UK Plays First SEC Road Game at Auburn
Jan. 10, 2012
The Wildcats opened conference play on Saturday, tallying a 79-64 win over South Carolina, pushing the nation's longest home winning-streak to 45 games (44 in Rupp Arena; one in Memorial).
|Kentucky at Auburn
Weds., Jan. 11 - 8:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | AU
|TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via ESPN3
Anthony Davis recorded his ninth double-double (12p, 10r) on the season, fourth most by a freshmen in UK history. It was the fifth-straight double-double for Davis, who also added seven blocks pushing his season total to 75, fifth on the UK single-season blocks list.
Terrence Jones led all scorers with 20-points, the most since scoring 26 points against St. John's.
Located in Auburn, Ala. (487 miles south of Lexington), Auburn is off to a nice start to the season entering league play.
The Tigers won 10 of their first 14 games before dropping a 65-35 game at Vanderbilt to open SEC play.
Auburn has three players averaging in double-digits led by Kenny Gabriel (11.9), who is also averaging a team-leading 7.8 rebounds. Frankie Sullivan (11.5) and Chris Denson (10.7) are the only other Tigers in double-figures.
Tony Barbee is in his sixth season as head coach and his second at Auburn. He has amassed a career mark of 103-77 , the majority of that coming in his four-year stretch at UTEP.
While at UTEP, he averaged 20.5 wins per season in four years as a head coach, steadily improving each year with the Miners, capped with a 26-7 record, Conference USA regular season title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009-10 when he was named the C-USA Coach of the Year.
Wednesday's match-up against Auburn marks the 103rd meeting between the two schools. Having won 12 straight matchups and 26 of the last 27, Kentucky owns an 85-17 (.833) advantage in the Auburn series. The Wildcats' .833 winning percentage against the Tigers is UK's second highest winning percentage (.883 vs. Ole Miss) against an SEC opponent that was in the league prior to the 1992 expansion.
Kentucky won the only meeting between the two schools last year, 78-54, in Lexington.
Kentucky is 27-13 in Auburn against the Tigers.
Pre-Auburn Media Opportunity - Jan. 10, 2012
Head Coach John Calipari
On playing on the road …
“I’m anxious to see how we respond. Another sell-out on the road, they’re going to go crazy and play well. We’re going to have to play well to have a chance. We need to get some road games under our belt to see what we need to do with our team. Last year we were 2-6 (on the road in SEC play). I also know, last year, at the end of the year we were the best team in the country. We learned along the way and this team has a lot of learning to do.”
On road games not being tougher than Indiana environment …
“It will get crazy. We go to Florida, Tennessee and have this Auburn game. That’s what it means to play here, this isn’t for everybody. If you’re hoping to walk in to a half-empty arena and slide by and go get a meal after the game then this is not your place to play basketball. Every game is someone’s Super Bowl, you have a target on your back; every road game is sold out. That’s just how it is.”
On Auburn’s game against Vanderbilt …
“They were on the road; Vanderbilt right now is a top-five team. Aside from playing off each other real well they are shooting the ball. It’s not just (John) Jenkins, now all of a sudden they make 10 or 11 3s with the way they play and you lose by 30, we’d lose by 30. If they play like they did against Auburn then they’d get us by 25 or 30. I’m not taking much from that game, I’m not zeroed in on Vanderbilt, but just watching some of the plays I have to say, ‘whoa’.”
On coaching against Tony Barbee …
“I’m playing against someone I care about. He helped me build two programs, UMass as a player and as an assistant at Memphis. I’m standing here in front of you all as the coach at Kentucky and a lot of it is because of Tony Barbee. I don’t like playing these kinds of games, but we’ll play the game and get out of there.”
On a hostile environment adding responsibility to Marquis Teague …
“He just has to understand how to take the crowd out of the game. There are times where you speed up and times where you pull back just based on the momentum of the game. That’s something that he’ll have to learn and that’s why we’ll probably do more coaching from the side than we need to, because we’re trying to help him.”
On the importance of Marquis Teague following up with another strong game …
“He’s got time. I told them let’s just worry about getting better every game and the wins will take care of themselves. If we lose a couple, we lose a couple. It’s not football. We just need to get better, I like my team, I like what we do defensively, and we’re getting better offensively. We haven’t played with six cylinders running; we’ve been on two or three. As I say that, we still have played four top-15 teams and that kind of hardens you.”
On Terrence Jones …
“I think he’ll be fine. He was good yesterday. Guys don’t want to slide back to where they were on that kind of stuff and I think he understood it. He was good yesterday; he’s shooting the ball better and is more confident. He’s going to get rebounds with two hands and is talking more.”
On the Southeastern Conference …
“I think the league is really good. The media says when one league loses on the road it’s a good loss, when our league loses on the road it’s a bad loss. It’s hard to win on the road in any league. I’ll make a prediction; other than us, four of those five top teams in our league will be Sweet 16 teams. One team took a spill because their big guy was out, another had a bad game, but at the end of the day all those teams have the ability to do something special.”
On Darius Miller’s role …
“We like him to be aggressive, come up with balls. Don’t have a 6’2 guy on you and keep ball faking, just go do the stuff we all know you are capable of doing. We’ve all seen him do it. If he plays tough and is aggressive offensive and defensively then we are really good, if he doesn’t then we’ll be fine, he just won’t play much but we’ll be fine. He’s capable of being the SEC Tournament MVP, he did it last year. His run at the end of the year is what elevated our team. He’s playing fine (this year). I don’t like fine or good, that’s our enemy. You don’t want to be good, try to be great. Do the things you are capable of doing every day in practice and every game. You have to come with the mentality that you are going to work on everything and get better. That’s not just for him, that’s for everybody.”
#10 Twany Beckham, G, Jr.
On how he approaches road games …
“I have been having the same mindset, but now that I see I can get the opportunity to get on the floor more, I just have to make it happen.”
On what he sees his strengths as …
“Defense definitely is one of my strengths.”
On his learning curve being downhill now …
“I am getting the plays down better. Moving to the wing was a big adjustment, and I am starting to run the plays more.”
#25 Marquis Teague, G, Fr.
On the difference between a road game and a home game …
“Everything is really physical. On the road, the crowd is real tough to play in, and the crowd gets into it.”
On the goals for the team on the road and the approach he will take …
“You want to go out, play hard, and get wins just like you would a home game. We just have to execute and do what we do.”
On last year’s road struggles …
“No. We really haven’t talked about it that much this year.”
#30 Eloy Vargas, F, Sr.
On last year’s road struggles …
“Last year we didn’t come out in the road games. We need to improve on the road this year to get on the right track.”
On what he thinks caused last year’s road struggles …
“We were pretty young last year. This year, we are pretty young, but we have older guys like Terrence Jones and Doron (Lamb).”
On if the team is ready for the road in the Southeastern Conference …
“I think so. I think we learned a little bit from the Indiana game, so I think our young guys will be ready this game and every game we play.”