No. 1 Wildcats Host No. 7 Gators in Tuesday Tilt
Feb. 6, 2012
|Kentucky vs. Florida
Tues., Feb. 7 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UF
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
The Wildcats continued to reverse their road fortunes tallying an 86-52 win in Columbia, S.C., over the South Carolina Gamecocks for their fifth-straight road win. It marks the longest such streak in league play since the 2004-05 team ran off five-straight wins away from Rupp Arena in the SEC.
Anthony Davis just missed a triple-double in the win, scoring a game-high 22 points, while pulling down eight rebounds and blocking eight shots, both game-highs. Doron Lamb added 18 points, a season-high in league play, while Terrence Jones finished with 16 points, all coming in the first half. Jones also added six rebounds and four assists. Kyle Wiltjer chipped in 12 points, to round out the UK double-digit scorers.
UK shot 51.6 pct. from the field, while holding South Carolina to 30.5 pct. from the field.
Located in Gainesville, Fla. (717 miles south of Lexington), Florida enters tonight's game on a seven-game winning streak and sits in second place in the SEC.
Florida has five players averaging double-figures, led by Kenny Boynton's 17.6 ppg. Joining Boynton are Bradley Beal (14.2), Erving Walker (12.6) Patric Young (10.7) and Erik Murphy (10.2).
The Gators are coached by 2011 SEC Coach of the Year Billy Donovan, who is 395-167 including a 360-147 mark at Florida. Donovan's 25 NCAA tournament victories at Florida more than triple the number of NCAA Tournament games UF had won in school history prior to his arrival. Prior to his stop in Gainesville, Donovan served as an assistant coach at UK from 1990-94. He was head coach at Marshall from 1995-96.
Kentucky owns a 90-33 (.732) record in the alltime series, including a 46-8 (.852) mark in Lexington. The Wildcats have won two straight against the Gators including a win in the SEC Tournament Championship game last season.
Kentucky has won six of the last eight meetings after dropping seven straight in a streak that stretched from the 2005 to the 2008 seasons.
Pre-Florida Media Opportunity - Feb. 6
UK Head Coach John Calipari
On what the team will work on in practice today ...
"Just getting them ready. We're going to meet a little and talk and show just a clip of tape and then just work at doing what we do. We want to worry about our team, zero in on a few things, but really we just have to keep getting better. Looking at areas that we need to keep improving."
On whether he will tweak anything knowing that Florida is a strong 3-point shooting team ...
"You just know that they're going to take 30 (3s) however you guard it. My guess would be, let's make sure they're guarded and if they still make 20, we've had a heck of start, who do we play next? They're going to take 30, what if they make 20? They may take 35, what if they make 25? We play good all year and all of the sudden they're banking shots and they will shoot them deep without any reservation coming off the break. But they also have their inside people that are playing well and the other thing that's spread out the court now is, (Eric) Murphy is playing well. They put him in pick and rolls and they get him in 3s. They're good. They're a very good team."
On whether he did or didn't like how the team defended the 3-pointer against South Carolina and Indiana ...
"South Carolina made 45 percent of their 3s against us last time and, you know, if you guarded and they're still making them, and your hands are up, there's nothing you can do. You cannot stop a team from shooting 3s. You can stop them from shooting layups and doing different things if they're trying to post you every time. But to say, `Alright, we're stopping the 3-point shot,' you're not. They're going to get them. You just want to make sure they're guarded. The second point of that is, if they're not making them, where does that ball go? Where does it miss to? It's going to the elbows. It's going to be out that way. So it's over our big peoples' heads and one of our issues has been our guard-rebounding, whether it's Marquis Teague or Doron Lamb, we haven't rebounded the ball well from that position. Their best rebounder, other than a big, is probably Brad Beal and he's playing like a two or three (position). He goes after every ball."
On whether his team is building swagger or leaning towards arrogance ...
"They're good but what you want to do is address it and we'll talk about it today. You have to understand, what's happened in the last two weeks? Why have we changed? Well let's not get away from that. Then you talk about the (New York football) Giants. Mid-season, what were they talking about for the Giants? Fire the coach; fire the coordinators; fire everybody. They just won the Super Bowl, biggest game, halftime show, how did they do it? They win the game because they were the best team at this time of the year. They were the best football team. Last year I felt my team was the best basketball team. We weren't at this time. We were talking about firing the coach here at this point last year. We lost six road games. What I'm trying to tell you is, it's February, what's the date, the sixth. We got three, four more weeks where we have to keep peaking now. This can't be it because if this is it, you start going down the wrong way."
On whether he believes a team can peak too early ...
