Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats claw and fight, but no answer for Duke’s length

Kentucky vs Duke (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky vs Duke (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kentucky basketball
Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Calipari goes with veteran lineup heading down the stretch

When it came to the closing minutes and Kentucky needing to make a run Calipari didn’t go with his freshman superstars. Instead, there was a veteran group on the floor doing everything it could to erase the deficit.

That lineup consisted of Tshiebwe, Wheeler, Jacob Toppin, Kellan Grady, and Davion Mintz.

As crazy as that sounds they weren’t rattled, knew exactly what Calipari was looking for and what they had to do.

Toppin finished with just four points and had six rebounds but probably guarded Dukes star Pablo Banchero better than most of the Kentucky defenders. He spoke after the game about the fight this team has.

"“I mean, it says a lot. We’re never going to back down from a fight. We’re always going to play to the end. When it says 0:00 on the clock, that’s when we’ll stop fighting. So no matter if we’re down if they go on a run — basketball is a game of runs, so everyone’s going to have their runs now. If they had their run now, we got to go for our run. So we’re never going to back down from a fight. We’re going to always fight because that’s who we are. That’s what we work on. We work on fight and if you’re not going to fight, you can’t play this game. So that’s what we preach on.”"

Grady can knock down the three-pointer and finished by dropping in three of them.

Wheeler finished with 16 points, 10 assists, and three rebounds. Unfortunately, as we all know he can play a bit out of control trying to drive and make things happen. That bit him several times to the tune of seven turnovers. He too will be fine and we have known this was his style all along dating back to Georgia last year.

Mintz didn’t have a stellar night but he was our savior all of last season and there is something to be said for his cool head, demeanor and he knows how to handle pressure situations.