There were Sportscenter-worthy dunks, alley-oops, blocked shots and passes for much of 2nd ranked Kentucky’s 75-65 victory over 11th ranked Kansas in the State Farm Championship Classic at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. But according to Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari, the Wildcats were lucky to get out New York City with a win. They’ve now won their first two games of the season.
“Everybody walked into that game wanting to do their own thing,” said Calipari. “And they did.” In the first half, Kentucky shot only 39 percent from the field, 58 percent from the free throw line and made only one of six three point attempts. Starting center Anthony Davis opened the game by attempting a three-pointer on the Wildcats’ first offensive possession.
“We’ve got to understand that we need to work together,” said Calipari.
Despite the slow start, Kentucky got things rolling in the second half by opening the frame on an 11-2 run. Each player in their starting lineup finished in double figures including Davis (who scored 14 points and blocked 7 shots), guard Doron Lamb (who contributed 17 points and made 3 three-pointers) and forward Terrance Jones (who added 15 points and seven rebounds).
But Calipari raised a stink about players’ trash talking on the court with Kansas. The coach said he even asked for the officials help in calming his players down. He had to remind them to keep their emotions in check and save the talk for fellow teammates on the court and not their opponents.
“We don’t compete with each other, we compete against the other team,” said Calipari. “We complete each other.”
While all this may seem like a highly negative assessment for a team that just won a game, Calipari acknowledged that they did beat a ranked team. “But,” he said “we got a ways to go.”