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After Kentucky fell short of defeating Ole Miss 62-70 on Tuesday, the Wildcats guaranteed their third-ever losing record in SEC play in school history.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari said Tuesday’s loss is disappointing, but the team still has games to play.
“We were right on the edge of pushing over the edge to go the right way and be right there, do some crazy stuff,” Calipari said. “Then they revert back to what is easier and what they’d rather do.”
But this team isn’t like most teams Calipari has previously coached, he said.
“Normally my teams understand, ‘Oh OK, I got it, I get what he’s saying. I’m hearing him now. This is the way I play,'” he said. “Then they go on from here and they’ve learned how to fight … They learn all that here, they learn that winning matters, they learn dagger plays, they know what they are.”
With Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament dreams relying solely on an SEC Tournament championship win, Calipari said he isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“Let’s hope. It’s not over. It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said. “We’ve got one Saturday, and then we’ve got the [SEC] Tournament. Everybody we’ve played, we can beat, or they can beat us. That’s where we are with this.”
Kentucky sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. said he’s still hopeful of the team’s NCAA Tournament dreams, as well.
“What gives me hope is, I know how hard our guys work every single day,” Brooks said. “Sometimes stuff doesn’t go our way, but my teammates and I, we continue to fight and we continue to battle. That’s what gives me hope going forward. … We’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
Despite the loss, the sophomore forward broke out of a three-game 6-for-21 field-goal slump with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting the Wildcats.
With the loss, the Wildcats move to 8-15 overall and 7-9 in conference play.