Kentucky Coach John Calipari likened his team's 75-65 victory over Tennessee on Tuesday to a choir boy (the Cats) standing up to a bully (the Vols).
When asked about the game being "chippy," Calipari said, "Good."
More than once this season, Calipari has said he expects opponents to try to push around this latest freshman-oriented team.
"If there's anybody that was getting sand kicked in their face, you know, at some point, you have to stand up," Calipari said. "We don't teach that. I'm not teaching it, but I know this: You put your heels in the sand."
Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin has made toughness his calling card. He learned that style at Purdue for Gene Keady and he wants his Volunteers to play a physical brand of basketball, as all coaches do.
"If I see somebody talking to one of my players and they are not challenging back, I'm not happy," Calipari said. "It's not what I want, but ... You've got to be a man. This is a man's game and this is a man's league we play in.
"You have to play through bumps. Quit crying about fouls. Everybody is fouling everybody."
Oh, those refs
Tennessee had reason to disagree with the notion of everybody fouling everybody.
The Vols came into the game averaging 23.1 free-throw attempts per game. UT did not shoot its first free throw until 13:51 remained in the game.
Tennessee picked up its seventh foul of the second half, thus making UK eligible to shoot the one-and-one, with 14:34 left. At that point, the Cats had not been whistled for a foul in the second half.
"We definitely felt we were getting fouled," UT's leading scorer, Jordan McRae, said. "But in the second half, I think we did a good job of putting our heads down and forcing the refs to make calls."
Tennessee had drawn 22 charges this season. The Vols tried and failed to draw charges Tuesday night. The referees called UK for one charge (Archie Goodwin with 14:09 left). Four times the refs called Tennessee for blocking.
When Yemi Makanjuola fell as Nerlens Noel scored in the low post, the no-call led Martin to put his hands on his hips and deliver a death-stare at referee Tony Greene.
After Vanderbilt and Texas A&M combined for 35 offensive rebounds in the last two games, UK limited Tennessee to only seven.
"We out-rebounded one of the better rebounding teams in our league," Calipari said.
Tennessee began the game ranked fourth among SEC teams in rebound margin (plus 4.7).
Kyle Wiltjer noted the importance of his catch-and-shoot game.
"It really spreads the court," he said. "People have to respect my shooting, so they have to stay on me. ... That's why post-ups are open for other players."
Down the stretch, Wiltjer scored off moves going to the basket.
"The coaches have just been on me to just keep driving every day in practice," he said. "I've had that mentality in practice and it just carried over, I guess. They were playing my shot pretty heavily, so it kind of freed some stuff open."
Archie Goodwin made two of 10 shots, which brought his shooting in league play to 13 of 40 (32.5 percent) and one of nine from three-point range.
"He was a little bit out of control," Calipari said. "Playing too fast. We are trying to get him to shoot the runner, which when he did, he made it. ...
"We have been working on him to jump-stop. So he goes driving down the lane, left his feet and threw a wide-open pass to the corner. But he left his feet (and was called for charging)."