Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie shouldered the blame for his team’s 73-70 loss to LSU Saturday at Rupp Arena.
During his postgame press conference, Gillispie kept referring to an incorrect substitution, which he said led to his team’s downfall.
“I made a critical substitution during that 10-point lead, which ended up being the wrong guy,” he said. “That’s what got us in the position that we were in, in the first place and it got us in the end. That was a mistake by me.”
Gillispie wouldn’t elaborate, but the guess here is either A.J. Stewart or Ramon Harris.
Gillispie indicated later that he should have played Harris more in the second half.
While Gillispie and the Cats fell apart, LSU coach Trent Johnson said his team went back to the basics down the stretch.
When we were down 10, I thought we were trying to do too much individually,” he said. “We really needed to get back to our offense as a team and we did that. That is what happens when you have a group of guys that wants to win very badly.
The last shot
Gillispie had no complaints about the last shot by Jodie Meeks.
“We wanted to get the shot that Jodie Meeks got,” he said.
Meeks said he had a good look at the basket.
“I thought I had a decent look, but not a great look,” he said. “I just didn’t knock it down.”
What happened on the trey by Tasmin Mitchell?
“On the defensive end, we were supposed to switch and we didn’t,” Gillispie said.
“It was a lack of communication,” freshman Darius Miller added.
Kentucky center Patrick Patterson agreed with Miller.
“Tasmin Mitchell came in and just took over the game. It was a lack of effort on our part, we didn’t rebound down the stretch. It was a lack of communication on the last play, coach drew up a defense for our man to switch and they both went with Thornton and left Mitchell wide open. ”
Gillispie said LSU’s experience was a difference in the outcome.
“That was one of the things I admired about their team going into the game. They play consistently at the start of the game, in the middle and at the end. They play smart on both ends of the court. We make too many mistakes in critical parts of the game to win close games. You have to listen and carry out your assignments in order to win.”
Gillispie added that his team failed to use Patterson enough down the stretch.
“When we really needed to have the kind of composure it takes to beat good teams in close games in a possession type game we take poor shots,” he said. “We forget about Patrick being down low. We had a great opportunity out of a timeout and we threw the ball away. Missing free throws kills you in close games. We are too immature to understand that each possession counts so much no matter what the score is. It shouldn’t be happening at this time of the season. But all that being said, it’s still my fault for the incorrect substitution.”