Kentucky Faces LSU in Baton Rouge

Feb. 9, 2015

Kentucky visits Baton Rouge to face the LSU Tigers on Tuesday, February 10. Tip is set fot 7 p.m. and the game will be carried by ESPN.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky at LSU
Tuesday, Feb. 10 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Baton Rouge, La.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | LSU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: ESPN
Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via WatchESPN
Live Audio
Live Stats
Text Updates
UK Team Stats LSU
73.6 Points 74.5
51.5 Opp. Points 67.6
.461 FG .455
.336 Opp. FG .396
.353 3-FG .330
.273 Opp. 3-FG .324
.700 FT .698
38.3 Rebs 40.6
31.3 Opp. Rebs. 36.8
15.1 Assists 15.6
11.1 Turnovers 15.3
7.0 Blocks 6.5
7.3 Steals 7.8

This Week's News:

Cats Persevere, Defeat Florida 68-61 in Road Test

  • UK claimed a 68-61 win on the road at Florida on Saturday to improve to 23-0 and 10-0 in league play.
    • With 23 consecutive wins to open the year, UK tied the 1965-66 Wildcats for the second-best start in program history.
    • UK is two wins shy of equaling the best start in school annals.
    • UK's 23-game winning streak is the tied with the 1952 Wildcats for the eighth-longest streak in Kentucky history.
    • UK's 23-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest streak in single-season history.
  • UK has won 45 of its last 47 games as the Associated Press top-ranked team.
    • John Calipari has an 89-9 all-time record when coaching the nation's No. 1 team, including a 48-4 mark at Kentucky.
  • Kentucky was 21 of 22 from the free-throw line, which was a season-best 95.5-percent clip.
  • Florida shot 24 of 49 (.490) from the field, which was the second-highest shooting percentage by a UK opponent this year (Ole Miss - .492) and the best by a UK opponent playing on its home floor.
  • The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead on a Cauley- Stein jumper with 18:46 remaining in the first half and did not lead again until taking a 33-32 lead on a Towns bucket with 18:21 remaining in the second half.
  • After taking a 45-44 lead on a Cauley-Stein dunk with 12:01 to go in the game, Kentucky never trailed again.
  • Kentucky finished the game on a 9-2 run.
  • Kentucky out-rebounded Florida 33-20, and Florida's 20 rebounds were the fewest total by a UK opponent this year.
  • Just five Wildcats scored in the game, with four of them (Towns, Cauley-Stein, Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker) each scoring in double figures.
    • Harrison scored 18 of his game-high 23 points after halftime.
    • Towns matched a career-best in points.

Wildcats Down Georgia

  • Kentucky earned a 69-58 win over visiting Georgia on Tuesday.
    • It was the 18th double-digit win of the year.
  • Sophomore guard Andrew Harrison led the way with 23 points and seven assists.
    • Harrison scored the game's opening basket and UK never trailed in the contest.
    • It marked the first game in Harrison's career where he posted 20 or more points and five or more assists in the same game.
    • He also knocked down a career-best three 3-pointers.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns recorded his team-leading third double-double of the year with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
  • Kentucky earned a lead as large as 18, but Georgia charged back and came within five as late as 2:06 remaining.
    • Towns tallied a jumper with 1:33 remaining and Tyler Ulis and Harrison each sunk a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
  • UK was out-rebounded (36-24) despite the career-day for Towns.

Towns Tabbed NBC Sports National POW

  • Freshman forward Karl-Anthony Towns was named NBC Sports' National Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats to victories over Georgia and Florida last week.
  • Towns led the Wildcats in scoring (17.0), rebounds (10.5), field-goal percentage (.571), free throws (10 for 10) and blocks (four).
  • The Piscataway, N.J. native began the week with his third career double-double effort with 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the win over visiting Georgia.
  • Towns followed that performance up at Florida with a career-high-tying 19 points and game-high eight rebounds.

