Kentucky-North Carolina Postgame Quotes

Dec. 5, 2009

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On how important it was for Kentucky to never give up the lead down the stretch ...

"I don't know, you know what, you guys are going to say that I am crazy but I am happy how this played out. We had to play without John (Wall) against a good team and we had to just figure it out. When another team makes a run at us, let's see what we do. You have to understand how to play to finish it off. When you let the other team come at you then the 50-50 balls become very important. There was a couple down the stretch that we didn't get and that could have cost us the game. We are going to look at the tape and show them and ask, `Why didn't you get that ball? Why didn't you get this ball? Do you understand that this is the game winner?' Still, we gave up some threes. When they are having to do that we didn't do as good a job as we needed to. I will tell you that I am proud of our guys. John (Wall) turned it over and did some crazy stuff, but that is what a freshman does. We called a play and he drove in and ran a guy over. `What are you doing?' `I don't know.' `I know you don't know, but we are trying to win this game what are you doing.' I thought that Eric (Bledsoe) struggled. But let me tell you what is great about Eric. I walk down the bench and he says, `Coach, put me in.' I look at him and go, `For who?' He says, `Darnell.' I said, `Go ahead.' He went back in and basically won the game making the free throws down the stretch. It doesn't matter how you play, I am trying to teach the whole team that. Right now it is hard, because you have guys who are so into how they play that they cannot get by it and change. That is OK, we are learning. What Eric did is a lesson for all of them. It doesn't matter if you turn it over and play awful, at the end of the day, you win. So make plays down the stretch and we after we win we will talk about it. It is a whole lot better to talk after a win instead of when everyone is sulking."

On John Wall's play ...

"I thought that he was terrific. I mean, you look at his numbers and they are unbelievable for 32 minutes. Other than the seven turnovers, if he had three turnovers then he would have played a perfect game for a point guard. He was cramping up and they brought him in and put the IV in because John doesn't like needles. So they had to go to the crowd to get his mom so that she could talk to him and rub his head a little bit and they could put the IV in. That is why it took so long." "

On the play of Patrick Patterson ...

"He was terrific, terrific. He is a man. He was a man. We were trying to get the ball to him and our guys were turning down the screen and I was going nuts. We were running stuff to him. I will tell you who else played well, how about Daniel Orton? The game changed in the first half because of Daniel's intensity. No one else, you put him in and he went crazy and everybody picked it up and we go on a run and before you know it we are up 12, 14 points. It was Daniel Orton. Now, I told him after, that we have to get him where we get more offense out of him. He and DeMarcus have got to challenge each other during the week so that when they get into the game it is easy. Right now it is too hard for them and when they catch the ball they are just throwing it. If anybody is physical they are not able to make the plays. So we have to work on that in practice. Darnell was pretty good but how about Ramon Harris again. I know that he turned it over but he is going to do that some. I thought that he was terrific."

On the block that Daniel had ...

"He made plays the whole time and I thought that Perry Stevenson went in and helped. I wish he would have dunked the tip back. He was looking around like he was going to get hit. We missed a layup and all he had to do was dunk it in, but he was looking around. He missed it, but short of that he blocked and rebounded balls and really clogged it up."

On if Kentucky is back now that they have beaten a top-10 team ...

"No, we are not back. We are not very good. You guys had to have watched that. We had 21 turnovers. There were times late in the game where you had to say, `Why did he do that?' Because that is exactly what I was saying, guys. We walked out of three timeouts and guys were asking what we were running. We did that three different times. All that stuff, to be more focused in timeouts and do it in practice and understand that this is about our team not you. We have all those things to cure. We held a good shooting team to 38-percent and holding people around 36-percent is where we need to be. There were times were we looked really good defensively. There were times we looked really, really good defensively. For us to be this young and not be very good or know what we are doing, we have guys that are trying to have a will to win. Our execution stinks. I told them that if we get better at executing and taking care of the ball, I like our will to win. We have a will to win and that they will make something happen."

Kentucky Players

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On getting into to foul trouble and having to sit early ...

"Coach always told us that when you get two fouls your coming out no questions about it. I was just being too aggressive on defense."

On what were you thinking when John went of the game ...

