On Monday, Kentucky Coach John Calipari suggested referees call games tightly to prevent opponents from getting too physical with his freshman-oriented team. Apparently, the referees got the message as UK made 24 of 27 free throws, while Tennessee made five of seven Tuesday night.
When asked whether the refs acted on Calipari's suggestion, UT forward Jeronne Maymon said, "They were probably on the phone with him."
A reporter asking for an explanation on the free-throw disparity stumped Maymon.
"Truthfully, I couldn't tell you," he said. "There were a lot of tick-tack fouls (on the Vols). We go down there (to the offensive end), we didn't get any calls."
Tennessee first-year coach Cuonzo Martin is trying to establish a tough, physical style. The Vols picked up seven fouls inside the first seven minutes. UK shot a one-and-one with 13:21 left in the first half.
The Vols, who averaged 18.7 fouls in Southeastern Conference play, got whistled for 13 in the half. Tennessee did not shoot a free throw until 17:36 remained in the second half. By then, UK had made 14 of 16.
Freshman Jarnell Stokes put the free-throw disparity into perspective.
"If you look at the foul count, of course, you see it wasn't evenly (called)," he said. There were 23 fouls on UT, 15 on UK.
"But I don't want to make any excuses," Stokes added. "Anthony Davis changed the game."
Cal the 'spaz'
In explaining why he's more comfortable as a player midway through his freshman season, Davis said, "The first game I ever played, I was real nervous. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want Coach Cal to 'spaz' on me."
Davis reached double-digit points for the 11th time in the last 12 games. He blocked seven shots, giving him at least three rejections in 15 straight games.
No matter how Calipari might "spaz," Davis is comfortable.
"Now, I know that's how he coaches," the freshman said.
Davis bends minds
Stokes acknowledged the mind-bending impact Davis' defense can have.
"Most definitely, it gets in your head," said Stokes, who second-guessed his approach against Davis. "Instead of all those moves, I should have gone straight at his body."
Martin recalled Rupp Arena as a player for Purdue. He and the Boilermakers played Central Florida and Alabama in Rupp during the first two rounds of the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
"Great rims, great atmosphere," Martin said.
Tennessee shot a season-low 28.1 percent against Kentucky.
Cal the roadie
Calipari spoke of how much he likes the bonding that can come with a road game.
"I love road trips," he said. "I love going on the road because it's just us. You know, you've got 11 players and our staff and that's it. And we're together two, three days.
"So that kind of stuff helps this team because we are four freshmen, two sophomores and a senior playing most of the minutes."
Davis and UT's Trae Golden received technical fouls with 12:58 left in the first half.
Davis explained the mild confrontation as an example of looking out for a teammate.
"Coach Cal always wants us to have each other's back," Davis said.
Stokes wears black shoes because adidas, which supplies Tennessee's team, has not been able to find a pair in orange in his size.
The largest pair in orange adidas found was size 19. Stokes wears size 20.