Media Opportunity - February 9, 2015

Assistant Coach John Robic

On  the game at LSU ...
"It's going to be a game for the big boys. Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin are both two really talented players that use their size to their advantage in the post offensively. Jordan Mickey is a premier shot-blocker. He's averaging right around four blocks a game, maybe just a shade under. He does a good job not leaving his feet. Blocking shots off the ball. They have real good size. I mean their whole team has good size. They started (Tim) Quarterman last game at the point. So they're playing 6-foot-6 at the point. Made an adjustment from what I gather to bring the team more energy. The focal point for themselves and for us is the two players in Mickey and Martin."

On how Andrew Harrison played against Florida ...
"I think he played a pretty good floor game for the most part. Just wasn't as aggressive as he was the game prior. We need that from him. We need that energy. I really believe that our team feeds off of him energy-wise on both sides of the ball, not only in transition pushing it but with great pressure on the defensive end."

On playing teams like LSU having more confidence against UK this year because of results last season ...
"You would have to ask them that question. There were a lot of teams that beat us last year, and we just played well at the end of the year. All these teams are different now. You take Florida, they had a veteran team last year. Kids that played together for four years. I think with this LSU team they lost Johnny O'Bryant, which was their best player last year. They were even bigger last year playing Martin at the three with O'Bryant and Mickey in the lineup, so LSU is different. LSU is pushing the ball a little bit more this year, but everything changes. We're a different team this year than we were last year so I wouldn't read too much into that."

On the luxury of having options as a coach ...
"I never had any. That's why I got fired. It's great. It's good on a couple different fronts. One, if someone's not playing well, then you can go to another player and have a backup, and that's the luxury that we do have. If you're not brining it every day and night in games, then we're going to go to somebody else. Coach is going to do that, and these kids know that. That's why our practices have been so good because they've all been competitive and if you take a day off in practice, then it really shows and it shows that maybe someone else deserves that slot."

On what Trey Lyles brings to the team ...
"Well, he's a 6-10 skilled player that can be a matchup issue for the other team because he can play the three and four. He's just a skilled player. We've gotten by without him. He's going to get you some rebounds and can shoot the jump shot. He can put the ball on the floor and he's a matchup problem like Darius Miller was. He's bigger than Darius, but that was always the thing with Darius: If you played him at the three, he was smaller and could go with a bigger four. So just matchups."

On if previous opponents remind him of Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin...
"Probably a little bit like Kansas, their bigs, probably size-wise. But these two kids can shoot the ball. They are very, very effective from 17 feet and in. Not prolific 3-point shooters. Martin will shoot a couple a game, but from 17 and in they are really, really good. They are really effective and shoot a high percentage at that range. So that's different. I mean, they can play high-low and play some post-up game, but yet they can catch, turn, and face out on the perimeter and be able to shoot the basketball."

On playing in a tough environment for the second game in a row ...
"No, I mean, I have been here six years and every game that we have been on the road has been the same way except last year when we went to LSU and it was the ice storm. They are always sold out, and I think this is the first sellout there since 2006. They are excited for it and I think our kids like playing on the road some too. And so far they have done a pretty good job on the road."

On the impact of a shot-blocker like Mickey for LSU ...
"Well, it's a little bit like us. We're just not blocking as many shots as we had been all year. We don't know why that is but we need to get back to it. But one thing you can't do against a shot-blocker is change your game. You have to be aggressive in taking it to the basket and play through contact, but he has an extraordinary talent, you can tell. Not only does he block shots but he keeps them in play for the most part too."

On UK having an edge coming off a win at Florida ...
"Well, obviously we are really happy with the win at Florida. We were off yesterday so we're just getting ready to go back and practice now. This is our first practice since the game. They have been really level headed all year. It doesn't seem like a whole lot affects them. We are going to put in a great game plan today for LSU tomorrow and get ready to play tomorrow."

On opponents getting to the rim more against UK's big guys ...
"Well, Florida was a little different. They really spread the court, and you could tell after watching the film that that was their game plan. Our guards have to do a better job of not letting them get straight line drives to the goal. Being spread out it is tougher to spread out. We would rather them drive the ball to the rim than shoot 3-point shots, but we will get back to that I'm sure."