"Yeah. I've seen teams in November, December play so well that I'm thinking, `I'm glad he's coaching that team and not me.' Sometimes I'll pull the reins back. I won't give them as much stuff offensively. I just want them to get in shape and play hard. I've seen teams come out of the gate like, whoa. I'm like, `There's no way they can sustain this.' It's too much road between now and the end of the season. So we didn't exactly want to lose six road games, even though they were like one-point games and buzzer beaters. We didn't want to, but my team was getting better each day, each week, and that's what we're trying to do with this team."
On whether he's worried his team is peaking too early now ...
"What you had last game was seven guys played and that's when you have that kind of score. But when I watched the tape, there were still breakdowns. Guys stopped playing at times and they shouldn't have been in the game and they should have taken themselves out or I should have recognized it. But we're passing the ball to each other. We're being stronger. Terrence Jones is giving us a physical presence now that we didn't have three weeks ago, four weeks ago. Our freshmen are just getting better. Doron Lamb should be, in my opinion, a lottery pick. Well, play like one, play like one. Don't look at me or anybody else, play like one. That's what I think he is and so last game he played like one. He can play point, he can score, he got to the rim, he got fouled. It's what he is. You can't jog up and down the court and act like this stuff doesn't matter and be a lottery pick. You have to motor. You have to battle and he did that. It shows. Darius (Miller) played well. We all played well last game. Now we're going against a team that is similar to us in that they went through that stretch where they weren't physical enough and (Billy Donovan) had those killer practices and now all of the sudden it's changed the dynamic of their team. They're playing more physical. Just like we went up to Tennessee, they did exactly the same thing to us that they did to Florida. Exactly. And now, it was good for us. This game is good for our team. People ask, `Why do you say?' Because every opponent we play, especially as they get better, this team will experience it for the first time. You're starting three freshmen and two sophomores. It's all new."
#3 Terrence Jones, F, So.
On what he knows about Florida ...
"I know they're a tough team and they're going to come and challenge us at home."
On how much Coach Calipari has talked to the team about Florida's 3-point shooting ...
"Yeah, that's a big part of their game. And if they make a lot of them, he said it'll be a tough game for us. So we're just going to have to play with hot hands like we have been the last couple of games."
On looking back on the North Carolina and Indiana games and avoiding a similar 3-point shooting percentage from Florida ...
"I mean they were two different ways in two different games, I feel. North Carolina, they got a couple off of us digging and (getting) some loose balls coming to players at the right times off blocked shots. Indiana was more off penetration and set plays. So, it was just two different games and I think this will be its own game."
On how the team avoids being arrogant ...
"I mean, respecting the opponents. We feel like every team we play is really good, which makes us step it up. And I think that's what we're going to have to depend on for this next game."
On how the team has handled being No. 1 ...
"I think we've been challenging ourselves really well to make sure that none of that has even been a problem, or a thought in our heads, that we're number one. We're just playing good teams and trying to compete."
#10 Twany Beckham, G, Jr.
On Florida's 3-point game ...
"Well, they're shooting about 30-plus 3s a game and they're probably making 11 per game. So if we can try and limit them to about eight 3s a game, then we'll have a good chance of winning."
On if their emphasis is on stopping Florida's 3-point game ...
"Yeah, when we get back on defense, we can't get back in the lane. We have to push up outside of the 3-point line, so we can contest some of the 3s they shoot."
On what practices are like right now ...
"Well you know they're tough. We're not going as long, but we're going about an hour and forty-five minutes really hard, just practicing hard and Coach Cal is getting us prepared for the games. We're taking our game plan into the games and it's working out for us."
#23 Anthony Davis, F, Fr.
On how the team keeps from getting arrogant ...
"We just have to come out and stay focused, you know. If you come out with this arrogance you definitely can be beat. Thinking like, `Oh, we're the best in the country we can't lose," then you definitely can be beat. But if you come out with the mindset like we have to play the whole 40 minutes, and not be living off the breaks then you definitely have a better chance of winning."
On whether more teams are being more physical with him and if it changes the way he plays defense ...
"Not at all. When they try to come to me I just try to keep my hands up and not foul, and I have someone else take the block. You know, most of the point of the game is not to foul and I know I'm going to keep backing up my team."
On how he keeps from not going for the head fakes and not leaving his feet ...
"Just waiting until they release the ball. You know, when they jump then that's when I jump, instead of jumping any sooner. You know, the ball fake really can get you into foul trouble; especially when the person is a great shooter or a great basketball player and they can throw their body into it."
On if he feeds off of how well Terrence Jones has been playing ...
"Yeah, everybody feeds off of it, you know. When he's playing hard, trying to dunk everything, finishing runs, getting `and-ones', making free throws, making jumpers, you know everybody else gets pumped. When he's playing like he's supposed to play, everybody feeds off that."
On how the team handles being No. 1...
"We really don't talk about it at all. We go in each game like it's another game. Go in and play hard for the whole 40 minutes and just try to get wins."