Coach blames free throw shooting for loss to UK

Giacoletti said his team executed well and accomplished much of what they set out to do in their game plan, including stopping Patrick Sparks.

Utah coach Ray Giacoletti was reserved at the post game press conference, complimenting his players and praising Kentucky.

"Congratulations to Kentucky. We largely did what we wanted to do," Giacoletti said, "We limited our turnovers and kept the score low. We wanted to get to the line and shoot 20 free throws. We actually shot 28. That is what we set out to do, but they just wore us down. They did a great job."

Though Utah shot 28 free throws, the Utes hit only 14, a season-worst free throw shooting game. Giacoletti said of the effort, "I have to take personal blame. I just played the guys too many minutes. I wanted to play the guys that got us here. Kentucky just has amazing depth. It was a decision I had to make. If we had hit our free throws it could have been different. There were two or three times in the game where, if we hit our foul shots, it might have changed the complexion of the game. We will never know."

Defensively, Giacoletti said they executed well in one aspect of their game plan, stopping Patrick Sparks. "We played a lot of box and one. We decided we wanted to stop Sparks, who we thought might really hurt us. In the film we had watched, when Sparks was able to stretch defenses, it really helped their post game. We did a good job of stopping Sparks but their other players stepped up. They have a lot of weapons at their disposal and it seemed like they used them all."

Utah's bench played a combined total of just 26 minutes compared to a combined total of 95 minutes for the Kentucky bench. Giacoletti was aware that his players were tired, "I considered subbing more but decided against us," the Utes coach said, "I played the guys that got us here. I have no regrets. They wore us down."

On dealing with UK's big men, Bogut said, "They banged me around a lot. It just wasn't my day shooting the basketball." Kentucky played Bogut as well or better than anyone. Their big guys are strong and physical and they moved him around quite a bit. They really took him out of his game in the second half, keeping him off thei boards."

Marc Jackson said, "We competed. We played well. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It's been a great year."

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