After reeling in the nation’s top ranked recruiting class this past offseason, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari has probably grown a few more gray hairs this season as his heralded group of freshmen have struggled a bit, already losing 3 games heading into Tuesday night’s SEC Conference match-up with Arkansas.
The game was the nightcap of ESPN’s Super Tuesday line-up that saw the unranked Indiana Hoosiers upset the previously unbeaten #3 Wisconsin Badgers at Assembly Hall.
It was an ugly game throughout, featuring numerous lead changes and a horrific 60 team fouls that saw Kentucky shot-blocking big man Willie Cauley-Stein foul out before the end of regulation, which was key in the game’s final seconds.
After Kentucky forward James Young drained a clutch 3 pointer to tie the game at 85, Arkansas Rashad Madden drove the length of the floor to the right sideline in an attempt to draw a foul.
Instead of getting the foul call, Madden settled for a bad 3 point attempt. But luckily for the Razorbacks, there was still just over 2 seconds remaining on the game clock.
Then in what will be an obvious teaching moment in the Kentucky locker room, more than likely involving a few 4 letter words, 3 Wildcat players simply watched the final shot clang off the rim instead of boxing out, allowing high flying Arkansas forward Michael Qualls to swoop in from the weak side for the rare buzzer beating, game winning tip dunk on an offensive put-back for the win.
The last second brain freeze for Kentucky ruined another stellar game for potential #1 overall draft pick Julius Randle, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort.
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.