Cats Carry Division Lead Into Ole Miss Game

Feb. 1, 2010

Cats Carry Division Lead Into Ole Miss Game

The Wildcats reclaimed the lead in the SEC East Division on the heels of an 85-72 win over No. 21/23 Vanderbilt on Saturday.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Cats with his fourth straight double-double. Cousins led all scorers with 21 points, while also pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. The 6-11 freshman broke the UK freshman record with his 12 double-double of the season.

Kentucky Ole Miss 
This game presented by...
AirTran at the Blue Grass Airport
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Ole Miss Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Feb. 2, 7:00 p.m
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Live Video via ESPN360
Live Blog
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Ole Miss Rebels at a Glance
Head Coach Andy Kennedy
Overall Record 98-57
2009-10 Record 16-5, 4-3 SEC
Ranking No. 25 (AP)/RV (Coaches)
Series Record Kentucky leads 96-12
Last Meeting Ole Miss defeated Kentucky 85-80 in Oxford, Miss. last season
2009-10 Team Stats UK UM
Scoring Offense 82.2 80.9
Scoring Defense 66.0 69.3
FG Percentage 49.1% 46.5%
3-point FG Percentage 38.5% 37.0%
FT Percentage 68.4% 66.9%
Rebound Margin +10.1 +1.1
Assists 15.9 14.7
Turnovers 15.2 12.4
2009-10 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (16.9)
UM: Chris Warren (16.7)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (9.7)
UM: Murphy Holloway (7.0)
Assists UK: John Wall (6.8)
UM: Eniel Polynice (4.2)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (44.1%)
UM: Terrance Henry (58.3%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
UM: Reginald Buckner (2.2)
Steals UK: John Wall (2.0)
UM: Eniel Polynice (1.4)

Darnell Dodson went 4-of-8 from three-point range en route to 16 points, while John Wall finished with 13 points and nine assists.

Eric Bledsoe (13) and Patrick Patterson (12) also scored in double-digits.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On John Wall...

"What a great experience. This stuff is all about learning. I didn't understand, and I said this today (on the SEC teleconference), the game ends, I do radio and television, and I have a lot of stuff I have to do. All of the sudden I come back, and someone says, `John (Wall) wants to see you.' He comes kind of like a puppy dog into the office. I said, `What's up?' He said, `I'm really frustrated.' I said, `For what? What's wrong with you? You're playing fine. You aren't going to play great every night out. Just run our team.' (He said), `Coach I love you.' (I said), `I love you too.' I should have known he said something he wanted back. It was out there, and now he had to deal with. I didn't know any of it until this morning (Monday). My initial thought was, what is wrong? My second thought was, wonderful, another teaching point for him. A lot has been thrown at him, league has gotten harder and there aren't as many easy plays. Now there is a frustration level of now it's time to step up, you're the marked man, and they're coming at you. It's stuff we talked about. He's never been in this kind of environment or this kind of situation. Perfect. Because I hate to tell you, the rest of his career he will be. If we can teach him now--how you have to respond in these kinds of situations--it's going to be good for him. It was a good teaching lesson."

On teaching lessons and helping the team mature...

"I'm trying to do things to teach. In other words, I want to take a lot of responsibility myself when things go wrong. I want them to know it's OK to say you didn't play well, you didn't coach well or you need to get better. There is no weakness about that, it's good. Obviously, for some it's hard, young guys especially, it's like the manhood stuff. When I say you didn't play well, it hurts him and that's fine. Let me just tell you, I'm not going to be the last coach to tell him, `You didn't play well today.' It's all learning. It's like DeMarcus Cousins learning to keep his emotions in check. Or, like our other young guys. You have to bring it, not just when you feel like it. There are so many things we are going through and learning. This ended up being exactly what we needed for our team to show again how far we are individually from where we need to be, and how far we are as a team from where we need to be. For John, it's the frustration of everything around him, and him not knowing how to respond to it."

On John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins...

"People didn't know how fast and quick he was. People were running back wide and he was getting layups. Now, they are running right into the lane. They are trying to put bigger guys on him and back off, hope he's not making shots and hope it gets to his head. The other thing that's happening is DeMarcus Cousins got it going. You have to keep throwing him the ball, he understands that, but how does he respond to that? Part of the reason DeMarcus is having a field day, is they are all concerned about John Wall. Now, it opens up the whole court, you throw it in to him and it's one-on-one. He's too big. Now, the next thing is they will start trapping him. How does he react when he goes for seven points and three rebounds because they had a job--to keep him away. We win by 20 and someone else goes for 30. Maybe it's Patrick (Patterson). Now, how does he respond to that?"

On Kentucky's defense...

"(Darnell Dodson) should be the X-factor, but I'm not changing if he goes in the game, goes half speed defensively, or doesn't jog the floor. I'm not playing him. Then, you have DeAndre (Liggins) who is like a cyclone about it. There is no such thing as a 50-50 ball with him. He gets them all. It's a 100-0 ball, and that's why you need him in the game. That's why he's starting to steal minutes from guys. Again, I have to be fair. You see what goes on in practice, you watch and that's how you start playing guys. Then, guys want to get better, you see it, they are spending more time, they are committed to getting better, and you're fine. There is an aggressiveness of play that we have to have. Every team we play is coming at us. We are under attack. If you are timid, please sit down next to me. I can't play you. The other team is coming at you and you have to go right back at them."

