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Auburn “out-toughed” Kentucky Saturday night

John Calipari has spent this season preaching a singular message: fight and finish. Against Auburn, Kentucky had neither. If you ask Immanuel Quickley, he’ll tell you his team got out-toughed by the Tigers Saturday night.

“Honestly Auburn is a really good team. They play really hard,” Quickley told reporters after the game. “Coach Pearl has done a great job this year with those guys and they hit the glass really hard. They played way tougher than we did.”

As for the flow of the game, Quickley admitted it was challenging for the team to get into any sort of rhythm – 48 total fouls in 40 minutes of action will do that. Still, that’s no excuse.

It was hard, but you can’t blame the refs for losing. You’ve just got to take this one on the chin,” Quickley said. “We just didn’t get this one done. Hustle plays, rebounding, turnovers – we just didn’t get it done.”

Quickley’s right: rebounding did play a significant role in the Cats’ loss. Auburn out-hustled Kentucky for a 42-28 advantage, including a 17-6 difference off the offensive glass.

“Rebounding is just toughness, and they out-toughed us today. So we’ll clean it up; we’ll watch film. We’ll do more toughness drills when we get back to practice,” Quickley said. “But really rebounding just comes one-on-one, boxing out and getting the ball.”

The Cats earned just 14 boards from the team’s entire frontcourt, but Calipari has been praising his team’s backcourt for their rebounding efforts this season. Not Saturday. Ashton Hagans had zero and Johnny Juzang had two, and Quickley and Tyrese Maxey combined for nine. That wasn’t enough in their eyes.

“We’ve got to be tougher. There were some rebounds us guards should have come up with that we didn’t,” Maxey said after the game. “We’ll try to correct it.”

For the veterans on the team, including Quickley, a loss to Auburn only reignites the fire the Tigers set in last year’s Elite Eight matchup. Quickley was hesitant to say this loss stings more than any other one would, saying “any loss for me is tough. I’m a competitor and I don’t like losing.”

But he wasn’t hesitant to reflect on last year’s UK-AU series, and he couldn’t help but imagine a potential role reversal this season.

“Honestly, it was a tough game but just like last year, we beat them in the regular season, and they got us when it mattered,” Quickley said. “Hopefully we’ve just got to move on and keep moving toward March.”

You can watch Quickley and Maxey’s complete post-game comments here:

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

14 Comments for Auburn “out-toughed” Kentucky Saturday night

  1. Righteous1
    12:06 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Prediction: The 10 million dollar man loses at Vanderbilt which has not won a conference game in 2 yrs.
    In Cal We Trust, It’s NBA or Bust!
    UK was projected to go 11-7 in conference play before conference play began. Not sure if UK is going to make it.

  2. Righteous1
    12:10 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Amazing how the national media picks UK top 5 every year before the season starts, and the SEC media picks UK to win the SEC. UK loses to Evansville at home while ranked #1 which should have told you something!

    • WKY Cat
      12:15 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Unfortunately a lot of people have become blind. They will site Cals history which is great but it’s clear the program isn’t where it was early in his tenure. They will site recruiting classes, who else would we get as a coach that’s better and everything else but won’t address the trend. Some people are satisfied currently and some are not. I guess it’s all in an individuals perspective.

    • 4everUKBlue
      12:32 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Yet it still ahead of where it was since 98′

    • WKY Cat
      4:53 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Ummm we played in the national championship in 98 so no it’s not ahead of 98. Granted Tubby was handed that team but the fact we were playing in a national championship compared to hoping we win the SEC every year now doesn’t reflect your statement as true.

    • runningunnin.454
      5:13 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      He said “since” which I take to mean, after ’98.

    • WKY Cat
      5:20 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      I see now. Thanks for the clarification. But it only makes my point. Everyone wants to pick out one time frame, recruiting classes, etc but won’t look at the current trend. I’m not a Cal hater and he’s done an unbelievable job. But I also believe things change over time. Could be the coach, kids mentalities, etc, etc and something has changed. The trend the last several years is undeniable.

  3. bigblue2284
    12:28 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    To be fair college basketball is trending down, not just Cal. Between officiating, lack of superstars and average players leaving after a year its just not as entertaining as it used to be. Thats not to excuse the slide Cal is currently on, but it is a factor.

  4. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    12:30 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Yes because the refs were so hard on Auburn they had to prove they were tough enough to beat them….Please stop praising Auburn, almost every positive thing UK did the refs erased. Make a run, fouls to kill it, Get an offensive rebound, fouls to remove it, make a legit defensive stop, fouls to keep Auburn with a chance to score. Through all of that they still struggled to beat Kentucky. And if Auburn was actually “tough” in any way shape or form they would have said something about the refs instead of taking advantage of it and letting their victory be tainted. The only tough one was Cal for calling out the bs and what do the sad little men who must beat their wives and children when a team beats their attempts to make them lose, they decide to prove they have a set by bot even hiding the blatant one sided calling. Which actually makes them look even more like cowards because they got their feelings hurt.

    • kybirdieman
      3:26 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Refs refs refs when you get beat on the boards like we did and the guards are getting beat off the dribble constantly and grabbing their man after they are beat what do you expect. If you remember a couple of weeks ago someone asked Barber why so many fouls were called on us, his answer, we FOUL a lot. Quit whining about the refs. Even Cal realized we couldn’t guard them and went to zone which he hates and they still beat us off the dribble. The most aggressive team won. Maybe we will have the refs in Rupp.

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      11:24 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

      Apparently you missed the entire point of my post. I literally pointed out how the refs caused the lopsided boards.

  5. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    12:45 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    And don’t forget all the no calls on Auburn during rebounds the over the backs and holdings, that’s going to erase a bunch of theirs to…. Here I’ll say something nice about Auburn I don’t believe they “cheated”, and they saved some ref’s wives and kids from long clothing and heavy makeup on warm days. Hey I said 2 things.

  6. ColoradoCatFan88
    2:08 pm February 2, 2020 Permalink

    Does anyone else think Hagans is fixing games? So many careless turnovers, misses tons of bunnies/layups, gets himself in foul trouble, & just makes some of the dumbest decisions ever on the court.. If he’s not, it definitely feels that way with his inconsistent play

  7. dave1964
    9:24 am February 3, 2020 Permalink

    Kentucky is getting out toughed because we have NO tough guys on this team NONE at all.