Kentucky-Wright State Postgame Quotes

University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference
Friday, November 20 2015
John Calipari
Men's Media Conference
Kentucky - 78 Wright State - 63

Q. Tyler Ulis playing differently the last two games:
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, we're just -- look, this was, Wright State played pack line, they played zone, they stayed in the lane, they spread the court. They picked one of my guys who couldn't guard the dribbler. And they hung around because of it. Billy (Donlon) did a great job. They did what they had to do to have a chance to win. They had a chance to win the whole game. I didn't think we played particularly well, but I’ve got to give Wright State credit for having us play that way.

Q. Alex (Poythress) had a double-double; I'm wondering if he came closer to the beast mode you're looking for?
COACH CALIPARI: We just had a lot of casual play today. Nine assists, 12 turnovers. I mean, throw it to him and we miss a dunk. Two guys are 20-for-22 from the line. And three guys are 2-for-11. I'm sorry -- where is Marcus Lee, because I thought he was 0-for-2. They only have him 0-for-1. The stat sheet is not right. So have you a 1-for-5, a 1-for-5 and a 0-for-2. That's 2-for-12 from the line for three guys. So again, this is going to be a process, folks. You tell me that looked like the No. 2 ranked team in the country. There's got to be 20 teams better than us right now. Couldn't throw it to the post. Couldn't throw it to the post. Skal (Labissiere) couldn't hold a position. And we tried. 

Q. Especially this early in the season, do coaches secretly like a performance like this following the big win over Duke, so that now you have their attention again?
COACH CALIPARI: No. I don't. I want us to just keep climbing. We took a big step back. Guys didn't listen. We're doing certain things and they just kind of broke it off and did their own thing. In a league game, we lose. Not winning a league game playing the way we played. But, again, give Wright State credit. The things that they did, they played -- they put out a game plan, pack line defense, play some zone, spread the court, make them guard one-on-one. They're always going to have one or two guys that turn sideways and let you drive directly to the basket for a layup. Put Skal in pick-and-rolls. He'll back away. I mean, it's pretty good game plan.

Q. Seemed like Jamal Murray couldn't quite get to the rim as easily as he could the other night. That all Wright State?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they did, but he chose in the first half to shoot all 3s. If you're near the bench, as each guard catches it, what am I yelling? "Drive the ball!" so you shoot a 3? I don't know what to tell you. But if you're listening, every time it goes to one of them, "Drive the ball!", before they catch it, so they have a chance to hear me saying it as they're catching the ball.

Q. How is Isaac Humphries?
COACH CALIPARI: He had a foot (injury). He'll be fine. Dominique (Hawkins) had a stomach virus. So Dom had a stomach virus and Isaac had a bruised foot. But he should be fine.

Q. I know it's disappointing, you say, but is it really all that surprising with a team that young this early in the year that kind of lay an egg like they did?
COACH CALIPARI: I guess. I guess when we think this is going to be easy, what we do is very, very difficult. Which is take young guys and try to make them a team, get them to play off of one another, get them to communicate. When they think they need to, they do. If they don't think they need to, they don't, because it's easier playing the other way. Just easier. Why make me be an elite athlete if I can just stand here on the floor and try to bully my way around. Because it's easier than moving my feet and staying low or pushing up defensively without fouling and keeping people in front. It's very, very difficult to do that. Flying up and down the court, attacking the rim, why don't you just let me shoot threes, it's a lot easier. So what we're doing is very difficult. I know that. But it's got to be consistent of what we are. We're attacking team on both ends.

Q. Is there anything you didn't like about the way Tyler Ulis played tonight and what did you like that you saw?
COACH CALIPARI: No, I didn't want to play him as many minutes as he played. But I said I want to win a game more than worry about not playing him. If we can't win without him on the floor, then he'll be on the floor every minute. And that means someone's not playing much. When he went out, we let them back in it.

Q. 50 fouls tonight, 54 free throws, is this part of the process that the game has to go through to get cleaned up?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. When you drive the ball -- look, if the defense is in a good defensive position, in other words, you're square with that offensive player, you're both feet are facing, you're facing. If they drive into that, that is not a foul. Like throw your shoulder in, throw your head back. If he's in a good defensive position, that's not to be called a foul.

But if they open up their stance, you're not in a defensive position. You're in a run for your life position. That's when the ball handler's going to lean in and try to shoot it and ones. So now I want you to go back and watch the tape and see how many times my guys went into that position. And we have worked every day on it, staying like this and retreating and bouncing and playing. Very difficult. To open up the gate and try to run them down and act like I'm in high school and I'm going to block the shot. Very easy. You either foul or he makes a layup or both. Very difficult.

So, I like the rules. It makes you stay in a defensive position. If you don't, then they're calling fouls. I thought that, again, there was some pushing and shoving in the post that I was on, because it's not -- that's the rules. That's an absolute foul. And so there were a lot of fouls and there should have been.

Q. Is it surprising you that, a guy like Alex, this was only his third career double-double and I think his first since the first game of his sophomore year?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he's just got to build on it. He had a dunk that he wasn't athletically ready for. He had the last rebound he tried to grab with one hand. He got beat on the bounce a bunch. But to get a double-double and start down this road, let's go.

Now, Marcus Lee had a double-double against Duke. He didn't quite have a double-double today. Now you tell me, I mean, again, that's -- I can sit here and lie to you and say this is the greatest thing and we got -- we were not very good and a lot of it was Wright State's game plan. Pack line defense, play a zone, see what they do. Will they settle, will they put the ball above their heads when you work it. Will they not be able to fight for post position. And that's kind of stuff that happened. They were not going to stretch out the floor on us. He did a good job with his team.

