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Content by MICHAEL WILLIS / Photo by MIKE CYRUS – Sports View America ….
It was a family reunion in Rupp Arena tonight with the return of former Wildcat and National Champion Walter McCarty. However, this time McCarty sat on the visitor’s bench as the coach of the Evansville Purple Aces. Kentucky played its first game since being ranked this week as the number one team in the nation, but the ranking didn’t intimidate the Purple Aces.
The Purple Aces left the Rupp Arena crowd in shock after the first half by leading the Wildcats 34 to 30. Evansville wasn’t playing a perfect game by any means, but the Cats were not doing themselves any favors. They had 11 turnovers and only shot 34%. It didn’t help that Kentucky lost Sestina, Richards, and Hagans to foul trouble early in the half. Evansville’s Sam Cunliffe led all scorers with 15 points and Immanuel Quickley led both teams in rebounding with six at the half.
Evansville didn’t blink in the second half and led the Cats for most of it. Kentucky kept making mistakes and the Aces made them pay for it. They grabbed more rebounds than the Cats 38-35, they had more points off turnovers 14 to 10, and Evansville had more assist 10 to 6. The Aces even looked more confident that the Wildcats the entire game.
Even as poorly as Kentucky played, they still had a chance to send the game into overtime on a last second three pointer by Tyrese Maxey, but as if it was a summary of the game, it airballed. The Cats beat the number one team in the nation a week ago and they lost as the number one team tonight 67 to 64.
The only Kentucky player that showed hustle tonight was Immanuel Quickley. He led the Cats with 16 points (career high for the second game in a row) and had the most rebounds for the Cats with 9.
In the post-game interview John Calipari stated that his team was out hustled and played like they were still in high school, but he said ultimately the loss falls on him because he was out coached by Walter McCarty.
This was the worst loss in the Calipari era. Hopefully the Cats learn to not take any team lightly and know that you have to play hard no matter who the opponent is. There are no cupcakes when you are Kentucky. They all want to beat the giant.
The Cats will be back to Rupp Arena on Nov. 18th to face Utah Valley at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN2. Make sure to follow us on Facebook for more Wildcat coverage.