John Calipari After Kentucky Upsets No. 5 Tennessee: 'I Haven't Lost Faith'

Erin WalshJanuary 14, 2023

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - JANUARY 10: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after a play in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena on January 10, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The unranked Kentucky Wildcats have gotten out to a rough start this season, but following a 63-56 win over No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday, head coach John Calipari said he still believes in his group.

"I haven't lost faith in any of these guys," he said, per Al Lesar of the Associated Press. "I've got a good team. (Friday night), I collected all the (players' cell) phones and iPads and everything else."

Calipari added, via Will Backus of 247Sports:

"All you that are shooting arrows and bullets, I've got bazooka holes in my body. They go right through. They don't even hit skin. It is what it is. You could be mad, happy, sad — I've got a good team. I'm not making excuses. Oscar (Tshiebwe)'s out four weeks, almost five weeks. You had injuries that — Jacob (Toppin) was out games. You had injuries. Now Sahvir's out and we're just trying to patch it together. But here's what happened today: we defended and fought like my teams normally do."

The Wildcats received solid performances from Antonio Reeves, Oscar Tshiebwe and CJ Fredrick, who combined for 46 points in the win. Reeves led all Kentucky players with 18 points.

Kentucky's victory ended a 25-game home win streak for Tennessee that began during the 2020-21 season.

Entering Saturday, Kentucky had suffered disappointing losses to South Carolina and Michigan State this season, but the team's latest victory should give the players a confidence boost heading into a matchup against No. 2 Kansas later this month.

That said, Kentucky has dealt with a number of injuries, the biggest being to Cason Wallace (back) and Toppin (shoulder), both of whom returned to the starting lineup Saturday against the Volunteers.

With both players back healthy, the Wildcats should have better fortunes.