On LSU guard Keith Hornsby ...
"I am really impressed with him. I know he transferred from (UNC) Asheville. When we played down there last year he was out on the court - you guys probably saw it as well - he worked out for an hour and a half prior to the game. He brings them a toughness and he plays really, really hard. I know that seems like an overused term but he's giving it 100 percent on both ends of the ball. He's their best perimeter shooter. Anytime that you can add a double-digit scorer to a team with two big guys like Mickey and Martin, its very helpful."

On Towns saying that they would have two days off a week ...
"We gave them off Sunday after the game Saturday. What we typically will do on the other day is show film and or some individual work and get a lift in. But it's keeping them off their legs a little bit and cutting back especially at this time of year."

On if the coaches are getting a little bit fatigued ...
"If you're not at this time of year (there's something wrong). You know, it's a long season. We hope it continues a lot longer. Every coach in the country is in the same position right now. We're just getting ready for the next game."

On if he has seen Trey Lyles today ...
"
I have not seen Trey today, I'll see him here when we go into practice."

#5, Andrew Harrison, So., G

On Coach Calipari wanting him to be more consistent ...
"Yeah, definitely. I don't think I've had the year numbers-wise I wanted to, (but) it's basketball. That's how it goes. It's life. You just gotta get through it."

On whether he did anything well at Florida ...
"I think I played alright defense. Could have done better, but it was just one of them games. Aaron (Harrison) had it going, Karl (Towns) had it going so we just played through them."

On whether that's a strength of the team ...
"Oh yeah, definitely. That's why we're as good as we are, because we have so much depth and everybody can have a big night."

On getting a lot of criticism ...
"Hopefully it means that you're good and people pay attention to you and they feel like they know you can play better or something like that. I have no idea where that's coming from, but I'm used to it. I can take anything. I'm just trying to keep it away from my teammates. As long as I can do that, I'm fine."

On the team improving as the year has gone on ...
"I mean, yeah, but we have a lot of growing that we'll still do because we're a young team still. In August, you really don't know what to expect. Of course you look at the Kansas game, it was probably our first real big game that we had and played really well in that game. So that kind of just catapulted us to the rest of the season."

On whether this season is more fun than last year ...
"I mean, it's different players, different personalities on this team, but you're winning. We haven't lost a game yet, so it's a little bit more fun in that way."

On the chances of him and his brother playing well at the same time...
"Nah, I think we're just taking turns right now. So I think it's my turn tomorrow. So yeah, that's pretty much what we planned to do (laughter)."

On LSU ...
"They're great inside. Jarell (Martin) and Jordan (Mickey), I grew up playing against those guys. It's going to be a tough matchup for us. They play really hard and they have some pretty good guards too. We're going to have our hands full."

On what he remembers about playing at LSU last year ...
"I remember we lost. I remember it was an ice storm and it wasn't that packed, but I heard it was sold out tomorrow. So it'll be fun, definitely."

On Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey ...
"Jordan has gotten so much better over the years. He's very athletic. I think he's leading the country in blocks or something like that. It's going to be a tough game. And then Jarell, no one really knows how good Jarell is. Jarell can really play inside and out so it's going to be a tough matchup for us."

On whether he's friends with those two ...
"Yeah, we're friends. You could say that."

On whether they've had any back and forth this week ...
"Oh, no. It's not like that, no."

On the matchup problems LSU presents ...
"As long as our bigs are focused and stuff like that, I think collectively they don't really have any matchup problems. But if we don't come to play as a team, they'll beat us. So we gotta come ready."

On what he remembers about the game in Rupp against LSU ...
"I do remember that. I think I got fouled at the end of the game, made some free throws. James (Young) and Aaron made some big plays in the zone. I remember that. Julius (Randle) getting the tip-in and winning the game."

On LSU playing Kentucky tough typically, and if they thrive in those situations ...
"I think every team really wants to beat us just because we have the No. 1 ranking at the moment and just that bulls-eye on our back. We have to go in there and I've been trying to tell the team, just take it personal. They're trying to rush the floor on us and everything. Don't let them do that."

