Kentucky-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes

Feb. 18, 2012

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Head Coach John Calipari

Q. Coach (Andy) Kennedy said this Kentucky team is the best team he's seen as a head coach here in the league; what do you think?

COACH CALIPARI: I've got a pretty good team. You know, I haven't been here that long, so I don't know. I've been here three years and I've had three pretty good teams, and they are all different.

Let me say this: They played well. I mean, I've watched a lot of tape. They played well. They had guys make shots that had not made shots and they made them. They were physical going to the rim. They made baskets. They shot 47 percent against us, including 60 from the 3. People have not done that to us.

You know, I'm happy we out-rebounded them because that's a terrific rebounding team but they didn't have many offensive rebounds because they didn't miss many shots; didn't have many opportunities to rebound.

So I would say this to you: If they play like that to finish out, they are going to be fine.

Q. The stretch in the first half when you had Anthony (Davis) on the bench and you also had Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) get in foul trouble, you've been talking about that's a situation you thought your team could grow and respond and show you some things; is that a good learning experience for this team?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we are going to watch tape and figure out what happened, because again, if Anthony is out, then who is going to block shots? Somebody in there better. Or Kyle better take charges.

Now I will say this: Kyle played great today. He was outstanding. And the reason we had a lead at halftime was because of Kyle Wiltjer, in the middle of the zone, he made shots, he defended well. He took a charge. I mean, he played well today. And it just shows you what I keep saying. We really probably have seven starters. He plays different. He definitely stretches the defense. He's pretty good.

So you know, it gave Kyle a chance to step up and play and he played well.

Q. When you look at the stat sheet and you see ten 3-pointers, do you say 3-pointers bailed us out today or 3-pointers is just as much a part of our offense?

COACH CALIPARI: You have got to understand, they were giving us that shot, versus letting us get near the rim. In the middle of the zone, they were not giving us the lob to Anthony Davis; they were back.

So you know, you talk about Jeremy Lin, he scored, scored, scored, because the other teams were saying, make him score and beat us, and he did. So then they came back and said, no, we are not letting him score, and he had 13 assists. That's basically this. You just -- whatever they are giving you, you've got to take.

I've got a terrific three-point shooting team, I really do. But we just don't take a whole lot of 3s because we don't have to. I like 3s; I love dunks.

Q. You mentioned the physical play of Ole Miss, how do you think your kids responded to that? Because they kind of took it to you.

COACH CALIPARI: I thought we all did pretty well. I thought Terrence (Jones) played pretty well, a double-double. I think we had a couple break downs, but I think Michael did fine, physically he got pushed once or twice. I thought Anthony did fine. I love the fact that Kyle was in that kind of game and held his own, knowing that he's got to, to stay on the court. But it was -- you know; it was a good game for us that way.

Q. Coach, kind of mentioned it, but how much do you see foul trouble specifically with Anthony as a possible Achilles heel for you guys?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think he ended up with two fouls and I think he's probably in minutes played, if you look through the country, I bet you he's up in the high, least amount of fouls in minutes played.

So you know, it could happen. And it's like any other team; if Fab Melo goes down and has foul trouble, Syracuse isn't as good. You can go just right down the line. If Thomas Robinson is foul trouble, guess what, Kansas is not as good. The same with Ohio State; big man is out, they are not the same team. Obviously with Anthony not in, we are not the same, but we do have a talented team, even when he's not on the floor.

Q. You were talking about teams don't do this to you shooting the ball as well as they did. Did you have any lag on defense that allowed that?

COACH CALIPARI: I'll watch the tape and I'll figure out, you know, we are handed down. That means if they shot this high percentage, they got layups. Whether it be breakaways -- if you look at it, there must have been, you know, eight or nine layups, which is eight for eight. That doesn't happen to us very often.

Q. Can you talk about Darius's play today?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, I think -- I thought he played well. I think the dunk is one of the biggest plays I've seen him make. My point is, if you can do that, why don't you do that all the time. Why isn't that you?

