UK Returns Home to Face South Carolina

Jan. 30, 2009

UK Game Notes (PDF) | South Carolina Game Notes (PDF)

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Having played four of its last five conference games on the road, the Wildcats return to Rupp Arena for the first of a three-game homestand beginning with a regionally-televised contest on Raycom against South Carolina.

Kentucky enters the game coming off its first loss in SEC play at Ole Miss, 85-80 on Tuesday. Patrick Patterson led all scorers with 24 points while Jodie Meeks chipped in 21, but the Cats couldn't overcome 38.5 percent shooting from the field in the defeat. Darius Miller just missed out on a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds while also dishing out five assists and recording a block.

UK did limit their turnovers to 10 while pulling down 14 offensive rebounds, the most since pulling down 14 offensive boards against Louisville.

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 41-7 all-time against South Carolina, including a 21-1 mark in Lexington.
Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fourth nationally in scoring (25.8 ppg).
• Meeks is averaging 29.3 ppg in SEC games.
Patrick Patterson ranks fifth in the nation in FG percentage (66.4) and 27th in rebounding (9.3).
• Patterson is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in scoring (5th - 18.0) and rebounding (2nd - 9.3).
• UK ranks second in the country in blocked shots per game (7.3), third in free throw percentage (79.0),
sixth field goal percentage (49.6) and 14th in assists/game (17.0).
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 14-1 when leading at the half this season.
• Kentucky has not allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent or higher from the field this season.

Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes

On the teams three-point shooting …
“I want to shoot threes and I like threes, but I don’t want to do it off zero, one or two passes. We have to do a better job of understanding when the proper time is. The way they were guarding us the other night is when we have to do a better job of understanding that they weren’t going to guard some of our guys who weren’t making shots. I don’t mind those guys taking those shots, but it was too early in the shot clock and not enough passes had been made. We aren’t trying to hold the ball or anything, we are trying to be an efficient team and take advantage of Patrick Patterson who is an unbelievable player and we didn’t do that.”

On if the guys were worn out any going into the game against Ole Miss …
“No, I don’t think so; I think that we were fresh. It was our fourth game in 10 days, that’s not an excuse that’s a fact. Three of those games were on the road, but I thought that we were as fresh as we could possibly be. I am telling you that if Ole Miss plays like that they are going to beat a lot of folks. They played great and we still had a chance and if we would have played a little smarter we would have been ok. I give credit to Ole Miss because they made some shots and executed well and had a good game plan defensively and it worked out for them. I don’t think that we looked like a tired team or anything like that, I thought that we were fresh.”

On how good South Carolina is …
“They are really good. They have as good a back court as anyone from one-to-four. They have done a fantastic job and have good interior players as well. It is a perimeter based team, but those guys do a great job of getting their big guys, which are talented and athletic, involved.  Coach Horn has done a great job of instituting an attack where they spend all their time in the paint. They play inside-out great, but they don’t throw it to the post as much as we would like to and play inside out that way. They do it with penetration. They attack the elbow better than anyone I have seen for a long time and they have a great skill level across the board. They make shots and they play extremely hard and are very good defensively. It is a team that deserves more attention than they have so far.”

On Devan Downey and how tough it is to stay in front of him …
“Impossible. He has got great agility, balance and vision to be able to deliver passes. He can deliver passes in traffic and finishes plays as well as anyone. The thing about him is that he shoots the ball so well from three, but when you try to get up on him to keep him from having those shots, it is almost impossible to keep him from getting to the basket.”

Kentucky Player Quotes

#1 Darius Miller, Fr.

On South Carolina …
“They have a great team and we have to come out and play hard. If we don’t play hard, they are capable of beating us. We have to be ready to go.”

On South Carolina’s offense …
“They like to penetrate and we have to do a good job at stopping that. Coach said they shot about 50 free throws last game, so we have to do a good of job of not fouling them. We have to keep them out of the paint and stop them from penetrating and making plays.”

On his confidence …
“My confidence is a lot higher than it was at the beginning of the season. My teammates and coaches have done a good job of helping me with that. They have talked me through it.”

On his defense …
“Coach has stressed defense since I got here. At first I wasn’t great at it, but I’ve worked at it. I’ve been getting better at defense and that is helping me offensively. It helps get me in a rhythm and makes me play harder.”

#13 Michael Porter, Jr.

On the loss to Ole Miss …
“Hopefully we learn from it because it was our first conference loss. Maybe we were thinking too highly of ourselves. Everyone took it personal and nobody wants to lose, and we don’t want to feel that again. We will all step up and realize what we need to do to prevent that from happening again.”

On facing South Carolina guards Devin Downey and Zam Fredrick …
“From what we have seen from last year, they are some of the best guards that we face. They are tough to guard, because they do a lot of things and they do them well. It will be a challenge.”

On Kentucky’s offense …
“I think our offense has been inconsistent. There have been times when it looks really good, and there have been times when it looks like we can’t do anything. Our offense has to get the ball in the post. We have to work on that, because when we send the ball through the post we do a lot better. In games that we do that, the offense flows better.”