Starks has 17 points, Texas A&M beats No

Elias Hubbard
February 11, 2018

Only on Saturday night, after the Wildcats' eighth defeat and unprecedented third in a row, after forcing a smile through gritted teeth at the Texas A&M student section serenading him as the clock ticked down on an 85-74 road humiliation, he made a tired admission. Through Thursday's games, the SEC had nine teams ranked 55th or higher in the RPI: Auburn (9th), Tennessee (11th), Kentucky (15th), Texas A&M (18th), Missouri (30th), Arkansas (35th), Alabama (42nd), Florida (50th) and Mississippi State (55th).

Aggies coach Billy Kennedy "hit me after and says, 'Do you know how young your team is?' And I said, 'Yeah, and I'm getting older by the day, ' " Calipari said. "This doesn't faze me".

At times it looked like Calipari - at age 59 - had more fire than any of his players. "I just told them after, I'm not cracking".

That they struggled, that they've taken some lumps in SEC play is anything-but unexpected. But we're back at work.

"We let go of the rope", said Calipari.

The last week of Kentucky basketball has been one of the worst stretches and without a doubt, the worst week of the John Calipari era. I love this team's depth, but Brown has gone from role player to SEC Player of the Year candidate, so not having him on the court for an entire game would be significant. However, Calipari still believes in this team and that they care about what is happening. The Wildcats are sliding, making some wonder how deep into March they'll play. The two brothers are averaging a combined 31.5 points during the Bulldogs' four-game winning streak. The reminder that this team is deeply flawed came in the first 3 minutes and 41 seconds of the second half. "You've gotta foul. You gotta do something". Texas A&M had its fun with quarterback Johnny Manziel in the school's first two seasons in the SEC, but hasn't quite lived up to expectations since. They finished the half 66.7 percent (20 of 30) from the field.

Arkansas has won three of its last four home games by four points or less, so while the Hogs may not be blowing every team out like they were earlier in the year, they're still finding ways to win close games. DJ Hogg followed with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Robert Gilder and Tyler Davis tallied 14 and 12, respectively. A&M's big would end up with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for his 16th double-double.

The Wildcats played well enough in the first half to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room but things quickly went downhill in the final twenty minutes.

In this Cats Illustrated "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from the United Kingdom loss. "All I keep thinking about is how I can get these guys to play two halves like they did the first half".

The ACC led the way previous year with nine teams receiving NCAA bids, including two with 10-8 records and two more at 11-7.

Kentucky freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander catches his breath after the game against Texas A&M on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored the opening basket for Kentucky 1:27 into the game. The rest of roster is a 50/50 proposition on a game-by-game basis. You can play hard and with energy when you are young. And it would mean a four-game winning streak, Texas A&M's longest since December. Some would argue that the dreaded "Bubble" is becoming a possibility. "It's a big experience for us [so] we've got to figure out how to pull away and win some of these games". It also requires revision of the position that any SEC team would have to do 10-8 or better in the league to be assured of a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky is now 11-3 when leading at the half. Texas A&M beat the Cats on fast breaks often and had 18 easy points on fast breaks. Hamidou Diallo, who was benched to start the second half, had 13 points - all in the second half.

333 - Games without a three-game losing streak at United Kingdom, the third-longest stretch in program history.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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