Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes

Feb. 9, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Could you talk about the overall play of DeAndre tonight?

COACH CALIPARI: He was fabulous. Fabulous. Defended. I told him and I told the team, We got to figure out a way to get him eight to ten shots a game. He ended up getting six shots, but he also got fouled on a bunch. You know what I'm saying?

He did get 10 or 12 opportunities to score the ball. He deserves it the way he defends. There was one play he backed away on Hopson and Hopson shot the ball on him. We said, Make him put it on the floor. And he did a great job.

I also got to tell you you got to pull out and say did Josh Harrellson play well. Again, he's capable of playing this way. I thought Doron in the first half played well. I thought Brandon Knight played well.

Again, we had 11 turnovers in the first nine minutes of the game. You know what that was? Jitters. That's what that was. I couldn't even get mad. I almost smiled a couple times. Terrence almost had a triple-double: 11 rebounds, 10 points and 10 turnovers (laughter).

Q. Except for the early turnovers, how close was that to the kind of toughness you want to see?

COACH CALIPARI: We showed toughness. We out-rebounded a good team. One of the things I wanted them to do is get closer to our goal of 20 assists. I told them that prior to the game. You got to get to where you're passing the ball for each other and trying to play the game for each other.

I thought Brandon did a great job of running the team. How about this? We made a run with Brandon sitting on the bench. We also made a run when I took Terrence out early in the second half.

I'm trying to figure these guys out. It's not like I've had these guys for three years. I said, Let's start the half, we'll go with Terrence. That wasn't smart. I went up to him and said, If I go at you, you okay? He said, Yeah. But he probably was like, Don't do it.

So then I took him out, we make a run with him sitting on the bench. I thought Darius made strides. There were three or four plays, I was like, How could you do that? You played so tough and rough a couple rebounds. I thought he played well.

When we played at Florida, you think about it, Josh, Terrence, Doron, ugh. Darius, oh my. We had a chance to win. Eloy played well. We had a chance to win.

What I'm trying to say is you owe it to each other to come and look at yourself and say, I'm going to try to be my best. That doesn't mean shoot the ball. What happens to these guys is if they don't score the ball, they don't do the other things.

Terrence today had four blocks and 11 rebounds and played awful offensively. But that's why we won, because he rebounded and blocked shots.

Q. It seemed DeAndre was much more attacking the basket and going to the rim. Why do you think that's the case?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think part of it is I sat the team down and said the way he's defending, he deserves to shoot more. You guys figure out how to get him shots. I said, DeAndre, if we throw it ahead and can make plays, go make them. How hard he's working, he deserves it. We got guys shooting balls, going through the motions. You don't deserve to shoot it. Let him shoot it.

Let me say this. I'm proud of these guys. To go on the road, again we got another one, five of seven on the road, we got to coach from the end zone. It's going to be an experience that they have no idea about. Five of seven on the road, and they came back and did this. I'm proud of them.

One of the things we did this week, we went to the heavy bag. We put on the boxing gloves and we went to the heavy bag and he showed them how to box, how to jab. You guys know how to jab? Like to jab a couple of you. We go jab, jab. Because I'm doing it right at you doesn't mean anything (laughter).

I'm just saying, Look, you've got to be rough. You've got to be willing to fight. You've got to be willing to take their stuff. You can't let people take our stuff. I put on the board: Refuse to lose. It's that time of the year. Refuse to lose. Figure out a way. Refuse to lose.

They're not taking it from me. They're not grabbing a ball from me. They're not doing it. I'm making plays. We played smart down the stretch. Proud of the guys. Really proud of them.

Q. You said in here last week the team has to belong to the veterans. They might not score, but they can do all the little things.

COACH CALIPARI: Obviously, if Josh, DeAndre and Darius play like this, it's much easier. Darius missed a bunch of shots. The three, the runner, man. But that's okay because he did enough to rebound and fight and do all those other things that you leave him on the court, he's fine.

But those three, it's important, especially when we go on the road. Terrence struggled today, he struggled. Doron struggled at Florida. He never was into the game, not one second was he into the game. Couldn't get a rebound. He was not into the game.

Well, that's like normal. You other guys got to come and play. That's why we're saying our veterans got to bring it every game.

