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Kentucky lays an egg in 72-67 loss to Gamecocks

Kentucky's James Young (1) hits his shot as South Carolina's Duane Notice tries to defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday March 1, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Kentucky’s James Young (1) hits his shot as South Carolina’s Duane Notice tries to defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday March 1, 2014 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Brenton Williams scored 24 points for South Carolina, and Kentucky coach John Calipari was ejected midway through the second half as the Gamecocks held off the 17th-ranked Wildcats 72-67 on Saturday night.

South Carolina (11-18, 4-12 Southeastern Conference) led by three at halftime and hit six of its first eight shots in the second half to go up 48-32 with 14:13 left. Kentucky made a furious charge after Calipari was tossed, but came up short.

The Wildcats (21-8, 11-5) couldn’t make a basket, going 15:38 with only one field goal — on a goaltending call. Calipari was ejected with his team down 12 after getting a second technical with 10:21 left. He walked out of the arena with his suit coat buttoned but his shirttail out. Kentucky assistant John Robic took over for Calipari, leading a team for the first time since he was fired from Youngstown State in 2005.

Calipari’s team responded with a 28-17 run and, after a three-point play by Julius Randle, Kentucky trailed 68-67 with 22 seconds left. But freshman Sindarius Thornwell hit two free throws for South Carolina, and Alex Poythress’ attempt at a tying 3-pointer fell short.

It was South Carolina’s first win over a top 25 team in more than three years and pulled the Gamecocks out of last place in the SEC. Students ignored repeated warnings and stormed the court, likely incurring a hefty fine from the league.

The Wildcats shot just 26.9 percent (14-of-52) from the field. They only stayed in it thanks to 33-of-42 shooting from the foul line and outrebounding the Gamecocks 46-28.

Kentucky still was in it at the end. Andrew Harrison hit a 3-pointer with 3:11 left that cut the Gamecocks lead to 59-56. But Laimonas Chatkevicius pulled down an offensive rebound for South Carolina and was fouled. He hit both foul shots.

After two free throws by Kentucky cut the Gamecocks’ lead to 62-58 with just under two minutes left, Chatkevicius dunked in a rebound. James Young hit a 3-pointer for Kentucky to put the Wildcats down three and Chatkevicius followed with a baby hook to put South Carolina ahead 66-61 with 44.3 seconds left.

Chatkevicius finished with eight points. Thornwell added 14 points, and 15 of Williams’ 24 points came from the foul line. He made all four free throws on Calipari’s technical and two more foul shot when assistant Orlando Antigua got another technical.

Aaron Harrison led Kentucky with 21 points. He made just four of his 16 shots, but shot 11-of-12 on free throws. James Young added 19 points and Julius Randle added 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Kentucky shot just 17.2 percent (5-of-29) in the first half and a frustrated Calipari picked up a technical as South Carolina pushed the ball up the floor. He was furious the rest of the half as shot after shot clanked off the rim. Kentucky missed its final 10 shots of the half, and at the buzzer. Calipari briefly stared down the referee who rang him up before walking off to the locker room. He wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the second half.

The Wildcats stayed in it thanks to free throws. They were 17-of-23 from the foul line in the first half. Kentucky also outrebounded South Carolina 30-15 in the first 20 minutes, with 16 offensive boards.

The Gamecocks played a clean first half with just one turnover. Thornwell scored nine points in the half, including two 3-pointers in the final five minutes.


KENTUCKY (21-8): Young 4-12 8-10 19, Aa. Harrison 4-16 11-12 21, An. Harrison 1-3 2-4 5, Randle 1-7 8-9 10, Johnson 2-3 4-7 8, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Polson 0-2 0-0 0, Hood 0-0 0-0 0, Cauley-Stein 1-2 0-0 2, Poythress 1-7 0-0 2, Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-52 33-42 67.

SOUTH CAROLINA (11-18): Thornwell 4-16 4-5 14, Williams 4-10 15-16 24, Henry 2-6 0-0 4, Carrera 3-5 4-8 11, Kacinas 0-0 0-0 0, Notice 4-8 0-0 9, Chatkevicius 3-5 2-2 8, Theus Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Ringer 0-2 0-1 0, Steele 1-1 0-1 2. Totals 21-53 25-33 72.

Halftime_South Carolina 31-28. 3-Point Goals_Kentucky 6-17 (Young 3-5, Aa. Harrison 2-6, An. Harrison 1-2, Poythress 0-1, Randle 0-1, Polson 0-2), South Carolina 5-13 (Thornwell 2-3, Carrera 1-1, Notice 1-4, Williams 1-5). Fouled Out_Cauley-Stein, Aa. Harrison. Rebounds_Kentucky 46 (Randle 15), South Carolina 28 (Carrera 7). Assists_Kentucky 10 (An. Harrison 4), South Carolina 11 (Thornwell 4). Total Fouls_Kentucky 26, South Carolina 26. Technical_Kentucky Bench. A_15,303.

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  1. Rod

    Ugh, I’m almost speechless. I didn’t think polson could do any worse than the twins and young….but?
    Randle and WCs will go on to the pros after this season and the rest will hopefully improve before next season. Ugh,

    1. Write 'em Down!

      Thanks for playing hard, Julius and Alex. Tough game, but there’s a bright side: There’s no where to go from THIS GAME but UP!

