Kentucky-Missouri Postgame Quotes

Jan. 14, 2015

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. Last week it sounded like you weren't going to go to a 10-man rotation, so what changed to put Dominique (Hawkins) in there?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I had planned on it, I just didn't tell you guys. I don't tell you guys everything.

After the last game I just said I'm going back to 10. Then the question became, would it be Derek (Willis) or Dominique (Hawkins). Dominique had played better in practice, and he deserved the opportunity and he did well today. I mean, he belonged in the game. His energy was great, he drives over the middle -- missed a couple jumpers, but he's shooting the ball well in practice he just hadn't been in the games enough.

I thought our defensive intensity, because of the platoons, was back to where it was. No one got hurt today. Everybody helped themselves as a player and they helped our team. The only thing that gets in the way is the ego. You should be playing more - and why aren't you shooting more - and this is crazy - and it's all ego. Everyone helped themselves, their deficiencies today were off the charts.

Q. In terms of making a decision to start that 10th guy, was that to balance out that second group, get Trey Lyles offensively?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. Because if I would have started Derek, it would have been Derek with that second group. I just didn't want to have two smaller guys on the same team.

And, it did another thing: It let Dominique play the ball. So now you always have pressure on the point guard. Dominique or Tyler (Ulis). I don't know if I'll do it next game. I may not.

Q. I was just going to ask you that, about Dom's defense on (Keith) Shamburger. How important that was? Setting a tone early.

COACH CALIPARI: Well the one thing we said is, we wanted to take away they're 3s. That was the whole game plan. They did it through screen the screeners, they did it through ball screens, last game they made 10 3’s.

They have been shooting 23 to 24 3’s a game the last five games. And let me say this: They got what UCLA and Kansas got. That's what they got. That effort.

But understand, they had Illinois beat, they lost by two.

They had Oklahoma State, they lost in overtime. They had them beat. These are their last five games.

They beat LSU.

And they had Auburn down 10 and they ended up losing by a couple.

So, you can say what you want, they played a buzz saw today. I think what Kim (Anderson) has done with his team to get these guys to play the way they have to play to win. Think about it, they beat LSU and had Auburn. They should have come in here 2-0. They had Auburn down 12.

Q. About that effort and the buzz saw, was there oratory on your part to produce that or was it a pride thing among the guys?

COACH CALIPARI: What I said before the game is, if they give a great effort, I'm going to give them off tomorrow. Kind of like what we did for Christmas. You're going to have three, four days off. And they went nuts.

So I said, we're going to have -- now I took that back and I said, we are practicing tomorrow -- but I did say that prior to the game.

Q. Karl (Anthony Towns) had a double-double, but it didn't seem like you were totally thrilled the whole game with him. Could you talk about his play a little bit.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what he did, I thought he fought like crazy and I thought it was the best game he's played in weeks. Best game he's played in weeks. And the reason is he sustained effort.

Now, he still broke down and I let him know every time he did. His breakdowns were standing straight up and down, not being in the stance, not being alert to move, getting caught in a mud wrestling match with a big because you won't bend your legs. And then the ball comes to you and you can't even rebound it because you're in a mud wrestling, it hits you, you can't get it. Its things like that that I've gotten on him about.

But he's getting better. He's a great kid. I took him out, if Marcus Lee one-hand rebounds, he's coming out. That moment.

If Karl (Anthony Towns) steps back to shoot a 3, he's coming out. So he stepped back to shoot a 3, you're out. I mean I -- that's just -- I told him that and that's what he did.

Q. Would you talk about the greater production from the paint. Was there more going inside out tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: We showed tape of Texas A&M where we didn't throw it to the post and I basically said, if you don't throw it to the guy when he's open, you're coming out.

So it's pretty simple. If he's open, throw it to him. Well, I thought -- you're out. You're not playing, I'm playing somebody else. I hate to do it that way, but that's what we did.

The other thing I did today is, we did more of a random zone offense. In other words, play off of each other.

If we have the best players in the country, we don't have to run a whole lot of plays, we'll run some plays, but you got to be able to play off of each other.

Now what that does is, you can't use the offense as an excuse now. Why aren't you competing, why aren't you driving? Why aren't you ready to play?

