A lot of fans are angry with John Calipari for not calling a timeout in the final minute of the game when his team panicked, but give Cal credit; he started his postgame press conference by accepting the blame for Kentucky’s collapse.
“I made mistakes in the end and cost them the game. I should have called a timeout. I don’t ever like to in those situations but this is a different team. This team is too young. They’re just too young to know what’s there and if they get in trouble, just call a timeout.”
A Shai Gilgeous-Alexander jumper put Kentucky up two with 1:28 left but the Vols continued to capitalize on Kentucky’s errors. A Shai turnover led to a huge Tennessee three, followed by another Shai turnover that led to a dunk by Admiral Schofield to put the Vols up by three. Shai went to the line and hit a free throw with four seconds left, but it was too late. Tennessee won, completing the sweep over Kentucky and stealing what would have been a huge, huge win for the Cats going forward. As always, Calipari refused to blame his players.
“I wanted to see — I should have called a timeout. This one’s on me; it’s not on this team. This team did everything they could to win the game.”
Not calling a timeout late in the game worked last week vs. Vanderbilt, but not tonight vs. Tennessee, which Calipari chalked up to the Vols’ physical play.
“This is such a young team and I could see when they crowded the court and they were being physical, pushing guys around and into each other, I should have called a timeout. At least 10, 12 seconds to go, I should have seen it and when I saw it, I let it go, hoping he would maybe — you can’t hope. Not with these kids.”
“I’m saying that the chance that we had to win the game fell to me and I let it go.”