Cats Close Out Two-Game Road Swing

Jan. 13, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to close out its modest two-game road swing before returning home to Rupp Arena for a pair of home games next week.

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Kentucky at Tennessee
Sat., Jan. 14 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Knoxville, Tenn.
Thompson-Boling Arena
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TV: ESPN
Radio: UK IMG
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The Wildcats enter its border war with Tennessee on an eight-game winning streak including a 68-53 win at Auburn on Wednesday. Anthony Davis and Doron Lamb posted a team-high 14 points each. Terrence Jones (12) and Marquis Teague (12) also scored in double-figures for the Wildcats.

Davis pulled down a team-high six rebounds and added four more blocks, pushing his season total to 78, one shy of the UK freshman record and five shy of the UK single-season blocks' record.

Scouting Report

Located in Knoxville, Tenn., (173 miles south of Lexington), the Volunteers enter the weekend off a 62-58 loss at Mississippi State on Thursday night.

Tennessee is led offensively by Trae Golden who is averaging 14.9 points and an SEC best 5.3 assists.

Jeronne Maymon leads the Vols in rebounding, averaging 7.6 boards per game.

Cuonzo Martin is in his first season as head coach of the Volunteers. Prior to coming to Knoxville, Martin enjoyed a three-year stint as the head coach at Missouri State from 2009-11. In his final season in Springfield, Mo., Martin became the program's first-ever Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year and led the Bears to their first-ever regular season MVC championship. That team posted a 26-9 overall record, and its 15-3 mark in MVC games set a school record for conference wins in a season.

At the 2011 Final Four in Houston, Martin received the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the top minority head coach in Division I men's basketball.

Martin also was a finalist for the 2011 Hugh Durham "Mid-Major" Coach of the Year Award, and The USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee handpicked Martin to join Matt Painter and Brad Stevens on the United States men's coaching staff at the 2011 FISU World University Games in Shenzen, China.

Series History

Kentucky owns a 146-66 (.689) record in the all-time series.

The Wildcats have won three straight in the series and six of the last seven. Kentucky swept last year's series including a 64-58 win in Knoxville.

UK has won 17 of the last 21 meetings.

At 212 meetings, the Kentucky-Tennessee series ranks as the second-longest series in SEC history.

Pre-Tennessee Media Opportunity - Jan. 13, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On Anthony Davis being five blocks away from school record …
“It tells you he is a pretty good shot blocker. He goes after balls. The best shot blockers I have seen are the ones that let people release the ball and then go get it and that’s what he does. Marcus Camby, when I had him, that’s exactly what he did; he never blocked it in the guy’s hand, he just stayed down and waited for him to release it. They also block more shots away from their own man. He adds a dimension to our team that makes us pretty good. You don’t get lay-ups that you think you have. He’s doing good. He’s coming along faster than I expected, he listens. He has let us present him instead of trying to show himself. Instead of trying to do everything he just looks at me and asks how we want him to play. He’s the leading rebounder and shot blocker and the other guys want to shoot the ball and he doesn’t say a thing, that’s probably why we are where we are.”

On the difficulty of the Tennessee game …
“It’s going to be hard. Coach (Cuonzo) Martin is doing an unbelievable job with this team. They’re really guarding in the half-court. They’ve got great size and toughness; they’re taking on his personality. Now you have a tough, hard-nosed team that makes eight 3s a game. Early on they weren’t sure of themselves, they are just getting used to each other and him. They had Pitt beat and lost; there were games they lost early that if they played now they would win. They beat Florida, they had Mississippi State beat so basically they should be 2-0 coming in against us. Their team believes they are beating us, as a matter of fact some of them said that. It’s going to be a hard game for us.”

On Tennessee’s toughness …
“It will probably be beyond Auburn, but Auburn was pretty good and rough. What Auburn doesn’t do that this team does is this team will make 3s. Think of the Auburn game if they make 3s, we’re not up five late. This team will not, they are a terrific 3-point shooting team. I am totally impressed with the coaching and the players buying in and them taking on their coach’s personality.”

On Jarnell Stokes …
“He’s good, we recruited him. He’s physical with a nice bounce and a great skill level. He’s competitive and a really good player.”

On his message to the team after watching the Auburn tape …
“You can’t get beat to every 50-50 ball and we showed them on the tape, every tough rebound they got, and every 50-50 ball they got. Then we showed them the last 10 minutes where we got them all and we made plays and did the easy things. That’s who we should be the entire game. That’s where we’re trying to go but we’re not there yet.”

