"For us? What you just watched?" Calipari said. "We're just trying to win our next game and get tougher."
All the freshmen are good, but the third-ranked Wildcats are a long way from getting back to Arlington for the Final Four in April after a 67-62 loss to No. 20 Baylor on Friday night.
The Wildcats (7-2) had a 50-41 lead when Julius Randle, one of three Kentucky freshmen playing in their home state, had a slam dunk with 13 minutes left.
Baylor (8-1) responded with a 15-5 run during which Kenny Chery, the junior college transfer who is the Bears' primary newcomer, came up big. The point guard's jumper started the run, and his two free throws with six minutes left made it 56-55 -- and the Bears never trailed again.
James Young's 3-pointer with just more than three minutes left got Kentucky within 61-60, and then he tied up the 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin for a rebound under the Baylor basket. But he missed two free throws with 2:22 left.
Royce O'Neale had a putback basket with 1:20 left, which was Baylor's third shot on that possession.
"They outhustled us. They outworked us. They deserved to win," Calipari said. "Three rebounds, four rebounds down the stretch in the last four minutes, we win the game. They got every single one of them. It's who we are right now. Everything is based on how I'm scoring and what I'm doing, and it's not based on that part of the game, that toughness."
In the meantime, the Bears are hoping this was only a preview for them when it comes to the Final Four.
"Every team has goals at the beginning of the year, and if your goal isn't to be in the Final Four, then I'd be surprised. So having the chance to play in the venue that it's going to be at, everyone's going to talk about that," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "And that's exciting. ... The chance to play here really means a lot."
Randle, who is from the Dallas area, had 16 points for Kentucky while Aaron Harrison had 15 and Young 14 with four 3-pointers.
"We just didn't make the necessary plays," Randle said, looking down while speaking softly. "Just focus on the little things down the stretch. We'll be all right."
"It wasn't no hype to us. We're a great program just like they were a great program," Jefferson said. "So it wasn't no mismatches as anybody may think. We just came out two great teams playing hard."
Blue-clad Kentucky fans easily outnumbered those of the local team, and they certainly will multiply if they get to come back to the NFL stadium.
"That was a great crowd for us. I don't know how these people made it here," Calipari said. "They must have been on dog sleds or something."
With Baylor's football team playing at home about 100 miles away Saturday with a chance to clinch the Big 12 title, and with icy conditions that made driving treacherous from the Waco campus, the crowd numbered less than 10,000.
Plus, the game already scheduled to start after 9 p.m. local time started more than an hour late. The top 10-ranked women's teams from the two schools played four overtimes in the opener of the doubleheader. No. 5 Kentucky beat No. 9 Baylor 133-130 in the highest-scoring Division I women's game ever.
It was the third straight season the Baylor and Kentucky men played. Last December, the Bears won 64-55 at Rupp Arena to end a 54-game home winning streak by Kentucky, which beat Baylor 82-70 in an NCAA tournament regional final in March 2012.
Kentucky trailed by nine points early but recovered to tie the game at 27, 29, 31, 33 and 35 before Andrew Harrison's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the first half put the Wildcats up 38-35. They opened the second half with an 8-2 run.
Baylor had a 16-7 lead after Jefferson had a rebound that led to his assist on Chery's jumper only 4:22 into the game.
The Wildcats responded with a 15-7 run and were down by only one after Aaron Harrison's third 3-pointer in less than five minutes.
Young's 3-pointer with seven minutes left tied the game at 27. That was the first time Kentucky hadn't trailed since Young scored its first five points of the game for a 5-4 lead.
The other Kentucky freshmen playing in their home state were 6-foot-6 twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison from Richmond, about 4½ hours south, near Houston.
"We're a group of guys, we're definitely going to get better," Aaron Harrison said. "Just like Coach said, we really didn't execute like we're supposed to."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- Kipp Kissinger
- Joe DeRosa
- Tony Greene