LAWRENCE, Kan. — He called it “a heck of a game” for those sitting in the stands at Allen Fieldhouse, but Kentucky coach John Calipari was bitter following an overtime loss at Kansas.
“I’m still hacked off that we lost,” he said when asked for a positive message. “I mean… I’ll probably think of something that was good. We fought. We, you know… When you have a chance to win it like we did — and you choke it — every play is a winning play.”
The teams traded leads 18 times, with Kentucky blowing a 2-point advantage in the final minute of regulation.
Calipari pointed to one moment that — in his mind — could’ve changed the Wildcats’ fortunes: A failed offensive rebound attempt by Skal Labissiere in the final minutes.
“If we grab it with two hands and stick it in,” he said, “I think we win the game.”
The unsuccessful effort was part of a mounting number of miscues that doomed Kentucky toward the end of the night.
“It was five, six minutes of losing basketball,” Calipari said.
He added that the team will review every possession of crunch time in the film room.
“I’ve got to do a better job of teaching these kids how to win,” he said. “They do not know how to win a game. And that’s my job; That’s why they want me coaching them.”
Here were some of Calipari’s other thoughts on…
The rotation: “I probably shouldn’t have played Dom (Hawkins) today. He hadn’t played in a month and I put him in this game to make shots. That’s on me. That’s not on Dom. Poor kid. I feel bad.”
Allen Fieldhouse (where he was an assistant from 1983-1985): “I love this place. I love this place … It’s just a great environment to coach in and play in. Kentucky is very similar to the way things are done here.”
Frank Mason III’s half-court heave: “I thought it was going in. I looked and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”
Kentucky travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee this Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).