On if it's more difficult to face an environment like this after just doing it Saturday at Florida ...
"I think we've become used to it. I'm not going to say every crowd is the same, but every road game is the same kind of routine and stuff like that. Got to be ready to play."

On if the team took a step forward at Florida ...
"As a team, yeah. I didn't play well. Offensively, I didn't really help my team that much, but Aaron and Karl had it going so we just kept feeding those two. They carried us to the win. Florida is a tough team. They've been having a tough season, but like you saw, they're a talented team."

On the guards rebounding better at Florida than against Georgia ...
"Rebounding is just effort. Rebounding is like defense. It's having effort and having a will to do it."

On how his responsibilities change, if at all, when he shares the floor with Tyler Ulis ...
"I don't think they really change that much. We both just try to attack and take what's there."

On LSU and what UK will have to do in order to be successful ...
"I know they have really good inside play. We have to go attack the goal strong and stuff like that. Box out."

On the key to becoming more consistent ...
"Being focused, really. Being one of the leaders on this team, making sure the team is focused and taking it one game at a time."

On the last time he didn't take a shot in a game ...
"I don't think that's ever happened. It won't happen again." (laughter)

On if the inconsistent play has frustrated him ...
"No, because when you have players on your team - like, when you're not the only person on your team who can score and stuff like that. I have a twin brother, so when he plays good I feel like I played good, you know what I mean? It's not like I was down on myself like I was before."

On if there was something about Florida's defense that led to him not taking any shots ...
"No, I think I just have to be more aggressive, Coach said. That's pretty much it."

On if it's tough for everybody to be clicking the same night with so many good players ...
"Yeah, it's hard. You can play three or four good games in a row and everyone's loving you. You'll be up or whatever. Then the next two games you'll be the worst player in the world and everyone hates you. I mean, it's fine. I'm used to it."

On if it's a strength of this team that players can have off-nights, and other players can step up ...
"Yeah, pretty much. The amount of talent we have on our team is really what sets us apart from everyone else."

On him having a good night and Aaron having an off-night against Georgia, and then vice versa at Florida ...
"I mean, that's what we said we would do before, so, we just planned it out and ..." (laughter)

On who will have the good night against LSU ...
"I mean, I think it's my turn." (laughter)

On what he remembers about playing at LSU last year ...
"I remember it was an ice storm and stuff so it wasn't really that packed, but we lost. So, that wasn't a good feeling and I still remember that feeling."

On if they remember the teams that beat them last year ...
"Oh, definitely. Definitely it is in the back of your head. The teams that beat you last year have the confidence and feel like they can beat you again. So, you have to go out there and play as hard as you can and prove to them it's a new year."

#12, Karl-Anthony Towns, Fr., F

On Jordan Mickey ...
"I really haven't done any scouting report on LSU. I know he's a talented player and I can't wait for the game."

On getting prepared for LSU ...
"You know, we had a great warm-up game, you could say, at Florida. The crowd was amazing there and we just have to come today, we have to be mentally focused, we have to do what we have to do."

 On how it impacts the team having so many big guys ...
"It means a lot. The biggest thing is that we, like Coach Cal says, it's not waves it's reinforcements, so any time we're on the court we feel like we have a starting five out there, and that's the best thing about this team. We can do anything at any given time and be comfortable."

On how hard it is to stay focused this time of year ...
"No, we're so competitive and have been so competitive that we really go at it and we really keep ourselves focused. Me and my brothers, we just do a great job of just making sure every day when we come into the gym we're trying to improve on some aspect of our game or as a team. The biggest thing is we're doing that every day and that's what people are seeing results of."

On how the team has been able to absorb the loss of Trey Lyles ...
"You know it's just, you gotta step up. Next man up. He's a big part of our team, but the greatest thing about this year is we have depth, so we're able to at least lessen the pain we had. When he gets back he'll be right back to full shape."

On what Lyles brings to the table and how much the team wants him back ...
"Of course we want him back, that's our brother. Of course we want him to be on the court with us at all times. Definitely, I think the biggest thing with Trey, as a guard, he rebounds really well. It helps the big men, especially in the paint, rebound the ball and I think that's one of the thing we've been lacking recently in recent games."

