Kentucky-Buffalo Postgame Quotes
Head Coach John Calipari
Q. Is this exactly what your team needed?
COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah. I went on TV after and both guys said, You know you didn't have the energy that they had.
Do your guys understand every game they play is going to be someone's Super Bowl?
But we were also disconnected offensively. Wasn't just defense. It was both.
What they came in, with their game plan, was drive the ball, something we worked on a little bit yesterday, something that we're going to have to get better at so we keep people in front of us.
I told Bobby after, I mean, he lost three of his guys, his starters, had two starters back, has pretty much a brand new team, and they came in here and did that? Wow! Hats off to 'em.
I told the team at halftime, You know what? I'm happy this happened, and if you don't start playing you're going to lose, and I'll even be happy about that. You need to get hit in the head and start understanding what we/you have to be.
And I know all our fans, Oh, we can't ever lose a game. We can't. Well, there are going to be some Ls the way we're trying to do this for a while until they get it.
We had a couple guys stand out and play well. Karl(-Anthony Towns) didn't play well today; Devin (Booker) played better. Devin didn't play well the last game; Karl played better.
Dakari (Johnson) did a pretty good thing. I wish he made more foul shots, because we'd go to him more.
You know, Tyler (Ulis) played well; Andrew (Harrison) didn't play as well as he's been playing. But he'll be fine.
I mean, this is how it'll go. Next game it will be Andrew playing out of his mind and Tyler won't play as well. That's what happens when you have this group of players and they get to understand -- like Alex (Poythress) in the first half. Come on, Alex in the first half. But in the second half he played.
It's what we're going to be for a while.
Q. John, Trey (Lyles) came out with that kind of energy I think you were looking for in the second half. What did you see from him there, and was it a game-wide thing for him?
COACH CALIPARI: His decision-making, because the game is faster than he's ever played, so he'll have a drive; instead of pulling up, he'll run somebody over. There is a quick-pass shot for him and he's not prepared because he's never played this fast. He's got to catch up with that stuff.
But Trey Lyles gives us, on that second unit, unbelievable scoring ability if Devin makes a shot or two. Devin doesn't have to make them all; he just can't miss them all.
Now you have Trey and you have Dakari inside. I mean, Marcus Lee doing his thing. You know, it ends up being a pretty good game for us.
Q. Looked look the second unit was giving you better effort defensively. Is that surprising at all, because that's the group that has three freshmen on it?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, their energy, it's not for me it say. You all watch it. When I watch the tape I'll have my opinion, too.
But, again, what I liked in the game is it was a close game. We had to fight. We had to execute down the stretch.
Now, if you look at our last seven, eight possessions, they were all great possessions. For that to be November 15th -- is that the date today?
COACH CALIPARI: The 16th? That's ridiculous, especially when I was out there with three freshmen doing it. We subbed three freshmen in there and they executed down the stretch.
So for us to be able to have a game like this, this was a big time game for us. We needed this. We needed a team that could beat us on the dribble, that wasn't afraid, that played physical, that had an inside presence.
And this is it. I mean, now we go to Kansas. It's the same thing. We probably need another hit in the mouth. See where we are. There are no excuses. Well, if I played more I would really be bad. Really? There are no excuses. You either perform or you don't.
What I said is if you didn't play well, next game; move on. Whatever you thought, you thought you played well, it's next game. I looked at Karl, next game, Karl.
Q. When it's 5 at halftime, there were a lot of the people thinking he's going to scrap this platoon thing. Were you tempted at all?
COACH CALIPARI: Somebody on my staff said, Do you want to -- stop. We're playing the way we play and we're figuring it out. So no. We're playing how we play.
Now, Karl got in foul trouble, you're out. If someone else is not playing well, they're going to be taken out. If a unit is not playing well, I'll take them out.
Every one of these kids had a chance. Now, if I had stuck with those first guys you never would've seen Trey, Devin, and Tyler do what they did. They all three played well today. Well they need that.
It's a good thing. I think we have guys on our team that you have to perform. Got guys on here that really want to go and play. You got to go.
Q. Seems like Trey Lyles' dunk in the second half right of the bat kind of energized your team. I'm wondering how explosive of a player can he be?
COACH CALIPARI: Just learning to run fast. He's just learning to play fast, yet be in control. He is a skilled 6'10", 34. He can post you; he make a jump shot. He's a pretty good passer.
