KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – An unusual scene unfolded late in Kentucky basketball’s 82-80 upset loss at Tennessee on Tuesday night. The Wildcats had slashed an 11-point deficit to three and star Malik Monk had the ball with 3:12 to go. But he slipped and fell and UK turned it over, sending coach John Calipari into a wild fit of anger directed at someone on the end of his bench.
“I asked one of our guys to wipe the floor,” Calipari said afterward. “I saw (a wet spot) and he let the guy with the (mop) move the water around. I asked our guy to wipe that up, and that’s why I went crazy, because I said specifically, ‘Go get that.’ Because I saw it.”
“Hey,” the coach said, “he slipped, we lose.”
The Volunteers scored quickly on the other end, the Wildcats turned it over again and Tennessee turned that into an emphatic dunk that brought Thompson-Boling Arena to a boil and increased the lead from three to seven in the span of 27 seconds after Monk’s slip.
In fairness to whoever was supposed to wipe up that wet spot, there’s no guarantee Monk or any of the other Cats would’ve scored on that possession. In fact, odds are they wouldn’t have. Monk hit just 3 of 13 3-pointers and Kentucky had as many turnovers as assists in a loss that had Calipari questioning players’ commitment to team over themselves.