Kentucky-LSU Postgame Quotes

Jan. 15, 2011

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Kentucky Assistant Coach John Robic

On the defensive effort in the first 20 minutes …
“I think it was a little bit of a combination of both. I’d like to think that we had a lot to do with that. We wanted to come out with the mindset of being aggressive both offensively and defensively. Our practices the last few days have been really good and they guys are picking up the intensity in practice. Although we are not practicing as long, we are starting to communicate better. They missed some open shots but I think we made them take tougher shots then they were used too.”

On Eloy Vargas
“I think a lot of it is he wants to make sure he understands what coach is saying. He is putting in extra time in practice. We need him to come up with balls, that is the biggest thing. There are still a few he didn’t get but he is making progress. He is going to be a factor at some point in time in the year.”

On the difference with Terrence Jones coming off the bench…
“Well, we got off to a fast start today because we made shots. I don’t really think it matters if Terrence comes off the bench or Doron (Lamb) comes off the bench, it just happens that that is how it has been the last couple of games. I think kids accept it, but the reason we got off to a fast start was we made some shots. Our press was much more effective today and that got our energy level up. And our guys are starting to pick up the press a little bit and we feel more comfortable that we can use it more often.”

On the players knowing their roles on the team …
“I think that they all know their role now. I think it started with Brandon (Knight). He is going to be able to score at any time, he doesn’t have to get it all at once. Being much more vocal in practice and that is carrying over into games. I think our older guys are really showing our young guys what it takes. The biggest thing is our communication in practice has really carried over. You could tell we had fresh legs today, as I mentioned earlier to another group is that this is the point in time that our practice time cuts back a little bit, because we want to be fresh for games. I think that was quite evident tonight.”

On DeAndre Liggins looking to pass first …
“I think DeAndre, coach just said it in the locker room, sometimes he is thinking pass first too much and we want him to score. When he is driving the ball he is driving to get fouled instead of driving to score. Overall, I think we feed off him defensively. I think he is that emotional, quiet leader that we need. Because he comes up with all the little plays and he is a really intelligent player out there on the floor, especially the defensive end, where he is telling guys what to do.”

On the play of Jon Hood
“I was happy for him today. He played more aggressively. He went after balls instead of shying away from them. I think that is a big thing with him. The biggest thing about his confidence is him grabbing that offensive rebound and sticking it back in. And you know what, he had fun out there tonight and I think that is important for him. It was nice to see him get extended minutes.”

On the play of Darius Miller
“I thought Darius played well. He didn’t fade on any shots. The last couple of games he was fading on shots in the lane. He used his athleticism, rebounded the ball well. One thing we have stressed to him is staying in a stance and staying low. I thought he did better, but you can only tell once you watch the film. The key thing for him is being aggressive and I think he was that tonight.”

On if the team is hitting a wall halfway through the season …
“I don’t think we are anywhere near hitting the wall. There is so much basketball to be played with 13 more league games to be played. And now you sort of get into a routine of playing on Tuesday’s and Saturday’s, which is sort of the schedule that we follow now. The great thing that coach does is that he keeps their legs fresh. He is more concerned with our team then the opponent, no matter who we are playing. That is a big thing, we still go through the thorough scouting reports to prepare but he is concerned with the adjustments that we need to make and working on our weaknesses and continuing to get better.”

On the play of Brandon Knight
“With Brandon, he is starting to make such better decisions. He had a couple of lapses today but that is going to happen. He is cutting down on those. He is leading the team, he is making better decisions, he is being more vocal and I think that is true with any freshman point guard. Especially with the freshmen point guards we have had in the past. But, the thing that separates him is he can knock down shots. He set the tone for us tonight offensively.”

On if the team is more prepared to go on the road in the SEC …
“I think it is too early to tell. Hopefully the young group understands that no matter what building we go into, it is going to be sold out. Generally it is the only sell out of the year for these schools that we go to. How hard it is to play, how hard you have to play and how much you have to stick together. We made that comeback at Georgia down 11 to go up one. Were they satisfied to get to that point? We don’t know but we didn’t play our style of basketball at that particular time. Typically one of our teams that does that, that is when you really hit gut check and you suck it up and pull out the tough win, that is what you have to do on the road.”

On the UK defense tonight …
“That is one of the reasons that Cal really likes big guards, our size gave team issues. When you are shooting over DeAndre Liggins, 6-foot-5, with long arms and big hands, he is quick enough to stay in front of you. That is not a true LSU team, because they were without Tuner, who is their leading scorer. He makes a difference for their team. You take off your leading scorer it is going to hurt you at some point in time and unfortunately he didn’t play. They are improved and I know they are probably disappointed but they are getting better for sure.”

On UK’s offensive attack against a zone defense …
“I will say this and I know I am biased but we talk about our dribble drive against man-to-man. I don’t know why people don’t look at what we do with the zone. Our zone offense looks are terrific. That is one thing that I certainly give Cal credit for is our zone offense is great. We have seen every type of zone and yeah you have to make shots, but we are getting good looks. When we know what type of zone they are in, we can attack it. It is tough to zone us because we can spread you out. We have four guys that can make shots and we did that tonight.”

