After a defeat he linked to poor effort and execution, Kentucky Coach Billy Gillispie called for better leadership.
Gillispie didn't mention any names. But the team's top two veterans, Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks, said the coach meant them.
"That's probably directed at us," Meeks said after UK lost to Miami 73-67 on Saturday. "We're doing the best we can."
But it's not good enough, Gillispie said. The UK coach called for leadership on a 24-hour basis, on and off the court.
"More talk," Meeks said. "Helping the younger guys if they don't know a play. Or saying something if practice is going bad."
Added Patterson: "Stepping up when people are messing up. Or (saying something) when people take too many shots."
However, neither Meeks nor Patterson seem suited to grab a teammate by the scruff of the neck and give him a good talking to.
"That's not really my personality," Meeks said. "... I'm more of a lead-by-example guy."
Patterson has been saluted repeatedly as a good soldier on the high school and college levels. As a senior for Huntington (W.Va.) High, he never outwardly showed unhappiness as trigger-happy O.J. Mayo fired up shots.
In the first half against Miami, Patterson took four shots (or one fewer than backup Josh Harrellson, freshman DeAndre Liggins and Perry Stevenson).
Gillispie entertained the media in his post-game news conference by counting shot attempts: Meeks 17, Liggins 15 and Patterson 13.
"When Patterson goes 8-for-13, then it is not that hard to figure out who should be getting the ball," the UK coach said. "We need to play inside-out more."
Patterson came into the game making 74.6 percent of his shots. That ranked among the nation's top 10 in accuracy for games through Nov. 30, as compiled by the NCAA.
"I'm not the type to complain to get the ball," Patterson said. "Coach says, 'You need to get on your teammates who shoot all the time.'
"Sometimes I need to be more out there and demand the ball."
Mississippi Valley State
One of the Unforgettables, Sean Woods, will coach Mississippi Valley State against UK on Sunday.
It's been a rough start for Woods as a first-time college head coach. Mississippi Valley State brings an 0-9 record into Rupp Arena. Opponents enjoy an average margin of victory of 27.8 points.
More ugly statistics: Woods' team is shooting with 35-percent accuracy, opponents 53.6 percent. Opponents enjoy an average rebound margin of plus 10.6.
Woods inherited a team that lost its top four scorers from last season. Mississippi Valley State has not yet played a home game.
The nadir — so far — came in a 76-25 loss at Washington State on Nov. 15. In that game, Mississippi Valley State received one of its four technical fouls this season. The other three came in an 82-65 loss at Montana.
UK to honor Keightley
UK plans to honor the late Bill Keightley on Sunday.
Keightley's widow, Hazel, his daughter, Karen, and son-in-law Alden Marlowe are expected to participate in a ceremony in which UK will re-retire a jersey honoring the longtime equipment manager.
Keightley died last spring after working in the UK basketball equipment room since 1962.
Alas, no return game
UK will not be playing at Miami next season. This game was a one-time made-for-TV matchup.
"That's a sign of your program heading in the right direction," Miami Coach Frank Haith said on Friday, "to have the opportunity to play at Kentucky on national television."
Haith acknowledged the good a victory at UK could do his program.
"You're talking about a team that's going to be in the NCAA Tournament," he said of UK. "A RPI win on their court, there's no substitute for that."
Cincinnati native James Dews snapped out of a season-long funk with 18 points for Miami. He might have had a career high. But Dews, who earlier in the game extended his consecutive made free-throw streak to 30, missed four free throws in the final 1:21.
"It wasn't nerves," he said before adding, "I don't know what happened."
Still, Dews left Rupp Arena happy. He said he used "a good 60" tickets for family and friends.
Gillispie called a halt to questions about Liggins. Maybe he was tired of the talk about UK's point guard play or maybe he just didn't want to hand out a bouquet for Liggins' second-half play.
"Let's talk about the team," the UK coach said. "We lost, so nobody played well. So let's ask a question about the team. OK? This is a team. This is Kentucky."
Thanks to 51.6-percent accuracy in the first half, Miami shot 44.2 percent for the team. None of UK's last five opponents shot better than 36 percent. ... UK lost its fifth straight game to a ranked opponent. The Cats last beat a ranked team on Jan. 22, 2008 (72-66 over No. 8 Tennessee). UK last beat a ranked non-conference opponent in the 2006 NCAA Tournament (a 69-64 victory over No. 25 UAB).