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Coach Calipari blames loss to unranked opponent on controversial no-call

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Kentucky coach John Calipari cried foul on a no-call that he believes cost the Wildcats the game in their 66-64 loss to Florida.

With three seconds left in the game, Kentucky forward P.J. Washington drove to the hoop before having his shot blocked by Florida guard Jalen Hudson.

Hudson put two hands on the ball as Washington elevated, but he also raked Washington his across the face with a forearm. Washington fell hard to the floor at the end of the play.

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There was no foul — or at the very least a jump ball — called on the play. Instead, there was no whistle and the ball went out of bounds, off Florida.

Kentucky got the ball out of bounds under its own hoop with 2.5 seconds left, but the inbounds pass was stolen and Florida held on for a 66-64 win.

It was Kentucky’s first home loss against an unranked opponent in 57 games.

Calipari was understandably upset at the no-call and vented when a reporter asked him about it after the game.

“I’ve been asked some dumb questions in my life,”  Calipari said when asked if he thought a foul should have been called. “Everybody saw it.”

But Calipari didn’t dwell on the subject.

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“We’re going to be fine now,” the coach said. “What I saw today, that is one of the best offensive teams in the country and we held them to 33 percent and 20 percent from the three-point line.”

The problem for Kentucky wasn’t its defense. They shot only 40 percent in the game and 23.5 percent from three-point land. During one 18-minute stretch — from the middle of the first half to the middle of the second half — they did not make a field goal.

“It just feels like we’re out there, nothing’s really working, you start feeling like you’re just kind of running around, the shot clock’s running down, and then we end up trying to chuck up a shot,” Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel said. “We have to focus — be more consistent with what we’re doing. It gets frustrating at times.”

The Wildcats did heat up late. Kentucky was trailing 64-58 with 46 seconds left when Kevin Knox and Gabriel made three-pointers on consecutive possessions to cut it to 66-64

And even if Washington had drawn the foul, the freshman is just a 59 percent free throw shooter, so there was certinaly no guarantee he would have made both shots.

Kentucky is ranked 18th and Florida is unranked, but that will probably change next week. The Gators are 14-5 overall, same as the Wildcats, but are 6-1 in the SEC, good for first place in the conference. Kentucky is 4-3 in the SEC and in fourth place behind Florida, 17th ranked Auburn (5-1), and Alabama (5-2).

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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