With a 1-3 record playing on the opponent's home court, Kentucky Coach John Calipari called for help from his veterans beginning with Saturday's game at South Carolina.
"I've got to get the two juniors and one senior to do more," he said on Friday.
That's especially true down the stretch of close games, Calipari said. The memory of botched plays in Tuesday's loss at Alabama hung heavy in the air.
Of course, those Calipari wants more from are juniors Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins, plus senior Josh Harrellson.
"They have to be a big part of what we're doing at the end of games," Calipari said. The UK coach defined "big part" as including such "little" things as taking a charge, diving on a loose ball, getting a rebound.
"What are you doing to help us win?" he said. "Or are you sitting there saying, 'Let's hope one of these freshmen make a play?' "
UK's top three scorers are freshmen: Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. They've been the team's top three scorers in five of this season's 18 games, and the top two in eight other games.
Only once has one of the three freshmen not led Kentucky in scoring. Liggins' 19 points led the way against Indiana.
Noting the turnovers and bad shots that hindered UK in the final minutes at Alabama, Calipari said, "You've got to come up with good, clean looks. Doesn't mean you have to make it. But you've got to get good, clean looks."
Calipari again said he expects plenty of close games going forward. "We're not 20 points better than anybody," he said.
Take me to your leader
In response to a question, Calipari said the Cats need a leader to emerge among the players.
"Just take responsibility," he said. "Somebody's got to say, 'OK, this is on me.' Or 'This is on all of us.' We have a lot of guys who don't want to take that responsibility."
Silence isn't golden
Given such a loquacious coach, isn't it ironic that communication is an issue for UK? Calipari again noted the need for talking, especially on the road with a hostile crowd.
Harrellson said Thursday's practice was "all about communication."
Calipari inadvertently made news late in the Alabama game by calling Jones selfish.
On Friday, the UK coach defined the term.
"They think selfish only means, 'Oh, I passed the ball,'" the UK coach said. "It's doing what the team needs you to do. Talking is a big part of it."
Harrellson said Jones was OK with the profane scolding he received from Calipari near the end of the game at Alabama.
"He's not worried about that," Harrellson said of Jones. "He's here to be coached. That's the past now. We're focusing on South Carolina."
Near the end of the Alabama game, television cameras caught Calipari calling Jones "selfish." The UK coach bracketed the charge with variations on the F bomb. Calipari apologized to UK fans later that night through the Twitter social medium and again Wednesday on his radio show.
Calipari refused to discuss anything but the South Carolina game on Friday.
Harrellson said he could understand why Calipari would use profanity.
"Especially at a time like that," Harrellson said. "We messed up three times in a row. You can see it happen."
No 'brutal' practice
Calipari changed his mind and backed off the need for a "brutal" practice the day after the loss at Alabama.
"I didn't think we needed it after watching the tape," he said.
Harrellson suggested that a good practice, presumably that day, caused Calipari to ease off the gas pedal.
"Because we all came out with great intensity and great preparation," Harrellson said, "and not worried about other distractions."
PT for Polson?
Calipari pondered more playing time for 10th man Jarrod Polson, who has played only four minutes in UK's first four league games.
"I think I'm going to try to play Jarrod a little bit," said Calipari, who noted how well Polson did in one-on-one games with other reserves. "Jarrod won going away. Because he played harder. Then he should be out there. Why shouldn't he be playing? So I may throw him into games."
Calipari hasn't lost two straight games since 2004-05. His Memphis team lost four straight Feb. 23 through March 5. The losses were at Charlotte, at home to Louisville, at Saint Louis and at home to Cincinnati. ... Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and sideline reporter Shannon Spake will call the game for ESPN.