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Calipari balances positive and negative in win over Chattanooga

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Anthony Davis had 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in an 87-62 win over Chattanooga. (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics) Anthony Davis had 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in an 87-62 win over Chattanooga. (Barry Westerman, UK Athletics)
John Calipari will admit it: he's not always completely fair when he's evaluating his team in-game. He is a coach after all.

He has a habit of seeing performances out of a few of his players he doesn't like and allowing those to effect the way he evaluates the team as a whole.

Calipari didn't hesitate to tell his team just that following Kentucky's 87-62 defeat of Chattanooga in Rupp Arena on Saturday.

"What happens to me, one of my many, many flaws is that when I get mad at one or two guys, I end up getting mad at the whole team," Calipari said. "And it's not fair, because we had some guys that played well today."

Unquestionably, Calipari was referring in part to Anthony Davis, who didn't even need a full half to register a double-double. The freshman forward finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. His impact was felt in every facet of the game, but he was most dominant on the glass, as he grabbed the second-most boards of any freshman in school history.

"He rebounded every ball," Calipari said. "He could have had 20 rebounds today. I mean, if I had left him in a few more minutes, he would have had 20."

For stretches in the game, Davis wouldn't even let his own teammates near the glass. He set the tone for the Cats by responding well to physical play and rebounding wasn't the only area it showed itself. UK used the pick-and-roll extensively against the Mocs and the visitors simply tried to push their way through screens. Davis wouldn't budge though.

"Anthony held his ground, which is why Marquis Teague got the shots he got, because he held his ground," Calipari said. "He wasn't pushed."

Teague hit just 5-of-13 shots, scoring 11 points, but he was another of the players who played well. He carried over his strong play from the second half against Indiana by running his team effectively. He dished eight of his team's 17 assists and committed just a single turnover.

Calipari spent much of the week following that loss at Indiana with Teague, trying to impart to him exactly what he's looking for out of the freshman signal caller. The way Teague responded says quite a bit about his development.

"What I liked was after a week of really zeroing in on Marquis Teague, I thought he played well," Calipari said. "I thought he had control of the game."

Teague's improvement isn't limited to Saturday night either. After struggling with turnovers out of the gate, he has begun to figure out what's being asked of him. Playing point guard for Calipari is a notoriously difficult task, but the reasons for his improvement are simple.

"Just slowing down. I have more experience with it now, and I feel more comfortable," Teague said.

Perhaps benefiting most from Teague's steadiness was Doron Lamb, who led all players with 24 points. Lamb tightened his grip as the team's leading scorer for the season, hitting 10-of-17 field goals with four 3-pointers.

The sophomore guard has been UK's most consistent and efficient player on offense all season. He has scored in double figures in eight of UK's first 10 games and has lived up to Calipari's preseason proclamation when he called Lamb Kentucky's "best basketball player." With his emergence, the Wildcats are now looking for Lamb to take a step forward in the leadership department as well.

"We need him to speak more," Calipari said. "This team doesn't talk enough, and it starts with him.  When you don't talk, you're into your own self. You must talk on offense and you must talk on defense, and that's what we are trying to get him to do."

Calipari does recognize that Davis, Teague, Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (17 points, eight rebounds, six assists) all did play well, but he can't overlook the way much of his team failed to respond to physical play.

"That game got (physical) again, and we had some guys that just ran for the hills," Calipari said. "You can't. You've got to want a rough game. You've got to want to be rough. I want it to be that way."

Davis was one who did play the way Calipari is looking for, but he knows the Cats still have work ahead of them.

"We do have to play rougher," Davis said. "Loose balls, guys on the floor, and taking charges, it's all about toughness. We need to become even tougher."

UK will have plenty opportunities to work on just that in practice over the coming weeks. With the fall semester over, basketball will be the team's sole focus, save for a three-day break for Christmas.

"We'll probably go twice (Sunday)," Calipari said. "We'll go once or twice Monday and we'll play Tuesday. We'll go once or twice on Wednesday, and we'll play Thursday and then they go home for three days and when we come back, we start back at it. There are no classes. So if we need three times in one day, we'll go three.  It's where we really buckle down and zero in on what we have to do."

Jones injures finger

Sophomore forward Terrence Jones sustained an injury to his finger in the first half. He reentered the game after undergoing treatment and briefly returned before sitting out most of the second half. He is considered day-to-day and will be evaluated on Sunday.

"Terrence dislocated his finger; so I don't know what that means, how long he'll be out, but he did dislocate it," Calipari said. "He tried to come back and play but just couldn't do it."

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Terrence Jones is a great player. I love the way he would take over the game. I still think he'll be the No. 1 draft pick. Get well soon, Terrence!

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  • Les: Terrence Jones is a great player. I love the way he would take over the game. I still think he'll read more