On calling Lyles a guard ...
"Trey can be whatever he wants (laughter). He's 6-10, one of the most talented players in the country and when you don't have someone like that on the court the team is definitely going to feel it, but we just can't wait to have him on the court." 

On what earning the NBC national player of the week means to him ...
"Just means that I've been putting a lot of great work in. All those extra hours in the gym I've been putting in have been paying off. Like I said, I've been trying to go through this process step by step and never rush it, and I think that the biggest thing is that, you know, it takes time."

On being more productive towards the rim and why it came out against Florida ...
"It was just one of those things. Every night is a different game and you never know what you're going to get. You just have to take what the defense gives you and the defense was giving more a lot more face-up shots and I just wanted to capitalize on them."  

On how difficult it is to sustain that kind of energy for two road games in a row ...
"We'll find out. But I know, definitely, for us, we're so competitive that I don't see nothing else, but maybe more energy tomorrow and we just want to go out there and we want to win every game possible."

 On the key to staying consistent ...
"Just every day in practice, giving the same effort and same energy every day. If we can do that in practice, you know, we can do that in a game. Everything always resembles what we do in practice."

On Coach Cal trying to give them a couple days off each week and how he thinks it'll help moving toward the end of the season ...
"For us, it's much needed. We've gotta let our bodies rest. We've gotta stay mentally sharp, physically sharp too. These days off help both sides. I think it not only helps the players but the coaches. It's a lot to go through what we have to go through every game and prepare. Those days are very valuable to us."

On if it feels like it's been a long season ...
"You know it's different. It's weird when you look at stuff, in the moment you say to yourself, `Wow, the season went by really fast,' but when you look back at all the games and all the time we've had together, it feels like we've definitely had a really, really long season. And it's funny that you say August, when it's actually, possibly even started, what--when we first stepped on campus for the Bahamas. This season has definitely, when you look at it on paper, very long, but in the moment it feels like it flew by really fast."

On if the season has been more grueling physically than he expected ...
"You know, definitely. As a high school kid coming in, as a freshman, you know, you never knew what to expect and definitely been more physically tasking than I thought, but that's the best thing. I've been going through this process. I've been able to withstand it and get better and better taking it."

 On if seeing his game change and grow has added to his confidence ...
"It just, like I said, it's a lot of hard work. Confidence doesn't mean (anything) if you don't put time in the gym. I'm just glad the time I've been putting in the gym is being shown these last few games, and I'm just going to constantly work to continuously improve my game."

On if he thought in November he could go low-post and beat anyone ...
"I mean, first thing you said, confidence--I have a lot of it, so of course back in November I thought I could do that. Just have to find my feel for this game, especially the college game, something I'm brand new to and I'm glad right now I'm getting my footsteps right now and learning how to play."

On if he's having more fun because he's having more success ...
"You know what, I have a lot of fun just because we're winning. That's the biggest thing. Individual success doesn't mean anything to me. It means I'm just trying to contribute as much as I can to the team on any given night. Success for us is big."

 On if the team talks about going undefeated ...
"No we don't ever talk about it. We just really, we just focus ourselves mostly on being the best team we can be every night out and playing to the best of our abilities with a lot of energy every night. So for us it's really never come to our mind. We're just about making sure we grow individually and as a team, and also with veterans like Andrew, Aaron, Willie, they're used to this chat. They're telling us how to deal with it."

 On the matchup challenge against LSU ...
"I mean every game is a big game for the opposing side. They're always going to come at us--it's their Super Bowl. We gotta come out and play hard, play with energy, play the way we know how to play and we'll be fine."

 On if he expects a bounce-back game for Andrew Harrison ...
"Andrew played really well last game. He was dishing the ball a lot to us, he really made all of our points come to us. It wasn't just us, it was thanks to him, thanks to his energy and the pace he was bringing up and the way he played he on defense. The stats don't really show the full story."

 On LSU sending out an excuse note for people to get off work early and pack the house ...
"I wouldn't expect anything less."