Kentucky-VMI Postgame Quotes

Nov. 14, 2008

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Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On how VMI played...
"Their style of play was that they whipped us. They out-fought us, they got allthe loose balls and out hustled us. They rebounded in a timely fashion betterthan we did and they executed much better than we did. They also showed moreleadership on the court than we did. It looked like they paid more attentionto the scouting report than we did and that is my fault. They played really hardand really well. I thought we would have played better and executed plays betterthan we did tonight. We knew those kind of things would be important in the gameand we just didn't do them."

On Patrick Patterson...
"I haven't heard that he is hurt and I don't think he is hurt in any kind ofway. Patrick played fine, but we didn't do a good enough job getting the ballin the post to him. I thought he did ok, but he has to chase down some more rebounds."

On how Kentucky played tonight...
"We started off the game with experienced guys on the court. Our guys were playingsoft on the ball and not appreciating the intensity of the game. We didn't faceup strong and square off to the basket well. We didn't play well on the courttonight and we didn't make crisp passes. We didn't do a very good job gettingto our spots very quickly. I noticed way too much walking around on the court.We didn't have much zip on our passes tonight. You can't have 25 turnovers inthe game with 16 in the first half. We finally got the lead, then we didn't getan offensive rebound and just let a guy shoot an easy lay-up. There were waytoo many break-out baskets. All of these problems were my fault. I'm the coachand I should have prepared this team better for this game and not let this happen."

On Kentucky wearing themselves out coming back...
"Their guys were on the court just as long as we were. I don't really buy intothe theory of a team wearing themselves out more than the other team. We didn'tpay attention to the details and missed assignments. I attribute this loss mostlyto lack of leadership. Leadership cannot fall solely on one guy who leads theoffense. If we execute correctly, then we will have many offensive leaders."

On how Jodie Meeks played...
"He has played his heart out every time he has played (in a game) and in everypractice. He played spectacular tonight as far as scoring. He did a great jobguarding Austin Kenon once we got started. He made one mistake leaving his manin the second half, but other than that I thought he played fantastic. He wasthe one guy that was consistent tonight. But that is not going to work when youhave one guy scoring 39 points."

Kentucky Players

#22 Ramon Harris

On his thoughts of the game...
"When it came down to it we just didn't finish. They got out to a big lead onus and we fought back hard till the end. We just didn't finish tonight. Our coachesprepared us well tonight, once again we just didn't finish. Free throws, turnovers,key rebounds, we just didn't finish."

On getting ready for North Carolina ...
"We just have to start getting ready for North Carolina . We hate losing, andwe can't go into North Carolina still thinking about this game. We have to goin there and be prepared to win."

On if Kentucky should have got the ball inside more...
"We like to go inside, because we have some key guys down there that are importantto our offensive set. Things didn't go the way we planned for it tonight, butwe made adjustments and came back but couldn't finish. Tonight it was an up-and-downgame, if we got a chance we would get the rebound and get up the floor. Theirpress forced some turnovers and we also got some lay-ups, but in the end we couldn'tfinish."

On Kentucky 's defensive performance ...
"It was miscommunication with guys on the floor. We were not talking in our transitiondefense, they were able to drive and kick (the ball out), get some turnoversand get points in transition. They played their style of basketball tonight."

#23 Jodie Meeks

On his thoughts of the game...
"I told my teammates not to give up, no matter how much we get down. I thoughtthat we did a good job of fighting back tonight. We knew that they were a goodteam after watching the film. The coaching staff had us well prepared, give creditto them, they just shot the lights out all night long."

On if he thought they were going to win after Kentucky came back and got the lead...
"You always have to be confident. We had some mental lapses on defense, whichis going to happen with it being our first game. We will work on that in practicetomorrow."

On if the team came out flat in the first half...
"No, I don't think so, I think that they are just a good team. I will give allthe credit to them. Our coaches had us prepared for what they were trying todo and they took some good tough shots and just beat us."

On how they turn around and get ready for North Carolina ...
"I told everybody that this is only the first game, nobody likes to lose of course,but we have to put this game behind us now and get start getting ready for NorthCarolina tomorrow. They are the number one team in the country, so we have toexpect everything from them. They have good players at every position, so wehave to go in there with confidence and get ready to work."

