Kentucky-Louisville Postgame Quotes

Dec. 31, 2011

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Calipari.

Q. We talked about Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) and grit. How much was this game well-suited for that kind of player?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he wasn't bothered as much as some of the other players by the physical play. He almost relished it and just went after it, and that's why he played the way he did.

I just wish Anthony Davis hadn't gotten that second foul in that first half because I would have liked to see him play more. He was too valuable to the team to go back to him.

Michael, those two just stepped on the gas.

Q. Did you expect this to be a game with so many fouls called?

COACH CALIPARI: Oh, yeah. I would hope they would be called. We were both fouling and trying to protect each other, I guess. But yeah.

Q. On Terrence Jones

COACH CALIPARI: I didn't really hear that. I heard 'Terrence'.

Terrence (Jones) took strides to come back. He was one-for-nine and missed seven one-foot shots. What he needed to do was try to dunk each one of those. And he's just not all the way back yet. Try to dunk every one of them. Why are you doing that? Just go up and dunk that. He's not there yet.

I think within the next week and a half, he'll be fine. He went in there, got 11 rebounds. He made strides there. He battled and Murray did what we needed him to do. He's not all the way back, but that's okay.

Doron (Lamb) and he didn't play particularly well. Doron didn't play particularly well at all. Terrence offensively didn't play particularly well. We still won. Figure that.

Q. You've been talking about your guys' toughness. What did they show you today?

COACH CALIPARI: It was a grittiness. Of all the foul trouble in the first half, the foul trouble really throughout the game and playing guys, I even went with Twany (Beckham), who I barely played, I thought Kyle Wiltjer was not afraid to play, went out there and did some good stuff.

With bad lineups, no point guard, we figured out how to win. They are a top-five team. They're a top-five team. We had lineups we've never even put on the floor in practice together and we're trying to make it.

They make the game when they start playing that zone. I thought they'd play some man. But when they started to play zone, the way we were playing offensively, I would have pressed us like he did, try to get layups, hope that we were missing shots.

Again, you have to understand I love this. You shoot 29% from the floor and you win. Let me make that statement again. You shoot 29% from the floor and you win. That's a good day.

Q. How big was Anthony (Davis) in terms of guarding the basket? Louisville seemed to be driving to the basket.

COACH CALIPARI: I told them at halftime that. I said, ‘Look, they're getting layups right now because he's not in the game. When I put him back in at the start of the second half, you'll see what he does for you guys.’ I think he got three or four blocks right away.

Q. A little bit on Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist). Do you think maybe the Breakfast Club, the leadership thing, all that stuff, he was the leader there today?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. We had one guy that stopped about a week and a half ago and it showed today how he played. The guys that continue to do those extra things, the extra work, it's amazing. You get what you deserve in life and basketball. You do.

You want to spend the extra time, do more, get out and do extra things, it's going to start showing. Where it affects (you) most is your own head. You know you deserve to play well. Something is going to happen good for you. Those guys do that.

So, you know, he was vicious today. He was vicious.

Q. On the team’s free-throw shooting …

COACH CALIPARI: I thought we could have had more (free-throw attempts) (laughter).

You wonder why we're shooting free throws better. For every free throw we miss, we have to have a 33-second run. So that's nine 33-second runs they're going to have to get in before our next game. So I'm just challenging them that way. So they'll come in and practice because they don't want to run.

But Anthony Davis, it was great to see him. If you were him, wouldn't you ball fake, step through, ball fake, just get fouled? Why even shoot the ball? Get fouled. It was good to see him make his.

Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) missed a bunch, which he normally doesn't do. He missed five of them. I may cut a couple of those out because he played so hard.

Q. Cal, you said not everybody handled it as well as Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist). You've harped so much on the toughness aspect of your team. Was today helpful in that?

COACH CALIPARI: It was good to play a game. Two reasons. One, they were going to press us. What happened is, Marquis (Teague) is getting better, but he's still not my point guard yet. What I'm saying, there were things we were supposed to do that he just chose not to do in this game. In most cases he lost the ball or turned it over, looked around.

Again, it was more about the execution of how we play. But you got to give Louisville credit. They didn't go away. They weren't intimidated by Rupp Arena. Those guys, they got good players. I think that the foul trouble affected them, too. I think, again, they're deserving of their ranking.

