Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes

Jan. 9, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari  

Opening Statement ...

"Well, I guess that is welcome to the SEC. How about Georgia? I knew they were good, because they beat Georgia Tech and they (Georgia Tech) just beat Duke. This team (Georgia) beat Georgia Tech and could have beaten them by more than they did. They beat Illinois and they had us. We are now, 9-7. They never quit playing and that is what happens in this league and that was at home, I can't imagine how that will be on the road. Mark (Fox) has done a great job with them. From the beginning of the year until now, I would say there are two teams that are the most improved and that is Pitt and Georgia. Pitt has improved because they added two players that didn't play, and Georgia has improved because they are just getting better. They play how they have to play to be in the game. My hat is off to them because we were fortunate to get out with a win."

On DeMarcus Cousins' play ...

"He was a beast. We were throwing it to him every single time. He is making free throws now, which means that you can throw it to him. If you cant make free throws then we can't play through you. It is demoralizing to your team, but he can make free throws. We throw it to him and he is making passes and got fouled a couple other times. There were times where he got fouled and they were almost arm grabs and no calls. I told him just to play through that. The only way that they can stop him is to grab his arms. I didn't think that our bench did what they needed to do. I don't know exactly why, but they played tentative. I don't know if it was from last year's SEC play but they didn't give us what we need to get from them to be good."

On DeAndre Liggins...

"Who fought? You tell me who went in and fought? DeAndre Liggins. It is not brain surgery. We all saw how he can play. Now the question is, do I start him? Should he be a starter? The tentativeness, the softness, the `I got screened I'm sorry', it is too late now. We are in the middle of the season and you have to ball. You have to go out there and fight and compete and if you are not, I am going to play somebody else. I have not changed since I got in the seat. We got some guys fighting it a little bit, `I would try ig you give me the ball more.' It isn't about that. It is about battling. DeAndre was probably the difference in the game. If I had to play pother people we probably wouldn't have enough to win. One guy was breaking down and they were coming up with balls. He tied up a ball for a jump ball and made that layup when we were dying. He did some really good things, I was proud of him too, really proud of him."

On some players being timid and not confident...

"Confidence is demonstrated performance. It is not me saying you are the best or me playing you more minutes. It is demonstrated performance. You get in there and perform and build your confidence. Are you seeing what is happening with DeMarcus? He is growing more and more confidence. Why? Because he is performing. DeAndre, he is building more confidence because he is performing. We have to get that from everybody. For us to be one those teams, our bench is going to have to be deep. It wasn't this game. Hopefully, the next game it will be fine"

 Kentucky Players

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On this game as an eye opener to league play...

"We had watched the way Georgia played Georgia Tech. Georgia beat a good, ranked Georgia Tech team earlier this week so we knew they were going to come out and play a good game. That meant we had to come out and play hard."

On DeMarcus Cousins play down the stretch...

"That is just DeMarcus [Cousins]. We wonder where he is in the first half and then he shows up the second half. He helped us finish the game today. He comes ready to play."

On getting some open shots in the second half ...

"Georgia was playing zone that we could dribble through. They left gaps that both John [Wall] and I could get through. Tomkins is a good player but we did not know he could play like that. Coach Calipari told us to watch out for Lesley but Tomkins just showed up today."

On SEC play...

"It is going to be tough. Everybody picked us to pick the conference. That means we have to come out fighting because every team now is going to come out and play like Georgia. We are 1-0 now starting a new season."

#15, DeMarcus Cousins, F

On SEC...

"The SEC is tough. This was my first conference game. Everybody is strong. Just as strong as you are."

On his energy down the stretch ...

"We wanted the game more. I was trying to do whatever I had to do to help my team. Today the ball was coming to me. I was doing everything I could."

On making free throws down the stretch...

"I need to get back in the gym and work on those shots. I got laxidazical about them but I did what I could at the end."

#15, DeAndre Liggins, G

On playing down the stretch...

