Gameday: Kentucky at Arkansas
Cats Carry Momentum to Arkansas
Following a three-game homestand, the Wildcats hit the road for the first of back-to-back road games, heading to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas in a nationally televised game on CBS.
The Wildcats are coming off an exciting 68-65 win over Florida on Tuesday. Jodie Meeks, who scored a team-high 23 points, scored 10 of the Cats last 12 points including a three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left to give UK a three-point lead. Florida's Nick Calathes was fouled on a three-point attempt with .6 left on the clock but missed all three free throws.
Kevin Galloway posted the best game of his career since joining the Wildcats, notching season highs with six points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Michael Porter tied his career high with three three-pointers.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,983.
- The Wildcats are 22-7 all-time against Arkansas, including a 5-4 mark in Fayetteville.
- UK is 19-9 all-time on Valentine's Day.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fourth nationally in scoring (25.0 ppg).
- Meeks is averaging 26.0 ppg in SEC games.
- Patrick Patterson ranks fourth in the nation in FG percentage (64.3) and 35th in rebounding (9.1).
- Patterson is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top six in scoring (6th - 17.8) and rebounding (4th - 9.1).
- UK ranks third in the country in blocked shots per game (7.2), fourth in free throw percentage (78.5), eighth in field goal percentage (48.9) and 16th in assists/game (16.5).
- Perry Stevenson ranks 10th on UK's all-time blocked shots list (125).
- Jodie Meeks (992) and Patrick Patterson (839) are quickly approaching the 1,000-point mark which would make them the 56th and 57th members of the prestigious club at UK.
Head Coach Billy Gillispie
On Patrick Patterson's status...
"He hasn't worked out the last couple of days. He's on a day-to-day basis. I don't know how long it's going to be. It may be a long time, but it may not. Some guys can play without practice, but some guys can't. He has a great deal of talent. It isn't the best way to go into a game, but sometimes you have to do it anyway. If he's healthy he will play but if he isn't he won't play."
On Arkansas playing without Courtney Fortson...
"He has had a really good freshman year. He's a very talented player. Arkansas has played a lot of basketball without him though and they have played very well. He does a lot of things to help their team, but they will be able to play without him. Rotnei Clarke is a fantastic shooter for Arkansas. I'd say Stephan Walsh will be handling the point guard position for the most part. He is a very capable player and I think he is one of the most underrated players in the league. I think Rotnei Clarke can shoot the ball as good as anyone anywhere. They have other pieces. It's always tough to lose a player but they will make the most of it. They are playing in a great home-court environment. I have no doubt they will be at their absolute best."
On Arkansas' play...
"I think they are a good team. They had a lead on Mississippi State right after Mississippi State beat us. They had a lead at Auburn but they had foul trouble. They have been a victim of circumstance. I think they are a really good team wherever they are. They obviously knocked off some big teams at home but they haven't been able to do that on the road. They will do that before the season is over. They have some inexperience in some positions. They play very good defense. They make you think a lot. They change up a little bit. John Pelphrey has done a really great job with his team. They run really good offensive plays. They run really hard in transition. They have good shooters. They throw the ball to the post as well as anyone in our league I've seen thus far. They are a really good team. They have just had some tough things happen to them in a number of different games."
On the play of Michael Washington...
"He's a great player. He has turned into a great player. I doubt if anyone in the country has improved as much as him. He is having a fantastic year. He is so mobile. Although he is 4-of-20 from behind the arc he can still shoot the ball. He's an explosive athlete. He runs in transition as well as anyone in the country. He gets about six points on offensive rebounds and transition situations. He's also a force defensively. He is a rebounding leader in our league. Washington is an all around great player."
On taking his team to Arkansas for the first time...
"I have heard it's a great home-court environment. By watching the games on television you can tell they get really revved up to play. Obviously they get ready to play and they always play hard. They got to an exceptional level against Texas and Oklahoma and that's what we will be expecting at our game tomorrow."
On Kentucky possibly becoming one of the best shot-blocking teams in school history...
"Our blocked shots have been going down here lately. I wish we would have played at the same level (as earlier in the season). I don't think we have been nearly as aggressive as we need to be in the lane to be our best. I thought we played really hard on defense against Florida. We had a hard time guarding the ball screen and (Florida's) Nick Calathes did a great job. I think we can expect to see action like that the remainder of the conference season. For Arkansas, Stephan Walsh can really play that ball screen and he is a really good scorer. We need to be in a better help position. The problem in this league is that there are so many good shooters on the wing. It puts you in a position where you have to make a decision about who is going to be your help defender. Sometimes you make the right decision and sometimes you don't."
On if UK's practices have been better and the team's confidence is better since defeating Florida...
"They weren't practicing poorly when we were losing. It's all about the end result. I understand that totally, but it doesn't mean that you're playing poorly if you get beat. Sometimes your opponent plays better than you on a particular night. I think you have to judge the entirety of the game. You have to understand that sometimes the results aren't going to be exactly what you want. You have to try to limit those bad result situations. I think that coaches and players look at it quite differently than most people. At the end of the year it's either a win or a loss and we understand that. During the course of the game we do some good things, but we do some not-so-good things. No matter if you win or lose you still have things you need to improve. It's more about a 40-minute process than the end result in the idea of losing confidence."