Q. John, when you hit 29% and you win, what does that tell you about what went right?

COACH CALIPARI: You rebounded and defended pretty good. They only shot 32% and 22% from the three. So that means you defended and you rebounded. You love winning games like that because there are going to be games that that happens. You're just not going to shoot the ball well. Teams are going to muck it up. They're going to triangle-and-two, box-and-one, something you haven't seen, and all of a sudden you look confused, can't make a shot. You defend and rebound and you win anyway, and that's what we want to do.

Q. In the last 10 seconds, Louisville made two shots, forced a turnover on the press. What did you think about the effort that they expended against you guys?

COACH CALIPARI: No, they were good. But we expected it. I mean, I knew they'd come in here and play. They did. I mean, they battled. That's how they play. They don't stop till the whistle goes.

Instead of us being up 12 or 13, whatever it was, if it was a 6-point game, we may have lost that game. That's what I tried to explain to my team after. And there was no reason for it. It was us.

Now you gave them a chance to do this, and they did what a good team does: they made their shots. If it was a 6-point game, we just went overtime.

Q. John, was it something Louisville did to Darius (Miller) to force eight turnovers or was it just Darius?

COACH CALIPARI: I'm going to be honest with you, I thought Darius was OK. He lost three or four balls because they kind of got after him. But he does that every game.

What I thought he did was physically he wasn't afraid to go in there and bump. I love the offensive rebound where the kid blocked the shot. I want him to play that way. I didn't think Darius played that poorly. I thought he played okay. The numbers don't look right.

But, you know, he's the kid in a game like this that is going to have eight turnovers. They're going to come up in him. That's going to happen.

Q. You said at halftime you told the team they would find out what Anthony (Davis) does for them in the second half. What did you see?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, what they did was they kept driving the ball for layups. When you look at halftime, they either had free throws or layups. They had one three in the corner where we left the corner, Michael (Kidd-)Gilchrist, which we talk all the time, don't leave it. He left it, the kid made it. Other than that, they shot all layups. Now, they were from our turnovers or from a pick-and-roll where they went at Kyle (Wiltjer) or Eloy (Vargas). But it was because he wasn't in there.

Second half, they were doing the same thing and he blocked all those. He had four blocks to start the second half on plays they made against us without him in the game.

Q. Comment on the defense on (Kyle) Kuric.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he's really good. I mean, he's a kid that makes shots. You got to play him. We just said, ‘Don't help off of him. Make sure if we have to switch off, we'll go from there.’

Q. Can you ever recall in your career having a team to shoot under 30% and make more than 20 turnovers yet beat a top-10 team?

COACH CALIPARI: I was at UMass, we played Maryland. I think we shot 29%. I don't think we had 20 turnovers, but we shot 29%. We played in Baltimore and won the game. I can remember. It stands out because it was a game I walked off and said, ‘How in the world did we win this game?’

Gary (Williams) plays that press, the funky zone. They shot like 26%. It was a pretty game, one you would have enjoyed. Very memorable.

Q. In a game with this many fouls, what do you say to your guys as far as maintaining aggressiveness versus not fouling out?

COACH CALIPARI: Well, we fouled because they were dumb fouls. Doron (Lamb) grabbed a guy's arm for a fourth foul. You know why? Because he didn't aggressively come back to meet the pass. He's in the slow motor moving, moves away from the ball. He grabbed him.

Marquis Teague, we're forcing him to the right. The kid went left, he fouled on him. Why would you do that? That's not how we're playing. We just did a lot of that kind of stuff.

The turnovers were, again, the spacing and what we were trying to do to get them to where they were trying to go, then the aggressive play, body grind, we just didn't do it very well.

Q. John, you started Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) out on Chris Smith, then when they brought Russ (Smith) in.

COACH CALIPARI: I was going to put him on (Peyton) Siva, but I imagine they prepared all week for that. Kind of like the Indiana game, 5.6 seconds, two fouls to give, I was going to trick them again. So we said, You know what, let him guard the other (Russ) Smith. The other (Russ) Smith is the one that really has stepped up his game. Siva is still very good, but I thought Marquis could play Siva and bother him a little bit. I thought with Anthony Davis in there, you know, he's not going to get as many layups.

I did it right before game time. But we were going to put him on Siva to say, Let's take him out of the game like we did a year ago. But something in me said, We're not doing that.

