UK Opens SEC Slate Hosting South Carolina

Jan. 6, 2012

The Wildcats open conference play, hosting the South Carolina Gamecocks after posting a 14-1 record in pre-conference play. Most recently the Wildcats defeated Arkansas-Little Rock, 73-51, in their annual Freedom Hall game in Louisville.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. South Carolina
Sat., Jan. 7 - 4:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | USC Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
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Live Video via ESPN3
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Live Postgame Press Conference

Anthony Davis continued his superb play tallying his fourth consecutive double-double and fifth in the last six games. Davis finished with game-highs in points in (22) and rebounds (16).

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist barely missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The storyline of the night was senior guard Darius Miller joining Kentucky's prestigious 1,000-point club. His 15-point effort pushed his career total to 1,010 points.

Scouting Report

Located in Columbia, S.C., this is the first of two meetings with the Gamecocks this season for the Wildcats.

South Carolina has put together an 8-6 record to begin the season, and has won six of its final eight games, with the lone loss coming at the hands of top-10 ranked Ohio State.

South Carolina is paced by 13.1 points and 4.8 rebounds from Malik Cooke. Bruce Ellington adds 9.4 ppg, while Anthony Gill contributes a team-high 5.1 boards and 8.4 points.

The Gamecocks are under the direction of Kentucky native and fourth-year head coach Darrin Horn who has tallied a career mark of 169-96 in more than nine seasons as a head coach. He owns a 58-48 mark in Columbia. Horn is 3-0 in SEC lidlifters.

Series History

Kentucky owns a 44-10 (.815) record against South Carolina and is on a three-game winning streak in the series.

UK swept the Gamecocks last year in the regular season, including a 90-59 win in Lexington.

Due to the Gamecocks' arrival in the SEC in 1992, South Carolina is UK's second-least played opponent in the SEC (54 games). Arkansas is UK's least-played SEC opponent at 32 games.

Since the 2000 season, the two teams have played 12 games that were decided by eight points or less. Five of the last 12 meetings have been decided by six points or less.

Pre-South Carolina Media Opportunity - Jan. 6, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On approaching the SEC schedule as another season…
“We haven’t talked that much about it, I just said when we start playing teams in our league the level of talent goes up, the level of us knowing each other goes up and the level of intensity goes up. We talked about that but they understand. This is the hard part right now.”

On Terrence (Jones) being an effective player while scoring less…
“We want him to score 15 or 20 points a game, it’s not like we don’t want him to. He’s doing fine, he’s just got to play harder, rougher, come up with more balls, make a couple lay-ups and free throws and all the sudden your scoring 15 or 16 a game, easy, and he should be able to do that.”

On struggles at this point being similar to last year’s…
“I can’t remember, I hope not, I’m having trouble remembering yesterday. Last year we got on the road and we didn’t come out with the fire and when it was close I don’t think we all believed. By the end of the year we believed we could beat anybody. I think (this team believes), No. 2 in the country, I imagine they believe. They hopefully understand that we have to get better which is my only concern. It’s not where we are right now it’s that we are getting better. There comes a point where we are what we are and we tie it all up and touch up the ends like we did last year. We just aren’t there yet, we still have some guys that aren’t playing with the intensity or toughness that they need to. We get all that together and the rotation down which has been tough because of injuries, I think we’ll be better.”

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s health …
“He’s fine; he practiced yesterday so he’s fine.”

On what Terrence Jones being 100 percent means for the team …
“Obviously we are going to be better. That’s everybody we have, we want everyone to be at 100 percent, we’ve got a pretty good group of guys, we’d be better.”

On Terrence Jones’ role change from last year to this year …
“Last year we obviously had a different team and we had to play a little different but we’d still like him to put up numbers, I’d like to see him get 11 rebounds a game and 15 points, some games 20. The greatest thing about rebounding is I say to be as selfish as you want to be. Grab a few offensive rebounds, you’re one foot from the basket; stick those in, make your free throws and a few other shots and you’re there. Again, the intensity of play is where we are with a few of the guys but we’ll get there and be fine.”

On freshman being surprised by SEC play …
“Probably, when we get on the road they will see. The game Saturday will be a war, (South Carolina) plays an aggressive zone and press, as a matter of fact, they play a lot like how Louisville plays. They scramble in the press and come at you in different ways. (Bruce) Ellington is now playing, they struggled early but have won six of seven and that’s with Ellington back so they are a team that could come in here and beat us if we aren’t playing the way we need to be.”

On Bruce Ellington playing football and basketball …
“It’s a unique story, there aren’t many guys that I know that could go out there and do what he does and in between games go play another game. It says a lot about their team and their players to say we know we need them so were fine with it, we know you’re practicing football so just go in there and play.”

On when he is ready to go full-force …
“On November 30th, I am greased up and ready to go. Normally by the middle of February they start figuring it out, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. They get it when they get it. Kids are all different. Teams are all different.”

