Kentucky Win Was “Extra Special” For UGA Head Coach Tom Crean

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Kentucky Win Was “Extra Special” For UGA Head Coach Tom Crean

Georgia basketball player P.J. Horne (24) during a game against Kentucky at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s 63-62 loss at Georgia was painful for UK fans — and should have been with the way the Wildcats played.

However, for Georgia coach Tom Crean, the win was extra special and not just because it ended a 14-game Georgia losing streak against UK. No, the win was personal in a way I wanted to share with you.

“My wife is not here so we are having a hard week,” Crean said after the game. “My wife had an accident a week ago Tuesday, so she is not able to come to games right now.”

He said in some ways it was like “old times” at the games because his daughters came since his wife could not.

“They have been a part of some great wins with us and certainly when we played Kentucky. So I am proud of them because they are home, one is 15 and one is 25, and they are doing an unbelievable job,” Crean said.

“My son, Riley, who is here with us in the program at 21 is doing a really good job. They are all doing a really good job of living their life but making up for the fact that their mother is out of commission a bit.

“I just saw them there and shared that moment with them. The fans and the students were just fantastic. The energy of the crowd was tremendous. The music was great. I thought the energy was great. Really good job of that.”

He did call it a “benchmark” win for Georgia against as “premier of a program as there is in the country” even if UK is now 4-9

“ I have great respect for John (Calipari). I have great respect for their program. They’re a household name for a reason because they have tradition,” Crean said.

“I thought our players did a really good job of not being consumed by that. They weren’t playing the tradition. They weren’t playing the mystique. They weren’t playing the jersey. They were playing five-on-five against Kentucky’s players, and they executed.”

The Georgia coach said he was most proud of his team’s “perseverance” against Kentucky that produced 37 deflections and 10 steals. Georgia also did not turn the ball over 17 times like UK did.

“I think that is a major key to the game. To be 25-11 on points off turnovers was huge. We turned them over and some were unforced and some we forced. The guys were tough and strong on the ball,” Crean said.

“I think that and the 3-point defense, and the fact that the rebounding was within one — with as good of rebounding team as they are, those were the stories of the game. The end of the game is the result. The drama. Those were the guts of the game, the way the turnovers worked out, the way the rebounding worked out, and the way the 3-point defense worked out were the keys.”

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