You know, I look to Doron Lamb. You are playing well but when you go to the rim and get bumped, you don't ever make that basket. That's the difference between you being special, being that lottery pick that you should be, and not.

And you know, it's the same thing with Terrence. Terrence, this is what you should be every game we play. It should be a double-double. Without an excuse, I don't want to hear it, you should be a double-double, you're a top-five player.

And as we get closer to guys playing near their potential, that's when this team will take off again.

Q. With today's win, you guys are now 12-0 in the SEC. Have you talked at all about running the table and – finishing the year (undefeated in SEC play)?

COACH CALIPARI: No, we are just trying to get better. Here is what happens. There's two things I try to do. One, we are staying in the moment, like right now. I wanted them to enjoy this game, because Mississippi played a great basketball game.

Then, the second part of it is, we'll watch tape, we'll learn from this game and when this game is done, move on.

We are allowed to lose. This isn't football. You don't lose the national title in February. So you can lose. My point is, are we getting better. If we are getting better and we take an L, it's okay.

The second thing is, you know, as a coach, when things are not going well, you try to take responsibility so they know, just go play. Even if you're not great, play, I'll take the hit.

And so those are some things we are just trying to do. This is a young team. We start three freshmen, Kyle Wiltjer is a fourth freshman, think about that. So four freshmen, two sophomores and Darius Miller who basically played today.

Q. What sort of lift did Kyle give you in the first half when Anthony did have the two fouls?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what he did was he came in and he's not afraid. He played aggressive. He made shots. He got in the middle of the zone. He kicked it out from there. He made a shot in there. He was terrific.

Q. Can you talk about Marquis' play over the last seven-game stretch? I know he's averaging about six (assists) in the last six and had another 8 tonight.

COACH CALIPARI: He's playing -- I told him, you missed a bunch of shots today. I don't really care. That's not why you're here. You're here to run this team, and as long as you run this team well, we're happy.

You know, we have been really on him hard not to get layups blocked, so he went in there today and he shot it. The guy tipped it, but it was not blocked and it went to the rim and we tip-dunked it. You know, he's getting us involved in offense.

The only thing he did in this game -- and he's a freshman, he doesn't know. They switched the big man on him. Well, the big man knows he can't guard you. The only thing he can do is take a stab at the ball, so you don't mess with the ball. You get it by him and clip him so he fouls you. He messed with it off the knee behind the back twice and he tipped it away from him. Those are all those teaching points that we need to stay on to just keep him moving at that next level.

Q. Andy Kennedy, saying he was a basketball Jones, compares your teams to the UNLV teams that almost went back-to-back in the '90s, and he says the only thing that could stop you quite possibly is your own execution or foul trouble. What's your take on that?

COACH CALIPARI: Or somebody making 15 3s against you, something like that could happen and you don't get another chance to get them, it's one-and-done.

I think we have got a good team. I'm not satisfied. I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied at all. I just want us to keep climbing, and then we'll see how good we can be. If at the end of the day, we'll see if we have the best team. If we don't, someone else is better than us.

Q. The home winning streak reached 50 games today; what is your reaction to that and how does it make you feel that you've been able to sustain that?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, it's the first I've thought of it. It is 50? That's a lot of games.

I made an executive decision with the radio group outside, the 9,000 people that stay after, if we lose, I do not sign one ball. So you guys better cheer your guts out for us to win.

If I walk in there after an L, no balls get signed. So now I'll be out there signing 200 basketballs before I leave the building.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#3, Terrence Jones, F

On the play of Miller and Wiltjer
“I think we got a deep team and Coach (Calipari) can go to a lot of guys. A lot of guys have confidence to step in and fill that role. Kyle (Wiltjer) and Darius (MilleR) pretty much always do a good job.”

On Kyle Wiltjer’s improvement …
“He’s been going to practice an hour early and working out with us. He’s just improving and it’s showing in the game.”

On the boost the dunk of Darius Miller gave the team …
“It just gave us more energy, got the crowd more into and it makes the team feel, especially in this building, like the whole game just shifted. It just helps us and gives us a lot of energy.”

