A Kentucky meltdown. It was a team — and maybe a season — unraveling. Only a late rush after Coach John Calipari was tossed made this one as close as it was. A six-point possession in five seconds put UK within one at :22, but it could not pull out a win it did not deserve. At one point, UK's only basket in almost 16 minutes of play was a goaltend against South Carolina. UK's offensive board work led to a 16-11 lead but the offense looked disjointed (17 percent shooting the first half). The Cats more than eight minutes without a field goal to close the first half. Calipari rode the officials until finally getting his first technical and South Carolina led 31-28 at the half. It only got worse.
■ The only Julius Randle basket came with 22 seconds left.
■ At the point South Carolina led 55-48, UK had seven field goals.
■ UK's bench scored four points in 62 minutes of play.
■ Kentucky made 33 free throws and outrebounded South Carolina by 18.
■ UK was leading 25-21 when Carolina went on a 29-9 run.
■ Dakari Johnson (2-3) and Willie Cauley-Stein (1-2) were the only UK players to make more than one-third of their shots.
■ Kentucky had 16 offensive rebounds in the first half; South Carolina had 15 total rebounds.
■ South Carolina turned it over once in the first half.
■ Kentucky missed 24 of its 29 shots in the first half.
■ The game was barely two minutes old when Andrew Harrison took a seat next to John Calipari on the bench.
■ Of UK's first 13 missed shots, it rebounded 10.
■ If not for offensive rebounds, Kentucky would have been blown out early.
■ With two games left in the regular season last year, UK was 20-9 and 11-5 in the SEC. With two games left this year, UK is 21-8 and 11-5 in the SEC.
■ The offense was terrible; the ball movement non-existent.
■ Calipari constantly preaches a "no excuses" motto to his players. So why spend so much time riding officials when your team is struggling?
■ Remember when everyone said "wait until March." It's here.
Herald-Leader Staff Report