John Calipari: “We took a step back”

As provided by Alabama sports information, John Calipari quotes after UK’s 59-55 loss to the Crimson Tide on Tuesday night:

On if young players in a tough environment make young mistakes:

“Our guard play was – Julius Mays did what he could do – but our guard play was not near their guard play, it just wasn’t. We reverted back to just throwing it to Kyle Wiltjer in the post to try to keep the game close, to give us a chance to win, and we had our chances. If they are not going to call those [fouls], then Archie [Goodwin] needed to pull up or shoot around them. I just kept telling him and he just kept going. So I will watch the tape to see if he got wacked or not and he may not have, the official was right on it and said he didn’t get touched – bodies were flying – but he said he didn’t get touched and I have to trust [the official’s] judgment on it.

You have to give Alabama credit. They fought and had great confidence and they played to win. We played not to lose, which young guys do on the road at times.”

On if Alabama made halftime adjustments defensively:

“Everybody thought what would hurt us was the press, but it helped us. Then [Alabama] just said, ‘don’t even press, we are just going to lock them in to a half-court set and be physical and if they drive, go body-to-body.’

They ran and got good shots and got second shots that we didn’t. They had nine offensive rebounds, but three were very late, tip-in plays that killed us. You stop them, and they miss it, but they tip it in. Tough game, but we still haven’t totally bought in – individual players haven’t. Obviously late in the game, we took chances, we left our feet, we fouled and we let them get offensive rebounds. It’s all that we talked about late in the game – give them one tough shot , do not foul, do not leave your feet and if they beat us that way, we will go home and say, ‘hey, they just haven’t bought in and that is what we are doing.’

This is a team that is growing and getting better, we showed signs of that and now we took a step back – this is a hard place to play.”

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