UK Men's Basketball

UK-Texas notes: Calipari says Texas played bigger in 1st half

in the first half of the Texas at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 5, 2014. Kentucky beat Texas 63-51. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
in the first half of the Texas at Kentucky men's basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Dec. 5, 2014. Kentucky beat Texas 63-51. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

Although the teams went into halftime tied, Texas won the first half. The Longhorns out-rebounded Kentucky 27-11.

"It was a dog-fight, and their dogs were bigger in the first half," UK Coach John Calipari said. "Put it that way."

Kentucky seized the initiative in the second half and won 63-51.

The way the game unfolded seem to be the kind of early punch-in-the-mouth that Calipari has been saying he wanted to see. Not so, the UK coach said.

"What I wanted is we come out and play great defense and someone makes 10 straight shots and we're doing everything right," he said. "And we come down and we go two for 10, and we're getting great looks.

"And I want to see if you can continue to play, continue to have fun, continue to fight."

'Plateens?'

Calipari continued to refuse to acknowledge that he abandoned the platoon system of substitutions. Against Texas, Marcus Lee played four minutes.

Willie Cauley-Stein played 33 minutes, the most logged by a UK player this season.

"Please don't think I got away from the platoons," Calipari said. "I didn't."

When a reporter said he was confused, Calipari said, "Well, what I'm doing is I'm coaching to win the game. We platoon, someone gets in foul trouble. I'm still platooning, but there's a different guy in the platoon."

That didn't seem to clear it up.

"I don't know what you call that," Calipari said. "Plateens?"

Laughter ensued.

History Part VIII

Another game, another historical footnote.

Kentucky improved to 8-0 by winning an eighth straight game by a double-digit margin. That hadn't happened to start a Kentucky season since Rupp's Runts began 1965-66 with 10 straight victories by 10 or more points.

Defense, defense

Kentucky held Texas to a season-low 51 points. That was the fewest points scored by the Longhorns since a 66-49 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament on March 13, 2013.

Up, up and away

Texas' Prince Ibeh may have set a Rupp Arena record for highest-arcing free throws. He only made two of eight, in part because each attempt rose maybe 10 feet higher than the rim before heading downward.

Unanimous?

No team has gotten every first-place vote in The Associated Press top 25 poll since Syracuse in early February of last season. The Orange won the first 21 games of the season.

Before Syracuse, the last unanimous No. 1 was Duke for six weeks in 2010-11.

Succinct

Texas forward Jonathan Holmes wasted no words in describing the game.

"We competed," he said.

Teammate Demarcus Holland elaborated.

"We proved we're tough," he said. "We have to prove that we're smart also."

Holmes, the team's leading scorer with point guard Isaiah Taylor sidelined, expressed regret for a charging early in the second half. While he sat on the bench because of his third foul, Kentucky opened up a 16-point lead.

"That was not smart on my part," he said. "I apologized to my teammates."

SECrets

■ Nine of the 14 SEC teams are averaging less than 10,000 in home attendance. Without the boost from Kentucky (22,636, on average, going into the Texas game), SEC teams are averaging 8,325 in home attendance.

Bringing up the rear: Georgia at 4,883 per game, on average.

■ Florida, which made history with an 18-0 regular-season SEC record last season, has been synonymous with pass-dribble-shoot basketball skills. So, surprisingly, the Gators rank last in scoring (63.5 ppg) and shooting (38.7 percent).

Hot seat

Barnes was supposedly on the hot seat after Texas had a 16-18 record in 2012-13.

"I think you're always on the hot seat, you know?" he said. "I've said this before: If I'm on the hot seat here, nobody who turns the heat up here ever told me that."

Father in spotlight

The father of UK freshman Trey Lyles takes center stage next Friday. Tom Lyles, an accomplished musical artist, will sing the national anthem before the UK women's team game against Middle Tennessee State.

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