LSU coach Trent Johnson made sure that Kentucky coach John Calipari knew immediately Saturday that he did not approve the flagrant foul on his team that resulted in Anthony Davis being jerked to the floor during Saturday’s game.
LSU’s Malcolm White grabbed Davis from behind on a fast break and pulled him to the ground where Davis landed awkwardly on his back. White was ejected from the game.
“The conversation I¿had (with White) was immediately afterwards. I asked him what he was doing. I told him he needed to go in the locker room,” Johnson said Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “I went to John. He knows me and how I coach and I am not about that. It was very disturbing. It’s one thing to be physical, but another thing to be stupid. It was just a stupid play on his part. I apologized to John immediately afterwards, but John knows.”
Calipari said Monday he “talked” with Johnson about the foul.
“I know Trent well enough. My whole point is that if you don’t call rough play, that’s where it goes to. Have to call rough play. On a post-up, if you move a guy three feet, that’s a foul offensively. If you move him two steps, that’s a foul. If that’s all let go, it leads to grabbing,” Calipari said. “That’s all I say is call the game the way it should be officiated. Then there are no issues. You don’t get to that. Just call the fouls.”
Johnson would not divulge what other punishment he might have in mind for White since there apparently will be no further action by the SEC.
“I am not going to disclose that with everybody. I will deal with that,” the LSU coach said. “This game is meant to be played a certain way. I told Malcolm that was very disturbing to be. I will deal with it in-house, but I¿am not going to make it a big thing (publicly).”
Davis never seemed to respond to any of several hard knocks/hits he took at LSU Saturday. He has not in other games either going into tonight’s game with Tennessee.
“Well, when you get knocked to the floor like that and he got hit in the face really hard one time about four plays later. He kind of went back and down and was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I thought we were playing basketball?’ And then he runs back, or he smiles. He’s on his back, he gets up and he smiles and shakes his head,” Calipari said of his freshman center.
“Again, in the rule book, if I leave my feet and you slide under me it is a block 100 percent of the time. If I have my position and you move me two feet out of my position that is a foul, offensively or defensively. I have a right to that spot, if you move me out of that spot it is a foul. When Naismith invented the game it was a foul and it’s a foul today. With him, as he gets pushed around that is just what you are saying, they can’t do that. He has a right to the spot. I know they want to be physical, they just can’t move him. They can lean on him, but the minute they start moving him two feet those are fouls.
“He has been great. He hasn’t said one word and let me just tell you, the best thing for our team is all this happening. It’s going to be just as physical Tuesday (against Tennessee) and it’s good for us. Two years ago, everybody said you have to hope they miss shots and we did. We went 0-for-20 (from 3-point range in a NCAA tournament against West Virginia and lost). This team they are saying you better get into their bodies and be physical, one coach said, ‘Hit them and be real physical. That was according to one of their players, anyway. If you can negate that like I’ve been saying for three weeks. then you have a chance of doing something.”
Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones, who had a season-high 27 points and nine rebounds at LSU, said it was hard not to react when Davis was pulled to the floor.
“It was real hard just because that is my brother. For something like that to happen that didn’t feel like it was a basketball play at all was real hard to watch. But we had to keep playing and try to keep executing. We don’t expect for anything like that to happen to us or against the other team. We just try to play basketball,” Jones said.
He says if he took the same physical punishment that Davis has been, especially in a one-sided game like Saturday, he would also try to stay calm.
“Up that much, there is not much you need to react for because we are trying to play basketball and win games,” Jones said. “We don’t need anything to happen for a player to miss anything (games) over something silly in a blowout game. It was the right thing to do to just not retaliate.”