LOUISVILLE, Ky.(WDRB) - The newest Wildcat, Hamidou Diallo has been practicing with the team for a few days and was on the bench, but not in uniform as Kentucky took on Auburn Saturday. And while the five-star guard has said he will only be practicing for the rest of the season and not playing until next season, you couldn't blame John Calipari if the thought didn't go through his mind to put a uniform on Diallo and get him in there because he was starting to run out of guards.
De'Aaron Fox fouled out with eight minutes to go and Isaiah Briscoe had to come out with four fouls. But the Cats got key minutes from Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder and pulled away from the pesky Tigers for a 92-72 victory.
"We, at times, play with unbelievable discipline, and all of a sudden we just do our own thing." said Calipari. "Shoot a ball with 22 seconds left in the shot clock, with two guys on us and I'll fade kick it. What? Why would you do that? I mean, drive the ball. Try to get fouled. ‘Well, I thought’ – no. Just undisciplined. Those are the things that we have to work on and I think it's going to take time. I still think we're a month away to being what we need this thing to be if we're going to be one of those teams at the end, because we're not there right now."
After making just 1-of-9 three-point attempts in Tuesday's win at Vanderbilt, the Wildcats made 11-of-19 Saturday. Malik Monk for 4-of-8 from deep for a team-high 24 points. Bam Adebayo had 15. Fox had 13, Mulder scored 12 and Briscoe chipped in with 10.
Auburn (11-6, 1-4) cut a 12-point halftime deficit to four midway through the second half. T.J. Dunans led the comeback and led the visitors with 23 points.
“Kentucky is a great team and they play really well together," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "They’re tremendous in transition and they just keep getting better and play well together. We fouled them too much, and they got in the bonus in the second half in five minutes. It was going to be very difficult to win that game no matter how close we got it in the second half. We fouled them 31 times, and they fouled us 18 times. Those are errors. Now, they force you to do some of that because they’re so big and they attack very well. You can’t miss ten free throws and expect to make a run and put a scare into them. We challenged them in some ways, but we really never threatened them.”
"It's fun for me, and look I said, I've just got to get them to where they are more disciplined and where they are more empowered so I can kind of coach a game relaxed," said Calipari. "Like I was literally fighting them on and having to call the plays and stop them and come on. I just want to sit there and enjoy the game like everybody else."
Kentucky (15-2, 5-0) next travels to Starkville for a meeting with Mississippi State Tuesday.