Kentucky-Alabama Postgame Quotes

Feb. 9, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On the Alabama 's play ...

"They're an athletic team. They came out and made some shots early. We were all over them and they came out and made shots. And I'm telling you this is how Alabama has played all year. They have had three one-point losses. They create turnovers. They play aggressive. They play physical. They play good defense. They were a little undersized at times, which is why we rebounded like we did. But they had more offensive rebounds than we did. They played well. Here is what Anthony (Grant) did. You're finding out that there are a bunch of good coaches in this league. He gave his team a chance to win wouldn't you say? On the road in Lexington , Kentucky , his team had a chance to win. That's what you do as a coach and they kept the game in the 60s. We wanted it in the 80s. Now I will tell you, we missed some point blank shots in the first half. Eight wide open threes and we missed all eight. Now we missed some shots to make this a higher scoring game, but you have to give them credit. They did their thing and they were grinding it out. They did well."

On Kentucky 's play ...

"I thought we were pretty good. John Wall in the first half had turnovers. He lost three balls or four that were turnovers that weren't even forced. In the second half, he played. He ran our team. We were grinding it out at times, which we have to learn to do and I was happy we were able to do. We scored late in the shot clock a couple times. We didn't get DeMarcus (Cousins) the ball as much as we wanted to, but at the end of the day we hold them to 33 percent from the floor and 28 percent from the three-point line."

On teams daring Kentucky to beat them from outside ...

"Think about this, we weren't throwing the ball to DeMarcus (Cousins) enough in the first half and I was going nuts, but that being said, we had eight wide open threes. We had some one-footers, how do you miss that? And we missed two or three of those. When you start adding, making the one-footers, making two threes out of eight and all of the sudden we have a different score at halftime. So, I understand that's how their going to play us, but I have a lot of faith in my team. Instead of being aggressive, we're going to back it in and hope they miss shots. I think that gives us an advantage when that is the case."

On Daniel Orton's play ...

" I thought Daniel was fabulous today, absolutely fabulous. I just wanted somebody to mix it up and Daniel (Orton) did it. He got rebounds. He got the and-one. He blocked a shot. Think about it, Daniel Orton is the reason we won. If I didn't go with him, that game could have been 58-55 in a hurry. That's what I told him after the game. Is there any secret that we have to play DeMarcus Cousins? That's not a secret. We have to play him. He's a beast. But Daniel Orton deserves to play. I just have to figure out how we play him. The more he gets on the floor, the more you are going to see parts of his game you didn't realize."

Kentucky Players

#11, John Wall, G

On how the team played tonight ...

"We played alright. Alabama played good. Coach told us coming in that they were a team that would play you close. They made a good run, but we always find a way to keep going and get the win. We came out with a tough win today."

On if coach Calipari took him out early because of the turnovers ...

"Yes, and I am glad that he did. I was not being strong with the ball like I am supposed to. That is one of the key things that I need to work on more and not turn the ball over much. That is what I did in the first half today."

On all the rebounds he had ...

"I don't know, that came out of nowhere. It is the first time this year I have rebounded like that. With DeMarcus (Cousins) and Pat (Patterson) down there, it is tough to get a lot of rebounds."

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G

On making easy plays and if that is something he has focused more on ...

"Coach Cal has worked with me a lot on that this year, making me play with more poise, not turn the ball over and make easy plays. Then I will play better."

On playing more on the wing than at the point ...

"I knew I could play the wing and I can also play point guard. I accepted that role and try to play well. I just want to help the team win."

On if there is something particular that coach Calipari has done that increased his play ...

"He told me to just make easy plays and try not to showboat. Just make the easy plays and I will be okay. I am in the game to try to get rebounds but if I have easy open shots then take them."

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On what could have been better in tonight's game...

"We could have played better defense. I let my guy get past me to the basket too much. We got turnovers because we were careless with the ball. John (Wall) and I were not careful with the ball and that is how we let it go so many times."

On being frustrated when teams slow them down ...

