UK Opens 2012 Against Arkansas-Little Rock in Freedom Hall

Jan. 2, 2012

The Wildcats open the 2012 calendar year, playing their annual game at Freedom Hall Tuesday nightversus the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans.

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Kentucky vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
Tues., Jan. 3 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Freedom Hall
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UK closed out 2011 riding a career-game from freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and a big second-halffrom fellow freshman Anthony Davis, to a 69-62 win over in-state rival Louisville.

Kidd-Gilchrist tallied his second-career double-double with 24 points and 19 rebounds, both career-highs. Davis also tallied a double-double, his seventh of the year, with 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six blocked shots. Terrence Jones grabbed a season-high 11 boards to give UK three players with double-figure rebounds for the first time since Feb. 16, 2010 at Mississippi State.

Scouting Report

Located only 565 miles southwest of Lexington in Little Rock, Ark., Arkansas-Little Rock is amember of the Sun Belt Conference.

The Trojans started slow this season, dropping 10 of their first 13 games. However, UALR put its slow start behind and has won its opening two games in conference play including a 66-59 win at Denver on Saturday.

The Trojans are led by a trio of double-digit scorers including team leader Will Neighbour, who averages 12.0 ppg.

Neighbour also leads the team in rebounding (6.1) and blocks (16).

UALR is under the direction of head coach Steve Shields who has tallied a 24-27 record in his second season in Little Rock.

Series History

This is the first meeting between Kentucky andArkansas-Little Rock.

The Wildcats face the fifth and final first-time opponent in the regular season posting a 4-0record in the first four games.

Kentucky is 33-4 against first-time opponents over the last nine seasons.

Pre-Arkansas-Little Rock Media Opportunity - Jan. 2, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On Marquis Teague being second on the team in shots ...
"They're not playing him. He's getting a lot of shots because they aren't playing him and if he is shooting a lot of lay-ups then shoot a hundred. I could care less, we are trying to win. If anybody here is worried about shots they can't because the guys that are doing the dirty work aren't complaining about shots so nobody else has the right. I had Marcus Camby, blocked every shot, did all that he was supposed to, never complained and if anyone else on the team was selfish you wondered what they were doing because their best player wasn't selfish. I don't think we have that issue. Marquis is still learning, he's not there yet, he's not totally bought in yet but that's fine, neither did Brandon (Knight) last year at this point and I think I remember John Wall saying, `I'm not having fun,' halfway through the year."

On the next step for Marquis Teague ...
"He's got to truly run the team and be running the team for everyone. He's got to pick spots when to go, right now he  goes sometime when he doesn't need to, he misses people when he doesn't need to find them and doesn't move people around before we run plays. He's never had to do that, he just goes and gets his own so this is all new. He'll be fine."

On playing in Freedom Hall in Louisville ...
"We're excited about going in to Louisville and having our fans there. I'm hearing there are tickets left but they are up top so I would just tell our fans it is your chance to see us in person, get out there and get to the game."

On the future of games in Freedom Hall ...
"People have to come to it and make it something they want us to do. It's hard to say, `get us UCLA in there,' you just can't. I know this, (Arkansas) Little Rock at home would have 24,000 if it's here in Lexington. We want to continue to do it and reach out to our fans. This is an opportunity for people that aren't season ticket holders. A great thing about our fans is that they come to see us play, not the other team."

On Terrence Jones coming out of his slump ...
"He's getting there, 11 rebounds, he's got to dunk balls, he tried to lay them up rather than dunk them. He's still a little tentative but he'll be fine. I've had many guys go in to a slumber and then have to break out of it and it's not easy. You do it with defense, tough rebounding and physical play. It's kind of like a football player, you have the butterflies and all the sudden you go whack the first guy and they are gone and now you go play, it's no different in basketball. He tried defensively, wasn't bad, wasn't great, still not what he' supposed to be. He did go get balls but we still have to get him flying up and down that court, part of it is, you have to have fun but you can only have fun if you are the aggressor. If you are getting knocked in the head you aren't going to think it's fun, if you knock them you are having fun. He's not as aggressive as he was at the beginning of the year so he just has to get back to that. Being aggressive means you are playing harder and play at a difference pace and play harder than the other guy and that's hard. He's a terrific player, he'll be fine. It's not the finger."

On what caused 29 percent shooting ...
"It was both us and their defense. We gave them seven lay-ups just throwing them the ball or being weak. We gave up seven, so there 32 percent was more like a 26 percent. We did miss some shots that we should have made, but there are times you have those shooting nights and we had one and luckily we won."

On the upcoming games ...
"We're just trying to get better. We had a nice heart-to-heart yesterday and I told them, `you all like it when Cal keeps it real until I keep it real with you and you don't like it so much.' I kept it real with just about everyone in the room and I didn't even have to raise my voice. I had a couple guys cry."

On how he kept it real with somebody like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who's playing so well ...
(Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) keeps fouling to start games. You can't start games with fouls, I know you get hyped up but you can't start with fouls. We watched the tape yesterday and a lot of it was lack of execution, Michael included. If you're a true friend to the other guys on the team, you won't stop during a possession, you care too much about your friend. I'm not going to fall asleep at the post so the enemy comes in and kills my buddies, I'm not falling asleep I have to protect them. Second thing you have to do is start the game right. First offensive set of the game one guy didn't do what he was supposed to. We went through it the day before, at the shoot around, we talked about it before the game, as we walked out, I put it on the white board and the dude walked out and didn't do it. You're not a true friend because you aren't thinking, `I have to do my job for my team.' There is a sense of responsibility you have to have for your teammates."

On Josh Harrellson in the NBA...
"I'm happy for him. I texted him and said, `looks like I held you back,' but he came back with a great one and I told the team this, `Coach, you did fine, we had a terrific shooting team, I didn't need to shoot jumpers.' And he's right, we had Doron (Lamb), Darius (Miller) and Brandon Knight. He was concerned with the team and it worked out for him. You don't have to worry about yourself, just do what you are supposed to do and you'll be presented in the right way."

#10, Twany Beckham, G, Jr.

On getting to play in his home city of Louisville ...
"Yeah, my whole family is going to be there and asking for tickets, but I am trying to put that to the side and focus on the main goal, which is going up there and getting a win."

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and what impresses him the most about his game ...
"Nothing really impresses us anymore because we see it every day in practice. Every day, Michael goes hard, 100 percent every day. He gives it his all every day. So when he has a good game, it really doesn't impress us. We have been seeing him (play like that) since this summer. Since he first got here he has been working really hard and rebounding the ball well. Nothing impresses us anymore."

On his game and how he thinks he has been playing...
"It is going OK. I feel like I have experienced a couple of learning curves, I haven't really been with this team for long so I am still trying to come in and work hard every day."

#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G, Fr.

On Tuesday's game vs. Arkansas-Little Rock and how the team guards against letdown after emotional win ...
"It's just another game and I want to win.  We just with practice today and setting the tone."

On winning the SEC Player of the Week award and how he handles all the praise ...
"I don't really care. I just want to win. I'm just playing my game."

On what part of his game still needs work and how it's coming ...
"My jump shot, but it's coming along good."