#54 Patrick Patterson

On what hurt Kentucky ...
"It was just (VMI) knocking down shots. That's how they got their points. They beat us on the drive, probably beat us on the boards. They just wanted it more than us. I feel that they played a lot harder than we did. They carried out their assignments. They executed on their plays. They were able to finish shots and plays on the stretch."

On the difficulty of playing from behind...
"It's not hard. You just have to have the mentality in your head that you can win this game. That's the mentality we had in our head. We felt that we should have won. If we had finished, knocked down our shots, and played the way we should have played we could have won that game. It was just extremely frustrating playing from behind, just playing catch-up. We were hoping that our shots would go down, and they weren't falling down. We weren't executing on offense and weren't playing the defense we should have been playing. A bunch of things went wrong."

On the three that VMI put up after Kentucky had gained the lead...
"We were ahead, and they got an offensive rebound. The (VMI player) caught the ball off the rim and tipped it back in. That was probably the turnaround point. They just got plays and executed down the stretch. We just didn't execute."

On if it was frustrating that his stats weren't high...
"It wasn't frustrating at all. I don't care about scoring that many points. I just want to win the game. I could have eight points in this game and we could have won this game. That's all that matters to me. I just feel that on my end, I could have done better to help us win this game. I could have stepped up and been a leader. I wasn't talking or active on the defensive end. I wasn't rebounding. There were a lot of things I didn't do to help my teammates tonight."

On Coach Gillispie describing the team as `whipped' and `soft.'...
"I can understand that. ( Kentucky ) was soft out there. (VMI) played a lot more physical and tougher than we did. Pretty much every rebound that went up, they wanted it more. They were driving to the basket, penetrating to the hoop. We just couldn't stop them. We weren't down playing defense or helping each other. We weren't doing all the things we know how to do and what we do in practice. They just played a lot better than we did out there."

On if this game compares to last year's loss against Gardner-Webb...
"I don't know. I was thinking about last year against Gardner-Webb and starting off like we did. With this game tonight, it's kind of looking like that. But we just want to concentrate on UNC and put this game behind us."

#21 Perry Stevenson

On what he did wrong in the game...
"I just had trouble staying in front of my man, causing my teammates to helptoo much."

On what happened to Kentucky ...
"We lost. I couldn't say it any better than that."

On if Kentucky thought a loss compared to the loss to Gardner-Webb last year was past them...
"We knew coming in (VMI) was a good team. What happened last year against Gardner-Webb,we just didn't want that to happen again. That caused us to fight back, but wejust came up short."

On what VMI did...
"(VMI) hit every three pointer. That was just ridiculous. They were a great shootingteam."

On if Coach Gillispie was mad...
"I don't think (Coach Gillispie) was mad at all. He just said, `We got what wegot.' There was a cause for it. We just came out on the bottom."

On what allowed VMI to come back and win...
"Competing on rebounds and hitting their shots. (VMI) just has good players.( Kentucky ) just came out on the bottom."

On guarding VMI's style of play in shooting threes...
"That's really tough to guard. I just hope it works for them the rest of theyear like it did against ( Kentucky ). It's just really tough to guard, and that'ssomething we're going to have to work on. There's going to be some other teamson our schedule that probably do that."

VMI Head Coach Duggar Baucom

Opening Statement...
"Right before we came out, we wrote on the board, `Do What We Do' and `Play Our Game.' We had to do that regardless, and we wanted to go down fighting. All of the kids did that and we were very composed throughout the game. We aren't the best defensive team in the country, but we can score. I'm very proud of the team and we played the way we wanted."

On Kentucky 's comeback...
" Kentucky could have pulled away at the end because of the crowd. It sounded like 100,000 people were in Rupp Arena and it was the loudest place I've ever been in. Our team came together at the end though, and it was good, because we had a lot of freshmen on the floor. For many of them that was their first college game because we only had two scrimmages before this. There, there was not a crowd in the stands and they only had me shouting at them. Meeks was unbelievable, we couldn't guard him, and he made play after play. We played a few defenses that the freshmen didn't know. We changed up a press, we played a two-three that we hadn't practiced at all. I credit the players because they listened and believed. Making the free throws and rebounds down the stretch were huge for us. We aren't a very good rebounding team, but we got the big ones when we needed them."