You can't say it's, well I thought we were running -- no, it's random. You got to get in gaps, you got to drive the ball, you got to post the ball. You got to figure out if a guy drives where do I move to get out, who is flashing to the middle.

So I'm just trying to do some stuff to keep these guys going and I told them after the game, I don't want them to be in March looking like it's March.

We still offensively broke down a bunch today. And even -- there were some defensive breakdowns. But I said it's January 15th, that's what you should look like, a January team. Play hard and defend you can do those things and still look like a January team.

Q. Did we all maybe under estimate the significance of (Alex) Poythress going out and how long it might take you guys to figure out how to play without him?

COACH CALIPARI: In a physical game it is devastating he's not here. In a physical game -- and we have had some physical games. But we still have things we got to take care of. But it was nice.

We needed to have a win where we could get our swag back a little bit. Get -- but it was all based on an effort and an intensity and we never let up. We never let up through the clock and through the game.

Q. Talk about Willie's play. When you look at that line, what you want?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie was really, really good today. I will tell you that I still think offensively he can do more. He needs to have a wider base. He needs to create contact instead of trying to move from contact. When he makes free throws and he's been working on it, even at the shoot around today he stayed after and shot another 25 free throws. Guys, they know what they have to do. But today, again, every player performed. No one played -- Willie played 23 minutes, only because Marcus Lee was one-handed rebounding. Any time he one-handed rebounded, I took him out.

Q. So when Willie says he hits 80 out of a hundred free throws every day?

COACH CALIPARI: He's making them. He is. But you got to do that stuff in the game, too.

Q. Did you like the shots that Aaron was taking tonight after his 2-13 performance from three the other night?

COACH CALIPARI: It was 4-20. 4-20. 2-13 doesn't sound good, 4-20 sounds worse.

But, no, he was good. They listen. Look, the greatest thing is we have got great kids. They don't play great every night out, but they want to do well, they want to listen, they want to be coached. They celebrated each other today. You have to admit, people talked about our defense and our bench. Well, what happened to our bench in the last few games? Our bench went away. So the platoon got us back to being into each other and celebrating each other.

Now we got to build on this. We got a tough game, we got to go to Alabama, I bet you they haven't lost there yet. They're playing well, had Wichita State down 10 with two and a half minutes to go. I mean, they're a Top-20 RPI team. So, it's going to be a hard one for us.

Q. You said you felt like you guys got your swag back tonight. Is that something that you did in practice tonight before the game or is that something that you just saw in this game?

COACH CALIPARI: No, we went in with an idea for each platoon. If you gave up more than six points, you were out. So, you weren't going to get your full minutes.

And if you really played and you had that, you could sustain it, we would give you more minutes than the four minutes. But it was a six point first half, they didn't get six in any of the sets -- they got six in one segment, they didn't get more than six. So we're trying to challenge them with different things to keep them motivated to play. And it's really to play defense. We're a defensive team. That's what we are.

Q. What was the key to slowing down Johnathan Williams and how important was it to do that?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, he is really, he's gotten so much better. Today the length bothered him. We just made him get to his right hand. We didn't -- we were trying really hard not to let him get to that left hand. I think that the length of our team, you think, oh, we're all right, and then you get out there and the guards are 6-6 and 6-7 and Trey Lyles is 6-10 and two seven footers and we're long and all of a sudden your drives are not like, I got a lay up, you're thinking, man, I may get this blocked.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#2, Aaron Harrison, G

On stepping on the gas pedal and not letting Missouri get back into the game …
“Oh yeah. No doubt that was a big deal with us. Just trying to get back to our defensive swagger like Coach said. Just took it upon ourselves to try to slow Missouri down.”

On winning by 49 after so many overtimes …
“It was a good feeling. We wanted to win big tonight and we were focused on it and I had a good feeling about this game that we were going to come out and play well.”

On Dominque Hawkins being in the lineup and if they feed off of his energy and hustle …
“Oh yeah, of course. He brings so much energy and so much athleticism to the game and we are all excited for him. He plays well and we are all proud of him. I have seen him get a lot better over these past couple years and I’m proud of him.”