  2. Phillip Barker

    All the negative stuff has already been said so I won’t dwell on it…it sure wouldn’t be as hard to take if Noel hadn’t been injured last year and we had gone to the dance–the nightmare started there for coach Cal!. Several good things will happen as a result of this year’s disappointments. I don’t think the BBN fans will be handing out trophies anymore before players have chance to earn their stripes. Next year’s incoming group will have it easier as a result. As respects recruiting, if you can’t shoot, (this includes foul shots) then your probably won’t get an offer unless you’re a true rim protector either. Change is constant, and while the season isn’t entirely over, coach Cal will regroup and change some of his thinking. You’ll never convince me that Willis isn’t a better shooter and passer than either Young or Aaron Harrison.-Go Freshman Cats!

  3. Ira

    Oh Professor looks like the eggs got scrambled again. Somebody needs to tell Vegas there is a disconnect between their numbers and how UK is playing.

    But seriously you got to love the one’s and doners and then you got to hate them at the same time. Makes you feel bi-polar doesn’t it lol!

  4. Mike

    You really have to feel sorry for this bench. Willis, Lee, Hood and a couple of others certainly should be seeing more PT than they have. They may not have the stars but they have the talent, pride, and willingness to compete and couldn’t possibly play any worse than any of our starters. It is not my call but if it was, there would not be 1 current starter that would be welcome back next year. Same applies to Poy and Stein.

    1. Write 'em Down!

      “It is not my call but if it was, there would not be 1 current starter that would be welcome back next year.”

      Amen to the fact that it isn’t your call, Mike. JMHO, but it seems a rather absurd statement considering the fact that Julius Randle had FIFTEEN rebounds tonight, Mike, and has almost averaged a double-double up until this point. Dakari Johnson has also played pretty well during his stints as a starter. And it is neither of those two post players faults if they don’t have the types of guards or coaching system that can get the ball to them when they are in scoring position down low.

      Please try to calm yourself down. It’s been a tough game for all of us.

  5. OldFan

    Was I dreaming or weren’t we all told by Cal himself that after last year he would not have to put up with a lack of effort, intensity, not listening, or just someone having a bad game? I have yet to see the substitutions he “promised” for the things he said the fans and his coaching staff would not have to deal with anymore. I am not saying any of the players on this team are bad players or don’t deserve some PT. These are still kids but everyone can and does have a bad game and that is what the bench he put together is supposed to be for but for some reason he absolutely refuses to use. It is starting to remind me of someone that is desperately trying to prove their point; no matter the cost. I blame this stretch of horrible play much more on the coaching staff than any of the players. If Cal had been developing his bench throughout the year, many of this teams problems would not exist because you would be able to call on the bench. You can’t expect a lot at this point in the season from players that have not been given an opportunity to learn throughout the season with little PT.

    1. Write 'em Down!

      I’m pretty much forced to agree at this point, OldFan. I’ve really never seen anything like it before in 40+ years of following the Cats. Mind boggling. Negative playing habits continue to be rewarded with positive playing time. It’s as simple as that. When players aren’t benched for repeated failure to follow coaching, there is absolutely no incentive for them to ever do so, or to change their performances. They know they will continue to play and to start, regardless. End of sad story.

  6. Phillip Barker

    “You can’t expect a lot at this point in the season from players that have not been given an opportunity to learn throughout the season with little PT”…you stated it perfectly OldFan and It’s a sad commentary. Cal’s comment that he would never be held hostage again and would use his bench are similar to Tubby’s yearly promise to speed up the offense and run more. I hope you stay forever coach Cal, but a little flexibility may be in order-Go Freshmen Cats!

  7. Jerry Adams

    What kind of crap-shit offense is he trying to run. You can not win at the top level of college basketball hoping for a layup or free throws. Player development O. If Duke, Kansas or NC are recruiting me, I would not give UK a serious look after watching what ever it is they’re trying to. imo

  8. Jerry Tucker

    Watching Calipari coach the past two seasons has convinced me of two things, one he cannot coach big men to play offensive basketball and two he has no offense for his team other than dribble toward the basket and hope for a shot or someone to pass too. If you watch his big men on the offensive end they have no since of direction even running into each other at times. He keeps talking about team play, I want to know when he is going to put some team plays into the offensive, even the announcers are talking about the lack of offensive structure. Also Calipari needs to learn how to point out mistakes to his team, screaming and pulling them from the game isn’t working, these players have lost their confidence. Calipari needs to learn a leason from the Great Coach John Wooden, when asked why he calmly sat on the bench during the game, he replied “I do my coaching during practice, I go to the game to enjoy the game and see what adjustments we need to make to improve our game.” Calipari is a disgrace to watch the way he screams at the players and refs. He needs to let the refs handle the game and he needs to get control of himself, his actions during the game do nothing to help the team. If I was a recruit coming to Kentucky, and I observed his actions during a game, I would go somewhere else. I am a Kentucky fan and I am sorry to say that the problem is not the players or the refs that need to change, it is John Calipari. He has 2 games and the SEC tournament to figure it out, These guys can play, give them something to work with, build some confidence and you might be surprised.

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