Under John Calipari, Kentucky has cornered the market on star college basketball freshmen, but in another brutal reminder of how the season has gone for the Wildcats, it was Tennessee who had the best two freshmen on the court Saturday in the Volunteers’ 82-71 victory at Rupp Arena.
Keon Johnson scored 17 of his career-high 27 points after halftime and Jaden Springer added a career-high 23 points to lead a 10-point second-half comeback in the first of two meetings between each school’s most common opponent.
“They bullied us, and they are freshmen,” Calipari said. “They were the best two guards on the court, whether they are freshmen, seniors, sophomores, whatever. They were the best two.”
It was Kentucky (5-12, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) that entered the season with the clear-cut No. 1 recruiting class in the country, but as the Wildcats lost their third straight game – the third losing streak of at least three games this season – and the fifth in the last six games, it was the maddening inconsistencies of the young players that again cost UK.