Cats Roll into Baton Rouge

Jan. 27, 2012

Kentucky won its 12th straight game behind a solid defensive effort and a pair of strong offensive showings from senior Darius Miller and freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Gameday Information
Kentucky at LSU
Sat., Jan. 28 - 4:00 p.m. ET
Baton Rouge, La.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | LSU Get Acrobat Reader
TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Live Audio
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The Wildcats held the Georgia Bulldogs to 34.5 pct. shooting from the field and 44 total points, while blocking 10 UGA shots and outrebounding the Dawgs 41-26.

Miller tied his season-high with 19 points including four 3-pointers, which also tied a season high. Kidd-Gilchrist posted his fourth double-double this season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Freshman Anthony Davis pulled down 11 rebounds, while blocking five shots and fellow freshman Marquis Teague dished out seven assists, while committing no turnovers. He also added seven rebounds.

Scouting Report

Located in Baton Rouge, La. (803 miles southwest of Lexington), LSU enters the weekend off a 76-71 loss at No. 15 Mississippi State.

The Tigers are led by a trio of double-digit scorers, including Justin Hamilton (13.9 ppg), Andre Stringer (10.8 ppg) and Anthony Hickey (10.0). Hamilton also leads the Tigers in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg).

Trent Johnson is in his fourth season at the helm of the LSU program. He led the Tigers to the 2009 regular-season SEC Championship in his inaugural season as head coach.

Johnson came to Baton Rouge after four years as the head coach at Stanford where he guided the Cardinal to three NCAA appearances and an 80- 47 record. Prior to his time at Stanford, Johnson was the head coach at Nevada for five years where he amassed a 79-74 record including the 2004 WAC Tournament Championship.

Series History

UK and LSU meet for the 105th time. Kentucky holds an 80-24 advantage in the series, and is 28-16 against LSU in Baton Rouge including winning two-straight and four of the last five.

UK won the lone meeting between the two schools last year, 82-44 in Lexington and has won the last two meetings by an average of 32 points.

Kentucky owns the series' longest winning streak at 19 consecutive victories from 1933-1960. LSU's longest winning streak in the series is three, which they have accomplished three times.

Pre-LSU Media Opportunity - Jan. 27, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On LSU holding teams under 60…
“They’re big and their guards are good. (Anthony) Hickey is outstanding, tough, hard-nosed, they have two of him. They have their leading scorer, who is 6-5, back. Johnny O’Bryant who is a McDonald’s All-American, they have the kid from Iowa State that is 7-foot, he’s good. They have two other big kids; they are a very good team. The good news is, for preparation, they play a lot like Georgia, Mark (Fox) worked for coach (LSU head coach Trent Johnson). A lot of the stuff when we go over it we will have seen it. That’s why yesterday I didn’t use any time in our practice, usually I would say let’s hit their stuff a little bit, we did a few of the drills that match it but none of the walk-through stuff.”

On recruiting in-state product Anthony Hickey …
“It’s not about that, he’s good enough, there is no question but we took Marquis Teague. When you do that, unless you just want to load up on kids, here’s what happens, what if he comes here, maybe he is better than Marquis, maybe he’s not, and if he’s not and he’s not playing, is that fair to him? Maybe he would be good enough to beat out Marquis Teague, is that fair to Marquis Teague? I just think that when you go through this process of recruiting, I’ve made mistakes before. I remember when we played Connecticut and when I saw my man out of high school, I said he was too small, I’m not sure he is good enough. Guess what, he was good enough. Hickey is really good. I’ll same the thing, the other side of it is you take a guy that should be going to Western (Kentucky University) or Murray (State) and you just take him to take him when he could go there and be a starter and do x-y-z and you take him because you want to have a Kentucky kid on your team. I’m not doing that, I just refuse to do that. I’ll take walk-ons that way but I’m not taking a player that way, I don’t feel comfortable with that. Hickey is good enough, he is an SEC player and a starting point guard, I just saw him against Mississippi State make four 3s in a row to end the game. He’s not afraid, he could play here, there isn’t any question, he’s not afraid, he’s a battler, he is good.”

On Marquis Teague making the balance of the team work …
“Important but the one thing, this is a hard one for you all to understand, we have to keep working on making the extra pass. You say, ‘well Cal you have seven guys that have over 100 shots. There is no team in the country that has seven guys with over 100 shots.’ There isn’t one and here is what I would say, what happens is, because guys are only taking 10-9-8-11 shots, the extra pass becomes a little bit harder than it would if four or three guys are taking all your shots. We just have to continue to work on that, make that extra pass. The balance we have does make it difficult. Darius (Miller), offensively, he could go for 30, Kyle Wiltjer could go for 30, Doron Lamb could go for (30), you have a bunch of guys that could bust out for 30. Terrence Jones could go for 30, we just have to keep playing the game and whoever has it going, go to him, last game it was Darius and the guys found him and got him shot.”

