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Post-LSU quotes from Calipari, Johnson

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John Calipari


On whether he's at a point where he has to get Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress in the starting lineup ...

"No. No. We're at a point right now that we've got guys that have to understand that they didn't come out with the energy of the other team and this is what happens. If Dakari plays like he's playing, he'll play the most minutes, which is what he did today. Alex did some good things but there were breakdowns that killed us. When you get the game to five and six and then you have breakdown, breakdown, breakdown - it's back to 13 - you can't win. And that's the stuff we're talking about: mental discipline, which this team does not have."

On what he was seeing in practice the last few days that he liked or didn't like ...

"We're fine. It's just again, they don't - we're playing teams that it means something to beat us, and we just think, 'Well, I'm OK individually and I'm fine.' And when you watch it you say we're not fine. So, you know, we'll go from here, we'll go back. Johnny O'Bryant killed us. We started the game, I didn't want to trap. I wanted to see what could happen. Probably a mistake on my part. Should have trapped from the beginning of the game. They played the zone. We were tentative. They offensive rebounded; we didn't - the ones we really needed. Alex was the only guy going after offensive rebounds. They kind of negated anything Julius (Randle) had. They sent two guys at him. They played good. You got to give them credit. They played well. We don't have many teams shoot 50 percent against us like this team did. We're a good defensive team. Not only that, 10 offensive rebounds, and they create 13 turnovers on us and most of us were in the zone where they're just hands in the middle of the zone. But they did a great job. You got to give LSU credit."

On whether LSU did anything they weren't prepared for ...

"Well, they switched the starting lineup, and I said that they must be playing zone then. So they went to a bigger lineup. But we didn't know before. I thought they'd play mostly man because that's what they play, but the minute they went big I told the staff they're playing zone. Normally we're better against zone than we are against man, so it didn't bother me, but we weren't ready for the physicalness of the game, we weren't ready for the energy of the game, the viciousness of the game. They beat us to every 50-50 ball, from the beginning of the game to the end, and that's why they won the game."

On whether LSU's steals and blocks surprised him considering UK's length ...

"No. When the other team outworks you it's just what it looks like. And we made it--it was amazing we were in the game. We got down 16, it could have been 30. We fought back in, we got back to where we were fine, come the second half, do the same thing. I have to call an immediate timeout, like, 'Whoa, whoa, wait a minute.' So look, this team is in progress, a work in progress and I've said it. It's all about a process. The process we're at right now is, will we have the mental toughness to really break through and be the kind of team we want to be? We didn't show it today. So now we go back and it's the next game and we continue to work on what we have to work on for us. We--not doubling Johnny early probably got him going. The rest of it is, you can't let another team outwork you on every ball, every possession, every free ball and win a game. Teams are too balanced, especially in our league."

Dakari Johnson


On what LSU was doing that made it tough for UK to come back ...
"They were just playing harder than us. They were hitting a lot of shots, a lot of open 3s. We just broke down a lot defensively and they just played harder than us today."

On his mentality when he checked in ...

"Just to try to  fight and get us back in this game. We got early, they outworked us and I was just trying to help my team win and get back in the game."

On whether playing physically was a focus ...

"I just tried to be physical, get on the offensive boards and try to get physical with Johnny O'Bryant. But he's a good player. He was hitting a lot of good shots and I felt like I needed to do better defensively on him and that's on me. I could have moved my feet better, but he had a good game. He's a real good player."

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