Before Wednesday, the Kentucky Wildcats had not lost a basketball game to the Louisville Cardinals since 2012. But after getting outplayed and outlasted in the YUM! Center, the Cats finish their non-conference schedule with a 73-70 loss to the Cards.
De’Aaron Fox led Kentucky in scoring with 21, while Bam Adebayo seemed to be the most efficient offensive weapon with 11 points on 5-6 shooting.
After the game, Coach Calipari emphasized the team’s lack of discipline to his team and to the press. He said he believes his team is simply not good enough to win a top 10 game on the road right now, and boy did they look it.
See below for a full transcript of Coach Cal’s post-game remarks, courtesy of UK Athletics.
On shooting struggles
“The biggest thing tonight is we didn’t have discipline. We had—we were walking out of timeouts, guys were breaking off doing—same thing defensively. We had talked about how we’re playing certain things and guys did their own thing and then they had an excuse of why they did it.
“The back play for a lob, you know, a guy that was supposed to— ‘I was trying…’ We had those 20 times. But, that being said, on the 21st of December we’re not good enough to go on an opponent’s court that’s a top-10 team and win. We’re not. They’re better than us right now. December 21st. And that’s what we wanted to see.
“The issue for us: If we don’t become more of a disciplined team, then we’re just OK. I mean, Bam (Adebayo) should have been getting the ball. We’re talking step-back, cross-over, jacked-up (shots). And it’s one thing, OK, I made five in a row.
“Wait a minute, you missed six now. I told Malik, ‘You’re not making them tonight. Just go rebound.’ The biggest play of the game was the last rebound. He and Derek (Willis) don’t come up with that ball. But, missed some free throws. It’s part of the game.
“It’s a great win for them. They’ll have a better Christmas than us. No one laughs? What, are these all our fans? Are there no Louisville fans here.”
On whether he was proud of his team fighting until the end
“No discipline. No discipline. And I told them, that’s not their fault. That’s my fault. We’ll get it right.”
On Louisville guard Quentin Snider
“He was really good. They were all good. They fought. All of them did what they were supposed to do. Made tough shots, came up with tough rebounds. You know, we shoot 40 percent. Come on. And some of them were wide-open shots. But then again, we shot what from the foul line?
“We’re lucky that we shot 65 (percent) because we missed a bunch. I mean, you know—believe me, the missed free throws, the shooting percentage. I’ve been here where we’ve lost or played that way and still won. If we had discipline, we could have won the game. We had none.
“We walked out of one timeout, I said, ‘We’re going to throw you the ball and shoot it.’ The guy got it and threw a pass. I looked at him, I said, ‘Really?’ And he was open. But that was 15 times. But it’s good for us. Maybe they now know you just can’t play just do your own thing and win a big-time college game. You just can’t.”
On if UK was trying too hard offensively
“Neither team – we had 10 assists and 13 turns, they had 10 assists, 14 turns. It was two of us looking the same, to be honest with you. And then the shots that we had that could’ve been assists, guys didn’t shoot it. Like, drove it. And we were talking every timeout, ‘If you get that shot, you shoot it.’
“He drove it. I thought I had it in the shot clock violation. There was 20 of those. But I’m telling ya, it’s December 21st, we start four freshmen and a sophomore. We’re not ready to go on an opponent’s court that’s a top 10 team and win. We’re just not. And thank God it’s December 21st. I’ve got a lot of time.”
On Louisville having success driving the ball
“And we did on them too and we didn’t. We wouldn’t drive it. What do you think I was saying every huddle? Do not settle, drive the ball, go right at these guys. Don’t get your shot blocked because if you miss it we’ll rebound it. Just don’t get it blocked. Had guys shooting them under. It’s a tough environment.
“This is. they have to go through these kind of growing pains, and then I’ve gotta be able to see what I have to do as a coach. Unless you’re doing this kind of stuff – the North Carolina game, the Michigan State game, the Kansas game coming up, the game at Mississippi coming up. Those are – that’s why we do this. And we’re playing young guys and it’s hard. It’s hard.”
On getting the ball to Bam Adebayo
“Well, we didn’t have 32 huddles, but any huddle we had I talked about it. I talked about it at halftime. If you saw we came out and tried to go to him. I’m disappointed for him because he missed free throws, because he’s been shooting so well. These guys are 18, 19 years old. Stuff happens.”
On why no discipline is his fault
“Because if they’re playing this way, I’ve accepted it. That’s why it’s my fault. And I told them then, in there, ‘When we tell you to do something and you don’t do it, you’re coming out.
“So if I tell you how we’re playing, if you break down defensively and do your own thing, you’re out.’ It’s the easiest way. Bench is my friend. That’s it. If we’re telling you what we’re doing and you just decide you’re gonna do your own thing, you’re out.
“It’s not when you miss a shot or you turn it over. No, no. If you’re not doing what you are supposed to for our team, that’s discipline. And that’s how you get a cohesive unit, they trust each other, because they all know, ‘I know he’s gonna do what he’s supposed to because this coach demands it.’ If you accept mediocrity as a coach you’re gonna get it every time.”
On if the travel and fatigue got to the young players
“It might, and we didn’t sub enough. De’Aaron Fox, and then we had foul trouble and I left him in. But, you know, probably subbing more. Isaac (Humphries), the game looked above him so I rode Bam (Adebayo) out.
“Probably not fair, but, again, I was trying to win a game. I’m trying to do what I can to win and those guys, like Mychal Mulder went in and did some good stuff. Dom (Hawkins) did some good stuff.”
On if Monk having a bad night was inevitable
“We talk. It’s okay to be 1 of 9. Go rebound and defend. The issue was he started the game and he fouled because of a lack of discipline. There was no reason to make that foul, but he doesn’t have the discipline yet, so he fouls.
“Now the second one which may be a foul, maybe isn’t, but they call it so it is. Now you’re out. You’re not playing. I know there are guys who say, ‘Well I play guys with two fouls.’ I don’t.
“Unless I see the game get away and the game never got away. We had a 1-point lead. That’s why I didn’t put him back in.”
On if the team’s struggles came from problems in half court
“I don’t believe so. I don’t believe so. I just, again, the execution of what we’re doing — we’re working on it every day in practice. It’s how we play. We’re not just flying up and down. We’re working on half court stuff because I know if you’re gonna win a championship it’s not running up and down, pressing and trapping, and being crazy and fouling.
“Because you’re gonna hit an official that’s gonna call fouls in the tournament and you’re out. At the end of the day a good coach is going to make you play half court, and you’re going to make him play half court. But we’re working on it. Again, we’re 18 and 19. I’m out there with… but I’m going to Christmas.
“If anybody’s upset that I had to get dressed to go on the plane, that’s on you not on me. I’m out of here with my family like my team is for four or five days. And then we’ll come back and get ready for Mississippi.
“Thank you. Congratulations to Louisville and Rick (Pitino). Great game. Great job. Great environment. It was great. Thank you.”