He's young. Just had his birthday. But he's got a ways to go. This is a great team for him to play on. If you're not playing great, don't worry. We're fine. Just sit out.
It's a great team for all these guys to just play hard. Even if you don't play well, we're all right. Someone else will step in and be better the next game. Learn from it.
I'll sit down with a couple of the guys and ask, How do you think you played? What did you learn from it? We'll have that conversation. What did you learn from it? Where do you have to go now? How does this team need you to play? To make sure we're all on the same page, because reality of it is there is not one player on this team that even looks like another. The twins do, but they don't even play the same.
Everybody is different here; just do what you do well.
Q. How well do you think Buffalo controlled the tempo, made you play a half-court game, and how much does that help down the road?
COACH CALIPARI: We could have backed up off the press start of the second half. The reason I didn't do it is they're not making us get out of a press. We'll do what we choose to do. I want my team to know that.
So we pressed a little bit different. We didn't stop pressing until the last few plays.
So what they did was they are very quick and athletic at guard they were able to control themselves. We do not control them. Any good team, you're not going to control a good team when you press. You're trying to wear them down. We did at some point, I thought. We made a couple plays and a couple baskets.
Look, they are a team that if that's who they are in their league, they're going to be really, really good.
For us, it was a great game. It's what we needed. I told Bobby after, I said, I coach young teams and new teams. For him to do that second game out, amazing stuff.
Q. Talk about the way that Willie (Cauley-Stein) played, and how do you think he handled the physical play, especially early?
COACH CALIPARI: He's not posting the way he's capable of posting. He's stepping off the block all the time.
So we're going to continue to work on him catching it tight. He's great out on the floor; he's great defensively. There were a lot of good things.
He had four assists today. We had 10 blocks in the game; he has two of 'em. Or two steals, a block, four assists, ten rebounds. Pretty good game for a seven-footer.
Q. You guys had 10 turnovers in the first half and turned that around.
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they had more energy than us. You're always a step behind; they were pretty quick. You don't have enough energy, you look really slow and they look really quick they look like they're controlling everything because you don't have enough energy.
The reason you can have the energy and have no excuse is all you got to do is go three, four minutes as hard as you can go. If you're really going good, I'll leave you in another minute or two if you can do it. We did that a little bit today.
Q. Talk about in the second half, how important it was to be able to force 10 turnovers on Buffalo.
COACH CALIPARI: Because our energy went up, and then they were on their heels. The biggest thing is they scored 14 points in the second half. I want you to know they scored 14 points in the second half. Or that last basket of may have given them 16. So that means we all defended; no one broke down.
Again, being able to block shots makes it hard. You know, when you come in just say, Just drive the ball. You're looking on the two seven-footers under there and a 6'10" guy.
So it's not as easy as easy as you say, but we broke down in the first half. Not enough energy. We were reaching.
We played better in the second half. The whole team had great energy in the second haft. Whole team did. What we were in the second half, that's who we should be the whole game. There is no reason not to if you're playing half the game. You don't have to make shots.
I mean, again, we were 6 for 20 from the 3-point line. We only shot 41% for the game. 41%.
So you don't have to shoot great to play and win and play with great intensity.
Q. Sort of by necessity you ended up playing Dakari on both groups. Is he a little bit of a stabilizing force for you guys?
COACH CALIPARI: Just has to make free throws. Has to make some free throws. Today he was 3 out of 6; 50% is...
You know, 4 out of 6 we would have been, Oh, wow. 3 out of 6 you know what they're doing late in the game? They're fouling him.
So he can leave him in the game and then he misses two? I mean, the greatest thing is who is that on? Him. You know what? He'll be in the gym tonight shooting free throws.
He knows, if I want to play more and be in the game at the end, I got to be able to make free throws. And he's getting better. That's one 1 for 10. 3 for 6 is not 1 for 10.
Q. If he gets that part of it, what does he give you guys?
COACH CALIPARI: Fight. He fights. He tries. He runs hard. He's giving everything that's in his body, and that's all you can ask as a coach.
Q. I wonder if you can elaborate on the press change that you made, and was that a halftime adjustment?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. Instead of us trapping and going a little nutty to give them easy baskets, we were pressing and trying to make it in-bound hard and then if we had another trap, do it, but we weren't forcing the trap.
Trying to get into their legs a little bit and tire them out and get into their ability to make jump shots.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
#44, Dakari Johnson, C
On being a spark when the team lacks energy…
“I just tried to go out there and get us back in the game, get the energy up and just try not to think a lot. I tried to calm down and make good decisions.”
On Buffalo’s play in the first half…
“We came out sluggish, and they were playing harder than us. The coaches told us at half time they were just out-working us. They just said ‘pick it up.’ That’s what we did.”
On facing their first adversity of the season …
“That was the first game where we had a little adversity. They’re a really good team. They punched us in that first half. We just regrouped and got it together in the second half.”
On adversity being beneficial …
“We just need to go out there and compete. Whenever it is, wherever or however the games come we just need to go out there and compete.”
# 3, Tyler Ulis, G
On facing adversity…
“It was good for us for somebody to come out and hit us in the mouth, for us to show what we’re about… It was a good start for them, they hit a lot of shots, which helped us, made us execute better at the end [of the game].”
On playing more half-court ball than fast breaks…
“It’s early in the season so, you know, we’re still getting used to each other, we just have to come out ready to play and we just try to execute at the end.”
On helping out when the first platoon isn’t playing well…
“Yeah, I felt like we didn’t start off the game very well, we didn’t have much energy, but we came in and tried to amp it up a little bit and got it going.”
# 41, Trey Lyles, F
On facing adversity…
“Oh definitely [we needed to be tested]. It showed everybody, including myself, that we need to go out there and play with energy all the time, no matter who we’re playing. We just need to go out there and play for one another with energy.”
On taking more 3’s…
“That’s an adjustment we’ve made in practice… [So I] can be more comfortable with it, me and Alex both, and coaches have been helping out with that.”
On stepping up and bringing a lot of energy to start the second half…
“The opportunity presented itself and I took it. I have to thank my teammates because they were backing me in the locker room.”
On whether or not there will be energy for the Kansas game…
“Definitely [there will be energy]. You know everyone is hyped for the game, we’re all looking forward to it.”
Buffalo Head Coach Bobby Hurley
“I was really proud of my team and how we competed, particularly in the first half. How we defended. Obviously being able to have a halftime lead against this type of opponent was a big thing for us. Hopefully it is a confidence-building performance. Proud of winning the hustle game early in the first half with loose balls, charges, gritty play. We have on the left Jarryn Skeete, great offense, hit some big shots for us in the first half. Unfortunately there are two halves and the second one was a little tougher for us particularly on the offensive end. We had a hard time scoring the basketball, which really resounded to that simplicity but it is everything that I thought it would look like on film from Kentucky. Defensively, their athleticism, the ability of their bigger players to play great defense away from the basket. It was kind of overwhelming at times in the second half and then the fact that I was really concerned about our rebounding against their size. Those were the two big problems for us in the second half.”
On shot selection in the second half…
“We didn’t convert as well and we didn’t get as many easy shots. It seemed like our shots in the second half were a lot more contested and a lot more difficult to find. It’s really what I noticed watching the film against Grand Canyon, especially seeing that those guys struggled to get a lot of clean shots and that was the case for us in the second half.”
On making Kentucky play a half-court style of play…
“We wanted to find ways to try and be creative about slowing the game down. We watched them on film, they are exceptional at changing ends on the floor with their athleticism. Even on a made field goal they are coming right back at you. Then there are generally fresh bodies coming at you. So we tried to mix up some 2-3 zone, which we don’t play that often, just for this game and playing man for different looks. Lucky for us, fortunately for us, they were not hitting the 3-point shots in the first half. Then they started making some more of those as the second half began. And I thought the other problem was just how we started. We talked about coming out of the gate relaxed in the first four minutes and really establishing ourselves. Again they started 10-0 on us and that was a problem to get ourselves going in the second half.”
#10, Jarryn Skeete, G
On attacking UK players and what it was like going against them…
“Basically in the locker room we said that we were going to play as hard as we could and it was going to be what it was going to be. We locked down on defense and just played the game like we knew how to play. If we had open shots, then we hit open shots and see if they fall.
#23, Justin Moss, F
On attacking UK players and what it was like going against them…
“For us, we felt like we weren’t going to back down from anybody, go out and play as hard as we can, play the game we know how to play and take the shots we normally take.”