UK Hosts Auburn in SEC Home Opener

Jan. 10, 2011

Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Auburn Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Jan. 11, 7:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPNU
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Live Blog
Text Updates
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

Cat Scratches: Video: Players preview Auburn; Cal talks Kanter

The Wildcats return to Rupp Arena after dropping a 77-70 decision at Georgia on the opening weekend of conference play in the SEC.

After falling behind by 11 at the half, the Wildcats made a strong run mid-way through the second half to pull even, and even took a one-point lead. However the Bulldogs were able to pull away at the free-throw line (30-of-34) for the win.

Terrence Jones led Kentucky with his sixth double-double of the season, tallying a team-high 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

Doron Lamb (18) and Brandon Knight (10) also scored in double-digits for UK.

Josh Harrellson added his third-straight double-figure rebounding performance with a game-high 11 boards.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On encouraging current Auburn head coach Tony Barbee to take the Auburn position when it was open…
“I think that all the jobs in the SEC are good jobs. You have a chance to get your team to a Final Four. You have a chance to win national titles. Teams in this league have done it, and if there are other teams in this league that have done it, you can do it. (They have a) new building, with the SEC and their football program doing well financially you have no restrictions, it’s go out and recruit some guys, get them together and let’s go. I think he’ll do fine and he’s done fine. The tapes I’ve watched he’s doing a terrific job of keeping his guys where they have to be for a chance to win. They beat Florida State and they had them from the start of the game to the end of the game.”

On Auburn's six-point first-half performance against LSU…
“I didn’t watch the LSU tape. I didn’t watch either half because they play all zone and there are other tapes I needed to watch first. I’ll eventually watch it but I have not yet.”

On cautioning his players from taking notice of Auburn’s first half against LSU…
“You take this game like you did Penn and you’ll be in the same position. I would say this team is better than Penn. Penn could have beaten us if they could have sustained our effort. This team against Florida State sustained effort. That’s why they won.”

On what goes into changing the thought process of junior guards Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins…
“At the end of the (Georgia) game we didn’t make stops and they were all break downs by us. Either we stood behind the post on a zone, a guy didn’t rotate over so then when we did rotate they got a dunk, in the press they throw by us and everything was to be caught in front of us and we didn’t. We broke down, well you can’t in a close game. Then on offense we took tough shots. Part of it was we’re trying to play through a bump and hope the official will bail us out. You can’t do that late in a game, can’t do it. So it wasn’t just those two, but they were out there too. So we had a team full of guys, it wasn’t just two. One of the things I would say, this may be a team that – I told them this yesterday – I may need to use some timeouts, four minutes, three minutes, two minutes, use a timeout or two. And you’d say why, well because this team, we called a play and we ran it, but we ran it to the wrong guy. I think, again, they’re not thinking like I think yet. So you have to use some timeouts. I told them, the reason I don’t like doing that, and why I believe coaches do it, is you want to say watch this play, I’m going to show you I’m coaching. I’d rather you say he just rolls out balls and gets all the best players and that’s why he wins. I’d rather you say that about me. I usually teach them in practice and then they play it out. But this team may need me to stop the game, we’re down three this is a big basket let me show you exactly where we’re going to go with this and then we’ll keep playing. I’ve not coached like that in a while, but this team after watching, I probably need to do that.”

On if the workout equipment at practice is used as a sort of punishment…
“These guys don’t need to be punished, we just need to keep coaching them; just keep coaching them, they’re good kids. They want to do well, they’re not physically or mentally tough enough yet, you've got to go through some wars to learn and what we went through down there we learned. We learned. You tie up the game, go up one, you win that game. You win that game. You break down three times defensively and then you come down and you miss two one-footers, and miss a tip-in and everything’s a fade away versus a foul, you’re going to lose the game, and that’s what we did.”

On what Auburn does well when they play with the aforementioned sustained effort…
“Well they’re capable. They can shoot the ball; they have a couple guys they throw to inside, their little point guard’s quick and was breaking through any of their pressure Florida State was throwing at them. They had a great effort. They got every 50-50 ball. It was a good game to watch. I told Tony (Barbee), look he’s a little undermanned, but he’s doing a great job.”

On his relationship with Auburn head coach Tony Barbee as opposed to any of his former players…
“Well not all of my former players have worked for me. Tony’s worked for me. I coached Tony when he was 16 years old. When I recruited Tony he committed to UMass before he even visited the campus. He said, ‘I want to play for you. You’re the guy I want to play for.’ There’s been a bunch of those now, but he was the first one because I was not expecting him to say I’m coming. I was just hoping he was visiting. And he said ‘I’m coming.’ I went, ‘What?’ And I did a back flip. I was younger then, my hip wasn’t yet replaced; I did a back flip and I hugged his mom and dad and I made our staff leave immediately before anything would change. Just, ‘Let’s go, hurry up, get your stuff and let’s go.’ And he ends up being the third or fourth leading scorer. He was a four-year starter. Hard-headed kid now. He’s funny, when I used to get on him he’d run down the other side of the floor. If he knew he did something he ran down the other side from me. ‘Tony!’ He’d be down on the other end running. He was smart.”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.

On the mistakes the team made in Georgia…
“I didn’t really notice until we watched video yesterday and went over a few things. Those are things we have to get corrected.”

On if he noticed the mistakes during the game…
“I didn’t notice it during the game. I just had to watch film. We went over it.”

On if Coach Calipari has been extra tough after the loss…
“He is always tough on us. I mean, it wasn’t anything different than after every game.”

On Coach Calipari telling the media that he can be the best player in the SEC…
“It’s a big confidence booster, especially with as good of a coach as he is. I have confidence in him. It helps me out a lot. I think I have a ways to go to get to that level.”

#30, Eloy Vargas, G, Fr.

On how his game is coming along…
“It’s coming along pretty well. I have to fit everything with coach and now I see the way he wants me to play.”

On how his game has changed since the beginning of the season…
“He wants me to grab the ball each time with two hands. So, when I don’t do that, he (Coach Calipari) takes me out right away.”

On if Coach Calipari is trying to change a lot of his habits…
“Yeah, he is. He is trying to make me tougher on the floor.”

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G, Jr.

On how he felt about the Georgia game…
“I thought I didn’t play with a lot of energy. I didn’t play well defensively. Our offense wasn’t going, and I think they (Georgia) wanted it more than us.”

On the change in his mindset to be a leader…
“We as the veterans on this team have to make those kinds of plays. We have a lot of good freshmen, but at the end of the day, we have to get stops on defense.”

On the atmosphere at Georgia, and how difficult it was to play at…
“It wasn’t that difficult. I mean, we especially knew going on the road we weren’t going to get any calls. We didn’t. We were looking for calls, and we made a big mistake by doing that because we knew we weren’t going to get any calls on the road. We knew that from the jump. I was looking for calls a lot of times, and I was complaining a lot to the refs, and that got me out of my game.”