With a week off since its latest victory, Kentucky’s John
Calipari opened up its most recent practice to the public and tried
to keep the mood light by taking questions from fans and including
students in a shooting contest.
Mississippi’s week wasn’t quite as positive, as the Rebels
suffered a humiliating loss in their last game and two players got
into an argument afterward and had to be separated.
The top-ranked Wildcats look to take a step closer to securing
the SEC title when they host the struggling Rebels on Saturday.
Kentucky (25-1, 11-0) has been off since a 69-63 win at
Vanderbilt last Saturday, a major test for Calipari’s team after it
had won its previous five games by an average of 23.3 points. The
Wildcats were down by two with 4:10 remaining before closing on an
8-0 run, winning their 17th in a row since losing at Indiana on
“In every huddle, I kept saying this is great for us. It is what
we need,” Calipari said. “We got better.”
Doron Lamb hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:18 left and
finished with a game-high 16 points while Anthony Davis added 15
points, eight rebounds and seven blocks.
Kentucky, trying to become the first team since the 2003
Wildcats to finish undefeated in SEC play, owns a three-game lead
with five to play.
“I don’t think we’re going to lose that many games,” said
Davis, who averages team highs of 14.0 points and 9.9 rebounds and
leads the nation in blocks at 4.9 per game.
Davis is one of four freshmen in Calipari’s rotation that
includes sophomores Lamb and Terrence Jones and senior Darius
Miller. Despite being young, though, Kentucky has shown a lot of
The Wildcats finished with six turnovers against Vanderbilt, the
fourth time in seven games they had fewer than nine.
Kentucky, led by the 6-foot-10 Davis in the middle, has also
been outstanding defensively. It leads the nation in field-goal
percentage defense at 35.8 and is first in the SEC in scoring
defense at 57.9 points per game.
With a week off between games, Calipari decided to make
Wednesday’s practice public with an eye on changing things up. The
last time the Wildcats had a week off, they suffered their only
loss after Calipari gave his team two days off.
“You say, ‘Well what if this doesn’t work?’ I know the other
doesn’t work, because I lived it,” he said.
Calipari is 48-0 at Rupp Arena, which Mississippi will visit for
the first time since 2010. The Wildcats have won the last six
meetings in Lexington since losing to the then-No. 18 Rebels in
1998, and Kentucky took the teams’ most recent matchup 75-66 in the
quarterfinals of last season’s SEC tournament.
Ole Miss (15-10, 5-6) arrives in Lexington on the heels of a
102-76 home loss to Vanderbilt on Thursday, its third in four
games. The Rebels fell behind by 25 points at halftime and coach
Andy Kennedy and senior Terrance Henry received technical
It has been a difficult stretch for Henry, who leads Ole Miss
with 11.5 points per game but has averaged 6.3 points and 30.4
percent shooting in his last three contests.
After Thursday’s loss, teammates Reginald Buckner and Jelan
Kendrick had to be separated by the coaching staff after an
“I didn’t anticipate that whipping we just took,” Kennedy said.
“But we’ve always talked about these swings. The reality is we’ve
got to fly to Lexington and go play the No. 1 team in the nation.
We’ve got to quickly put this behind us as best we can.”
Ole Miss is 0-14 all-time against top-ranked teams, including 11
losses to Kentucky.