Q. How much more of that, maybe not pack line, but just the collapse and all that do you expect going forward?
COACH CALIPARI: I expected it up in Chicago. I just think that's how we're going to be played. Part of it is we're going to have to make some 3s. Again, 2-for-10 today. We’ve got pretty good 3-point shooters. But still haven't found a rotation, whether it's Derek (Willis), whether it's Charles (Matthews), whether it's Dom or Mychal (Mulder) someone's got to be in that rotation. Isaac would have played a lot today. But we'll see.

Q. Two technical fouls on Murray in four games, is that something you got to work on?
COACH CALIPARI: I'm disappointed and I said something to him. We'll address it. He didn't say anything, he didn't swear or do anything, he just said, but he walked to the guy when he said something. You can't -- you got to be smarter than that.

Kentucky Student Athletes

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On the role of coming off the bench and being a spark for the team …
“Whatever I need to do to help the team win. I’m playing fine, battling for rebounds. Trying to start the game strong so we can finish strong when we get into close or tight games. I accept the role of coming off the bench and I’m just playing the best I can right now.”

On the play of Tyler Ulis …
“He’s awesome, he always finds gaps in the hole so he can get by. Always plays, doesn’t get rattled out there. Plays great defense, pressures the ball. He’s just one of the leaders on our team.”

On Cal saying 20 teams are better than them …
“We, as a team, felt like we didn’t play well and could play better. We came out a little slow - we had the lead and let them back into it. We have to learn how to finish teams off. We have to learn how to step on their throats and keep on fighting till the end of the game. You get a team like that and they played good as well, but you get a team like that, some key plays in the last couple minutes and make some shots in the ball game, anything can happen. We got to do a better job of finishing out games, finishing out quarters, halves things like that.”

On how freshman react to that kind of play …
“It just comes with game experience in more situations like that. It’s a learning experience. They don’t know any better than a game like that, but I would rather have a game like that now, early in the season, opposed to late in the season or postseason.”

#3, Tyler Ulis, G

On Cal’s message to the team …
 “He said that he was disappointed in how we played and I agree, we didn’t play well as a team. I think we were a little too excited over the win (over Duke) and came out a little lax.”
On the young team learning consistency ...
 “Yes, we gotta learn from this game, we have a lot of young guys playing and they don’t know yet so I feel like we are going to bounce back. Cal’s going to be pretty hard on us in practice and we’re gonna get ready for the next game.”
On whether the game is a blessing in disguise …
 “Maybe, hopefully we learn from this as a team and never come out like this again”
On Wright State’s coach Billy Donlon’s praise …
 “Yea I do, I try to make the right decisions, find guys when they’re open and attack when I have it. I try to make the right plays and do what I gotta do to win.”
On Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s praise following the game against Duke …
 “It’s great to have coming from someone like Coack K, he’s a great coach and when a guy like him say’s something like that its always a good thing.”

#13, Isaiah Briscoe, G

On following emotional win against duke and coming back against this one  …
“I don’t think we had the same amount of energy coming out against this team. I think we could have beaten them by more. But we will take the win.”

On how you learn something from every game, what did you learn from today’s game, what did you take from it?
“We need to treat every team the same that is the key.”

On if this is a game that could benefit the team in long run …
“I think so, we learned from today.”

On mouth guard use during games …
“I don’t realize I play with it I’m just out there playing basketball, but my mom makes me wear one.”

Wright State Head Coach Billy Donlon

Opening statement …
“Kentucky’s very good. I’ve been around basketball a long time. I’ve had the privilege of coaching some really good players and working for some outstanding coaches playing professionally in Europe. And I don’t (know) if I’ve ever competed against a team that plays three point guards at once and that’s really hard at the same time all of the time. Every closeout they put you in the ball’s going to a point-guard, and that’s really difficult. As far as the game, we went back and ran video in the locker room during halftime. In the first 10 minutes the shots we missed – I thought it was the atmosphere. Certainly Kentucky speeds you up, but I thought there were some plays at the rim where shot-blockers weren’t around where we got some clean looks where the score might’ve been different. I’m proud of our players against that pressure. We had 12 turnovers. Coach Calipari’s as good as it gets. It’s an honor to play against this team and I would be shocked if they have very many more games where they have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. So even though we fouled a ton the last six to seven minutes, I am proud of some of the things we did. By no means is it a moral victory or anything like that, but I like to give some positives because I’m usually always giving areas of improvement.”

On the importance of taking Kentucky out of its rhythm …
“We weren’t trying to foul them on purpose. But Tyler Ulis is really good. Briscoe is really good. Tyler Ulis never panics, he never gets nervous. He makes the right decision every single time. He doesn’t hit a home-run play unless it’s a home run. He never strikes out. When he comes off of a ball-screen, he never gets it wrong. And that’s really hard to guard. When he’s in transition, he never gets it wrong. That’s really hard. But no, we weren’t fouling on purpose. It might’ve looked that way, but by the end we were exhausted.”

On (Alex) Poythress giving Kentucky a spark off of the bench …
“Yeah. I know he was hurt last year but he’s got a lot of experience. For us, our Yoho guy’s normally a matchup problem for a lot of people, but they can put Poythress and Murray on him. He’s a really good player. He comes in off of the bench and plays with great energy. He’s an older guy coming off of the bench. One of the best things about talking to your team is Kentucky is about Kentucky. Their kids are about Kentucky. Again, it’s a great lesson for all of us coaches and all of the other programs out there.”