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, G

On what he wanted to do when he gets in the game ...
“I knew they were in a zone. We’ve been doing a lot of zone stuff and Coach Cal said to be in the middle and be ready to either pass it down to Terrence or be ready to score. I got a couple nice, little easy baskets in the first couple minutes I was in. I just wanted to be aggressive offensively and shoot my open shots.”

On his defense ...
“I’ve just learned a lot from the coaching staff. They really emphasize me playing good defense. It’s a lot more angles than I anticipated coming into college. You don’t have to be the quickest, strongest guy; you just have to be ready every play and got to be there for the charge, help side and being able to talk. It makes it a lot easier having such a good coaching staff.”

On Ole Miss' size
“There’s a lot of strong guys in college. We have a lot of very good defensive schemes. When they get the ball in the post, we usually trap in the post and it really takes a lot of pressure off of me. Really it helps when you’ve got the best shot-blocker in the country having your backside.”

#20 Doron Lamb, So., G

On how they played coming off of a week off …
“We started off a little hot, then we got down a little bit in the middle of the first half and they made a couple of buckets and tied the ballgame up. Then Kyle (Wiltjer) came in and made big shots for us, got it up to about 10 points and we started from there.”

On how many weapons they have when Kyle (Wiltjer) comes in and scores 10 in the first half…
“We have a full team. We got a lot of great players on our team. When Kyle (Wiltjer) comes in and gives us points and rebounds, we’re way better and we did that today. He made a couple of 3-balls that we needed down the stretch and we need that from now on.”

On playing the majority of the first half without Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) and Anthony (Davis) …
“We have to learn how to play without Anthony (Davis) sometimes, because we never know when he’s going to be in foul trouble. He may be in foul trouble in the tournament, so we have to learn how to play with(out) him and Terrence (JoneS) had to foul sometime. Eloy (Vargas) came in and gave us a little bit of minutes. We played great, I think, without Anthony. Kyle came in and gave us great minutes. And in the second half, we started from there without Anthony back in.

On how Darius Miller’s dunk or any dunk like that can change a game…
“A dunk like that when the crowd gets into it can change the whole game really. The crowd got into it when Darius (Miller) made that dunk and we got on a run on that stretch and Kyle (Wiltjer) made a couple of 3-pointers that we needed to get us up in the lead.”

#1, Darius Miller, G

On his first-half dunk…
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet. It felt pretty good. It was fun. It’s always good when something happens to you like that, excite my team and help get us going. They were doing a good job of making us uncomfortable and playing really good. I guess we needed something to jumpstart us and I guess it worked. It always feels good to have a good play.”

On Kyle Wiltjer’s performance…
“Kyle is always a threat to score. We look for him to score. He did a good job in knocking down shots and opening up the defense for us so every time he comes into the game we try to give him shots. We know he will always knock them down. He did a great job of coming in and helping us get going today.”

On the team’s 3-point shooting ability…
“We are definitely confident in our 3-point shooting. We do not feel like that is a weakness at all. When teams give them to us, we are confident that we are going to knock them down. Like Coach Cal said, it’s not the main thing that we do or what we look to win games off of, but if it’s there we’ll take it.”

Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy

On playing Vanderbilt and Kentucky …
“I watched the (Vanderbilt) game threes times. The first time I watched, it I was trying to figure out how to stem the tide literally from an Ole Miss perspective, second time I watched it and I was contemplating moving forward, the third time I watched it, it was with our team yesterday and I was in awe with how Vanderbilt played. Was it the best we could play? No, but we’ve played a lot worse. (Vanderbilt) put on a clinic (like) nothing I’ve ever seen, and unfortunately we were on the receiving end of that. I thought tonight our effort was pretty good, Kentucky is very good. I was realistic with the guys, the margin for errors was small. I thought we competed and for us, now it’s just a matter of trying to move forward and winning the games in front of us.”

