This was a game they needed to win.
To be clear, they can still make it in to the NCAA tournament and have a big opportunity to help themselves Saturday when the Florida Gators come to town. In fact, some bracketologists still have the Cats in after losing to Georgia. These are the games that really hurt you if you are scratching for one of the last spots.
Archie Goodwin led the Cats, who played close for much of the first half, with 20 points on 7-15 shooting. Kyle Wiltjer (12), Ryan Harrow (11) and Willie Cauley-Stein (10+11 rebounds) joined Goodwin in double figures. Alex Poythress scored 4 points with 4 rebounds in 19 foul-plagued minutes. He was one of three UK players to foul out of the game, despite UK only getting to the bonus themselves in the final seconds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He went 10-11 from the free throw line and hit a contested 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer that gave the Bulldogs a 5 point lead.
After the game, Calipari was very critical of himself, saying he was "so disappointed in himself" for the job he's done this year. He was also a realist, saying his locker room speech after the game was only "You beat Florida, this all goes away".
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