Kentucky basketball: Despite loss Cats go from panic to fight behind Sarr

UK guard Terrence Clarke
UK guard Terrence Clarke /
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UK guard Terrence Clarke does a bit of coaching.
UK guard Terrence Clarke does a bit of coaching. /

Whatever was said at halftime mark it messages received

We’ll never know what Calipari said to the players or what they felt at halftime, but something sure resonated.

The players and efficiency checked many of the boxes that they needed to in order to be competitive in games. They applied pressure, created baskets off turnovers, played with a sense of urgency, decreased the turnovers, and most importantly put themselves in a position to win.

As expected the Notre Dame shooting chilled and Kentucky seized the chance.

They reeled off a 16-0 run finally getting it to 53-43 before Sarr executed a perfect pick and roll that made it 53-47. The big man followed with a 15-footer on the baseline slicing it to 55-51.

One scary moment in that stretch was Boston crashing to the floor as Sarr came down on his head going for a bucket.  After laying face down on the baseline and Sarr the first to come to kneel down to him, Boston went to the locker room  He did return several minutes later after being examined.

The 3,000 plus in Rupp Arena and just maybe even the cutouts were trying to keep the rally going. It worked and with 1:36 to go Davion Mintz drove the lane, kicked it to Sarr who backdoored it to Mintz driving the baseline for an acrobatic basket and it was suddenly 65-61.

Sarr’s 10-footer made it 64-63 with 41 seconds to play, but after a shot-clock violation with 11 seconds left Kentucky had one last gasp for the win.

We know the outcome.

Four different Wildcats scored in the final 10-2 run Sarr, Clarke, Boston, and Mintz which was encouraging. The only miss in Kentucky’s final six attempts was the final one by Sarr.

Calipari also added in his post-game show.

"“You have to focus on falling back on the training and not winning. We are doing that for a reason to limit turnovers which we did well. We took awful shots in the first half let me do this and that instead of what the team needs. We played like a team in the second half getting the ball where it was supposed to go and we fought and rebounded.”"