"Coach [Calipari] has told me to come to practice and compete and everything else will take care of itself. I knew my opportunity would come I just had to wait. I have practiced well. You just have to be patient and wait your turn. When my name was called I came in and helped my team."

On this game helping his confidence...

"It helped my confidence a lot. I just have to stay humble and get better in practice. Like Coach [Calipari] always warns I cannot drink the poison. I feel good I just have to continue this on a daily basis."

On SEC play...

"We know league play. Every team is going to play great, especially against us. We knew Georgia was going to play well against us and that is what they did."

#54, Patrick Patterson, F

On worrying that the winning stretch would end today...

"I was never worried, not one second. I knew we had the best team with the most fight and the will to win. No one wants to lose so everyone pushes and everyone battles. Even when Georgia came back and had their run I still had confidence in my teammates."

On Georgia's run in the first half...

"Georgia made their run and we knew that we had to stop them. A couple plays John [Wall] came in, made some rebounds, caused some fouls and made free throws that stopped them. We knew that we had to stop them scoring on offense and we also had to make shots on offense to hold their defense."

On starting road games in the SEC...

"I am not worried about our team on the road. My teammates showed they were ready on the road at Indiana and in New York against Connecticut. I know my teammates have the experience even though people talk about them being freshman and immature. I have total confidence in my teammates as we prepare for a tough road game at Florida this week."

On Coach Calipari challenging the team...

"Coach Calipari wants us to play our best basketball possible. He wants us to continue practicing and playing hard and to improve. He consistently pushes us day in and day out to get better. He wants us to win the game by as much as we can. We know we have a lot to improve on and he is pushing us to be the best team we can be. This is just another step in that direction."

Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox

On the turnovers in the game...

"Turnovers are certainly part of the game. We turned it over too much on the road. We had 13 both half's and that's too many when you're on the road. We just weren't complete on all parts of the game. "

On the inside game ...

"Our inside players really competed and that's what got them to foul out. It really condensed our lineup which I think certainly was a factor but I thought our big kids played hard. Trey Thompkins was pretty productive on the glass for us. We got a double-double on him. "

On guarding Cousins and Patterson...

"Their team is so complete that you go into the game shielding off their three-point line. Their young guards' in Bledsoe and Wall are playmakers that can go inside and score on you. They're a very complete offensive team and you have to pick your poison and try to take things away from them. Their front line, I thought, gave them some easy catches on the post and that was probably a real issue. When I say picking your poison, you can't take everything away from the other team unless you're just more talented than the other team on every possession and we were not. We tried to make sure that we got out on transition and limited their transition baskets as much as we could. We didn't shoot the ball very well in the first half. I think we got a couple threes in the second half. Their inside play was certainly a factor too, they got us to foul out"

On the SEC as a league ...

"This is a great league and it's pretty balanced but the media sees us as a last placed team and if you guys are right this team is really balanced because Kentucky is very, very good and we played them really hard. I'm really proud of my kids for that. Their will be a lot of battles in this league and hopefully we'll be in the thick of them. "

Georgia Players  

#01, Travis Leslie, G

On what Kentucky did to stop their game...

"It wasn't really them it was us. We had a lot of mistakes. It was a close fought game until the end. They wanted it more and they got it."

On the struggles they had during the game...

"Our big men were in foul trouble which caused them to go to the free throw line. We had three big men in foul trouble and they were knocking down their free throws."

On expecting to leave with a win...

"We knew it was going to be a hard fought win. We stayed in the game until the end and just fell short."

#33, Trey Thompkins, F

On how Kentucky's big men caused them to have foul trouble...

"DeMarcus (Cousins) and Patrick (Patterson) are great players, everybody knows that. They have the ability to make you foul them and it just worked to perfection tonight."

On the team gaining confidence ...

"We are a confident team. We feel like we can play with anyone in the country if we execute, play poised and keep the game at our tempo."