On the difference between the first and second halves vs. Arkansas-Little Rock …
“I watched the run as I watched the tape during that time, and the biggest thing we did was we made three 3s. It was like bang, bang, bang. It was a three or four-point game and we made three 3s and it kind of busted it out, so you couldn’t say ‘he did this’ or ‘he did that’. We made some shots and spread it out. The other thing is it gives you one more player on the court that they are going out to guard, so it opens up the lane a little bit. When they did that, we scored a couple easy baskets. Like I said, my issue with all of the guys is let’s just get better. What do you have to do it improve. As long as we’re getting better, were good. We have to stay focused on improvement, not on wins. It’s about getting better. The second half (vs. Little Rock) we played fairly good. First half – not so good.”

On speaking in front of the state government …
“I was asked to. I think being there in person has more of an impact. The message was simple, you are proud of these players, you are proud of this program, you are proud of our kids graduating, you are proud of our GPAs, and you are proud of how these kids perform. How about on our campus that all of our counties are represented. 80 percent of our campus is from the state of Kentucky. Wouldn’t you want to be proud of our campus? We have got a lot of work to do around here from housing to classrooms, all of the things that make it about students first. Just like we try to make it about players first here. If you want to make it about the students first, it’s the same deal. I like the path we are going. I like the plan that is together. The legislature has to be our friend and know that this is the flagship campus, and we want to be proud of it, and that means we are going to have to invest in it.”

On whether the basketball coach should be speaking to the state legislature …
“I have spoken before the Massachusetts House, I think I have spoken before the Tennessee-state legislature, I don’t know, did I speak here my first year? I think I did. I spoke before the House. I have done it everywhere I have been. I am not afraid to brag about the school that I work for. Anyway I can help them. I told them right now we are part of a big place and it’s a place people can walk through and look at athletics, but eventually it’s about the rest of this campus and I think the path we are taking which is ‘let’s rebuild’. If we spend the next five years, and the legislature says we are going to invest for the next five years, you match the dollars that you put in this place, and we go out and get privatized things on this campus, in five years it will be a different place for the next 25 years for the students. For the students. It’s not for me personally, it’s not for (UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto) personally, it’s for the students. It’s been done other places, I mentioned Connecticut where they did it. They did a five-year plan where they talked about giving ‘this’ much. We are not talking about buildings, we are not talking about salary. We are talking about the bricks and mortar that make this place a better learning environment. You are talking about 60-year-old dorms. I hate to tell you these days, but that doesn’t cut it. The communal bath, the 30-person shower; dudes don’t like it anymore. The world is changing.”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Sr.

On Southeastern Conference play …
“It’s going to be very intense. A lot of good teams, a lot of good talent. They’re going to play tough the whole 40 minutes, so you’ve got to get rolling and get everything going.”

On the team’s effort level going up and down in past games this season …
“That’s something we can’t have in conference play. It’s going to be a very intense game, very physical games, especially on the road. So we’re going to have to come out ready to go every single game. There can’t be any games where we’re lacking intensity and lacking effort.”

On helping the younger players prepare for what SEC play is like …
“Coach (John Calipari) and the rest of the coaches do a good job of explaining sort of how it’s going to be. We kind of watched a little bit of our film on one of our games last year. Everybody was seeing how intense it was and how hard everybody played. So I think they got a pretty good understanding.”

On how they succeeded last year in conference play …
“I think we just started playing more as a team and playing defense. We kind of focused in on defense, especially in the intensity part of that. I think once we did all that, our offense fed off of it. So I think we’re going to have to do the same thing this year, become more of a defensive team and really take pride in our defense.”

On Terrence Jones making a full recovery …
“We will be a totally different team. (Terrence Jones) is a huge part of the team. He’s one of the main players, one of the key parts. So when he’s 100 percent, we’re really good.”

On how different Marquis Teague’s role on the team is compared to Brandon Knight last year …
“I think it’s different. Brandon (Knight) had to do a lot of scoring last year for us to be successful. I think Marquis (Teague) has to do scoring too, but not as much as Brandon. Marquis does a great job of running the team and stuff like that. They’re both very talented players, but I think they have different roles on the team.”

#3 Terrence Jones, F, So.

On whether he’s back to 100 percent yet due to his finger …
“I don’t know. You know it changes every game just because of how it gets hit. It’s feeling a lot better though.”

On whether he approaches the second half of the season differently with SEC play beginning …
“Yeah, I mean a lot of teams are better prepared. They know our personnel as a team and how our offense is run in conference play, so we’ve really got to come to play. We want to be the best team every night.”

On how Marquis Teague’s role this year differed from Brandon Knight’s role last year …
“(Marquis) has got to make sure everybody’s getting touches and still try to be an aggressive point guard. Brandon, we needed him to be more aggressive than to figure how to get more people involved with just the way we played and how well he can shoot the ball. With this team, Marquis has got to be a playmaker in the pick-and-roll offense and we didn’t do that. We had pick-and-roll for Brandon on the side and we gave it to him on the top. But Marquis is making plays for everybody.”