Kentucky vs. South Carolina -- Post-Game Quotes

Jan. 31, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On Devan Downey and trying to defend him …
“We had no answer and had nobody who wanted any part of him. He is a really good player and played great today. Their guys followed instructions the way they were suppose to and that is why they played tougher and smarter than us and that is why they won. I thought that he got going no matter who was on him in the second half and late in the first half. We were defending well at the start but he wasn’t being nearly as active in the offensive part of the game. They were trying to do some different things and started to use the ball screen well and penetrate and we didn’t respond and compete very well. He is a very difficult guy to guard especially when he is making the 3-point shot.”

On if UK was making the same mistakes that they at Ole Miss …
“We are just not playing very tough and there are always going to be games that you are not pleased with and in January you have to keep getting better. We have taken two major steps backwards and to give up 18 offensive rebounds today when we knew it was going to be the key factor in the game, is not good. Then for us not to carry out instruction like we needed to, we were suppose to drive to the basket because that is what they allow you to do and we are going to pull up for 3-pointers in transition. Darius has been beating his guy ever time and then all of a sudden he has to shoot a fade-away jumper from 15-feet. Those are inexperienced players but there is no excuse for it. We haven’t been playing perfect by any stretch of the imagination before and there are always things that you can improve on even if you win. If they didn’t make that last basket we still made the same mistakes today, but they did and it is much more maximized when you lose. If we don’t find some toughness somewhere in our defensive rebounding, then it is going to be a long rest of conference season. We are getting whipped in the lane, big time.”
 
On what the turning point was that allowed them to get back into the game …
“There was a loose ball and they got and pitched it out to Fredrick and he made a three and we lazily went after it and didn’t contest it nearly enough. I guess we were thinking that he was going to miss and then he makes another three the next time down and we made another lazy attempt to guard him. That was the biggest factor because we were starting to do some things better and were getting the ball inside either on the pass or by dribble. Those are very lackadaisical plays.”

On if Kentucky did better playing inside-out today …
“That is what they forced us to do even with the drive. The way that they do it they didn’t want to let us have ball reversal because that is when we have our best post feeding. We did a much better job of getting open in the second half. We stood in the high post and didn’t try to go back door or try to get open and were running our offense from the half court stripe with our four-man holding the ball. That is not going to be the most advantageous for our team.”

Kentucky Player Quotes

#23, Jodie Meeks

On the loss to South Carolina …
“We played really hard down the stretch, but I have to give credit to them. They played good and hit tough shots. We have to bounce back and come back ready for our next game.”

On Devan Downey’s final score …
“We guarded as well as we could because Downey is a great player. I thought we defended well and got him to take a tough shot. He took a fade away and I was right there, and he made it.”

On the rest of the season …
“It is still early on in the conference season and we can’t get too low. We are 5-2 and we have nine games left. We have to finish those games as best we can. We have to get back to work tomorrow and try to get the next win.”

#21, Perry Stevenson

On South Carolina’s 18 offensive rebounds …
“It seems like the ball was bouncing in their direction. We need to get a body on someone and prevent that. When the other team gets an offensive rebound it hurts, and it’s very deflating. I’m upset about it, but there is nothing I can do about until we play the next game. We just have to box out and grab it.”

On missing two free throws at the end of the game …
“I thought they would definitely go in. I didn’t even think twice about it when I let them go. They just rattled in and out. There were no nerves, because I have been in college for three years. Hopefully I can forget about the two free throws I missed and the offensive rebounds I let go.”

On guarding South Carolina’s Devan Downey …
“He was very difficult to guard. He is fast, speedy and smart. We tried to get different looks and get fresh guys on him.”

#54, Patrick Patterson

On competing …
“I think that some people on the team pass up opportunities on the court. We made bad plays on offense and on defense. We took shots way too early. We were careless with the ball and we didn’t rebound. We aren’t playing as tough as we need to be.”

On being mad at the loss …
“I am mad that we lost the game. I’m mad that things didn’t go our way. We missed shots and layups. We didn’t rebound the way we should have. As teammates we aren’t doing the things we need to be doing. We aren’t capitalizing on opportunities.”

On what the problem was with rebounding …
“It’s toughness. It depends on how badly you want the ball. It comes down to long rebounds and guards not getting the ball, which makes more missed opportunities. Sometimes South Carolina shot and their shooter ended up getting the ball back. Some mistakes on the guards part were not boxing out their men, but it comes back on the big guys for not getting the ball in the first place. We aren’t doing our job by being the toughest people out there. You can’t coach that, it’s just about how badly we want the ball.”

On losing two games this week after having started 5-0 in the SEC …
“It’s very frustrating. Back to back losses, one on the road and one at home, are tough. We aren’t winning the games we need to win.  The ones we need the most count the most so it’s frustrating for us not go out there and not play the game we were playing earlier.”

#1, Darius Miller

On SEC play …
“It’s a very competitive league. Every night you have to come out and give 110%. If you don’t do that, things will go badly for you and your team.”

