Kentucky-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes

March 12, 2009

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Kentucky Quotes

CLAUDE FELTON: We'll continue with Kentucky. Coach Gillispie, a couple of general thoughts on the game.

COACH GILLISPIE: It was a great win for us. We've been reeling for a while. I thought we tried really hard in the first half. But they scored and made a bunch of threes. Got it to the basket and offensively rebounded.

We didn't guard it like we know that we can. And in the second half we guarded much better. They missed some offensive shots that they might normally make. But most of them were contested, and I was very, very proud of us being able to guard and then execute fairly efficiently offensively over a 40 minute period.

Q. Jodie, can you talk about the defense you guys played against Terrico in the second half? Looked like y'all were really focusing on limiting his touches more, maybe being more physical?

Jodie Meeks: Let me start off by saying he's a great player. He did a great job of coming off ball screens and knocking off shots in the first half. In the second half, we just either tried to ball screen or tried to contain him as much as possible.

But he had some tough shots so you've got to give him credit for that. But I thought we did a good job of containing him better in the second half.

Q. Sort of follows up the first question. Can you guys talk about you forced 11 turnovers in the second half. I think you probably got a few points off of those. What was the key to getting hands on balls like you did and creating turnovers?

Jodie Meeks: I thought we did a good job in the first half of playing hard on on defense. They just, you know, executed real good. In the second half, we were more active on the ball and helped each other a little bit more and got some steals in transition and got us going on offense?

Patrick Patterson: Pretty much like Jodie said. We were able to help out each other a lot more. Each player was in the passing lanes and putting a body in the lane and not letting the opposing player get to the basket a couple of times. Just having our hands active and helping each other a lot more.

Darius Miller: Just like they said. I think we picked up our defensive intensity a lot and really tried to focus on not letting them get second chance points.

Q. Can you talk about what kind of defensive player Garrett Temple is to go up against for LSU and looking ahead to tomorrow, what kind of talent is he to go against?

Jodie Meeks: He's a real good defender. He's about 6' 6" or 6' 7". He's very long and tough to get around him. But my thick is not to worry about offensive, but worry about defending and rebounding, and just helping the team out that way. And the offense will come as the game comes.

CLAUDE FELTON: We'll excuse the student athletes. Thank you. Questions for Coach Gillispie.

Q. Can you talk about Trent Johnson and the job he's done at LSU this year?

COACH GILLISPIE: He's done a great job. He was named "Coach of the Year, " I believe. And he is very well deserved. There's a lot of good coaches in this league. And anyone that's known Trent for a long time or a short time and observed his team's playing, you knew he was going to do a fantastic job. They had some experienced players coming back, and he's done a great job of getting those guys focused on the right things.

They're really sound in everything they do, and that is the reason they had such a good record in conference.

But Trent, number one is a great person. He's a good friend and outstanding coach.

Q. In your estimation, what was the difference the way you guarded Terrico in the second and first half?

COACH GILLISPIE: They didn't get a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half. I don't know what the numbers were. I thought we did a good job of keeping them from getting to the paint.

In the first half, I thought they were getting in there a little too easily. I didn't think they helped nearly enough.

And they made some shots. We had a five point lead and they came out, out of a timeout, made a two, a three, another three to give them the lead. That's the kind of team they are. It's a team that likes to shoot the perimeter jumpshot and they're very, very capable of making them.

He's a tremendous talent, and he's a hard guy to guard because if you get too close he can go by and dunk it. If you don't get close enough he can make it to about 28 feet. So it's a hard match up for us. Their guards are very, very physical. Their interior guys are very, very quick so they're hard to guard.

But I thought Ramon got us started really well by guarding him at the start of the game. Then we had a little lapse and he kind of got going in the game. And I thought Darius Miller did a fantastic job of guarding him for the most part of the second half.

Q. Like you said, you guys have been reeling, but you come out today and a long way from home, and that arena looks like it does most SEC Tournaments. What's that mean to be this far from home and under the circumstances to get that kind of advantage today from your fans?

COACH GILLISPIE: So you're asking if we had a home court advantage? Is that what your question was basically? All right. Our fans have always been great. Last year ways different situation in Atlanta. We didn't get a chance to play because of mother nature. And that's not anything anyone can control.

But we always have a great following no matter where we go. And we definitely, I felt like we had a big time home court advantage today.

That's great, but the whole deal of every single game is you have to play against the five guys on the court at that particular moment. I thought our guys did a very, very good job of helping each other over a 40 minute period, and really competed hard for the most part. I was very proud of their effort.

Q. Turnovers and balanced scoring, how do those two things affect today's outcome for you guys?

COACH GILLISPIE: Yeah, we didn't turn it over nearly as much. They played a lot of zone against us. I thought it was okay. You know, I would like to see Pat score a little bit more. I thought we did a pretty good job of getting the ball in there to him, and he had a tough time finishing today. He still had a fantastic game, but I think he'll finish better in the future.

But it's nice when Perry plays like he did. That's the Perry Stevenson that we need to have play. And Darius Miller is a very nice player. I thought Porter played great and didn't make any shots, though I thought he played great. I thought Ramon Harris did good as well. Then Jodie got back to being his normal self.

Q. I just want your thoughts on an LSU rematch. You guys played a thrilling game the first time around. You anticipate the same tomorrow?

COACH GILLISPIE: Who was it thrilling for? Maybe it's thrilling for

Q. The fans, I guess?

COACH GILLISPIE: No, it wasn't too thrilling for the fans. Maybe it's thrilling for LSU's fans. But it wasn't too thrilling for me or our fans or our team.

