Kentucky lost 85-79 to St. Petersburg in overtime in the NCAA tournament Thursday night. The Wildcats season is now over and they are only the tenth team in tournament history to lose to 15 in the first round.
Oscar Tshibouh had another brilliant performance, scoring 30 points and 16 rebounds in his last game as a Kentucky player. The UK mainstream, including Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington and Kellan Grady, all struggled, Grady and Washington combined to go 3-19 off the pitch, and Wheeler made six substitutions.
Here’s all that Kentucky coach John Calipari says after the unfortunate loss to Picoux, given who is leaving and who will stay on the British team:
Start speech“It’s a sad day. Not to lose just one game. This is the end of the season with this group and how much joy they brought to me and our staff. And I’m just saying one thing; that you have eight points. You are superior, and I am a man who has gone through many of these things, you are superior in eight minutes to the end of eight points, you win the game.
“So I do not really need to know, well, this guy did it and that guy did this and this and this and that. We were eight points ahead and we were three points ahead. I’m not short of St. Peter. They deserved to win this game, they fought all the time.
But I feel about it. Which, you know, these guys put us in a position to win the game. “Let’s finish it.”
s. This is not the first game in which the game of ownership to ownership did not go as you wanted. Is the link there? Why do you think this was a problem area?
You know, I think, again, all I did, because I knew they had never played in these things, was to release them and release them, and we never got there. Never.
“And you know, even at leisure, I’ve tried to do it, and – but we’ve got eight people, you know, we’ve not done what we used to do. But I’m back, when you’re eight minutes left in the end of game eight, you know how to win the game. This is your job as a coach.
You know, we had kids who did not play the way they used to, and you know, you look back and say, can we bring in Bryce, can we bring in Devon, just try something. But the game was a touch game, and then it’s not fair for those guys to be in that position and do something that hurts our season.
But when you coach, you could do it, you could do it. At the end of the day, I’ve been in these situations, and the problem is that we – what I was talking about – were injured and never went back. So maybe I was trying to coach the team I coached a month ago. And we had a few people who did not play like a month ago.
“But I came back, it was an incredible band. I just picked a bad day not to shoot, and you know, we try to throw it at the Oscars every time. We played like that. I mean, he – you know, Okay, come down and throw it at the Oscars.
I feel bad for the kids because I mean they take it hard. They know, you guys ask the big question that is hard for these kids. They know what they did and how they did it, but I say, I say it again, an eight-point lead three minutes to go. Let’s take this thing and you know, how many mistakes to close the game, you know, they became the area. I could not force them to throw the ball in the middle. I mean, we did not have such a problem against any area where we played. But we did today.
“So give credit to St. Peter.”
s. You mentioned that you tried to get these kids to play freely, but when you were eight years old and St. Peter started coming back, you wanted to release these kids, can you feel that nerves are a real factor?
“It was the whole game. It was not just then. I took the kids out because they did not shoot the ball. I did it about three times. If you do not shoot it, I will take you out. They will shoot. I had to get them out, I had to do it three times. It’s hard to put four people on it.
But again, this is probably something they never felt in their lives. And that’s why I wish I had a few answers in three minutes to help them get to the first answer. But I tell you, we missed the shots and St. Peter did the shots. They made three. They created a layup. We lost it. They made free throws. We lost it. “This is one of those games that I hope I can win to go to the next game and step on their feet, and obviously I did not do my job very well.”
s. You talk about “what happened”. For many people, one of them will be Shaedon and the reason he did not play. Was there a point where he seemed ready after you made that decision, and was it clear that he could not help you even if he wanted to play?
“At one point, he and I sat down and talked about it. But you know, I think the best thing for him was how we did it. Would he be a good player this year? Yes, He was very good, he was very good but he joined us in the middle of the season, trying hard to get him to do everything we did.
“Then a point arrived late, maybe we could push him there. But we just, you know, we chose together, let’s just wait.
Q. Oscar tonight announced incredible numbers again. You talked about what he meant to the team. But have you had a chance in the past minutes to think about his achievements on the pitch and what he meant to your team this year?
“You know, I did not see. I only saw 30 and 16 and they had five people playing him. He did something that was not done for a long time and he made everyone better.
Now, you may not believe it, but we led our league in throwing three points. Many of these opened the court for him. But when you do not take any pictures, it makes it harder for him.
“But you only heard him. I mean, he’s a very thoughtful and wonderful child. He and I will sit down for another day or two to find out what path is ahead of him. But I tell you this: you about You talk about the joy of coaching the whole team, I mean I’m sick of them now, I’m just disappointed, you know, I wish I had one or two answers, I’m just doing it.
You know, this is just a look at the past, you can not – you can play that game however you want. But give credit to St. Peter. And I watched the tapes. Let me tell you, I was worried about going to the game. I did not show it to anyone, I whistled and jumped and danced and we could not wait.
“But I’m like, oh, they’re back. They’re back with us. Now Oscar had him but they’re back. Everyone else came back for them. You know some things happened as they said we’re a good defense. We were not – and Let’s give them credit, they beat us to death and beat us in a jump, and three people came out of the screen and they played well.
The hawk has done a great job. “Before the game, I told him, ‘What you did with this team,’ and what I saw was how they played, their structure, he did a great job.”
s. You mentioned the nerves, the shell shock that was going on with some of those kids who weren’t there at the moment. As the minutes went on and St. Peter kept coming, he went … with the coaching staff, because it was hard at the end and you could see in the eyes of these kids that they were nervous –
We tried to encourage each time out. You will be fine. We just have to make a show.
You know, with five minutes left, one of the kids got on a boy and said, “Stop it, five minutes, just be positive. Just let go, just be positive.
“And so we tried to help them get through it. Obviously we did not do what we needed to do.”
“They do. Small, but they fought. Enough athletes to play with bigger people. And as I played and coached at UMass, I played a little slower. We ground a little more. I tried five boys and two. You know, some of my team shot well, Carmelo and some of the guys who were really good shooters.
“So I’m just disappointed. I’m disappointed with my fans, because I know they are here en masse and they were shocked like all of us, but I tell them we have the best fans. They travel, And we hate to disappoint them, I work as a coach and I know that these players do.
“But you know, we just – let go of what these guys did. It was really frustrating and devastating. But this team brought us a lot of joy. Just hate that it ends like this. Thanks. . ”