John Calipari was mad.
Really, really mad.
He didnt care that his basketball team had just beaten its opponent 81-49. He didnt care that they outscored UT Martin 52-21 in the second half. He didnt care that the Tigers limited UT Martin to 25 percent shooting in the second half.
He was still thinking about the first half when Memphis only led by one -- 29-28, about all the soft play, all the poor shots and selfish play.
Im not worried about the opponent. Im worried about this team, Calipari said. Were scared to death to play. I want to throw up, Im so sick.
Kelly Wise led all scorers with 15 points. Four other Tigers scored in double figures: John Grice 12, Shannon Forman and Modibo Diarra 11, and Scooter McFadgon 10. Wise added a game-high nine rebounds, four blocks, and two steals.
After leading for most of the first half, UT Martin was completely shut down in the second half, hitting just 8 of 31 shots in the period. Calipari said he lost his temper in the locker room at the half.
You wouldnt have wanted to have been in there at halftime, the first-year coach told reporters. If we go to Arkansas and play this way, we will get beat by 40.
Memphis, now 2-3 on the season, plays at Arkansas Saturday and then travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee on Tuesday.
I just want five tough guys, the tough guys are going to play. If I have to play five guys 40 minutes at Arkansas, thats what I will do, Calipari said. We have the ability to be better than we are. We should be 4-1. We should have beaten Utah and Temple. Im not used to losing.
The coach singled out Forman and Diarra for praise. If we dont have Shannon Forman in the first half, were down by 10 at halftime, said Calipari. We have to find more playing time for Dibo.
The win over UT-Martin was Caliparis first at The Pyramid, but the coach was in no mood to celebrate.
(You can write Dennis Freeland at firstname.lastname@example.org