COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Kentucky coach John Calipari was thrown out of another road game against South Carolina, although this one had a much better ending for the Wildcats.
Calipari was ejected and had to be held back by three players after receiving two technical fouls less than 3 minutes into the 22nd-ranked Wildcats 89-62 victory over the Gamecocks on Saturday.
Official Doug Sirmons gave Calipari a technical at the 17:34 mark of the opening half when Calipari complained there was no foul called on a rebound. When Calipari advanced toward him shouting, Sirmons threw him out of the game. That's when Calipari's anger increased with three players stepping in front to hold him back.
The longtime coach was eventually led off the court.
Two years ago, Calipari was ejected late in Kentucky's 72-67 loss at South Carolina.
This time, Calipari's fire transferred to the Wildcats (19-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference), who opened a 17-point lead in the first half and were eventually up 77-43 with 7 minutes remaining.
Associate head coach Kenny Payne, who stepped in for Calipari, said he did not see what triggered Calipari's anger.
Payne said Calipari, who didn't speak to media afterward, talked to the team at halftime and apologized for his outburst. His message was to keep doing what Kentucky had done in the opening half.
''I know coach Cal got tossed out a couple of years ago,'' Payne said. ''At the end of the day, our staff is one of the best in the country.''
The tirade did not cost the Wildcats much on the scoreboard as Gamecocks forward Michael Carrera missed three of the four free throws from Calipari's ejection. Kentucky players say it energized them knowing the support their coach showed.
''He's a great coach to have our back like that,'' said Marcus Lee, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin said Calipari's demeanor was different than two years ago. Then, the highly regarded and 17th-ranked Wildcats were expected to dominate a Gamecock team that had won just three of 15 SEC contests in 2014.
''A couple of years ago, he was all happy and joking with me,'' Martin said. ''Today, he was very businesslike. He was on edge.''
Sirmons was not done with the technical after Calipari left, calling two more in the second half.
He called South Carolina's Jamall Gregory for a technical foul in the second half after the freshman slapped at the ball in a Kentucky player's hands following a Wildcat turnover. Tyler Ulis made both free throws for Kentucky.
The Wildcats' Isaiah Briscoe was called for a technical by Sirmons for slamming the ball after teammate Jamal Murray's basket. Duane Notice hit both of those free throws for the Gamecocks.