Kentucky-Florida Postgame Quotes
March 9, 2013
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. How well do you think your guys responded like a drowning man?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they swam like heck. In the last seven minutes, when it was in doubt, they swam like heck. When you're going to drown, you want to die, don't swim. If you want to live, the life raft is over there, you got to swim to it. As a matter of fact, it's kind of breezing away from you, so you're going to have to swim real hard, and they did.
A lot of good efforts. I got to tell you, Julius (Mays) came up with 10 seconds to go and said, Get me the ball. So I thought they may trap first. So we were going to curl him, pop Kyle (Wiltjer), then get the ball to Julius.
He walked out, I ain't curling anything, just get me the ball. He went and got fouled, made both. He knew he was going to make them.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to put Willie Cauley-Stein back in?
COACH CALIPARI: I said I'm forgetting he has four. A basket doesn't kill us. You fouling out can kill us. He can play with four fouls. That team we had out that last seven minutes, every one of them guarded. They just locked down, rebounded, went and got balls, made a couple shots to get it close, came out of timeouts did some stuff, listened.
One timeout we didn't. The good news is they got on each other about it. They broke it down. We threw the ball to Archie (Goodwin) and he drove. That's what we were running. He ran a guy over. We were still down seven at the time. It was a big play. Obviously didn't come back to hurt us.
Q. Can you talk about the way that Alex Poythress rebounded today.
COACH CALIPARI: I heard he spoke to the media yesterday and basically said, I haven't played hard enough all year. I'm going to give everything I can.
There was one spell that he gave up. He's done that throughout the year. This is the first game he did that. Took him out. His teammates got all over him. And he said, Put me back in. He grew up today because he went back in and finished those last seven minutes and was a beast.
First time he's been able to do that, get by, slumping shoulders, head goes down. Now I got to put him back, he's got to play again, and he did it today.
Q. Do you feel like you were coaching an NCAA tournament team today?
COACH CALIPARI: At our best, we are an NCAA tournament team. When we're not at our best, we're not very good. But that takes everybody playing. That takes everybody being responsible.
Here is what I did yesterday. I gave each guy two things that I needed them to do in the game, that the team needed them to do. They were different for each guy. I had them come up and read what we were asking them to do. Can you do this? Will you do this the entire game? Each guy said yes. One of the things I did was I said, Is everybody all in? Yeah. Raise your hand if you think everybody's all in. No hands were raised.
So then I gave them these two commitments. Can you do these two things all game? If you do, tell me what's going to happen to our game. Next guy, next guy.
Well, what happens after that, I said, Now how many of you think everybody is all in if they take care of what they're supposed to do? They all raised their hand.
This team is young. Nobody is winning on the road right now, unless you're top five or top eight teams. Teams on the road are losing. The loss at Arkansas, no one has won there. The loss at Georgia was tough to take because of how we played. But guess what? They just played Tennessee and somebody else in that building. So they're on a good roll right now.
This win today shows that we're one of those teams. Got to go to the tournament, one-game season again. I guess we're 2 or 3 up there, seeded 2 or 3. With what this team has gone through to finish second in the league is a pretty good deal. Proud of 'em. We'll see what we can do in the tournament.
Q. Florida struggles a little bit, if you call it struggling, in close games.
COACH CALIPARI: We were trying to make it a 20-point bulge. One thing about close games, they can make threes at any time. They're a talented team.
The last time Billy (Donovan) won a national title was in Atlanta. His father and I went to (get) coffee at Dunkin Donuts every morning. When I grabbed his father, I said, You make sure your son gets his team to Atlanta so you and I can have coffee in the morning.
They have a terrific team. They've lost some road games, just like everybody else. But they're still one of those teams that in my mind is odds on to have a chance to get to a Final Four.
Q. You talked about how many guys answered the bell today. Kyle continues to struggle.
COACH CALIPARI: He's struggling. He's struggling defensively. We just got to figure out what we do because it's hard to leave him in the game if they're scoring on him every time.
But we'll figure it out. He did enough. He made a couple plays. Everybody wants him to make every shot, but I don't care. He can miss every shot if he defends.
One of the goals we had for Julius is we need you to get 12 to 14 points. You can't come up short. I don't care how you get 'em. He got 13.
Alex rebounding the ball.
