UK-IU notes: Marquis Teague comes alive in 2nd half

Freshman point guard overcomes slow start; 'he carried us,' cal says says

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 11, 2011 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In a sense, Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague packed about a week of experiences into Saturday's 73-72 loss to Indiana.

He played so poorly in the first half, UK Coach John Calipari benched him to start the second half. Then Teague scored 10 of his 15 second-half points to give Kentucky a chance for an improbable comeback victory.

"How can you be the same guy?" Calipari said of Teague's topsy-turvy afternoon.

Teague missed all five of his first-half shots, including a point-blank layup, and committed three turnovers. In the second half, he finally took advantage of favorable matchups against IU's undersized and relatively slow-footed guards. He made all six of his shots.

"If you play to score, you're screwing us up," Calipari said. "If you play to run our team, you'll still score. ... He carried us."

Calipari saluted Teague's ability to keep his wits in Assembly Hall. "In this environment, coming home, it's amazing he was able to play," the UK coach said.

Teague, who is from Indianapolis, must follow orders to succeed, Calipari said.

"You've got to play the way I'm telling you to play," the UK coach said. "You've got to let me coach you. You can't do what you think you want to do out there."

So Teague sat to begin the second half, which ultimately saw the freshman regain Calipari's confidence.

"If I don't feel I'll be able to coach you, then you're not going to be on the court," Calipari said. "He responded. He did fine."

Kidd-Gilchrist fights

Indiana met its goals of not getting battered on the boards. The rebounding battle ended 30-30. The Hoosiers also shot as many free throws as UK (17-17) after giving up more than twice as many free throws (65-30) in the last two meetings.

Said Calipari, "50/50 balls, they came up with every one of them, and there were a bunch of them."

The UK coach saluted freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who scored 18 points and, maybe more importantly, tied Anthony Davis with a game-high nine rebounds.

"If I watched this game, I'd say he's the best player," Calipari said in speaking for any observer. "He fought. Other guys did not fight for balls. Did not fight for balls. He fought."

Foul trouble

Davis committed only six fouls in the most recent four games. But he got whistled for four fouls at Indiana.

His fourth — on IU guard Verdell Jones' three-point attempt with 12 minutes left — rankled Calipari.

"Should never have been called," the UK coach said of a play that Jones appeared to flop. "That was a bogus I-can't-believe-they-made-that-call (foul)."

UK-IU series

With Calipari suggesting Kentucky may end its series with either Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina, IU Coach Tom Crean advocated the Wildcats and Hoosiers keep playing.

"I don't know why this game would go anywhere," he said. "It's great for everybody."

UK had won three straight, nine of the last 11 and 14 of the last 17 before losing on Christian Watford's three-pointer at the buzzer.

"I think we're back in the hunt," Crean said. "It hadn't been much of a rivalry."

Vitale: Play series

ESPN analyst Dick Vitale continued to urge Kentucky not to end its series with Indiana and Louisville. He did not mention North Carolina.

"You can't give up the tradition of Louisville and Indiana," he said. "Never! Ever."

After a pause, Vitale said of Calipari, "But he's a great 'convincer.'"

Vitale wept

Vitale recalled crying when the University of Detroit named its court in his honor last weekend.

"It brought back memories of walking into the building a nobody," he said. "An assistant coach at Rutgers."

His four-year tenure as Detroit coach led to being hired as coach of the Detroit Pistons, then a career of more than 30 years with ESPN and ultimately induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Vitale said he originally turned down the offer of having the court named in his honor. He had only been the Titans' coach four seasons.

But Athletic Director Keri Gaither changed his mind by noting that Vitale gets identified as the former Detroit coach. "Great exposure," she said.

Addition by subtraction

The Indiana notes available to the media did not mention Crean's record with the Hoosiers. His four-line mini biographical sketch notes that IU named him its 28th basketball coach on April 2, 2008. It then glides into his career record of 226-162 as a head coach.

Faced with an immense rebuilding situation, Crean had an IU record of 30-66 going into the game.

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