Q. You were talking about the other Smith. Talk about what Russ Smith does, what he creates. Obviously Anthony (Davis) got a couple of his shots, but he was still getting to the basket.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, he got to the rim. He's quick. He's active. You know, he was making tough layups. He battled. He was good. I mean, last game we gave a guy 20, this game we gave a guy 30. If we didn't turn it over so much, it wouldn't have mattered much.

But, again, most of it was in pick-and-rolls where he turned a corner. He made some tough shots, though. Transition, he's flying. He's athletic, he's tough. Not afraid to be in there. He's a kid that wants to score. A kid like that, that has that kind of ability, will come in a game like that and say, I'm not afraid, I'm going to score points.

Thank you.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Players

#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F

On his performance despite the intensity of the game…
“This is me, this is what I live for right here. Why? I’ve always been that way, I’ve got a lot of heart that’s why, and I’m built for it. I didn’t surprise myself, I was confident about my game.”

On his mindset today versus his mindset against other teams…
“This game is all mental to me. I play my heart out, that’s what I give, my heart.”

On how much better UK can get…
“A lot better. Me and everybody else on the team, we’re hungry.”

#3, Terrence Jones, F

On his injured finger’s effect on his performance today...
“With it being swollen and getting so much contact, any games with me trying to box out and use my hands so much, plus it being my left, sometimes it hurts a lot. I still just want to play and rebound and do the other things. When the game is on the line I’m not going to care about the pain.”

On what he’s doing to get back to pre-injury form…
“Not worrying about my hand so much and not going with one hand, I tried to go with two. I’ve been working on not going for balls with one hand and trying to get back to using two.

On playing physical during such a tightly called game by the officials…
“Every little thing is being called but you know both teams are playing physical so you have to know when and when not to be physical.”

#23, Anthony Davis, F

On Terrence Jones’s performance …
“Coach (John Calipari) told me your offensive game isn’t going. Go rebound. Go play defense. That’s what (Terrence Jones) did today. He blocked shots, got rebounds, and the shots that he did get were good looks. He just missed them. He scored and he’s trying to find his way back. That’s what we need from him.”

On how this game compared to Indiana or North Carolina …
“It was about the same. They really competed and we were up by 10, eleven and we fell back. (The atmosphere) was more crazy. The crowd was crazy because of the rivalry. So it was fun. We just go out there and play.”

On his performance in the second half …
“Coach (John Calipari) told me just go out there and be aggressive. Go out there and have fun and play. When you go out there and have fun, you’ll be fine. That’s what I tried to do and came to the rim to block or just rebound. I just tried to do what I could and in my power to get it.”

On his free-throw shooting …
“I’ve just been practicing. I’m a way better free-throw shooter than what I’ve been shooting. So go up there and concentrate and knock down the free throws.”

#1, Darius Miller, G

On the team’s free-throw shooting …
“We’ve been doing pretty good in practice working on it. (Coach John Calipari) makes us run depending on how many (free throws) we miss. I think we’ve done a better job of making free throws and getting to the free throw line. I know we shot a lot of free throws last game too. Hopefully, we continue to do this and continue to knock them down.”

On the aggressiveness of the game …
“It was a really physical game, intense game. I think both teams did a great job of playing defense. … (The officials’ calls) were going both ways. We were doing the same thing. It was called very close, I would say, throughout the whole game. I think that kind of played into effect. That was probably the reason we shot a lot of free throws with the bonus and all that. Both teams kind of had to adapt to the way the game was being called.”

On forcing turnovers …
“I think we did a pretty good job defensively. A lot of their points came from our turnovers, but it seems like when we got down in the half court and buckled down on defense, we did a pretty good job of getting stops. And we got to get the team to do that throughout the rest of the season.”

Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino

Opening statement …
“I think the turning point for us was Gorgui (Dieng) leaving the game. We just broke down and he is the guy we have to have on the court at all times. I’ve coached a lot of teams that have given great effort but I have never coached a team that is willing to give the effort that this team gives. Unfortunately there are no moral victories. We struggled shooting the basketball tonight; we forced a lot of turnovers tonight but didn’t make them pay. We didn’t do a good job on the backboard with Gorgui out of the game. Gorgui is one thing and then you are playing two six-foot guards and that doesn’t help rebounding. Kyle didn’t rebound so we were really overmatched rebounding tonight. If we can somehow get our execution to match our effort then we’ll have an outstanding ball club. I’m real proud of our guys, I’ve never coached a group that has this much will to win but we’ve got to start shooting the ball better because if you work that hard and get nothing out of it then it’s really frustrating.”

On coming back from an early deficit…
“I don’t know every team in the country but I don’t think any team comes back like we do because, again, that’s just incredible will power and effort. The good thing is we are getting more bodies back so we won’t have to worry about foul trouble as much. We’re always going to make comebacks, we did the other night. You can’t always come back and win. This was a very good basketball team, we fought them hard but they were better than us.”

On Russ Smith…
“He’s impressive doing things with the ball. He’s got to go in there and hit somebody, he’s staying out on the perimeter and we’re in a fight five versus four. We’re getting the hell beat out of us and we just need another guy to come in and hit somebody.”

On the remainder of the game after being tied 40-40…
“Having Gorgui not in the game hurts us because we are playing a guy coming off an ACL injury. Chane (Behanan) is a great guy; he made a big mistake in that game because he probably didn’t realize that a technical foul also counts as a personal foul. We did a good job but they are a really good basketball team. We didn’t mind fouling (Anthony) Davis, it looked like he was a shaky free throw shooter and suddenly looked like Jerry West out there, I don’t know what happened there. They have a really nice basketball team, they play together and are really tough to guard, they will go a long way this year.”

On the tight referee calling in the rivalry…
“This is a good rivalry; we only had one incident a couple years ago. It’s always been a good rivalry, it’s respect, the two teams play hard. Tonight it wasn’t good offense, it was hard-nose defense but nobody is fighting or trash talking. It’s two teams that have respect for the other team’s ability and it’s a good rivalry, it’s like North Carolina-Duke, two good teams that battle it out.”

On losing two games in a row…
“We are going to fight this year to make the tournament and for a good seed. We have to play Kentucky on the road, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Pitt, Syracuse, Marquette, it just worked that way, I don’t know why it but it just did. All of the great teams in our conference we have to play on the road and then you throw one of the premier teams in the country, Kentucky, on the road but I feel good because these guys are going to fight ‘til the finish.”

On early foul trouble…
“I’m sure they had some fouls called on them that weren’t warranted too. It’s just that the two teams play really hard and physical and they call it.”

Louisville Players

#3, Peyton Siva, G

On climbing back in the game in the second half …
“Russ Smith was doing alright for us. He played well. Everybody just really stepped up in the press. We got a couple key steals and Russ (Smith) made shots. He is a great player and at the end, (Kentucky) just hit the lob and it got the crowd back involved. We had a couple fouls called after that, and it just didn’t go our way.”

On why he thought Louisville could never get over the hump to take the lead …
“I just think we didn’t step up and block out at the end. They (Kentucky) just hit the glass and got rebounds. It really hurt us that they got rebounds. Typically after they got a rebound, they got a foul call or an and-one.”

On if Anthony Davis was more of a factor than he expected …
“Definitely. He was a big factor in the second half. He was long, and athletic. He altered a lot of shots.”

#2, Russ Smith, G

On playing against Anthony Davis in the second half…
“What you have to do to get to the basket against that guy is almost impossible. The amount of room he covers around the basket is incredible. Davis is a very solid player.”

On Russ’ individual success…
“I play hard. I leave it all on the floor. I stayed confident all 40 minutes offensively. If coach tells me to keep shooting, I will listen.”

On the length of Kentucky’s team…
“They are a tremendously long team. They were probably longer last year, but the length and wingspan of Kentucky is incredible.”

On playing hard in the last few minutes…
“We always want to win. We never feel like we are out of it. Any basketball player would know the game is not over until the forty minutes is up, so we played hard. If we were down a few points less, it could have gotten interesting.”

#24, Chane Behanan, F

On what he learned from the game…
“Stay patient and be calm. Once we are down on the road and within the last four minutes, we have to get stops.”

On why Louisville couldn’t get a lead in the second half …
“When they threw the alley-oop to Anthony Davis, it hurt. We were within four or five points. Our press was basically killing them.”

On how the game was officiated…
“I think it was called tight. We both had a couple of players with three fouls at half. Then, they got us on the boards.”