"That I just needed to step up even more and help my team to win. I wasn't worried at all."

On asking to come in at the end of the game ...

"I can make a big play to help our team win. I practice it all the time and coach always tells me I want the ball in your hands at the end of the game. I just know its going in either shooting a three, driving to the rim, or shooting free throws. I'm really comfortable and don't get distracted shooting free throws. I know I'm going to knock them down."

#1, Darius Miller, G

On team being a work in progress ...

"Definitely. I think we are starting to get it and we are getting better. But we still have a long way to go to be where we want to be as a team. We still have mental break downs and we still have to do a better job executing at the end of them game. We didn't execute. We have a lot to work on."

On offense being stagnate at the end of the game ...

"During the whole game and near the end it was just the lack of execution. We just made mental mistakes we had breakdowns, we didn't get to the spots we were suppose to be at, and we just didn't do the right thing."

On analysts saying that for a UK win, Darius Miller needed to score ...

"They [ North Carolina ] were just hopping off of me and on to Patrick and John, so they ended up creating a lot of open shots for me and I just tried to knock them down. It feels good to beat a team like that especially when they are ranked high. It always feels good to beat a team like that."

#54, Patrick Patterson, Jr., F

On if this was one of the accomplishments he wanted in returning this season ...

"It was definitely one of them. I wanted to be able to beat top-ranked schools, especially North Carolina . I knew they would be on the schedule. I knew Louisville would be on the schedule. It's just another shot to get a victory. Preparation and hard work allowed us to get it tonight."

On if he felt he had to provide points in the second half after John Wall was out ...

"I knew I had to provide some points. We had a lack of scoring (in the second half). We weren't scoring or playing defense. North Carolina was able to get baskets and turn the lead down. I wanted to run plays for myself to get the ball and try to knock down some shots to get the momentum back on our side."

On if it was frustrating to struggle in the second half after playing well in the first half...

"It was extremely frustrating. We knew that North Carolina is a great basketball team and would fight their way back into the game. We wanted to keep up the intensity in the second half. Unfortunately we weren't able to do that. They came back into the game and played great basketball. Luckily we were able to get the win."

#11, John Wall, PG

On you getting an IV put in...

"No, my mom was not back there. They just had trouble finding a vein, and they got the IV put in so I could get back out on the court."

On if the cramps made you lose some of your explosiveness...

"No, I got it back after I took the IV. It got me going again, and I tried to make some more plays."

On if you could watch the game when you were in the locker room...

"I was asking people to please tell me the score. I wanted them to hurry up so I could get back out there with my team. I just wanted to get back out there."

On the first half run...

"It was a big run. They had a great team, and they made plays on defense, but we just kept making open shots. We made a lot of big plays, and were able to make a big run like that."

On beating North Carolina, and them being so close to your home town...

"It was good, it was really good to beat a top team like North Carolina. They have a great team and a great coach, so it was a good game."

On what it was like to play out there in the first half...

"I felt good. I was into the game, and just trying to make shots. After I had the cramps, I was just looking forward to coming back out there and helping my team win."

On beating them the first half and they did not get a single fast break point...

"We were able to do better with transition defense. We had a lot of opportunities to push the ball, and it worked out for us."

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams

Opening statement ...

"We got it close and we really never got out of it. We had three opportunities that we could have tied it when it was a three-point game. I think Larry (Drew) missed a three, someone turned it over on a break, and Marcus (Ginyard) missed a three on three different opportunities. If we could get it tied or within one, and they scored on the other end, it would still be a one-possession game. As a coach, that is what you are hoping for. As a coach, you have to congratulate them (Kentucky). Neither team is a really experienced team. Patrick Patterson and a couple of their other guys have played, and for us, Deon (Thompson) and Marcus (Ginyard) have played. We looked like a really inexperienced team in the first half and we reacted like an inexperienced team. But, that is an excuse, and there is no reason for that. We have had 30 practices and eight games. We made a few shots in the first two or three minutes, and all of the sudden, we didn't do a very good job of getting spread out and picked up. They ran us out of the gym. I don't know if I've ever coached a team where at half time they had 12 fast break points and we had zero. That was a big emphasis for us. We had to try to make sure we tried to sprint back to push it and get some fast break baskets ourselves. But, we didn't do that. John (Wall) dominated the first half and it helped us with him getting hurt in the second half. In the second half, they showed some of their inexperience. I thought if we could get it over the hump with one possession, that we had a chance. I told my team at halftime that I thought we'd be there at the end of the game, and I really did believe that. We didn't shoot it really well, we didn't make free throws, we didn't get to the free throw line very often, we gave them too many opportunities on the fast break, they took away part of our game and we didn't do a very good job of running the ball ourselves. It was a competitive game. The last 10 minutes of the game, I don't know if it was the prettiest game anyone has ever looked at, but it may be the way our team is going to be for a while."

On John Wall...

"I thought he dominated the game. We talked about slowing him down and getting some help from our point guard, and I feel like we didn't do a very good job of that. There have been a lot of things made about our recruitment of John, but I think John Wall is a fantastic player. I didn't know one thing in the world about him, I saw him in a tournament in Philadelphia and I said, `Who the heck is that guy?' I've always thought he was fantastic. But, we didn't do a very good job of getting our point guards some help. He really attacks you as a six-foot-four guy with long arms and quickness."

On the difference between the first and second halves for North Carolina...

"We weren't very patient in the first half. We made a couple of threes early, and then all of the sudden, Kentucky's defense became more aggressive. When Kentucky's defense became more aggressive, we panicked and took quicker shots. We didn't get the basketball inside, and even when we did get it inside, we didn't make an aggressive move. If you go back and look at the last three minutes of the first half, we missed four shoots from one foot. Two were almost dunks, and it was because we were rushing, because Kentucky's defense made us rush. In the second half, we showed a little more patience and poise. We did what we wanted to do and we didn't let their defense control everything that went on during the game."

North Carolina Players

#21, Deon Thompson, F

On moving forward from today's game ...

"We needed to pick up a win on our way to play Texas . We didn't; so now we have to bounce back. We have to learn from this and decide what we need to improve. We need to get ready for Texas and go in ready to play."

On if they could have won the game if it had been extended five more minutes ...

"I definitely think so. The momentum was beginning to swing our way towards the end of the game. We needed to continue to fight. Coach Williams is not used to teams that don't fight back to win. We had a chance to win."

On Kentucky limiting the entry pass in the first half...

"They made it tough for us to get the ball inside. Their lanes made it difficult for myself and Ed [ Davis ] to score. Kentucky did a great job defending in that way."

On handling play against physical players...

"We need to continue to take our time. I found myself rushing at times when I didn't need to. It was mental. When I saw the big guy next to me, I felt like I needed to play harder. Now that I look back on it I realize I didn't need to rush my shots. I missed simple shots that could have changed the game."

#11, Larry Drew II, G

On coming back in the second half ...

"Coach can't play for us. He can draw up the best plays in the world but it's up to us to execute and do it the way we say we're going to do it. We're North Carolina and we can talk all we want about what we're going to do but when we're out there on the court we have to take care of business. A combination of a lot of things helped us come back, we had a new found sense of urgency, our fight factor. John (Wall) being out of the game slowed them a lot and we took advantage of that."

On the loss ...

"Being a point guard I feel like I really let us down. I didn't attack enough on offense, I had too many straight drives. I let them drive straight to the basket too many times on defense. We we're up 9-2 and they made a couple baskets and they made guys freeze up or something, I don't really know what it was, we just have to keep our composure. That's something coach talked to us about before the game and talked to us about having poise. When were out there, there are 24,000 fans cheering against us and we have to keep our confidence level up."

#44, Tyler Zeller, F

On coming back from your injury last year...

"It slowed me down some, but it helped me out too. The injury helped me get bigger and stronger which has always seemed to be my weakness. It has had its negatives and positives. I was definitely slow reacting when I first got back, but I was also stronger."

On the loss...

"(We had) too many turnovers and not enough assists. It was one of those things where we didn't play very well. We made some adjustments at half time and tried to come back. Part of it is the big guys have to work harder, but at the same time our offense needs to work on getting the ball inside. We had a couple shots to get a tie, but we can't expect that. We have to play the whole game like we played the second half."