Postgame Quotes From Kentucky Vs. Michigan State

Dec. 23, 1999

Recap?|?Box Score

Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith
"I want to commend Michigan State. They are certainly a great team. I thoughtthey really gave it their all playing without Mateen Cleeves. They are aveteran, gutsy team. But I also have to give our guys credit. We got downearlyand I was impressed with our composure and poise. We showed a lot of characterand class tonight. Our defense was superb and it really helped us set thetone.We hit our free throws down the stretch and that's what you have to so inclosegames. We're learning as we go along."

On UK's play
"J.P. Blevins gave us a big lift and Jamaal Magloire was outstanding. He's hadthree double-doubles in a row and this was his best game in a long time. Hejust gives so much effort every time out. Tayshaun Prince had a great game onboth ends, too."

On the Rupp Arena crowd
"I really want to compliment our fans. They love our program and reallyexemplify what Kentucky basketball is all about."

On UK's defensive plan on the game's last play
"(Jokingly) We wanted him to miss. We tried to take away the three-point shotand force them to drive, and we did that. They just missed. I think it was anearly Christmas present."

On UK's early-season schedule
"We've played a tough, competitive schedule and that helped us tonight. Ourguys understand that there are going to be battles and wars. It has reallyhelped this young team mature."

On MSU's early 15-point lead
"We lacked energy early. We were stunned like a boxer, but we never hit thecanvas and were able to claw our way back into the game."

On the win
"It's a momentum builder. We'll look to grow from this and I think it willhavean even bigger effect on our confidence with such a young team."

On Jamaal Magloire's early technical foul
"I thought he played harder and smarter after that, and that's how you shouldrespond. That's just another sign of his maturity."

UK Player Quotes
#3 J.P. Blevins (On hitting the three that gave UK the lead for good?)
"I was just worried about getting into our pressure and finding my man. But itfelt really good to hit that shot."

(On his performance in scoring a career-high nine points?)
"Tubby showed a lot of confidence in me by playing me down the stretchtonight.

I got a little winded, but overall I was comfortable out there. I have beenwaiting for my opportunity to make an impact and I am happy that I tookadvantage of it tonight."

"If you look at Coach Smith's history, it speaks for itself. He has had a lotof players step in and make an impact right away. Hopefully it is my turnto dothat."

(On playing fifth-ranked Michigan State?)
"This was the toughest team that we have played all season. You have to go upstrong with the ball every time if you hope to score against them. Ourcommunication on defense was also a real key for us. We were able to dowhat wewanted to do defensively and with the crowd behind us we were able to pullthisone out."

(On the boisterous Rupp Arena crowd?)
"I want to personally thank every UK fan in Rupp tonight. This place was asloud as I have ever heard it. They were a real factor in tonight's game."

#21 Tayshaun Prince
(On the early deficit?)
"We knew we had to dig deep and fight back. The tempo was playing into theirhands for most of the first half. The crowd got behind us and we definitelypicked it up. Our defensive intensity was great."

"This is two quality wins for us against two great teams. Before theLouisville game we met as a team and set some team goals. We have played wellthese past two games and we are starting to meet some of those goals."

"We have people on this team that step up no matter who we are playing. Ifoneof us is not on our game another one has to step up. We all stepped uptonight. I give a lot of credit to Michigan State, they came into a toughenvironment and played great."

#11 Saul Smith
"This game shows that we have heart. I feel that there isn't a tougherschedule in America. A game like this helps us know where we are and that wehave come a long way. We have been improving. We still make mistakes, but weplay through them. Tonight we played tremendous defense, made our free throwsand made big shots. We didn't fold."

On the last shot?"They drew up a great play. It was a battle. There was some contact, but weplayed strong, both physically and mentally."

#42 Jamaal Magloire
(On his technical foul?)
"I don't think I was playing any differently. When you play hard andaggressive, technical fouls are going to happen. I thought the referees did agreat job tonight."

"We're maturing as a team. Everyone understands what his individual roleis. Itfeels great. We played our hearts out. It's a great win over a good team. Itshows we have the characteristics of being a great team"

#10 Keith Bogans
(On the play of J.P. Blevins?)
"J.P., no matter what, never gives up. He always works hard in practice andkeeps his head up. He hit some big shots tonight when we needed them."

(On being down in the first half?)
"We kept our heads up and didn't get down on ourselves. Coach Smith felt weweren't playing hard enough. Michigan State is a great team. Coach told us tostay intense for 40 minutes and I think we did that."

"We proved to ourselves that we can be the type of team that we really want tobe. We were a young team at first, but I think we're starting to know ourrolesand play like we want to play now. This game was a lot of fun. We worked hardin practice all week. This is a dream come true for me. Games like this arewhyyou want to play college basketball."

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
On Michigan State's play tonight?
"I think maybe our program isn't quite where people in Michigan think it isbecause we didn't handle the adversity as well as we should have. I thinkthatwas probably the best coaching job done against us because they were one ofthefew teams that really took away our strengths and exposed our weaknesses."

I'm disappointed in our team because I think, for a lack of a better word, wecracked a little bit. I guess that maybe it was the crowd or our young kids. I'm disappointed because I thought we played good enough the first half,but myhat goes off to Kentucky. They've got a great coach."

On Kentucky's play?
"Even though we got a lead early and got some good shots, they mixed up theirdefenses and mixed up their presses. Tubby must have really spent sometime inthe film room because they are one of few teams that really came at us inthoseways."

On the last play of the game?
"I wanted a three-point shot. We run a play were we have three differentoptions and I was pleased with the play, but I think we passed up a couple ofgood shots. I really didn't see the shot. I don't know if it was blocked orif he (#25 Aloysius Anagonye) just missed it. It seems like it was there foralmost a lay up, but the game wasn't lost on that play. It was a lot oflittlethings early. We missed some free throws and fouled too much."

On what Kentucky did to take away Spartan's strengths?
"I thought they really mixed up their presses. They are a good pressing teamand there were no secrets about it. He switched out on us well, he tookaway alot of our plays and did a great job. Defensively they were most impressive. Not many teams have done that to us."

MSU Players
#42 Morris Peterson
On MSU's play in the game:
"I have to give credit to Kentucky. I think the biggest thing is that down thestretch we made a lot of mistakes. When you're on the road you can't dothat. Ithink we had a shot to win. Today we just came up short. Today they were thebetter team. Our turnovers led to easy baskets for them. We weren't as strongon defense as we should have been. We had some good shots but they didn'tfall.At the times we had lulls, we made mistakes. We just let them get back intothegame. Coach told us that we needed to pay attention to detail. We didn't doit."

On his play:
"My shots were falling, but we lost. Obviously it wasn't enough. We'll justhave to go back and see what we did wrong."

On whether MSU wanted a three-point shot at the end:
"Yes, if it was open. But they switched and I reversed it. No one could get itto go. Turnovers and carelessness cost us the game."

On Kentucky:
"They played hard and played great defense that led to some easy baskets.Afterthat, the crowd got into the game and got really loud. We didn't get the jobdone today. It was the loudest crowd I've ever played in front of. They werereal crazy."

On whether the Spartans let the game slip away:
"Most definitely. The guys came back to the locker room very disappointed. Wefelt like we should have won this game. But tonight they were the better team.Usually when we know we can win, we go out and take it. Tonight we didn't takeit."