[to top of second column]
"I think we learned a lot about ourselves," Noel said. "When you go up against a team like Duke, you've got to bring it every possession. Tonight was a learning process."
Calipari wasn't happy with his team's effort against Maryland -- especially on the boards. They were outrebounded 54-38 by the Terrapins, including 28 at the offensive end.
That was simply unacceptable given Kentucky's vaunted frontcourt featuring the 6-foot-10 Noel and 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein.
Rebounding wasn't as much of an issue this time -- Duke finished with a 31-30 edge -- but the experienced Blue Devils showed a bit more poise down the stretch.
"Nerlens played way more aggressive than he did against Maryland," Calipari said. "When we got it to three I said, `We're going to win this.' They just made their free throws."
After Duke let Kentucky back in the game by continuing to put up errant jumpers, Curry finally changed things up. He gave a slight fake and took off for the hoop with just over 2 minutes remaining, forcing Goodwin to grab him by the arm. The senior knocked down both ends of the one-and-one, pushing Duke to a 66-61 lead with 2:04 remaining.
Poythress gave the Wildcats a semblance of hope, putting back a missed shot, but Curry blew by Goodwin again for a layin that made it 68-63 with 1:13 left and essentially sealed it. Calipari called a timeout and screamed at Goodwin as the freshman walked toward the bench.
In the final minute, Curry added two more free throws to finish off the Wildcats.
"I had it going," he said, "so they kept coming to me."
Kentucky still must address the same point guard questions it had before the opener. Sophomore transfer Ryan Harrow has been suffering from flu-like symptoms and didn't even make the trip to Atlanta, ruining a chance to impress the home folks. He played his high school ball in suburban Marietta.
Mays, a graduate student, started in place of Harrow but had only seven points and three assists.
Calipari said he shouldn't have played Harrow against Maryland. As it was, the guard was only able to go 10 minutes. Now, while the team awaits the results of blood tests, the coach vowed not to play him again until he's fully recovered.
"He said he could go, but he wasn't ready," Calipari said. "We need to get him healthy."
In the meantime, he hopes the loss will benefit the Wildcats down the road.
"If this is what we look like in December and January, this is not going to be the team everybody thinks," Calipari said. "We have to figure out exactly how we're going to play -- then get after it."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor