Kentucky-Vanderbilt Post-Game Quotes

Jan. 10, 2009 

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Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On how the team bounced back after a rough start …
“I thought that we did a very nice job today. Vanderbilt came in and, as we expected, they played very good defense and were very hard to guard offensively and they have a counter to everything that you do. They made some shots at the start of the game that got us in a hole. We were able to start defending better as the game went on. When DeAndre (Liggins) started to get after them in the backcourt it was a nice play for us to extend our lead. We had some foul trouble with Patrick (Patterson) where he didn’t get to play much in the first half but I thought that we had about a 20 minute period there where we guarded them well and were able to get after them.”

On Ramon Harris play …
“He had a great game. You don’t ever expect a guy to be perfect but you expect him to make shots and play and defend. He did a good job of doing that today. We have to have some guys step up and make plays like he made and some guys did today. Michael (Porter) is playing great, Liggins played really well today and I thought Darius (Miller) would score some points and he played better. Josh (Harrellson), A.J. (Stewart) and Perry (Stevenson) have to get going. Ramon really gave us a big lift today.

On Jodie Meeks play …
“To play with the amount of energy that Jodie is expending over 40 minutes is almost impossible. He is trying to guard one of the better guards in the country in a fast break situation every single time and chasing guys all over the court and then not getting any easy opportunities offensively is tough. You have to have unbelievable energy.”

On Patrick Patterson’s play …
“I didn’t think that Patrick had one of his better games today. But they did a really good job of not letting him get too many touches and we didn’t do a good job of adjusting early. I thought we did a better job adjusting later on in the game and he played much better.”

On Kentucky losing its 20-point lead down the stretch …
“I think if you have a lead like we did and then you give it up, I would be ok with ending up with a 10 point win every time, not that we were intending to do that. Sometimes in those situations you think that all they are going to do is shoot 3-pointers and you don’t carry out your assignments like you should because you have to worry about fouling. In that situation fouling at the end is a cardinal sin. I think their comeback started when Jodie (Meeks) got beat on the back door and then he took a bad shot on the other end. He has to learn in that situation you have to stop momentum. We had a strong feeling that they were going to run a back door with his man coming out of the timeout and then we foul a 3-point shooter and before you know it, you have a game. Those are the types of situations that we haven’t been in too much but if we can get a big lead like that next time I think that we will perform better when it gets late. The good part about it was that some of our guys went to the foul line late and I don’t think we missed very many free throws in the final five minutes.”

Kentucky Players

#23 Jodie Meeks

On the concerns of the team once the 20-point lead got cut to six …
“I felt like we had control of it (the lead) the whole time. You definitely never want to give away a lead like especially in conference games.”

On the success of Vanderbilt’s offense during their comeback …
“We (Kentucky) had some turnovers, mainly because people were not coming to the ball. We have to take care of the ball. They were using our mistakes to their advantage.”

On the significance of winning the SEC opener …
“It’s a great way to start. No matter how tough the game was, and we knew it was going to be tough and our main focus was to come out with a win.”

On his offensive and defensive responsibilities …
“It’s tough, but that’s just what I have to do. I have a lot of responsibility on this team. I love it though. There are not a lot of upperclassmen so we have to take responsibility. I never shy away from that though. It is my responsibility to give the team what it needs for us to win.”

On other UK players contributing on offense …
“I think both of those guys (Ramon Harris and Perry Stevenson) gave us a lot of help today. Michael Porter and DeAndre (Liggins) came in and played great defense as well. Whenever those guys come in and hit open shots and play like they are capable of playing it will help us out a lot.”

#13 Michael Porter

On teams game-planning to stop UK’s top two scorers …
“We know that is going to happen pretty much every game. So, other guys do need to step up. Ramon (Harris) did a great job stepping up today on the offensive end, and some other guys too. I guess we need that (stepping up) for their confidence or to just prove to ourselves that we can do it especially if they are playing really good defense on Jodie (Meeks) and Patrick (Patterson).”

On Vanderbilt’s quick start to the game …
“A few guys made some shots to start the game that we really weren’t expecting to have happen. They weren’t really their big-time three-point shooters. If you play your percentages right, they’re not going to make those consistently throughout the game. They did hit those shots to help give them a quick start. But, we kept playing defense the way we know how.”

On giving up a 20-point lead in the second half …
“I think we did (got complacent). It’s kind of weird. I don’t really know how it happened. I think it got cut down to like six points. I still can’t believe how fast it got cut down. The good thing is that we pulled out the win. We need to realize we can’t let happen again, because you never know when teams are going to pull off that victory and we can’t have that.”

#34 DeAndre Liggins

On playing without the focus on Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson
“We tried to score with more options. The players on the bench have to step up. I think the bench players came in and gave us a big lift.”

On his own performance in today’s game …
“I came in and made some defensive stops that got the crowd into it and gave us some momentum. When I first get into the game I’m stiff. I need to get out there and get loose. Once my adrenaline starts going and get the feel of the game, that’s when I get my momentum.”

On making major plays during the game …
“Coach wants me to get rebounds and push the ball. That is the play I feed off of, my team feeds off that as well.”

On playing his first SEC game …
“It was a normal game to me, but it felt good. It was good to play an SEC game and get a big win against Vanderbilt today.”

On losing momentum at the end of the game …
“We didn’t panic. We knew we had to keep playing. We fought through that and we got a win.”

#22 Ramon Harris

On being a leader at the free throw line …
“I want to make sure that everybody does their part. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team. Maybe today I did a little more, but as a whole it should be the entire team.”

On coming back from his injury …
“This is the best I have felt since the injury. I feel like I was able to perform before, but now I can take that from practice to the games. I’ve been working on my shots. Coach Gillispie told me I’m not spending enough time in the gym. That is what I’ve been working on all week. I will continue doing that. I’m going to put more shots up and get extra practice.”

On improving his play …
“Coach Gillispie is not the first person to tell me I need to work harder. He is just the one being persistent with it now. I worked on my shot before but it’s about having confidence and that’s what I’m trying to build.”

Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

On the game …
“We are disappointed, of course. We had about a 10-minute stretch there in the second half where we let the game get away from us. We took some bad shots and had some turnovers and that turned into transition baskets for them. We lost some of our composure in the first half and again in the second half. I thought, all in all, our guys fought hard. I was proud of the fight we had in us and I thought we played as hard as I could have hoped for. It is a tough task to come into Rupp Arena against a very, very good Kentucky basketball team. We started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior and it is hard to come in here like that. Last year we had three seniors and it was hard then. This is a tough and great place to play. We are disappointed that we didn’t get the job done but I am proud of our fight and effort.”

On A.J. Ogilvy …
“We knew he wasn’t going to be able to go this morning. He hurt his foot yesterday in the first 15 minutes of practice. He sat out of the remaining part of practice. We hoped it would get better in time for the game, but obviously it didn’t. As a result, we didn’t score very many points inside today. He is certainly our best low-post player but that is not to say that if he played then the outcome of the game would be any different.”

On defending Patrick Patterson
“I thought we did a good job defending him (Patrick Patterson) and (Jodie) Meeks. They had other guys make some shots and they made some shots at the end of the shot clock. We held both Meeks and Patterson under their average and that is a good thing. This is only the first or second time this season that a team has shot over 40-percent on us this season. We are not where we need to be, but I am not unhappy with my team, I am unhappy with the result. I am unhappy with how we played for a stretch in the second half, but we will learn from that and we will continue to get better.”

On the second-half comeback …
“We made a couple of shots and we got a couple of deflections and steals. Maybe Kentucky got a little casual and thought they had the game won and that allowed us to get back into the game.”

On the 12-point, seven-rebound performance from junior Ramon Harris
“He is a really good player and came here as a very highly-recruited player. He came a long way from home to come to Kentucky. He is a good player and he played very well today.”

Vanderbilt Players

#44 Jeffery Taylor

On how the game developed …
“We missed some shots before the half and they made some shots. In the second half, we just never gave up. We kept on fighting to end. I think we picked up our intensity towards the end of the game. They just executed a little bit better overall.”

On the team’s reliance on the three-point shot …
“We got some open looks, and when we get open looks coach just tells us to shoot it. If you’re a shooter on this team, then coach tells you to shoot when you have open looks. I didn’t think we were settling but we definitely needed to find our inside game a little better than we did today.”

On playing without starting center A.J. Ogilvy …
“Basically, he’s the guy with the most points on the team and averaging the most rebounds. The bottom line is he didn’t play today and we need to do our best to get along without them. It was a game-time decision, it was right before the game, but we had to get ready to go out there and play the game without him.”

#0 Jermaine Beal

On the team’s second-half comeback attempt falling short …
“It’s part of the game. I guess time just runs out for us and it was one of those games where there’s nothing you can do and it was too late I guess.”

On stretch in the second half when they went without scoring …
“I don’t know what happened. I guess we came down and missed shots and UK came down and made shots and UK made a run and that’s just part of the game.”

On playing without starting center A.J. Ogilvy …
“I mean it’s A.J. If he would have played we would have had a down-low threat but since he didn’t play we had to adjust. I mean with A.J., sometimes he would practice and sometimes he wouldn’t practice so I mean this isn’t the first time we’ve played without A.J., it happens it’s just part of the game.”

On starting the conference season with a loss ...
“I mean anytime we lose we’re going to be disappointed. We had some bright spots to look at so I guess we can just look at the positive things and just go from there.”