While the Kentucky Wildcats beat the Louisville Cardinals during the late Saturday afternoon game, it should be noted that Julius Randle did not have the game that he wanted. Yes, Randle played but he was fighting cramps and banged his knees at one point in the game. Randle finished the game with 17 points and 3 rebounds in what is likely to be his only game played against Louisville.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari didn’t even notice that Randle wasn’t there.
“I didn’t even recognize he wasn’t there,” Cal said during his postgame comments. “I just coached the game. We have enough guys. I thought Dakari was good today. I thought Dominique was good today. Alex was outstanding. Willie (Cauley-Stein) gave great effort and played a lot of minutes. We wanted Willie to do I knew what Willie could do defensively but we want him to be an offensive player, too. He’s got great feet, he’s got great hands. He’s getting better and he’s going to want that ball.
“Now we had two guys, now you have him he and Julius and I thought Julius was an absolute beast in the first half, the greatest play for us, we went to post him and they fought like crazy, but they fought like crazy, the ball was thrown out, we threw it back, and then it came back and he re posted again and we threw him the ball in the third when he fought a third time, spun through the middle and made that basket. He grew up.”
Without Randle playing, other players had to step up in the game.
“We wanted to win this,” guard James Young said on playing without Randle. “Some of these guys have never been in situation like this before. We just wanted to come out and play like a good team, and that’s what we did. Everyone was involved and we had a lot of energy. The crowd also gave us some energy and we responded with a win.”
It was Alex Poythress who said it the best on what it was like to play without his teammate from Texas.
“To be honest there was a point when I didn’t even notice that is just how deep our team is and how well we are playing,” said Poythress. “We’re just playing good and things kept flowing still and you look for him but we just kept playing hard and just proud that this team pulled through.”
The next game for the Cats is on January 8th, meaning that there is a week and a half layoff for the team between games.