To say Kentucky got into foul trouble early on tonight is the understatement of the century. Four of Kentucky’s five guards had two or more fouls in the first half, and Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox picked up two each in the first four minutes of the game. John Calipari told reporters that normally, he’s happy keeping players with two fouls on the bench for the remainder of the first half, but he didn’t like the feel of today’s game, so he put two players back in — Fox and Monk.
“I played two guys with two fouls. If I coached a thousand games, I’ve done that a handful of times. Normally, I would not — you’re out. But I did not like the feel of the game. I didn’t like their energy, I didn’t like — I said, look, we gotta make sure we’re in this. And we went up five, which was pretty good.”
In what seems to sum up Calipari’s feelings on the game in whole, he said that although he was ultimately happy with the outcome, he wasn’t happy with how those players played with two fouls. In fact…
“No, I was mad at how they handled playing with one foul. The kid fouled before he fouled him, and I’m yelling the whole time, don’t foul! Give him space, play him, don’t body him, and he goes up and tries to steal a ball and then goes inside — Malik did the same thing. Wenyen broke down, okay. I keep saying, it’s not a touchdown, it’s two points. In eight seconds, we’ll get another two and it’s even. Don’t foul. Wenyen broke down, why would you foul? Let the guy shoot the layup, it’s two points.”
Better to learn from a win than a loss, right?