On the toughness for a coach to change the mindset after taking over a program …
“I’ve taken over three programs and the hardest thing is to change the culture of what was there before and getting them to buy in; then, if you lose some games they start drifting, if you win they’ll buy in easier. What (Cuonzo Martin) has done is special. If you are able to guard in the half-court then you have a chance to win every game. You’re not going to press good teams into submission; you won’t run them out of the gym, not good teams. If you want to win championships you have to be able to do stuff in the half-court and he is teaching that now and obviously they are going to get better. Obviously recruiting is going well since they just got (Jarnell) Stokes. They are headed in the right direction.”

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist since his game against Louisville…
“He has played fine. He missed some shots, but when we need a play he makes it. He’s like Anthony Davis, when he makes a play he doesn’t say anything. Every rough rebound, every loose ball, every tough defensive assignment he gets and everyone else shoots all the shots. That’s why we are what we are. One guy is blocking every shot and rebounding; the other is diving on the floor and guarding their best player. Either one of them could score 20 a game, but they are fine with it. I heard a talking head say, ‘You can’t say one of the Kentucky players because they only average 12 a game.’ So basically you don’t know anything about the game of basketball, you can’t watch a player, but have to look at stats. That’s amazing to me. We have six guys in double-figures which has only been done a couple times in the history of our sport and it’s because we have a bunch of unselfish players.”

On coaching Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s mindset …
“I love coaching it. When you’re in the recruiting process you get an idea. Anthony Davis, they asked him where he was going to play and he said, ‘I don’t care. I just want to win. Play me where you want.’ Michael came to me and said, ‘Bring me off the bench so Darius (Miller) can start, he’s a senior.’ He cares that much about his teammates. We have a unique thing, we have to play in a physical game and negate it and we have to talk more. If we do those two things then we start the stride of where we want to go but we’re not there yet.”

#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist G, Fr.

On the intensity of a road game in the SEC …
“I was kind of tired at first. I am not really used to that, but I responded good to it, and I was ready to play.”

On if Tennessee is at a disadvantage Saturday physically …
“I don’t know. Not really. We are just worried about us, and how we are playing. I’m not really worrying about anything.”

On his numbers being down, but not necessarily his production …
“That doesn’t mean anything. That doesn’t really mean anything in my book.”

On his impressions of playing on the road …
“It was a road game. It was kind of weird at first, but I got used to it, and we got the win.”

#20 Doron Lamb, G, So.

On the Tennessee game …
“It’s going to be a tough game. They’ve got great players on the team – great guards. They play rough, so it’ll be real physical on offense and defense. (We’ve) just got to play hard.”

On what he took from the Auburn game going into the Tennessee game this weekend …
“We’ve got a win on the road so far, so we’ve got a lot of confidence; we’ve just got to go out there and play hard. (We have to) call plays out loud, because we can’t really hear them on the road, because it’s very loud in there. Just got out there and play hard really.”

On Anthony Davis being approaching UK single season block record so fast …
“That’s great for Anthony. He blocks shot really well, I think he averages like four blocks a game. He’ll break the record easily, so we’re not really worried about that.”

On whether or not Coach Cal bringing him off the bench rather than starting him “shakes things up” for him …
“I don’t really care though. I still get a lot of minutes in the game really, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”

On if there was something specific that Coach Cal said that he wanted to see from him which led to him not starting …
“No, not really. He just told me I was coming off the bench this game, so I did that and I played great.”

#23 Anthony Davis, F, Fr.

On why he doesn’t like to compare his stats to other players …
“You lose focus when you get into all of the statistics. I just try to not lose focus and just keep my focus on the court.”

On why he is so good at shock blocking away from the basket …
“I just try to go out there and jump as high as I can and get my arm in there. Sometimes the ball just happens to hit my hand. When players are shooting 3s, you’ll see me running. They’ll probably get the shot off, but I just want to contest and sometimes I’ll get a piece of it.”

On whether the team works on keeping the ball in play after he blocks it …
“Definitely. If I block it and they get the ball, they get the opportunity to score. We just try to keep the ball in play so I try to block it to one of my teammates.”

On whether blocking shots is a learned skill or instinct …
“I think it’s 100 percent instincts. It’s all about timing so you need to know when the player is going to shoot. You have to be out there and time it and use your instinct to figure out when he’s going to shoot it and go out there and block it.”