On Marquis Teague carrying himself better than he was earlier in the year…
“What happens to these young people, if they don’t let you define them, let us kind of present you, define how you are going to play, when they are arguing the point they think they can play like they did in high school and when it doesn’t work it rattles them. Then they don’t know if they are if they are good enough, then they start questioning if they can play, well you can play but just not the way you are playing. That’s the hard thing, most guys have to get hit in the mouth and they say, ‘alright it ain’t working the way I want to do this, let me do this.’ Let me say this, every once in a while they will go back and check it to make sure they are right or wrong. They’ll go and have their kind of game and they’ll look bad again and you’ll say, ‘why did they do that?’ Because they just have to check and see if they can do it their way. Most of these players, they are letting us present them and define their games for them. All we try to do is play to our strengths, play to your strengths; we’ll work on your weaknesses in here but right now let’s do what we do. The biggest thing with Marquis Teague that he is doing better is he is defending and rebound, you all want to look at his offense, he is defending and rebounding. He’s not stopping, he is going in and getting balls, he had seven rebounds. He has seven rebounds we’ll outrebound the other team by double digits. But there are games he gets no rebounds and doesn’t even attempt, that is the old high school, I’m not going in there because if I go in there and they miss then I can’t get a lay-up so I’m going to just take off. It’s not just him; there are a lot of high school guys doing that.”

On being 3-0 in SEC road games …
“They have all been good games. Georgia came out and made six out of eight whatever they did. Tennessee came out and we were down in that game, Auburn came out and we were down in that game. They all come at us, they are all big games and the teams are going to play well. It’s good for us, it makes us better. I expect LSU to play a great game, I expect them to come out and play better than they have all year. (They will) be physical, run their stuff, execute, they’ll play fast but they want it to be, a lot of times you say they are holding people under 60, it’s because they are scoring a little bit over 60. A team that holds it can keep the other team from scoring more. If you are playing faster the other team is going to score more because they are going to get more opportunities. But they do a good job of controlling the games, similar to Georgia.”

On Kentucky being on its own level …
“You always want to be on your own playing field. One of the reasons we don’t have to talk about another program or I don’t even have to worry about who is recruiting a guy is because I don’t care. I tell the family when we come in, ‘you will not hear me or my staff talk about another program and if we do talk about another program it will be positive about that coach or that program.’ We don’t worry about anybody else, if the kid wants something like this then we will get him and if they look at this and say it is too much then they aren’t coming here. What you try to do in all that you are doing is separate so that you are on a playing field where you present yourself and ask the kid if it is something he’d like or not. In everything you do, whether it’s facilities, academics, in the community, social media, connecting your fans. I’ve said that since I’ve been here, you’re at Kentucky, let’s get this separated. Why are we on all these TV games? Because we rate so high, we rate highest in the country. Everybody wants to watch us.”

#1 Darius Miller, G, Sr.

On what has been the difference between road games last year versus this year …
“I think we’re pulling it out at the end. A lot of times last year we seemed to struggle to close a team out. I think we have more will to win this year.”

On where the will to win came from …
“Honestly, I don’t know. I guess it’s just something that you have it or you don’t.  I guess we kind of developed it last year towards the end of the season. Early on in the season, especially in conference play, we didn’t have it.”

On whether he feels more comfortable being on the road now as a senior …
“Definitely. I think we all kind of feel more comfortable on the road. I think we’ve been doing a good job as far as road games this far. Hopefully we can continue on that path.”

On whether he feels the team has had to build confidence on the road …
“I think getting the first win definitely kind of helped us out. We kind of struggled there a little bit at the beginning but seemed to pull it out. From then on we kind of got rolling and we’re seeing it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was.”

On how close the team is to reaching their peak …
“I honestly don’t know. I know we still have some stuff to work on. I feel like we could become a better team still but I feel like we’re playing good at the same time so hopefully we can continue to get better and hopefully make a championship run.”

#25 Marquis Teague, G, Fr.

On what they’ve learned playing on the road in the SEC …
“We know the crowds are really into the game. We have to really come together and be ready to play together. It’s real loud in every gym, so we have to be able to listen to coach and relay calls to each other.”

On (LSU guard and former Kentucky Mr. Basketball) Anthony Hickey, if he’s heard about him and if he expects him to come out hungry tomorrow playing against his home state…
“Yeah, this is his home state, so we expect him to come out and compete. I heard he’s been doing very well this year, so he’s a really good player. I had a chance to see him in the Indiana All-Star game, so (I’m) just ready to go down and play.”

On what he remembers from his previous matchup with Anthony Hickey …
“He’s a good guard, he’s real quick, good with the ball, can shoot the outside shot. He’s just a true point guard.”

On what his responsibility is on a team like this with them being such a balanced ballclub in terms of keeping everybody involved …
“Just to find people in places where they can score. My first thing is to get everybody else involved. On a team like this, you don’t really have to score as many points as I’m using to scoring. So I just try to get everybody involved and create and control the tempo of the game.”

#33 Kyle Wiltjer, F, Fr.

On what he is expecting for the LSU game …
“I am just looking forward to practice today and learning a little more about them (LSU). We are probably going to watch some film and we are looking forward to the game.”

On how much film the team watches …
“We don’t watch a lot. Generally, a couple of days before, usually the day before, and pre-game meal we watch a lot.”

On when they watch the most film of their opponents …
“Coach (Calipari) does a lot of work with the film, and then he just incorporates that into practice. It’s not a lot of work that we have to do to watch it, but definitely in pre-game meal we have to watch the sets they run in transition, and usually the go-to sets so we know what we are looking forward too.”