Kentucky-Central Michigan Postgame Quotes

Dec. 29, 2008

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Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On Kentucky 's defense…
“After we got started on defense, I think we played really well. We had some dramatic breakdowns in transition defense. That is something that we need to get a lot better at in the next 17 games. For the most part, I thought we played pretty good defense. Central Michigan is a team that is hard to prepare for in two days because they run about 50 different plays. I think the best thing to do against teams like them is to pressure the ball. We didn't start out pressuring the ball nearly enough. I think after we got going, and then our defense was pretty good after that. They ran good set screens, but they weren't getting off the ball as well as they would have liked. They were trying a lot of dribble penetration and I don't think that is really their game.”

On Jodie Meeks shooting the ball…
“I want Jodie to shoot the ball every time he can when he is not guarded. I thought his first shot was guarded. I want him to shoot the ball every time he can.”

On the play of Landon Slone…
“I was surprised he missed his shots on Saturday because he is a guy that can take us the right way. He doesn't get caught thinking a whole lot. He is not catching and shooting the ball thinking I hope this goes in or I hope I don't miss. He is going to catch the ball and shoot it. He has obviously been coached very well and comes from a great basketball program. He has played great for us the last couple of days. I think he can shoot it, and I think he can score. He has been giving us a great spark defensively. He was the best guy in the first part of the game when we were down nine. He was the best guy at pressuring the ball and making some extra-effort plays. He got us going a little bit and they started missing.”

On the play DeAndre Liggins…
“I thought he played okay. I think he needs to do a much better job for us defensively. That is the case with most freshmen. It is a very tough transition just to play and compete. He is tough to play his position as a senior and much, much tougher as a freshman. He needs to do a much better job as a help defender and I think that he can because he has good athletic ability, good strength, and tremendous length and has a great heart to play. As a team defender, he must get a lot better.”

On getting the ball to Patrick Patterson…
“We have improved dramatically getting the ball to him. He didn't demand the ball a lot tonight because they played a three-two zone. We have to get better at getting him the ball more. People are going to make us shoot and make more shots from three-point land to prove we can make shots. We need to become more consistent shooting from beyond the arc or people will pack it in the paint on us. I didn't think that Patterson demanded the ball enough, but he only cares about one thing and that is winning. He doesn't care who gets the points, he doesn't care who gets the rebounds and he doesn't care who touches the ball or any of those kinds of things as long as we get the win. I think he posted very well when they were playing man-to-man, but he didn't do very well in the zone. We have to keep getting better even though we have improved tremendously over the last few games.” 

Kentucky Players

#10 Landon Slone

On playing in front of Rupp and getting a standing ovation …
“I love playing in front of a big crowd. It's always been fun for me. I've never played in front of a crowd like this before but when you get a standing ovation, it really means a lot.”

On how much Kentucky needs a signature win …
“It would be great. A big win like that would really help us not only in the long run, but also with our confidence.”

On being able to play more throughout the season …
“That's Coach Gillispie's decision, but I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. I just want to keep building my trust with coach. He really does want guys to compete out there. I think if I keep doing that I'll have a chance.”

On the game vs. Louisville …
“It means a lot. Any game is a big game for me, getting in and being a part of it. But growing up and realizing the rivalry really is significant. We will prepare ourselves in practice this week and just keep working hard and listen to coach.”

#13 Michael Porter

On the defensive effort …
“I think we realized that we came out to a slow start and had to get that back. Everyone put forth extra effort and a couple guys, like Slone, gave a lot of energy. Perry and A.J. on the inside wouldn't let them get a basket. I think we really buckled down on defense. As far as the stats go, I think it may have been one of the best games we played defensively. But when I was out there, I really didn't notice how long it had been since they made a field goal. The energy level was just really high and I thought it had to be one of the top games.”

On DeAndre Liggins
“I think he has come a long way as a person and that has helped him a lot as a player. He's more inclined to be shy, but I think he's been outside of his own comfort zone more and that has really helped him as a player. He's a great teammate to us and he's a doing a really good job right now.”

#23 Jodie Meeks

On getting production out of more players …
“I think we need them a lot. It helps when they can knock down shots and teams are double-teaming me or Patrick. So when they are getting open shots it opens things up for the rest of the team.”

On Landon being a spark on the 36-8 run…
“I agree with that. Coach put him in and he always gives us a spark in practice. He had open shots and would do anything he can to help us. When coach put him in, he played great defense and knocked in a couple shots for us. He gives a great effort every time he is in. Landon's a great guy to have on the team, he'd do anything to help us win.”

