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By LARRY VAUGHT
KNOXVILLE Ã¢â‚¬â€ Not having a pregame shoot-around may have been a factor in KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 74-65 loss to Tennessee here Saturday.
Or at least thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what UK coach John Calipari thought after his No. 2 Wildcats lost for only the second time this season.
Since UK had played a late Thursday night game and then traveled here Friday, Calipari decided not to bring his team to Thompson-Boling Arena to shoot early Saturday. He says that is a mistake he will not make again.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If we have an afternoon game, we have got to have a shoot-around,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Calipari. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We had two guys sleeping (during the game). No energy. In that mode, you just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t change during the game.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said it was not a Ã¢â‚¬Å“good choiceÃ¢â‚¬Â on his part to let the players sleep late instead of having them in the gym shooting. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t only because UK went 2-for-22 from 3-point range, but it was also because of the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sluggish start that allowed Tennessee to rip off 18 straight points to take an 18-4 lead eight minutes into the game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“By not having them up, they were not mature and experienced enough to know. They were sleep walking,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We should have been down by 20 early. I was glad they were holding the ball and running down the shot clock or we would have been down 25.Ã¢â‚¬Â