On the victory...
"This moment is special. I'm proud of the kids because people have no idea what they go through on a daily basis. School gets easier for them every year, and the freshmen have it the worst right now. I've been a high school coach, I came up from Division II and VMI gave me a chance, so this moment is very special. My son is a diehard Kentucky fan, and when he called me today he said he was pulling for me tonight. To come in here and for the kids to play this way was very special."

On Coach Gillispie and Kentucky ...
"I have great respect for Coach Gillispie and the team. I love what he did in his second year at UTEP and at Texas A&M. I have the utmost respect for him, Kentucky is a great team, and they will be good in the Southeastern Conference."

On VMI's game plan...
"We wanted to get into Kentucky 's face, keep the ball on the floor, and make them dribble. I think we did that well because Kentucky gave up 16 turnovers in the first half. We went up 20 points in the second half because we made shots and set our press. If we can do that, then we are pretty good and we can play the way we want to play. When we missed our shots, Kentucky made that torrid comeback."

On Kentucky 's point guards...
" Kentucky 's point guard situation was a point of emphasis for us. We wanted to force the players in that position to make plays. We wanted Meeks to do the same thing. Our goal was to make them dribble the ball and do things they don't practice. Unfortunately, they had a lot of dunks, but we did try to exploit the point guard position."

VMI Players

#3 Chavis Holmes

On whether he was surprised at how "everything went according to plan"...
"We weren't really surprised. We know we have senior leadership who would reallystep it up. When we spread the court, we're a hard team to guard. When we'reknocking down shots like we did today, we're a hard team to guard. We wantedto get out there with a good start. We got out there on a better start than wethought we would today. They kind of came back and but we just continued to knockdown good shots."

On taking the final shots to finish off the game...
"They were struggling trying to keep up with us all night. We got a few easyshots, easier than we expected. The way we practiced, we pushed the ball up anddown the court. So it really was no surprise to us. Like I said, we've been workinghard in practice and we came in here to play tonight."

On the feeling in the final moments of the game...
"I couldn't believe it. It seemed the time couldn't run down fast enough. Welove to see it go as planned."

#23 Travis Holmes

On their game plan for this game...
"Our game plan was to put pressure on the ball, knock down open shots, and hangin there until the end. The key today was to rebound and we thought that if weoutrebound and knock down open shots, we might have a chance. "

On being able to control the style of this game...
"We weren't surprised that we played our style. That's what our coach reallyenforced - shooting around in practice this week. We could speed it up and reallyplay our style. We didn't play as much of a spread out defense, but we packedin and made them take the outside shot that we wanted them to take."

On how this compares to other wins...
"Realistically, in all four years, we haven't beat a big team since I've beenhere. Our preparation in the off-season helped. We tried to prepare for themas much as we could, but it's indescribable. I've never experienced anythinglike this."

#31 Michael Sparks

On how they feel...
"It's surreal right now. Nobody else thought that we could do it except us. Wereally pulled together as a family, great senior leadership, and it's just fun.It's the highest I've ever been. It's unbelievable. I'll take this to the gravewith me. Coach was in the locker room before the game and told us that it wasjust us and whoever else came from VMI. We carried out our game plan. We triedto spread them out, keep it out of Patrick Patterson's hands and contain JodieMeeks. Meeks had a heck of a game, but we did our job and knocked down our shots."

On the pace of the game...
"We sped them up quite a bit, that's how we want to play. They got dunks butcoach told us at half time that as soon as they dunk the ball get it out of thenet and just throw it down court and try to get a lay-up and attack the rim.Chavis Holmes hit me on that last lay-up at the end, it seemed like it was takingforever for him to get the ball to me but he got me, it was perfect."

On if they thought about last year's game against Gardner-Webb...
"On the bus ride up here last night, we watched Gardner-Webb's tape. We knewcoming into the game that we had to go right out there and attack them to thebest of our ability. I feel like we did that, we got up on them and we neverlooked back."

On Kentucky coming back after being down 23 points...
"Every time we huddled up at the free throw, we said we had to come back down,we had to play defense, we have to get stops, we have to make shots. Althoughthey came back, we still made our shots. Keith Gabriel, another freshman hada heck of a game. He pulled through. We all played well."