On becoming more of a team player …
“I think I am more comfortable then I was at the beginning of the season. I’m trying to go out there and contribute so that we can get wins.”

On what this loss means to the team …
“I think the whole team is upset. I don’t think we lack a competitive spirit. We just haven’t showed it the past two games. I think our competitiveness is what got us off to such a good start. We haven’t been as tough the last two games. We have to find a way to get back to where we were.”

On not playing smart …
“We didn’t do the things on defense we needed to do. We struggled boxing out and getting rebounds. We didn’t have the best shot selection and we should have given the ball to Patrick Patterson more down the stretch.”

South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn

Opening statement …
“It was a great college basketball game, which is really what it was. Neither team wanted to lose. Both teams really played their guts out. We were really fortunate to make the last play and we were able to get the win. It is obviously a very good win for our team and program for a lot of reasons. Again it was just a really great basketball game to be a part of. We played a really good Kentucky team today and Devan Downey played his heart out.”

On Kentucky’s defense …
“Kentucky was doing a really good job of pressuring and trying to keeps our guys from scoring. They were guarding out top really well and face guarding our guys. We expected that to happen and what we did different in the second half was show some patience and spread the floor a little bit. We wanted to give our guys more movement and get them some space to go out and do what we needed to do. You don’t win games like this without guys making plays at least that’s what I believe. Our guys stepped up and made some big plays.”

On enjoying the win …
“Maybe I did just for a second back in the locker room. I am really just so happy for our players because it is such a big win for them. This team has done everything we have asked them to do since the first day we have been here. They are very joyous of the win today and I am happy for them. I will take a moment a little bit later for myself.”

On the last play …
“We were going for the win. We knew we had guys that can make plays. It is our style and I’m not sure if I would do that every time but it was the call tonight. We wanted to make sure we gave ourselves enough time to make a play and get a rebound and put-back if we needed to. We had a great shot at end of the game to win the game.”

On Devan Downey …
“We need to figure out how to get him going a little bit earlier. He is really important to what we do on the offensive end. The kid has a huge heart and wants to win so badly. We have been telling our guys since the day I got here that you have to earn the right to deserve to win games like this. You have to be willing to pay the price and sacrifice is a part of anything. No one works harder than Devan Downey. He is in the gym at all hours of the night. He comes before practice and stays after practice. I am not shocked that he made the play and I am very happy for him.”

South Carolina Player Quotes

#2, Devan Downey

On the last play …
“Coach said we were going for the win. I told my teammates that if (Kentucky) collapses on me, I will kick it (out). I got a pretty good look and stepped up to make the play.”

On becoming the face of the South Carolina program and what the win signifies …
“It’s not about me, it’s about this program. This is a big win for this program period. We knew we had to get this one. My hat’s off to my teammates because they just battled. We went down five and eight, and we just kept battling. I kind of came off struggling. Everyone patted me on the back and said, ‘Get your head in the game. We need you.’ They just believed in me and I couldn’t let them down.”

On if the team became tired down the stretch …
“I don’t really think we were that tired. In a close game like this, with three to four minutes left, you have to suck it up. You can’t get tired.”

On if the team is playing differently than last year …
“We always tell each other that we paid a price to be good. Practicing with five, nine, and 11 players with no (substitutions) and dealing with the press makes a man out of you. Our practices are so intense and we do situations like this all the time, so we are used to these situations.”

On if he had any intention of giving up the ball on the last possession …
“No, you can ask any teammate on the floor. We all huddled together and I told them that I was penetrating the pass. I told them to get open and that I would penetrate the pass unless I was dead wide-open. I saw that I could take one dribble and that (Jodie Meeks) tried to step up to take my dribble away. I knew he couldn’t recover that quickly, so I just took it.”

#20, Zam Fredrick

On playing Kentucky …
“They’re a very tough team. They are strong and athletic. Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson are two of the best players in the conference. It’s a tough team and tough environment but they gave us a good game.”

On playing against a tired Kentucky team in the second half …
“We went through grueling offseason workouts this year. I know that if I’m tired and winded then the guy next to me is tired and winded. When you see Kentucky tired then you have to let your teammates know so you can stay competitive and hopefully wear them down.”


On what they said in the huddle before the final Meeks shot …
“We said that we want to get a stop. We won a game with 3.3 seconds left on the clock so we knew that we had to hold them until the clock reached 0.0 seconds. We had to keep playing without letting anyone get behind us.”

On his performance in the first half …
“Devan (Downey) was on the bench and I knew we needed some offense. We weren’t struggling at the time but I felt like I had to help my team and make something happen. I was driving and making threes but overall it was a team effort.”

On adjustments the coaches made in the second half …
“We kept playing the way we play the game. It’s a game of runs; they were going to have theirs and we were going to have ours. We had to focus on rebounding and stop giving up easy baskets. They were breaking the press and getting easy basket tip-in layups. They had about eight drop-off dunks and we had to eliminate the easy shots and give them tough ones.”