On DeAndre Liggins and team improvements...

"He has really made great strides, but he has a long way to go now. He has come a long way. You are looking at DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Liggins. You are looking at all the guys. I think all of them have gotten better. They have all had spells where they haven't played well. Darius (Miller) is in a little spell right now, but he has also had times where he is unbelievable. But, the good news for us is we have enough guys where if you go into a spell, you just go."

On Ole Miss...

"Very good. When you talk about (Chris) Warren and (Terrico) White, you are talking about two of the best guards in the country. They're inside people are active, block shots and they are physical. This is an athletic team that tries to break you down on the bounce. They shoot three's and they shoot them well. They are a top-20 team. I just watched the (Ole Miss vs.) Arkansas. When I watched the tape, I thought they (Ole Miss) were up 15 because there was not a score on the tape I got. All of the sudden, Arkansas was up three. If you would have watched the game you would have said there was no way they lost that game. They are a good team."

#11, John Wall, Fr., G

On talking to Coach Cal, and if everything is okay...

"Everything is okay. It was mainly that he took the blame on the loss against USC. I listen to Coach Cal because I know he is trying to make us better, but at the same time I was frustrated, and when you are frustrated you say things you don't mean. We sat down and talked about it and I realized after I watched the film that I did play bad. I had a lot of turnovers and didn't lead the team like I was supposed to. As a point guard, whenever we lose a game, it is my fault. As you saw last game, I got my team involved, we were making shots, and I had nine assists. The games we almost lost, I only had like two or three assists. Coach Cal and I talked about everything after the game, and it is all good now."

On him and Coach Cal saying they love each other...

"I told him that first. It is tough for me being a nineteen year old freshman and playing point guard in college, and being 20-1. Coach said Derek (Rose) and Tyreke (Evans) didn't get their attention until the middle of the season, and I had mine since the beginning. The main thing is to listen to coach; he knows what he is doing. Derek (Rose) and Tyreke (Evans) are doing great in the NBA. He said for me to call those guys if I need some advice, since they have been through the same thing. I need to just get better, have fun, and listen to what he tells me to do."

On the fact that Derek Rose and Tyreke Evans had bad games, too...

"Well every time I looked at it, it seemed like they were winning, but he told me some stories about when Dick Vitale criticized Derek Rose at Madison Square Garden. He said that Derek didn't get mad about it, he just let it go and he just got better. Coach Cal knows what he is talking about, and those guys are in the NBA so I just have to try to get better and listen more to coach."

On how much he has had to deal with criticism...

"I have dealt with it a lot. A lot of people said in high school that I couldn't shoot very well, and that I wasn't really a point guard in high school, but if you look at it, I had around nine or ten assists a game, so it doesn't really bother me. I could have shot it a lot more, but that is not the type of player that I am. I like to give my teammates the ball, and you see that I get more excited when my teammates score than when I do. Like I said, I have to listen more to him and keep believing in my teammates and they will make shots for us."

#34, DeAndre Liggins, So., G

On what he has heard about Ole Miss ...

"I have heard they are pretty athletic and they will take it to you off the pick and roll. They have Chris Warren back and are very athletic and we have to do a good job of guarding them and come up with a game plan"

On embracing his role in the team ...

"Yeah, I stepped in my role and am doing a good job of doing what coach wants me to do and that (results) to me playing more minutes and I want to continue with that. It's more work. I put in a great amount of work over the summer getting shots up and coming in and doing ball handling. I think I did a great job. I'm happier, I think everybody's happier. You have to stay dedicated. I have a lot to work on, but I'm willing to do that. I need to work on my ball handling, decision making and my jump shot."

On his ability to know when to cut to the basket ...

"You have to read what Eric (Bledsoe) and John (Wall) are going to do. They are great point guards so I know they are going to see me. I just try to cut to the basket and get easy layups, it all starts in practice."

On his aggressive play ...

"I'm doing whatever it takes to win. That's what coach likes and that's what I'm going to do. You have to stay competitive and you have to compete and that's what I try to do in the game. I've got to enjoy it while we're winning. I have to enjoy the moment."

#55, Josh Harrellson, Jr., F

On if he is having fun, even though he is not playing a lot...

"Oh definitely. It is a great time; we are 20-1, so I cannot complain. It is a lot more fun than last year, and I am just happy to be on this team. We are 20-1 with one of the best records in the nation, and hopefully we can keep it going."

On the most fun he has had this year...

"I guess just to see us starting 19-0, being the number one team that is something you can tell your kids when you get older."

On if he thinks people forget that John Wall is just nineteen years old...

"I think people forget that he is very young. He has a big target on his back; he carries all of us, and is a team leader. He is very vocal and very mature for being nineteen."

On making the most of his minutes with some pretty good guys in front of him...

"I have Daniel (Orton) and DeMarcus (Cousins) in front of me. They are great athletes and players; they are very big, and I have to make the most of my minutes when I get them. Some games they will be in foul trouble, and some games they will come out and play even harder, so I have to make the most of my minutes and game time when I do get in."