Q. John Wall was here. Did he talk to the guys before the game?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he was in the locker room and spent time with them. He's in there with them right now. You know, he was funny. He watches every game we play. He looked at me with Terrence and he says, Why does he settle for jumpers? Why doesn't he go to the rim and dunk balls? I said, I don't know, go talk to him, coach him a little bit. But he watches everything. He has a good beat on our team. He wanted to be here.

I asked him to go to Nashville. I don't know if he has a game or not, but see if he'll go with us.

Q. Where did this come from? Where did Harrellson come from?

COACH CALIPARI: Two great practices. He had two great practices. For two weeks, he was BS'ing. He was. Look, there's one person you cannot fool: yourself. You're not fooling yourself. You can fool everybody else. You're not fooling yourself. If you go through the motions in practice and act like it's this, that. When you get in the game, the first raindrop hits your back, you know what's about to happen. If you work your butt off and the raindrop hits you, you're like, I'm not worried about that.

He worked hard for two days. He said, I'm gonna get back, coach. I'm gonna get back. I said, We'll see. The guys each made a commitment. Each guy on the team made a commitment to the team.

I'll give you an example. Doron: I will sprint the floor. You're going to sprint the floor every time. Terrence Jones: I'm going to rebound the ball. Guess what? He committed to it and he did it. He even put percentages on it. Darius said he'd be tougher. DeAndre said he would rebound. DeAndre gets five rebounds in the game. Brandon Knight said, I will run this team. He ran the team.

They got to commit to each other. This is all new. They've all been about themselves. Getting beat up a little bit hopefully made it good for us. It would have been a tough loss here. But if we got better, they played better, we lose, move on. Now you got to go to Vandy and figure it out. We were good enough to win against a good team. Now we move on.

Thanks, folks.

Kentucky Players

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G

On coach Calipari telling him to take more shots…
“He told me that on the road I only took more shots, which I thought I was looking for my team mates more, but I was just focused today on trying to help the offense out more and take more open shots.”

On how tough it is to be that aggressive on offense…
“We knew we were a little bit hurt, but we tried to just play both ends of the court and do what we could.”

On his emotions and getting excited during the game…
“I challeneged them and there was a time when Tennessee reacted and just happened to get a foul.”

On what his personal commitment has been to the team…
“Just to try to rebound on both ends of the court. That is very important to us. We needed this win and we had a great fan base here tonight, so it was a good win.”                    

#55, Josh Harrellson, F

On just how good Tennessee is and what this win means…
“Tennessee is a great team, they played a bunch of good teams. They beat Pitt and Villanova, so we out executed them and once we got up and just never looked back, so to do that against a team like Tennessee is a great boost of confidence.”

On how comfortable the team can play at home…
“Maybe it is just the home crowd behind our back, and we know that we can play against anybody at home. Hopefully we can start getting that mindset on road games that we can play with them and take the crowd out early and make them play our game so that we can have a chance to win on the road.”

On how discouraging it is taking a charge and then leaving the game early…
“I just try to get the timing down. I have never really been taught on how to take a charge, but coach Calipari has been working with me on that.”

On what the exact secret is to taking a charge…
“The secret is timing and not leaving your feet too early; you have to take a quick step and fall, so I think I did that tonight and they called it, so I was pretty happy about that.”

#1, Darius Miller, Jr. G

On commitments that they each made...
“It’s is going to make us better as a team. If we do stuff we have talked about it will make us a better team.”

On playing in the environment at Vanderbilt...
“It is really going to be a tough environment. Their gym is not really like any other gym, it is set up different.  They are a tough and talented team and we are going have to go in there ready to play.”

On how important the upcoming road game is...
“It is really important. It is probably going to be a close game; they are very talented. We are going to have to find a way to get a win at the end.”

#3, Terrence Jones, Fr. F

On being more aggressive and boxing at practice...
“Coach said it was going to be a rough game and we needed to play more aggressive.  I knew we were going to have some tough practices because we should have won the last game.  I was ready for anything. Everyone just worked hard and enjoyed it.”

On carrying on the play tonight to this weekend’s game vs. Vanderbilt...
“Everyone just stayed committed to what they said they would do.  We did that tonight and if we just keep doing what we said we would do then it will work out.”

On what he committed to...
“Defensive rebounding.”

Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl

Opening statement…
“I’m not sure how John (Calipari) felt about how they played. My guess is he would be proud of their veterans for stepping up and playing physically. (DeAndre) Liggins and (Josh) Harrellson are two of their toughest guys and I thought that they really, really played well tonight. Kentucky – because they can play a lot better than that, but in the area that they had to win, which I thought was the area of toughness and rebounding, I thought they did win. We played really good defense, and I know the numbers don’t show that in the sense that they shot 45 percent, (but) when you give up 21 points off turnovers you think most of those are probably fairly easy shots, fairly open shots, so when we got back and we got them in half court, I thought we guarded them pretty well with the exception of when they were able to turn some corners, which is a big part of their offense, and then Brian Williams would have to rotate over and get himself out of position and Harrellson cleaned up a lot on the backside. Start of the second half was difficult. We scored the first basket and then they get a bunch of offensive rebounds off free-throw crosses and Tobias (Harris) and John Fields were in there with Scotty (Hopson) and Cameron (Tatum) and those four guys could not keep those two guys off the boards and gave Kentucky some real energy plays, physical plays I thought were a big difference in the ball game. I thought Scotty Hopson showed you something tonight in the sense that he really battled to come back. I think you could still see Tobias Harris is not 100 percent, but playing through it. He’s feeling better and he has been a double-double guy, he’s the leading rebounder in SEC games and he’s a freshman. Tonight wasn’t one of his better nights. It’s hard to come to Rupp, and when you don’t have one of your better performances from one of your better players…so obviously we’re disappointed.”

On the momentum they gained at the end of the first half…
“I thought we had good momentum going into the half. They did not score in the last six minutes of the first half and we made the first basket in the second half. I just thought, unfortunately, and it shouldn’t be early in the second half where the score comes into play but when they played volleyball at the free-throw line they gave us opportunities to get right back in it with some free throws. But they went and got the rebounds and set a tone. I thought that individually Melvin Goins did a great job once again against another good guard in Brandon Knight. (He) did a real good job. Josh Bone did a real good job on both ends of the floor. So we had a couple guys step up. One of the things that’s killing us, I don’t understand it – and I’m certainly not blaming anybody other than ourselves – early in the year we were leading the nation in going to the foul line for shots attempted, and in SEC play again tonight Kentucky was 22-for-27, we were 8-for-12, but we’ve consistently not gotten to the line, and our inside guys shot two free throws, that was Tobias and that was late. So we’ve got to do a better job of getting to the foul line. Our inside guys aren’t going so that’s definitely a factor.”

On junior guard Scotty Hopson’s health…
“I thought Scotty did a great job. He did a great job. He answered some toughness questions, I think. He’s not 100 percent and I thought he attacked the rim. (DeAndre) Liggins is a good defensive player, real good defensive player, he took a challenge in guarding Scotty and did a decent job.”

On how it feels to be back coaching on the sidelines…
“It feels good to be back, I wish I could help my team more. It’s fine to be back, but I didn’t help them enough to stay within range. Too many points off turnovers, too many second-chance points because we just couldn’t keep them from driving the lane and just too many no-shows, too many no-show performances.”

Tennessee Players

#24 Josh Bone, G

On how the team played tonight…
“It was a team effort. We can’t blame it (the loss) just on one or two guys. We didn’t play hard or play tough as a team tonight.”

On his minutes he played…
“I go into every game with the same mind set and that is to play hard. That’s all I can do and I try to do whatever coach asks me to do. I knocked down some shots today and all I wanted is the win.”

On how Scotty Hopson played…
“He goes out there and is a tremendous offensive player. I thought he went out there and played well.”

#30 Brian Williams, C

On if his team got out-toughed tonight…
“Yeah, defiantly. I don’t think everybody came to play today, and I don’t think we were on the same page. We had a game plan and we didn’t stick to it at all. When we came back, we started to play as a team, but we didn’t play like that for 40 minutes.”

On the main difference in the game…
“I have no answers for that. We are just going to have to go back to practice and see what the problems were. We are going to have to look at the film and find out what the problems were.”

On the pre-game locker room mood…
“Everything felt great. Everybody was excited about the opportunity of playing in Rupp Arena. It didn’t fall into place. You are not going to have a great game every game. You just have to make up for that in different aspects of the game, and tonight people didn’t do that.”