They've whipped us in our own gym, and we look forward to playing the conference champion tomorrow. We know it will be a very difficult match up, but hopefully we'll be equal to the challenge.

Q. What has to be different for from the first LSU game to win?

COACH GILLISPIE: Just like any game, no matter who you play, you have to be good offensively, good defensively. You have to limit your turnovers and rebound the basketball. And they're sound in all those areas. They're totally sound, totally experienced. We have to execute every part of the game.

You know, we had a tough first half against them the first time. That's because they made us have a tough first half. That's what they do to people.

I think both teams when they play at their best and we played our best, I think they'd both be considered grinding teams. Defensive oriented teams and how well you play on offense usually determines whether you win or lose.

Q. Sort of a similar question, what did you do particularly well today that you hadn't been doing the last couple of weeks?

COACH GILLISPIE: Probably contested shots a little bit better, and we didn't give up too many offensive rebounds. When he we got a lead, we've had a couple of leads this year and we didn't finish the game out right. I thought we did a really nice job today of continuing to defend when we had a lead and getting defensive rebounds.

We caused a few turnovers in the second half, and we trapped the ball screen a little bit, and we got in the passing lane a little bit more. I thought that was very key for us.

Ole Miss Quotes

CLAUDE FELTON: We're ready to begin with Ole Miss. Coach Kennedy, some general thoughts on the game.

COACH KENNEDY: Disappointing second half for us. I thought Kentucky was quicker to the ball. We refer to effort areas every game, and they dominated in those areas, really hurt us on the offensive glass. We had 18 turnovers, I think 11 in the second half, which limited our opportunities, and as a result the game got away from us.

Q. Did you think in the second half that Kentucky was just a little more desperate? That they really needed that win more than y'all and kind of outworked y'all?

ZACK GRAHAM: I don't think they outworked us. I think in the areas that we need to pick up in in the first half like rebounding and things like that, like coach said making the 50 50 balls, I think that would have helped us out a lot.

Q. It looked like they really focused on making Terrico work more for the ball in the second half. Did you sense that out there? And how do you think their effort there impacted the second half?

ZACK GRAHAM: I think they did try to work to pressure Terrico to bringing the ball up. But I don't think it really pressured him at all. Terrico is a great player, and I think he handled it well being a freshman and having to step up like that.

Q. I know this tournament is supposed to be a neutral site, but the way Kentucky's fans travel, did it feel like an away game for y'all?

ZACK GRAHAM: Kentucky definitely had the majority of the fans out there tonight. But we've been in away games in previous games in the season, so we know what it's like to go away and play, so.

Q. In what ways was maybe Kentucky a little bit better than what you've seen in recent game film?

ZACK GRAHAM: I think it's the same Kentucky that we played before. I think just our turnovers and then rebounding the ball kind of really were keys and the factors in them winning the game today.

CLAUDE FELTON: Zach, we'll excuse you. Thank you.

Q. What did you think in the second half. You know Terrico wasn't as effective. Did you notice them keying on him more?

COACH KENNEDY: They just tried to deny him the ball which was smart. I thought they were doing it in the first half. I thought we gave into it a little more in the second half. They ran and jumped a couple of times. When they do that, you've got to be smart enough to make four on three plays. We got the ball to the right people.

We had a couple of shots early in the half. Typically, if you look at our team, and you've seen all of our games. If we can come out with the right approach to start the half, we can typically be in the game until the end. I thought we had a couple of key mistakes early, which allowed Kentucky to stretch. Then, when they stretch it's easier to play against a zone when you're playing in front with a three or four possession cushion. We could never get the game back to where we were putting real pressure on their game shots. They did a much better job in the second half.

We had a couple of break downs in transition against the press allowing Meeks to go for A and one. We leave him in the zone, and when you leave him in the zone he's going to make you pay.

I thought Patrick Patterson was a man among boys inside with his ability to dominate on both ends.

So I thought Kentucky played extremely well. They played really hard. And for us are our margin for error is such that when we turn the ball over as readily as we did, and we don't capitalize on our opportunities, it tends to lead to a long night.

Q. Kind of just talk about the way you guys ended the year, and you know it wasn't the way you wanted to, and just the year in general?

COACH KENNEDY: I told our guys in the locker room I'm really proud for them, honestly. With what they've had to go through. They've continued to fight. We've certainly, no one likes to lose, and it's been a hard year from a standpoint of just each and every night knowing you have to play the maximum to give yourself a chance to win.

But I'm really proud of these guys. I think many of them grew up throughout the course of the season, and that will bode well to the future of our program.

Q. Could you talk about David, how much pain he was in, and how he impacted the game?

COACH KENNEDY: I didn't see him visibly limping nearly as bad as he has in the prior two games. He told me he could go. We went with him. Tried to get him involved in the offense. He wanted to play. He realized that it was win or go home. I thought he gave a great effort.

Again, his shooting was such that without those game reps, I think sometimes you get out of rhythm. Basketball is a game of rhythm and flow. And I think he lost a little of that at the end of the season.

Q. You're one of eight on threes in the second half. Did they extend their defense or do anything to you?

COACH KENNEDY: I thought their defense was pretty good the whole game. Terrico made some early in the first half to keep us in the game. I thought we had those same shots. I know David and Zach started the half with some pretty clean looks. They're a very good defensive team. I thought they did a good job of handling our baseline screening series. And we had a couple of slips and we threw it in there. And had opportunities at point blank rain building. And Patterson came up with big blocks at opportune times which were deflating to our kids.