CRAWFORD | Overtime blues: Five takeaways from Kentucky's OT los - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Overtime blues: Five takeaways from Kentucky's OT loss at Kansas

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John Calipari shouts instructions during Kentucky's loss at Kansas. (AP photo) John Calipari shouts instructions during Kentucky's loss at Kansas. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — In soccer, if a regular-season game ends in a tie in regulation, the teams split one point in the standings and go home.

Americans don’t like ties. But splitting in regulation at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas ought to be worth something for the University of Kentucky basketball team, which fought to a 76-76 tie after 40 minutes, but couldn’t keep pace after foul attrition took its toll in overtime, and Kansas won its 35th straight game at home 90-84.

For Kentucky, the game ratified the Wildcats’ recent improvement, even if it ended in defeat.

Tyler Ulis was outstanding. He finished with 26 points on 11 of 19 shooting, and dished out eight assists. He never left the court. He was the only player to log all 45 minutes.

But for Kansas, Wayne Selden Jr. couldn’t be stopped. He finished with 33 points, made 12 of 20 shots and had a pair of steals in 44 minutes.

It was a high-level offensive game on both sides. Both scored at least one point per possession. Kentucky shot 53.2 percent — on the road, against a top 5 team. Kansas countered with 46.4 percent shooting but made 8 of 17 three-pointers.

It was a game of swings. Kansas went up 6 with four minutes to play in the first half. Kentucky coach John Calipari called timeout, and went on an 8-1 run, then went on an 8-2 run to lead 46-40 at half.

Kentucky’s biggest lead was eight, early in the second half. Kansas came back. The Jayhawks led by three with 4:02 left, and Kentucky came back to lead by one. It led by two after an Alex Poythress dunk with 1:11 left, then Selden hit a three, and after a Jamal Murray jumper put UK up one, Kansas hit the offensive glass hard and wound up with a Perry Ellis free throw that wound up tying the game.

In overtime, fouls started to mount for the Wildcats, and maybe a bit of fatigue set in. Isaiah Briscoe missed three straight free throws early in overtime, and Kansas began to pull away.

Five thoughts on the game (click the box score to enlarge):

1. TYLER ULIS, AN ELITE COLLEGE POINT GUARD. I like Dan Dakich. I don’t agree with him on the subject of Ulis. The kid went into Allen Fieldhouse and did everything right. He had eight assists and two turnovers. He occupied most of the Kansas defense in the second half.

The key adjustment of the game was by Kansas coach Bill Self, who after watching Ulis control the game, decided someone else was going to have to beat the Jayhawks in the second. Ulis had at least two men dogging him whenever he had the ball, and sometimes more. He still wound up with 12 points and three assists after the break.

And he played 45 minutes under that pressure. If I were picking a team, I’d take him. He had an off night from three-point range, but he dogged Kansas point guard Frank Mason into 3 of 11 shooting.

2. KENTUCKY WAS READY FOR THE STAGE. With freshmen in key positions, you wondered how Kentucky would handle the hoopla of College GameDay and Allen Fieldhouse after a couple of shaky performances on the road earlier in the season.

The Wildcats handled it. At no point did they look flustered, or not ready to deal with the challenge in front of them.

These days, Kentucky doesn’t play many true road games against teams of the likes of Kansas. But that doesn’t mean they can’t.

“We fought like heck, had our chances to win on the road in this building, and really should have, and you take an L and you go from there,” Calipari told Tom Leach on his postgame coaches show on the Kentucky Radio Network produced by IMG Sports.

“We played good, we fought, we played well offensively in the first half, we followed what we were trying to do. We played different. We spread the court and tried to beat people off the dribble and we did a pretty good job of that, we’re just a ways away.”

3. FOUL PLAY. Look, it’s all part of playing on the road. Still, it’s always curious. Kentucky has had these kinds of advantages at home over the years, so it will get no sympathy. But the fact remains, after halftime, Kentucky was whistled for 24 fouls. Kansas was called for nine. In the first half, the total was Kansas 11, Kentucky 9.

That’s tough to overcome. Kentucky didn’t even shoot the bonus until the overtime period. Kansas’ edge in free-throw attempts was 47-22. Its edge in made free throws was 30-13. You get outscored 17 from the line, usually you head home with a double-digit loss.

4. OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS, AND LACK THEREOF. Kentucky is one of the nation’s best offensive rebounding teams. Credit Kansas for allowing the Wildcats only six in this game, while grabbing 14 of their own. That helped contribute to the Jayhawks 42-31 lead on the boards. 

Second-chance points were tied, 10-10, but that’s not nearly as many as Kentucky usually gets. The Wildcats had to work for their points, but still executed well offensively. They just struggled to make threes (5 of 23) and from the line (13 of 22). 

5. CAL’S CONCLUSIONS. In the end, Calipari once again talked about a lack of “winning plays.” He cited the offensive rebounds Kentucky gave up at the end of regulation. After leading by two, he was incredulous that his team could leave Selden open for the go-ahead three.

“Two offensive rebounds at the end that we had a chance. We missed some free throws, but I’ve got to still teach these kids how to win, and that’s on me,” Calipari told Leach on his IMG postgame show. “We had our chances, and they just don’t understand, on defense and offense, winning plays. They still do the same stuff. You had to be watching the game to know Selden was the guy, which we had talked about, don’t leave him open. We were even playing him no-catch, and we left him go. And then we also got beat on the dribble so many times it was scary, and it was the same, they were going at the same guys.”

Calipari told Leach that after the game, he told the team, “I got to teach you how to win, you don’t know how to win games, you don’t know how to finish people off, you don’t know what plays you’ve got to make to try to win, including defensively. And then coming up with balls. I mean, if you can’t fight, we can’t win.”

NEXT UP: Kentucky stays on the road, traveling to Tennessee for a 7 p.m. game Tuesday night.

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