"It is really frustrating. I think we are getting worn down. Everybody is starting to look like they are really tired. We need to start resting because we have a tournament coming up soon. We still have to play hard because every team is still coming at us hard. We still have plenty of games left."

On fighting through exhaustion of a longer season ...

"We have to play harder. We usually do not play this many games except in the AAU circuit. Those games are in the summer when we do not have school. We have to start focusing on school and then basketball."

#54, Patrick Patterson, F

On how tonight's game went ...

"I thought we played pretty well. We rebounded well. Our defense was good for the most part except when we let up a little bit in the second half. We just turned the ball over too much. They were ill advised turnovers and unforced turnovers. Overall we are satisfied with the win."

On careless turnovers holding this team back...

"We know that one of our obstacles to being a great team is that we turn the ball over too much. We have ill advised turnovers. We make hard plays instead of making the easier plays. Even with the way other teams are playing us we know what they are going to do. All in all we are the ones making the turnovers."

On DeMarcus (Cousins) and Daniel (Orton) getting lots of playing time together...

"I do not mind it. I am fine with it. Coach Calipari has been talking about that all year. He has told me I have to find ways to get them playing time together. So far whenever they have been in the game at the same time they have played well and fed off of each other's energy. I am perfectly fine with them both getting more minutes, even if they are my minutes."

Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening statement ...

"Kentucky is an extremely talented, extremely tough basketball team. The thing that is difficult when you try to prepare for Kentucky, is you can't get a feel for the size and speed. I thought those two things caused us problems today. In the first half, it was in transition and on the backboards. In the second, their ability to get the free throw line was a little bit more than we could handle today. I thought guys came out and we competed hard. We fought, but unfortunately we weren't able to come out with the win."

On Alabama's game plan against Kentucky ...

"For us, it's always on the defensive end of the court. The game plan was to keep Kentucky out of transition as much as we could. Try to eliminate their opportunities near the basket and try to compete on the backboard. On the offensive end, make sure we took care of the basketball, and not allow our offense to create opportunities for them going the other way. I thought we were effective early, but Kentucky is a great defensive team. We have experiences where we go through stretches of having a hard time scoring. We went through another stretch of that today in the first half. I thought for the most part our first-shot defense was pretty good, it was our second-shot defense in the first half that hurt us. Being as good a team as Kentucky is, they were able to find some gaps in our zone the second half and get a comfortable lead there, which forced us to change defense."

On Alabama ...

"I was very disappointed in the effort in the second half in Saturday's game. Having done this as long as I have, you realize that playing with the lead is a very difficult thing to do, especially for an experienced basketball team. We didn't handle it very well. The thing I was most upset about, or probably perplexed about, was our inability to compete. So, I guess if you look at tonight's game, I thought we competed. That was something that was a positive. I'm not a guy that's in to moral victories, but our guys tonight did what I asked them to do. They competed, stayed together and fought for 40 minutes."

Alabama Players

#32, JaMychal Green, F

On getting out to a good start in the first half ...

"We knew that we had to come in and be focused and really execute on offense. We had to defend well tonight and we did a great job of pressing the ball and playing as a team. We got everybody touches made some shots early."

On how they played Kentucky defensively ...

"Yeah, we defended well tonight and played well together as a team. We took away the 3-point line. Tonight was just their night."

On John Wall ...

"He is a very talented point guard. He lives up to everything that they say about him."

On them defending well but not being able to get going offensively ...

"In the first half we were moving the ball around and everyone was getting touches. In the second half we slowed it down and we were not moving the ball around and were as productive as we were in the first half. We fought hard tonight though and we never gave up."

#5, Tony Mitchell, F

On how his knee is feeling ...

"I get bumps and bruises all the time. It's just part of the game."

On did you do what you wanted to do defensively ...

"We just wanted to contain and keep them out of transition and we did a pretty good job of that. We wanted to limit their opportunities."

On is it frustrating when you hang in games but can't ever get over the hump ...

"We are trying to build something here. We want to build our program with character so we are able to win."