On the defensive effort…
“I thought we were great in that stretch. Landon gave us a spark and started that run of pressuring their point guard. He hit a couple shots and we fed off that and ran away with it. I think once Landon gave us the spark off the bench, everybody played harder and gave more effort. I think it definitely enforces that defense is the best offense because when you're getting steals and getting wide open shots and lay-ups in transition, it helps you mentally thinking you can do well.”

#34 DeAndre Liggins

On starting …
“It felt good but I just wanted to come in and make an impact and help my team. I knew it was coming but I didn't know when. Today I got lucky and made the start and I think I did some good things out there. I think I need to work on knowing when to shoot, my shot selection, getting everybody involved and making good decisions. “

On transition to college …
“It's a big adjustment. Everybody is as talented as you, and tougher and quicker than you so you just have to be smart and do the right things. The transition hasn't been that tough. You just have to be prepared and coach does a good job of getting us prepared to play.”

On relationship with Coach Gillispie …
“Coach has been good for me. I love him as a coach. He's a fun guy off the court and a tough guy on the court. We just have to continue to build a relationship with each other and it's working really well for us. He's gotten easier as days go on and I understand what he wants from me. When I get yanked out quickly I don't get frustrated because that's on me. He takes us out for a reason, it's not his fault, what I did is my fault. I go out, take a breather, and go back in the game. It's a whole new level here so I know where coach is coming from.”

Central Michigan Head Coach Ernie Zeigler

On the play of his players tonight …
“Those guys battled, and we talked about what to do when you get the opportunity to play in this type of venue. For our kids, this is the real college basketball experience. This is what we are trying to build our program to, in order to put our kids in the position where they get to play in this type of atmosphere.”

On if Kentucky is the best team they have faced so far this year …
“I couldn't argue with that. I think that their athleticism and length is what we really struggled with. They do a good job of pressuring you and putting you where you have to finish over their length. They are not ranked, but they are definitely one of the better teams that we have faced. Marquette may be a notch above them, but Kentucky will be an NCAA Tournament team.”

On where his team goes from here to get ready for conference play …
“We are hopefully going to build on our play in the first eight minutes in this game; and our focus and preparation for this game and really try to start to get more productive minutes from the guys on our bench. We need to get them more confidence and tougher so we can have a much more balanced attack in terms of our rotation going into conference play.”

On if he knew they were going to have to play a near perfect game to win tonight …
“You know that your margin of error is so slim for us and for any team coming into Kentucky and playing in this atmosphere. For us, in light of the other adversity we have in our roster and lack of depth up front, we have to be able to continue to sustain the focus that we started the game with. Once that focus started to wane and we started to get fatigued they were able to impose their will.”

Central Michigan Players

#40 Marcus Van

On how he thought the team played tonight …
“We came out with a lot of intensity and focus and then had a drop in offense. They started to transition well and then we just feel apart.”

On what was going through his mind when they jumped out to a nine point lead …
“We just wanted to come out and get off to a good start. I was thinking that we need to stay focused and keep our energy up. Their size and athleticism just caused a lot of problems for us tonight. They are physical, bigger and stronger than we are.”

On the play of Patrick Patterson
“It was nice to play against him and measure myself against him. He is just an all-around good player and finishes strong. He is just a really good player.”

On what they need to do to get better going into conference play …
“We have to keep our focus and stick to the game plan. We need to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger as well.”

#15, Jordan Bitzer

On how he thought that the team played tonight …
“We came in with the mindset to not be afraid of all the tradition that Kentucky has and we came out hard executing our game. Things just fell off after those eight minutes and we hit a dry spell. I think that we only scored four points the last eight minutes. They put it to us after that. It was a privilege to get to play in this type of atmosphere and against this type of opponent.”

On what Kentucky did to erase their deficit and get out to a big lead at halftime …
“They really got into us defensively and had our offense out of sync. After those first eight minutes they started to pressure us and we had to start our offense out near half court. It's hard to score that way. They pounded the ball inside to Patrick Patterson and then Jodie Meeks got hot, and they got into good transition and got some easy buckets.”

On if they knew that they needed to get out to a quick start …
“Definitely, especially with the crowd they had. We wanted to come in and take this huge crowd out of the game early. And we did that, but things dwindled off and the crowd got back into it.”

On what they need to do to get better heading into conference play …
“We need to try to be more consistent with our effort and come out off the bat and sustain it throughout the game. We need to stop hitting these dry spells where we don't score. Coach talks about getting better each and every day and we are going to try to do that.”