Play by Play “…thanks Jim…!

      • Larry Pup says:

        Hey Larry T…What happened to the Cardinals? That’s 3 in a row. We’re not the only team in America that has their problems. I would also point out they have a veteran team. What happened to all that senior leadership?

        • I watched it ! And, after We ( Wildcats ), beat LSU, I was thinking How lucky we are, not to be Ranked in the Top 5 and be in Louisville shoes…Oh ! Wait ! we were kinda there…

          • Kokamo Joe says:

            I also watched the UL game. I don’t know about being ranked in the top 5 (they won’t be this week), but I am thankful to be playing in the SEC and not in the Big East. I would have hated to see UK having to play Georgetown in Georgetown yesterday.

        • Gene T says:

          Love it after all the UL fans said this is their year. NOT!!!!

  • LindaS says:

    I am hoping Alex’s performance tonight will put the zing into everyone that needs some zing. He played like an experienced player who knew what he was doing.

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