Kentucky-Tennessee State Postgame Quotes

Dec. 22, 2008

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Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On Ramon Harris…
“He got hit yesterday with an elbow in his lower back. He was pretty stiff yesterday for the remainder of practice after it happened. Today he was ok at shoot around, but he was still a little stiff. He tried to warm up but he couldn't get loose. It was not related to his original injury.”

On Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson…
“I thought everyone on our team played well today. Meeks was on fire again during the first half. It is amazing to me how well he is shooting the ball. I think we are moving the ball better and he is running the court very well. He is not taking any bad shots either. This game he got five defensive rebounds. In some ways this was a better effort by him to me even though he didn't get 46 points. I think Patterson had a fantastic game. He got the ball reversed well and when he catches the ball inside then he has a good chance to score.”

On Patterson and Meeks performance…
“For Patrick Patterson I think it was 95 percent the way we have been reversing the ball. A lot of his points were a result of team play and getting the ball in a good spot on the court. He doesn't need a lot of help and when he gets that help then he will have a big night. As far as Jodie Meeks' points go then I would say a lot of that comes out of team play as well. Neither one of those guys are forcing shots or looking for their own baskets. They are looking for their teammates and they are playing well together as a team. That is the most important thing.”

On the pace of the game…
“I think we are playing too slow to be honest with you. I don't think that we have been consistent enough on every single possession. We need to go as hard as we can. Our pace of play stems from how well our big guys run the court. Stevenson ran better tonight than he has ever run in the time that he has been at Kentucky . It puts great pressure on the defense. It makes their guards stay closer to the basket and helps our other guys on the perimeter to get open shots in transition. Those kinds of things are helping Meeks get wide open shots out on the wing. We can get better by becoming more consistent at running the ball and our pace of play. Our big guys have run better than they have all season in the last three or four games.”

On our defense tonight…
“I love to watch a great defensive team when they are up and talking to each other. Today, Tennessee State had three or four guys who were really good at beating guys off the dribble and we didn't do a great job talking to each other for help. Our defense was not a matter of not trying to stop them but rather because we were so spread out on defense that they scored more in the second half. We allowed them to get too many drives to the basket in the second half. I think great defense is generated by talking and a lot of communication. I think we are going to get a lot better at defense the further we go in the season.”

Kentucky Players

#3 Kevin Galloway

On his play …
“I just came out with the mindset to get better and play hard no matter what the scoreboard says. It feels great to get out there more and I think I'm getting more comfortable on the court. My nerves were a little high at first but I am getting a lot more comfortable now.”

On the team playing better …
“Coach emphasizes every day in practice that we need to continue to get better every day. The team is coming together more and playing as a team and that makes it a lot more fun out there.”

On being in the starting lineup …
“It's a great honor to just be here at UK . I'm going through the ropes and working to get better every day. It was a little tough at first but Coach Gillispie is just trying to get the best out of us and get us to play to our potential. I think I'm more mentally strong and it's easier because I have the right mindset and Coach motivates us all to get better.”

# 13 Michael Porter

On being really active tonight …
“I guess I have figured out more what I have to do to help our team win, like pushing the ball and getting guys where they need to be. I guess I am more confident in my role and what I need to be doing.”

On pushing the ball up the court on offense …
“Yeah, it is a lot easier for me when I push it. It is just more the way I want to play and it's a lot easier for me. I can kind of free myself from my defender. I am not really just a one-on-one guy, so I do like pushing the ball. I have done that all of my life. It is really natural. I definitely feel more comfortable. There is still a lot I need to work on.”

On if he is comfortable playing at a faster pace …
“I think so. We're getting a lot better at doing that but I think there is still room for us to play faster.”

#54 Patrick Patterson

On making good passes …
“It's fun to pass the ball, especially when your teammates can capitalize on them. We look for the guards as much as they look for us and that's how we are able to control the offense. They were able to knock down some jump shots but so were we. When I see our team do that, it's a great feeling.”

On playing well defensively …
“Coach Gillispie challenged us on the defensive end all week. We started clicking out there tonight on defense and that made it a lot more fun on the offensive end because we were able to capitalize in transition and drive to the basket.”

On three straight wins with a big lead to open …
“I think it helps us out on the defensive end when we can contest shots out there early in the game. We can push the ball in transition and are able to get easy baskets and hold the opponents to low points in the first half.”

On the pace of the game …
“I think we can play a lot faster. If the guards continue to push the ball in transition and the big men keep running in transition. We can get a lot better on defense and we can be stronger on the offensive end, as well.”

