After his Kentucky Wildcats 88-56 win over Samford last night, John Calipari has made one thing painfully clear. You have to play 40 minutes of basketball this season. Kentucky stormed the Bulldogs 45-14 in the first half and then “won” the second half 43-42. To be fair, Kentucky really could have named the score of this game and the script of this game closely followed the script of Louisville’s game versus Samford.Louisville beat Samford 42-13 in the first half and then “lost” the second half to the Bulldogs 41-38.
Maybe Samford is just a great second half team.
Regardless, Calipari is not happy and blames conditioning for the lapse, so Calipari said his team is “sliding into Coach Cal time”. What is Coach Cal Time?
Well, we’re going to condition in the morning for the next three weeks and then practice because I can’t think of any other reason why you wouldn’t come out in the second half and play. I just don’t understand that. Especially what we’ve been going through.
You need to learn how to play a full game. They had that opportunity today. So we have to chalk it up to they’re not in shape.
They will be. We’re going to be the most in shape team inside the next three weeks. We’re going to condition in the morning, we’re going to practice in the afternoon.
So for the next three weeks, the Wildcats can look forward to 7:00 AM runs. Sounds exhausting.
As with any game, you take the good with the bad. Here is what John Clay liked (and did not like) about the game:
What I liked: The first half. Kentucky shot 53.1 percent from the floor and held Samford to just 20 percent shooting (four-of-20) and 14 total points on the way to a 31-point halftime lead. Alex Pouthress scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half. In 13 minutes on the floor, Nerlens Noel scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds, blocked three shots and made two steals. UK had nine steals in the first half. Not bad.
What I (and Cal) didn’t like: The second half. Kentucky outscored Samford just 43-42 in the second half. The Bulldogs shot 51.5 percent the second half, quite a jump from that 20 percent shooting the first 20 minutes. After forcing 14 turnovers the first half, Kentucky forced just three in the second half.
John Calipari wasn’t about to shrug it off as a young team losing focus. After the game, he said his team must not be in shape. He said that was the only explanation for the way it played in the second half. And so, said the coach, over the next three weeks the team will get up at 7 a.m. and do nothing but run for 20-30 minutes. It will then practice in the afternoon.
“We’re sliding into Camp Cal time,” said Calipari, with a little bit of a grin.
What’s next: The team gets Wednesday off – “I’m going recruiting,” said Calipari – then will start the running at 7 a.m. on Thursday morning. As for games, the next one is Saturday at noon against Portland on ESPN.
In case you missed the game last night, here are the highlights of the Wildcats win: