ATLANTA — Caught in the commotion of Kentucky’s 61-58 loss to Kansas State in the Sweet 16 Thursday night was a handshake spat.
Several Kansas State players told reporters in the postgame locker room that some Kentucky players didn’t shake their hands at the end of the game. Kentucky coach John Calipari addressed the sportsmanship gesture, or lack thereof, in his press conference.
“Well, I went down to shake their hands, too, and they were turned and celebrating so then I walked off,” Calipari said. “I had no disrespect for anything, just that they were celebrating and I was happy for them.”
As Kentucky point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s tying 3-point attempt missed at the buzzer, Kansas State players began to celebrate their Elite Eight berth against Loyola-Chicago.
It’s not clear how soon after the handshake line was supposed to begin, but at least seven Kentucky players were, from the TV broadcast, in line to shake hands with Kansas State’s staff.
“There were several false reports last night that our players didn’t shake hands after the game,” UK deputy director of athletics DeWayne Peevy tweeted Friday. “Our student-athletes did shake hands with the K-State staff while the team was celebrating.”
There were several false reports last night that our players didn’t shake hands after the game. Our student-athletes did shake hands with the K-State staff while the team was celebrating. Good luck to @KStateMBB and @RamblersMBB in the Elite Eight. pic.twitter.com/lvo8tQjcME
— DeWayne Peevy (@UKDeWaynePeevy) March 23, 2018
Still, a few K-State players had a beef.
“I just wish they would’ve shook our hands at least, man,” junior guard Amaad Wainright told ESPN. “That’s crazy …. It’s sorry, man. They going to the NBA I guess. I guess that was them being cocky.”
“That’s not the sportsmanship you like to see, but that’s them,” K-State’s Levi Stockard III told ESPN.
Wainright and Stockard II said Kentucky’s players walked off the court after the game.
“I walked off, too,” Calipari said. “But I went down, I shook all the coaches’ hands.
“They’re in an Elite Eight game now, a chance to go to the Final Four. My team is not like that, neither is our program. There’s no disrespect in any way. They beat us. They deserved to win the game.”
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