On his and Jodie Meeks' high-scoring efforts …
“It's special to share this night with Jodie. We both came out and performed offensively and that's a great feeling. Hopefully, we can continue to use this momentum.”

# 23 Jodie Meeks

On his shot selection tonight …
“ If I was open I was looking to shoot it. I think I hit a couple in a row. I thought we did a good job of moving the basketball around tonight. I credit my teammates for looking for me in open spots and setting screens for me so I could knock them down.”

On if he has seen a similar shooting streak by former UK player Tayshaun Prince …
“I saw it on YouTube a couple of times. I heard somebody compare it to his streak (after the game). But I wasn't thinking about that in a game situation.”

On if Patrick Patterson and he play off of each other …
“I think we did a good job of that tonight. I was hitting most of my shots. In the second half, they were kind of keying on me more instead of (Patterson). That kind of opened things up for him and he had a big night tonight also in the second half.”

On the fast break tonight …
“Our main focus once we get a rebound is to get out and run. Our big guys did a great job of that tonight. I thought it opened up some things for me coming down on the break.”

On having two prolific scoring games back-to-back …
“I am always a guy that doesn't lack any confidence. If I come out of a game after missing a couple of shots, I just go back into the game and keep shooting. I shoot every day, so I am either hitting a lot or missing a lot. A game like this definitely gives you confidence.”

Tennessee State Head Coach Cy Alexander

Opening Statement …
“We need to congratulate the University of Kentucky because they really took it to us tonight. They outplayed and outworked us and it was a very well played game by them. Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks played well and scored in the 30's. Now, we have to go back to the drawing board and get ready to play Marshall University on December 28th. More importantly, we have to try to learn from our experience here at a major Division I program and use it to get ready for our third Ohio Valley Conference game in on January third.”

On if Kentucky jumping out to a big lead got his attention …
“It lets me know that we aren't ready to play at this level yet. We have a lot more work to do. Tonight I was impressed in some of our kids who came to play and did not get intimidated by this environment and Kentucky 's size. I liked the way that Gershom Jordan played early on. He grabbed some rebounds and scored some points early. I liked seeing Gerald Robinson get out of his shooting slump that he has been in. I told our coaching staff that Gerald scoring was a plus for us. We are going to need Gerald come OVC play. He did some things tonight that I know he is capable of doing but he hasn't done it in the last couple of games. If there was a plus tonight, that would be it. I also thought that we had some reserves in the front court step up. There is always a silver lining in a dark cloud, and that was it for me tonight.”

On the play of Jerrell Houston …
“I am still trying to get Jerrell going and he got off to another slow start. I think that he is pressing a little bit. When it was all said and done the thing that I was most disappointed with was that he didn't rebound. He only had one rebound tonight, but you can't complain about his field goal percentage because she was 4-for-8. He and Steven Evans both have been averaging seven rebounds and they only had one apiece tonight. That was really disconcerting, also that we only had two assists and 19 turnovers.”

On the play of Gerald Robinson …
“I thought that he played well but he had five turnovers and a couple of them were just careless. I like that he was 50 percent from the three-point line and that is something that he hasn't been doing lately. I am sure that the turnovers will come down.”

On if the environment in Rupp Arena had something to do with his teams poor start …
“It could have. We have a young team and this is the first time that we have been in this environment so it may have. I am not going to say if it was or it wasn't but it may have.”

On if he knew coming in that he was going to have to get off to a good start …
“That was one of our plans that didn't work. We wanted to try to control the tempo early and obviously we didn't do a very good job of that. We have to keep working and you have to learn from every situation in life and this is a game that you have to learn from as well.”

Tennessee State Players

#22 Gerald Robinson

On the game tonight …
“I just think as a mid-major team that it is important when we play these high-major games against big conference schools that we play smarted than usual because we can't make as many mistakes. I think that was our problem today. We got down big in the first half and dug ourselves a big hole. It was tough to get out of it.”

On what opportunities he saw on the offensive end …
“I personally felt that they thought they would overpower us. They were playing very over-aggressive and not playing much help-side defense, so I just took advantage of what they gave me. I went under screens, pulled up for jumpers and went towards the basket.”

On playing in Rupp Arena …
“Last year we played at Vanderbilt and Illinois . There is a big difference playing in front of 24,000 loud fans compared to the crowds we play in front of on a regular basis.”

On how this game prepares the team for conference play …
“It's a big lesson for us, but we can't worry about this loss too much. Conference play is what matters the most and games like this prepare us for that to find out our weaknesses and strengths and the things we might encounter during conference play.”

On being nominated for the Bob Cousy Award for best collegiate point guard …
“I am very honored and elated to be nominated for that award.”