#12, Karl Anthony Towns, F

On getting back to the platoon system …
“I think we did a great job mostly just playing defense, playing Kentucky basketball, doing what our staples are, holding people to a way below average of points per game.”

On getting back to normal …
“It feels like a step ahead, actually. Knowing that you can come back and do what you did before that was so successful right away. It’s a great feeling knowing that we did that today.”

On the last two games being frustrating …
“It was frustrating because we weren’t doing what we normally know we can do. We had great days of practice, really talked it out and we came out tonight and we did what we wanted to do.”

#25 Dominque Hawkins, So., G

On his reaction when he learned he was starting …
“My jaw dropped. I was like, is it happening again because I have started before, and then the next day it actually hit me that I was starting and I needed to prepare for it.”

On being nervous before the game …
“Oh definitely. I am nervous anytime I get in the game and definitely if I am starting I will be nervous the whole time. It was kind of hard for me to sleep last night because I was thinking about the game.”

On earning minutes vacated from Poythress’ injury …
“For Alex, I feel like so bad for him that he is going through this right now and I wish him the best. And, I know God’s on his side. For me and Derek, we are just practicing with the guys and going after it. Like Coach said, we are trying to earn the minutes and I was able to earn the minutes to play this game.”

Missouri Head Coach Kim Anderson

On the game as a whole …
“I thought they came out and physically controlled us from the start. I know we didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half. We probably didn’t play hard enough to shoot a free throw. We talked before the game about being more physical on the inside. Trying to do a good job of rebounding and obviously we didn’t do that. Great game for them, bad game for us. For us we have to put it behind us and move forward.”

On their play their last two game versus tonight …
“The thing I thought about this team the last two games was that they probably didn’t play with the same pace as they did tonight, and I thought the other two teams did a better job of slowing them down. We did not and we weren’t as physical. The most impressive thing about Kentucky – and you can talk about everything – (was) the players. You can talk about everything else, but the most impressive thing about Kentucky – and I said this yesterday to somebody – is they know how to win and they figure out how to win. When they get behind they figure out how to get ahead, and obviously that’s good coaching, that’s good players, but it’s an attitude. I think that is the most impressive thing. The two games before this, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, those two teams played great and it got down to the end and Kentucky made the plays. That’s the biggest compliment I can give them.”

On Kentucky’s perimeter play tonight …
“I just thought that tonight this is what kind of scared me coming in is that I knew they hadn’t played great. The last couple of games, I knew they were really going to come out (playing hard), and one of our problems has been guarding dribble penetration at times during the year. Another problem has been our screen defense has been somewhat sporadic at times and both were really bad tonight. Consequently, they let those guys get to the lanes and make plays. They shot the ball, I thought, really well. I looked at these stats, I couldn’t believe they shot 48 percent. It seemed like they shot 88 percent. I didn’t think they missed.”

On Cal’s platoon system …
“Well, it’s really an advantage. I think from a freshness standpoint, I think that (when) you got five guys and then you substitute five, that is good or better. I think the biggest thing is the guys seem to buy into it and embrace it. He’s done a good job of showing that it’s the best way to play. They’re 16-0 so it seems to be working pretty good.”

On Dominique Hawkins’ play tonight …
“He was on our scouting report. We did not anticipate him starting, that is for sure. When he started, I thought that kind of matched up better with us from a size standpoint but certainly didn’t take long to change it."

On the scoring drought after 12-10 score …
“Well, I think you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought we really tried to force stuff, and you guys can tell we had some guys that when they got on a little run, then we tried to force it and we didn’t do what we needed to do. I can remember it being 14-10 and they knock down a 3. We didn’t contest very well and the next thing you know it was 19-10, and then after that it was off to the races. I thought that their defense forced us to panic a little bit a lot offensively and we were on our heels. They played really physical. They really played physical. And (when you give up) 25 second-chance points, you’re not going to win very many games.”

Missouri Student-Athlete Quotes

#45, Keanau Post, Sr., F

On facing this Kentucky team…
“They are a good team, you know, number one in the nation. Obviously they’re one of the best teams we have faced this year. We are going to try to put it behind us and use it in practice and focus on the upcoming games this season.”

On Kentucky’s size …
“They are a big team so I think for all of us on the court today, it was an issue to face.”