On Kentucky’s 3’s for the game…
“Kyle (Wiltjer), I thought he came in and changed the game first half. The zone bothered him a little bit, I just thought (Marquis) Teague was so fast he wanted to go, go, go. I thought Wiltjer came in and really was a big key for settling them down and all of a sudden other guys stepped up and made shots. During the last two games we were just figuring it out, teams are 22 for 37 for 3’s against us and boy that’s tough.”

On Kentucky’s team this year …
“It’s the best Kentucky team we’ve played in my six years. And that’s saying something. Obviously Calipari has taken this thing to an elite level. Two years ago when we were in here; when you talk about John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, maybe the best outside guy and the best inside guy in college basketball during their time and they had some other very good pieces, I think this team because they defend. Anthony Davis at the rim and for him it was a very pedestrian game, but he is such a difference maker. He just changes the way you try to attack him and when you tell your guys to attack, it changes the way in which they do attack because they know he is lurking, his length is incredible and he just makes a difference defensively. I believe they do a really good job with their ball movement and their spacing. I think they are tremendous”

On what UK did to limit the effectiveness of Terrance Henry in the second half …
“I think they did a really good job of packing it in. (Anthony) Davis picking up two fouls kind of opens up the lane a little, and we are able to get in there a little. We also turned it over. He was still trying to be ingressive early in the second half and couldn’t get the ball to the basket. They were reaching and dribbling high. It wasn’t the fact that he was missing shots, he just wasn’t getting them because of the turnovers.”

On Jelan Kendrick as a ball handler …
“I think he was pretty good. I thought he was giving us an offense. I thought his ability with size was a little bit beneficial. I just thought he was playing better at the spot, so we just gave him the minutes.”

On UK winning 50 straight home games …
“For us, we talked about a lot of things, and that wasn’t one of them. I didn’t want to bring that to our guy’s attention. For us, it was really about competing. They have done a tremendous job. I have always said, I am a basketball jones at heart, so I have great respect for this place and the passion. To me it’s the pinnacle. It’s the pinnacle of college basketball. I truly believe that, and I believe that of all fronts. For our young guys, sometimes I want them to understand the opportunity. Very few times do you get the chance to play in Rupp Arena, in front of a packed house, against the number one team in the nation, so enjoy it. If you are not getting any enjoyment out of this, what are you doing? I wanted our guys to enjoy it. I wanted them to compete. I wanted them to give ourselves a chance. I thought we did that in segments. But again when they are shooting the ball as well as they are shooting it, and we didn’t do a very good job and we haven’t gone a good job the last couple of games of rebounding. We pride ourselves on defending and rebounding and that has been up to our standards the last couple of games and that has been the difference and the reason we have taken two hard L’s.”

Ole Miss Players

#31, Murphy Holloway, F

On Ole Miss’ slow start …
“They are a tough team; they deserve to be number one in the country. We just came out here to compete. Coming off a tough loss, everybody was mad, it wasn’t a great time for us to come and play them. We came out here and competed and it’s time to look forward”

On playing Thursday and Saturday games…
“We have to get a win so the guys feel good about themselves. The older guy likes me, Terrance (Henry), Reggie (Buckner) and Nick (Williams), we don’t always know, we have to keep going because we’re older and we’ve been through it. For some of the new guys like Jarvis (Summers), Jelan (Kendrick) and other guys we need a win so they can get back going and they can feel like they can do this”

On his baseline dunk…
“Coach (Andy Kennedy) said just catch it at the baseline, beat him, go in there and dunk it or they will block it. I really thought he got a hand on it so I had to push it through the rim”

#1, Terrance Henry, F

On the teams play in the first half…
“We just came out and felt we had nothing to lose in this game, so we just came out and played as hard as we could to give ourselves a chance to be in this game.”

On his personal play in the first half…
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, (and) take the shots that the team needed me to take. I came out and knocked them down.”

On Kentucky’s second half defense against him…
“They were helping more, (and) they were digging harder. They forced me to get too deep on a couple drives too.”