On the list of frustrating things about Kentucky’s 66-59 loss to Auburn, Dontaie Allen’s lack of playing time in the second half has to be at the top. Allen played 15 minutes in the first half, scoring eight points on 3-5 shooting, but only played eight minutes in the second, missing two threes and a free throw. After the game, John Calipari said the reason Allen didn’t play more in the second half was he didn’t take advantage of the open looks he had.
“At the end of the day, we were running stuff for Dontaie and he wouldn’t shoot the ball. That’s why I took him out the one time. We ran two things for him and he had shots and he wouldn’t take them. I’m like, ‘Look. You’re in there to make shots.’ That’s one thing. But look, Dontaie wasn’t the issue.”
Allen and Jacob Toppin were essentially Kentucky’s only offense in the first half, combining for 16 of the Cats’ 25 points, but neither started the second half and didn’t see the floor until over five minutes in, over six in Allen’s case. Why?
“Well, you know one of the things we talked out, do we — Lance [Ware] too, how about throwing Lance in there? What you’re trying to do is, I’m not trying to — I want to win every game I coach, but the other side of it is, I’m not trying to take anybody’s heart away. So you can sub them when three, four minutes and go.
“We didn’t start the half that badly, so that wasn’t the case. It isn’t like you’re subbing quarterbacks. He played a bad quarter so I’m going to play this other quarterback. You don’t coach that way. What you do is you sub them in. You go out the other way and again, Dontaie got great looks in the second half. Got great looks. Got fouled. But they were going at him defensively. In other words, whoever he was guarding they were going. Did the same thing to BJ, which is why I took those guys and went with Jacob and the other guys.”
A quick check of the second half box score shows Allen was the only Wildcat to finish in the positive in the plus/minus efficiency:
At 4-8, isn’t it beyond time to stop worrying about feelings and just play the guys that are actually helping you win?