After committing a career-high eight turnovers, Kentucky senior Darius Miller used the word "decent" to describe his performance.
"I played decent," he said after UK's 69-62 victory. "I didn't really play as good as I should have. You have days like that, I guess. I had too many turnovers (and) too many mental lapses."
UK Coach John Calipari tempered his criticism.
"I'm going to be honest with you," he told reporters. "I thought Darius was OK."
Except for the turnovers, Miller's numbers were similar to last year's game at Louisville. He had seven points in each game. He grabbed one more rebound and played three more minutes on Saturday.
Calipari seemed to suggest that he expected the physical nature of the game to affect Miller's performance.
"He lost three or four balls because they kind of got after him," the UK coach said. "But he does that every game. ...
"He's the kid in a game like this that is going to have eight turnovers. They're going to come up in him. That's going to happen."
Not counting the Chattanooga game when he dislocated a finger on his shooting hand, Terrence Jones experienced his first college performance that included only one basket. He made one of nine shots.
But Calipari saw a ray of hope in Jones' season-high 11 rebounds.
"Terrence took strides to come back," Calipari said. "He was 1-for-9 and missed seven one-foot shots. What he needed to do was try to dunk each one of those.
"And he's just not all the way back yet. ... I think within the next week and a half, he'll be fine."
Jones' three steals were one shy of a career high.
Jones missed all four of his free-throw attempts. That lowered his accuracy for the season to 61.7 percent (29-for-47).
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist posted career highs in points (24) and rebounds (19). But he made only eight of 13 free throws.
"Crazy," he said. "I don't miss free throws like that. I was getting frustrated a little bit."
In noting how he was reluctant initially to take a leadership role, Kidd-Gilchrist told reporters, "I'm just very shy. I'm very shy around people like you all. But I'm getting better."
Of course, Kidd-Gilchrist plays free and easy in the games.
"I just relax on the basketball floor," he said.
Though trailing by 13 and victory impossible, Louisville did not quit. The Cardinals made two three pointers and forced a UK turnover.
"We never feel we're out of it," said Russ Smith, who made those two three-pointers to complete a 30-point game. "It's never over till it's over. Every basketball player knows that.
"If we were behind by a little less, who knows? The game could have got interesting."
"If it was a six-point game, we may have lost that game," he said. "That's what I tried to explain to my team after (the game). And there was no reason for it. It was us."
Playing a hunch
Besides his offensive contributions, Kidd-Gilchrist is also UK's defensive stopper.
After Calipari noted point guard Peyton Siva as a key to Louisville's team, he would have been assumed to be Kidd-Gilchrist's assignment. Instead, the UK freshman opened the game guarding Chris Smith.
"I was going to put him on Siva, but I imagine they prepared all week for that," Calipari said. " ... Siva is very good, but I thought Marquis (Teague) could play Siva and bother him a little bit. I thought with Anthony Davis in there, you know, (Siva is) not going to get as many layups."
Calipari said it was near game time when he decided to put Kidd-Gilchrist on Smith.
While Calipari speaks of UK dropping one of its traditional non-conference rivals (Indiana, Louisville or North Carolina), Louisville Coach Rick Pitino endorsed the continuation of the UK-U of L game.
"This is a good rivalry," he said. "We only had one incident a couple years ago by somebody I didn't appreciate."
That was an apparent reference to DeMarcus Cousins placing a forearm into the head area of a Louisville player.
"It's always been a good rivalry," Pitino said. "It's respect. Two teams play hard. Tonight, it wasn't good offense. It was hard-nosed defense. Nobody's fighting. Nobody's trash-talking. It's two teams that have respect for the other team's abilities. And it's a good rivalry. It's like North Carolina-Duke."
Pitino likes UK
Of Calipari's three UK teams, this one apparently is Pitino's favorite.
"This team I've liked the most, just being a fan, that I've watched in the last five, six years of Kentucky," the Louisville coach said. "Michael Gilchrist is one of the nicest young men you'll be around, and he plays every possession as if he's going to die tomorrow. Anthony Davis is a terrific young man. These are all great guys playing together, and they play hard."