Wildcats Take 5-0 Record into Oxford

Jan. 26, 2009

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The Wildcats look to remain perfect in the SEC when they take to the road for the fourth time in six
games, heading to Ole Miss Tuesday for a nationally televised game on ESPN.

Kentucky has won three straight on the road in conference play, with their latest victory coming at
Alabama on Saturday. UK picked up a 61-51 win, once again led by Jodie Meeks who scored a gamehigh
27 points. Meeks was just as effective on the glass, tying his career high with nine rebounds, while
also registering three steals.

Perry Stevenson picked up his second straight double-double with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
UK held Bama to 29.3 percent from the field, the lowest percentage by an opponent this year.

Cat Scratches

• Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
• Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,982.
• The Wildcats are 95-11 all-time against Ole Miss, including a 25-8 mark in Oxford.
Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks third nationally in scoring (26.1 ppg).
• Meeks is averaging 31.0 ppg in SEC games.
Patrick Patterson ranks fifth in the nation in FG percentage (66.4) and 29th in rebounding (9.4).
• Patterson is one of two players in the SEC to rank in the top 10 in scoring (6th - 17.7) and rebounding
(2nd - 9.4).
• UK ranks second in the country in blocked shots per game (7.5), third in free throw percentage (79.0),
fourth field goal percentage (50.2) and 15th in assists/game (17.1).
Patrick Patterson has recorded 10 double-doubles this season and 16 in his career, tying him for 20th
on UK’s all-time double-doubles list.
• UK is 14-0 when leading at the half this season.
• Kentucky has not allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent or higher from the field this season.

UK Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes

On Ramon Harris
“He did alright in practice and looked alright. We didn’t go a long time, but he was there for the biggest part of practice. “

On how surprised he is that Ramon Harris is able to play given what happened Saturday …
“It is surprising and number one you have to always think about the health and safety of your players, and I think that the people at Alabama and our staff did a great job as well. It is a scary situation and as far as all the check-ups and tests, everything has been fine although they haven’t determined what caused it to happen and that is a little scary. We have great doctors though and they have cleared him to play for a reason.”

On if it worries him as a coach about how much he can do and can’t do with Ramon Harris
“I don’t think that you can just go along like nothing every happened, that would be very insensitive. I think that you always have to be concerned because this isn’t the first time that he has been carried off the court or locker room or whatever the situation. Obviously, they are two separate incidences but it is a major concern. It always is a major concern when one of your players has to be taken from the court other than on their own feet. You have to trust the experts, and I am not an expert so I have to trust them. They have been comprehensive in their testing and everyone is taking it very seriously. I am not a doctor so I have to trust them, which is what we have always done and what we will always do. Sometimes it makes you understand what’s important and it put thing in perspective in a way. Again, you have to give proper and abundant care and everything has been done that way and I trust the experts which are the absolute best in their field.”

On how the team keeps winning even though Kentucky is still turning the ball over at a high rate …
“We won’t continue winning much longer if we continue to turn the ball over like we have. We were lucky to get a win on Saturday, and they had some turnovers and missed some shots as well and some of that has happened for us with our opponents. It won’t continue if we don’t get better offensively. It (winning with too many turnovers) will be short lived.”

On why he thinks that the team is having too many turnovers still this far into the season …
“I don’t think that we are making very good decisions. I think that we had a really good play drawn up out of a timeout with the game on the line and DeAndre Liggens delivered the ball to Perry Stevenson and we don’t catch it and it goes out of bounds and that is two points. Those things don’t happened very many times when you lose opportunities like that and you get away with it. Pat (Patterson) missed a layup point blank at the beginning of the half and we can’t continue to miss those shots and turn the ball over. We have to concentrate a little harder, or maybe we are concentrating too hard on not turning it over. We haven’t talked too much about it. We have to make our decision-making better and some of it is sloppiness, not giving our defensive guy guarding us enough credit and they are just taking the ball from us. Those kinds of mistakes have to be stopped. We talk about it, but we don’t harp on it. We just try to get better, but it is still January and our teams usually start playing better this time of year and we have too. The thing about it is that if you defend and rebound you will have a chance no matter how bad you are playing defense. If we can get nine or 10 guys going like a machine it will be special because I don’t think that our defense will switch (from playing good to playing bad.) There will be nights where guys make a bunch of baskets against us, but if our defense and rebounding continues like it has in the first five games of conference play then we are going to see some more wins. ”

On what type of problems Ole Miss presents and how they are handling their injury situation …
“You can answer both questions with the same answer: they are very tough. They are very physically tough, quick and mentally tough. They have to be mentally tough. It has been a team that has been right there every game except for LSU and LSU made every single shot and is a very good team. No matter whom Coach Kennedy puts on the court to play he gets maximum effort and they play very well as a team. They have a lot of young players and they have some experience as well. The way that Jodie (Meeks) has been going everyone thinks that there is just one leading scorer in the conference and he has been getting a lot of attention and deservedly so, but they have the second leading scorer in the conference in David Huertas. Everyone has a hard time with him and we barely beat them here last year. They had a wide open shot to win the game and missed it. We know that we are in for it and we know that it will be fun and exciting and we will have to match their intensity. Coach Kennedy has done a unbelievable job at Ole Miss no matter what the circumstances are he puts a very competitive team out there every time. “

On what Kentucky plans to do to guard Huertas …
“He is a hard player to guard. I think that all of our guys are getting better defensively. Darius Miller played 33 minutes the other day and I don’t think that he scored a point, which is probably not what he was recruited here to do or what he signed on here to do but he excepts whatever happens. You watch his offense will start to happen because of how good he is playing defensively and rebounding. DeAndre (Liggens) is about to get it going to and A.J. (Stewart) is going to be a critical defender because they spread you out so much and he has the ability and agility to guard guys out on the court. Terrico White is a great player and very difficult to guard and he will be one of the better players in the conference before it is all said and done. I think that Gaskins is very good as well and all their interior players can drive and score. It is going to be tough guarding not just Huertas, but everyone is going to have to defend their position and the thing about us is that we have been helping each other out well lately.”

On Kentucky being ranked in the AP top 25 …
“It is January, but it is always nice and nicer for the fans. We appreciate any attention that we get, but we understand that we have a lot of improvement to make. The most important thing about rankings is who is ranked number one at the end. It (being number one) can be a trap. You see a lot of teams reach number one and then get beat the next week, obviously that isn’t the only reason but it can mess you up. Our team is determined and we have to continue to be determined and become more determined in a lot of different areas. We are going to try to keep improving and win some more games and see where we end up at the end.”

On Patrick Patterson’s finger …
“It isn’t much better. I don’t think that he missed a ball last year and there are some balls that he is struggling to catch right now.”