Willie Cauley(-Stein), the way he played, he played well. We get five blocks, and we're supposed to be the team that lost the biggest shot block guy in the country.
Ryan Harrow, if Ryan plays the way he's capable of playing, he had one turnover, we're pretty good. A lot of it is he has to play.
Q. The crowd, Cal.
COACH CALIPARI: Unbelievable. What I did last night, I was home, driving in, thinking, What else can we do? What edge can we get? We're doing two things to the players. Here is how we're going to do it. We have a game plan. What else?
I told Dewayne (Peevy), We need the fans to take us over the hump. The last eight minutes, we need you standing to carry us over the finish line. And they did. That building was unbelievable. That was as loud as we've been in four years. The great thing is the crowd knows this team is so young that they really need them.
Q. When teams are in this situation, do or die, sink or swim, and they do win, in your experience what can it do for this team?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we beat Missouri in the same thing and it didn't do a whole lot. We reverted back. I know we can do it, but wait till you see my way of doing it. Everybody reverted back, from Alex to Ryan. We all did. Archie was fouling. It was just ridiculous. So let's hope that doesn't happen.
The good news is we have no more road games. We don't have to go on the road. Nashville has been a good home for us. So it's not like we're not going to have some people up there.
Q. As you mentioned Nashville, you coached an SEC tournament in Nashville. How much of a difference can the fans make for you?
COACH CALIPARI: We just got to play basketball. If we play and we play like we defended today, because we weren't great offensively, we shot 39% and 23% from the three and won. Those are my old-school teams. That's my UMass teams. That's how we played. You're laughing, but it is.
We gutted it out and we defend you. Then we figure out a way of trying to win it at the end. We held them to 40% and 35. 10 turnovers. Well, that's a low number against them.
Q. Timeout early in the first and second half. Talk about the energy coming out.
COACH CALIPARI: Like I told them, when you're out there ready to drown, you better start swimming and make something happen. I think they did. At halftime I told them that we had a couple breakdowns. The reality of it is that we fought like heck.
I think all our fans, all they've wanted to see from this team is this kind of effort. We can all live with this. Doesn't mean you're going to win every game, but you're going to fight like heck and give yourselves a chance. Maybe the other team starts making threes, a bank three, does something crazy.
This kind of fight and effort where we look like a team, where guys weren't breaking off and doing their own thing, it's what everybody wants to see. It's what I want to see as a coach, too.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
#34, Julius Mays, G
On how it felt to get the win...
"It felt good. Like I said earlier in the week, it was do-or-die. We needed this win more than anything to keep our season alive and it gives us a good feeling going into the SEC Tournament."
On where the free throws he hit in the closing seconds ranks in his college career...
"It's up there. I have had a lot of big moments in my college career, but that one was probably my biggest one because we needed that win more than anything to keep our hopes alive. I told Coach (Calipari) when we went into that timeout that I wanted the ball. He actually didn't draw the play the way I ran it, but I wanted that ball and I wanted to shoot those free throws."
On if the team "grew up" during today's game...
"I think they grew up. They didn't have any choice. They knew, like I said, it was do-or-die and that we needed this win more than anything. They stepped up big and we came out with the win."
#22, Alex Poythress, G
On focusing on the NCAA Tournament…
"We're not worried about the NCAA Tournament right now. Right now, we're just focused on the SEC Tournament. We have to take it one game at a time and try to get an SEC championship."
On wanting to change…
"It's never too late. There's always time to change. Our season's not over yet, so you just keep on going. There's always time to change."
On admitting he wanted to change…
"I just looked myself in the mirror and realized I could've been better this whole year, could've been better in some areas. It's time to grow up. "
#10, Archie Goodwin, G
On if he felt a comeback coming after his second steal…
"I knew from the get-go that we would be able to do that. When we were playing against Missouri we were down ten at one point and we came back and won the game. It was another one of those type of moments where we got down, but we just had to fight and withstand their run, and we did.
On how much getting into the NCAA tournament was a focus for the team…
"I would say that it had something to do with it because we know that. It wasn't even us thinking about the NCAA Tournament right now, it was really thinking about the SEC Tournament. We wanted to have a good seed going into there. Now we will probably play on Friday, which will give us a lot of rest in between and we can better focus on our game plan more. This was just a win to ensure our spot in the SEC tournament."
