Road doesn't get easier for Cats

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Road doesn't get easier for Cats

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:25 pm

Road doesn't get easier for Cats

The road doesn’t get any easier for Kentucky.
The Wildcats, coming off a 68-66 loss at Alabama Tuesday night, will take on South Carolina Saturday night in Columbia. The Gamecocks knocked Kentucky from its top-ranking and ended the team’s 19-game winning streak to open the season with a 68-62 triumph a year ago during the Cats’ last visit to Colonial Life Arena.
Kentucky (14-4) is still struggling to find its niche away from home following the loss to the Crimson Tide, giving the Wildcats their second loss in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks have already beaten Florida this season and came away with a 10-point victory over Alabama, its only conference loss in three tries.
Despite opening slow and facing a 20-point deficit in the second half, Kentucky rallied only to come up short in the closing minutes.
"Obviously they man-handled us in the first 25 minutes and the last 10 minutes I thought we got after them and played the aggressive way we have to play,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We also executed offensively, but even then we had a charge coming down the court. We just have young guys and we made those errors today.”
Calipari said a breakdown in communications throughout the contest resulted in the Cats’ inability to complete the comeback attempt and notch their first victory on the road.
“The last four or five possessions we came down and won, we called a zone play and one guy says `I didn't know we were running that,” he said. “I mean that's young inexperienced guys. But you have to give Alabama credit.
“They came out of the gate, they stretched the game out, and they made the shots they had to make. They were muscling us around the goal and they hung on. They made the free throws they had to make down the stretch.”
Calipari, whose team won the SEC regular-season title with 14-2 record last season, is facing a more balanced array of teams in the conference, especially in the Eastern division. The Kentucky coach isn’t surprised by the obvious lack of a single dominant team inside the league. Prior to Tuesday’s games, eight teams were tied for first place in both the divisions.
“It speaks about the balance of the league,” he said earlier this week. “People wanted to say South Carolina and Alabama weren’t that good or that LSU’s not – now we got them pretty good, but the reality of it is they’re 2-1. Think about that.
“And Mississippi’s lost a couple games that they easily could have won. They had Mississippi State beat dead to rights, and they somehow slip, and they had Florida at Florida. It’s crazy. It’s what the league’s supposed to be - a bunch of good teams fighting it out and playing.”
Despite two losses in the first four SEC games, freshman guard Doron Lamb hasn’t given up hope on repeating as conference champions.
"It is early and we're just getting better,” he said. “We have a long run until the NCAA (tournament). We still have a chance to finish up No. 1 in the conference.”

Story by Keith Taylor


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