Kentucky Players

#34 DeAndre Liggins, G

On what did the loss to Georgia teach you all…
“Playing the road it going to be tough, just have to take one possession at a time. You know it’s going to be a crazy crowd and we have to just stay humble and play hard down there.”

On the game…
“Yes I think we played a real good game, we defended, we shared the ball, we just played real good this game and need to continue to do that.”

On how important it is to get the opposing crowd out of it…
“Setting the tone early, clamping down defensively, and getting stops early and taking their crowd out of it.“

On what did you not like about what happened in Georgia…
“When they were bumping us we weren’t tough enough, that’s all it was we just weren’t tough enough. Also they just wanted it more than us.”

On the toughness of the team…
“Yeah we were tougher, we executed well, we defended when we need to, made plays down the stretch, we shared the ball we did all the things today that we just need to do on the road.”

#3 Terrence Jones, F

On coming off the bench…
“I think we’ve been having good practices since the Georgia loss. We’ve been more committed to the team and everybody is just going hard for each other in practice. It’s only the first five minutes, I have always been told the last five minutes is what matters. Whoever the coach trust to put in the last five minutes.”

#12, Brandon Knight, G

On feeling more comfortable about the full-court press ...
“Yes, Coach (Calipari) has been stressing that lately. We need to be more comfortable with the full-court press because it will build our confidence in running it.”

On what he worked on this week after the loss to Georgia ...
“I worked on making the right passes, trying to run the team better, and controlling the game.”

On the last few days of practice ...
“They went well. We know that if we have great practices, we will play well in games.”

#30 Eloy Vargas, F

On if the dunk in the second half was his favorite play of the year...
“No. I have had more. When we went to Maui, (Hawaii), I had better plays.”

On if he is starting to play more aggressive...
“Yeah, I am starting to get more aggressive. That is the way coach (Calipari) wants me to play. He wants me to get more big rebounds for the team.”

On if this team is beginning to hit their stride...
“Yeah, I think so. We are starting to play more together. Our players are starting to execute our plays. I think we need to keep playing like that.”

#1 Darius Miller, G

On if the practices this week have been the best of the year...
Yeah, our past two practices, (Coach Calipari) has said those have probably been our best two so far. I mean, we really try to come out hard and play with a lot of intensity in practice. We try to do whatever (Coach Calipari) says and stay focused the whole time.”

On Brandon Knight setting the tone...
“Yeah. He plays with high intensity almost every time. We kind of expect him to do that. He did a lot of things that set the tone like Coach (John) Robic said.”

On if this team is harder to guard than last years team...
“Yeah, I think thats kind of tough. I don’t know if we are harder to guard, but I know it’s kind of hard. We try to come out and provide opportunities for each other.”

LSU Head Coach Trent Johnson

Opening statement…
“I don’t know what you want me to say. Obviously we struggled to score, I thought we had some open looks at times, but it didn’t go down for us and they ran out on us. I mean, they’re very skilled, we knew that coming in. Again, I have nothing to say other than the fact that they just beat us from top to bottom any way but loose.”

On how Kentucky’s hot 3-point shooting complicated things with LSU playing zone defense…
“We knew going in with this basketball team because they have four guys who can step out and shoot it, and our zone has been effective versus lesser competition, lesser skilled teams, where you can shoot off of one guy, but there’s no guy on this team you can shoot off of. That wasn’t the problem. We knew they were going to score. The problem was that I thought we got real tentative and we didn’t finish plays offensively in the lane. (Andre) Stringer, he had some open looks at times, and against a team like this and this kind of venue, when you’re open you have to step up and knock them down. Then we had some situations where we’re supposed to score the ball. They’re very skilled, obviously John’s (Calipari) gotten a lot, he’s got this team right. They’re a handful.”

On what impressed him the most about this Kentucky team…
“It’s nothing I haven’t seen on tape, it’s just their skill level. Darius Miller has been here forever. I remember him from the last time I was here and I thought he was a handful. Obviously the last time I was here it was a lot better environment for me than this was. But when you start looking at him and the improvement of (Josh) Harrellson and (DeAndre) Liggins as an older guy, they’re skill level is very impressive, not to mention the three freshmen.”

On comparing this year’s Kentucky team to last year’s team…
“Well I don’t know. I don’t see this team every day. I coach my own team. But if you ask me what I think the team’s younger, last year was more physical and really punished you in the post and punished you on the perimeter. This team’s skill level, they can play them all, they can play fast, they can play slow. And obviously last year’s team was a lot different. I don’t see them every day, so I probably shouldn’t even comment. I’ve only seen them twice, maybe six times.”

LSU Players

#3, Garrett Green, F

On how good Kentucky is compared to the other teams they have played..
“They definitely played up to the hype tonight. They all play very well.”

On what their focus is now…
“We have to get in the gym, work on our shots, and just keep pushing forward”

#45, Aaron Dotson, F

On how he feels about the first half of the game…
“They came out and jumped on us quick. Also, Brandon Knight got going early and it was tough for us to catch up.”

On how he thinks the Kentucky team is doing this year…
“They are a really good team this year. They are very unselfish players, every guy is getting their shots, and they play defense well.”