On the defensive effort at the end of the game…
"We just finally had everyone rotating well like we were supposed to. We had moments where we needed to scramble, and we did that well. We were able to make them take tough shots and when we weren't able to do that, they had a couple of freebies that they missed because they were riled up from those last seven minutes from us playing hard like we did. I think Patric (Young) missed a wide open lay up that he had. That just came from us working hard and them being exhausted after we withstood what they were doing."
On if the communication is better on the defensive end…
"Yes I do. We have been talking a lot more. In games like this we have to feed off of each other more and we know that now. When we figure that out, it helps us a lot. When we have to switch on screens, like we had to today, communication like that is key for us."
Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan
On Florida's execution…
"I think we executed very well. I was really pleased with the way we executed today. Outside of a couple turnovers, which were not good. We run a play where we get Patric Young underneath the basket, how much better can you execute? The execution is you're shooting the ball and you want the ball to go in. If we could execute making shots every team in the country would shoot 100 percent. You're not going to be able to do that all the time. I thought the one play we ran coming out of the time out Scottie (Wilbekin) got it late to (Erik) Murphy. He was open and he took two extra dribbles to try to get down the lane instead of just snapping it to him right away. They were in a bind on the back side because Patric was rolling to the basket. Murphy's man was in front of Scottie, and Patric's man took him rolling to the basket. Murphy was open, took two extra dribbles and allowed Poythress to close back out and allowed Cauley-Stein to get back inside. I thought that was one where we could have had a pretty decent look. I thought we were up by seven there. We had a couple of plays where they couldn't capitalize right away. Murphy had a good 3 out of the corner. It didn't go in. Then Scottie missed a runner in the lane, and Patric missed a jump hook. Those were right there point blank shots. Even (Kenny) Boynton's shot off by the side was a pretty decent look. You have got to do that in those situations."
On taking advantage of Willie Cauley-Stein's foul-trouble …
"He altered (Scottie) Wilbekin's drive. I don't think he altered Patric Young's shot at all. I don't think he altered Scottie's shots. He didn't jump on Scottie's. I think he was worried about coming up and leaving Young open for maybe a lob or a dunk. He's long, he's athletic. I though he played a very good game. He's still got a ways to go offensively, but I love his energy, his motor and the way he plays."
On Kentucky without Nerlens Noel …
"They certainly have a lot of individual talented pieces. There's no question about that. When you take a guy like Nerlens Noel off the floor it would be like us having to play the rest of our season without Patric Young. It's very difficult to do. With Nerlens they are extremely special, because you can play inside together. It makes it tough to score around the basket with those two guys (Cauley-Stein and Noel). I think they are good enough -- Kentucky -- talent-wise to play with anybody. I haven't seen everybody out there in the country, but it's hard when you lose a player like that, and you have to adjust. Can they beat anybody? Absolutely, they are talented and gifted enough, but I think they're probably still learning to play without Nerlens."
On calling timeouts early in each half…
"I was really annoyed to start both halves to be honest with you. I think our team knew that Kentucky was going to come in and be aggressive to start the game. The first possession of the game the shot goes up and Poythress, totally legal, just dislodges Murphy out of the way. Jams him under the backboard, grabs the ball and hits a layup. The next possession we come down the floor, and Murphy makes a very weak move at the basket. The shot gets blocked, then another shot blocked. We were just too loose. Clearly looking at the game to start the first two minutes I thought clearly Kentucky was the more aggressive team. I just tried to get our guys to respond. We responded. It was tied at the half. We probably could have done a better job blocking on the free throw line to close out the half. We had a four-point lead when (Michael) Frazier II had a live ball turnover, which hurt us. It enabled them to get right back when we had a little momentum."
#33, Erik Murphy, F
On the offensive struggles late …
"Honestly, we just missed some shots that we should have made. Everybody had some good shots that they could have made and we just missed them. They stopped us, played defense and caused some misses. That's what happens."
On turnovers late in the game …
"Those happen in games. You try and eliminate them, but they are going to happen. Nobody is trying to turn the ball over, but they made some defensive plays and we slipped up a little bit. That's part of the game."
On the charge called against Willie Cauley-Stein …
"I don't know. It's hard to see. I was looking at the basket and seeing if anyone was open. I thought I had a lay up and I guess they called a charge. I don't think I hit him that hard. I don't even know where it was on the floor, but I mean they called it a charge. If they call it, it's a charge."