Streaking Cats Travel to Starkville
Feb. 20, 2012
The Wildcats pushed the nation's longest current winning streak to 18 games after posting a 77-62 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in Lexington on Saturday.
|Kentucky at Mississippi State
Tues., Feb. 21 - 9:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | MSU
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Terrence Jones tallied his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Doron Lamb led all scorers with 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range while Darius Miller hit 3-of-7 from 3-point range for 15 points. Kyle Wiltjer was 3-of-4 from 3-point range for a personal best in league play of 13 points. Anthony Davis was the fifth Wildcat to score in double-figures with 10 points.
As a team, UK hit 10-of-18 from downtown, the most in SEC play this year.
Located in Starkville, Miss. (514 miles southwest of Lexington), Mississippi State enters Tuesday's contest on a three-game skid in league play including a 65-55 loss at Auburn on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are led by Arnett Moultrie, who is the lone player in the league averaging a double-double with team-highs in scoring (16.5 ppg.) and rebounding (10.8).
The Bulldogs are under the direction of head coach Rick Stansbury, who is in his 14th season at the helm of the program.
Stansbury, a 1982 graduate of Campbellsville (Ky.) College, is a native of Battletown, Ky., and starred at Meade County High School.
He led the Bulldogs to three SEC regular season championships, a league tournament title and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Stansbury has recorded a 292-160 overall record, all of which has come in Starkville.
Kentucky owns an 87-20 (.813) record in the all-time series, winning nine of the last 11.
The Wildcats are 31-12 all-time against the Bulldogs in Starkville.
UK won the only meeting last season in Lexington, 85-79.
Pre-Mississippi State Media Opportunity - Feb. 20, 2012
Head Coach John Calipari
On the rivalry with Mississippi State …
“They have been exciting games. Even our game here last year where it looks like the game is over, we miss three front-end one-and-ones up six and give them a chance. They have played inspired and we expect that they will play inspired this game.”
On Arnett Moultrie seeing the matchup with Anthony Davis as a chance to prove himself …
“I think all players, like I tell them, they aren’t only playing against the name on the front of the shirt, they are playing against the name on the back of the shirt and that is what makes this unique and different. I don’t care that we start three freshmen, they aren’t looking at it that way. They are looking at it, ‘hey they are saying this guy is all that.’ It’s not just Mississippi Sate it is every team we play. They play against us because of the name on the front but they are also playing against that name on the back. No (Anthony does not get that more than others). Every guy, our point guard, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, I mean every guy that we have on our team, Darius Miller, they are all saying I’m going after this guy, I’m going to show I’m better than him. That’s why this isn’t for everybody, every game you walk out there somebody is trying to make a name at your expense. Someone is trying to make their team’s season at our expense; every game we walk into is that way.”
On the defensive challenge of Dee Bost for Marquis Teague …
“It’s hard, but they put him in a lot of pick-and-rolls and he’s been pretty good in pick-and-roll defense. You can’t go under, the kid will pull up and shoot the shot, you have to fight over the top. He’s pretty good at going to the basket but Marquis has done fine, he’ll be fine.”
On playing at Humphrey Coliseum …
“Well they are in to the game. The arena is fine, it’s a great little college town. The whole town shuts down for this game, they have been talking about it for months, they can’t wait. I wish I was in the t-shirt business down there, I heard they had a white-out or something. It’s going to be cowbells and all the other stuff going on, it’s exciting down there. We’ve had some unbelievable rivalries at different schools but with this one, obviously they get up for us and we better get up for them or we don’t win the game. If you don’t play well against them we’ll lose, if we don’t play well we will come back with an L.”
On where Kentucky got better against Ole Miss …
“I thought we did some things defensively that we hadn’t done, they made some shots that kind of surprised me. Our press has got to get better if we are going to use it, it stinks right now and that’s not their fault I really haven’t broken it down. We’re going to do some stuff today; I don’t think they have a mental picture of what I’m looking for because they aren’t very good in it. The zone offense, I think we are getting better but we have a long way to go. I would predict this team will play us zone 60 pct. of the time, they are not going to want to bring their big people out in the pick-and-rolls. It’s all good though, we’ve got to get prepared to go in a tournament game and somebody play us forty minutes of zone and us be prepared to play against it.”
On having many options being a relief to players …
“There are two things in that. One, it is good for your team but it’s good when you are running plays at the end of the game it isn’t for one guy, everybody gets a look on that set. Whether we need a 3, everyone will get a look, here it is, not there, look there, look here, alright you have to take it. I think it’s important that they understand that we just want you to play their best, play to win and if we don’t we move on to the next game. I don’t want them focused on winning and losing, I just want them focused on playing harder than the opponent and let’s just try to get better every game, we are just trying to get better.”
On what Coach Calipari is looking for at this point in the season …
“Well we want fresh legs and fresh minds. Probably three weeks ago, we backed up. Look, there are 100 ways of doing this. I’m not meaning this towards anybody else, but there are a hundred ways to do this. There are guys who go three and a half hours right now, and that’s what they do and they’re doing it now. And, they win and they do fine. There are coaches that go live right now and they go at each other the whole game, not worried because, ‘This is who we are.’ There are other guys that back up. There are some guys that do nothing live right now. Everything is conditioning and being sharp and dummying up. There are 1000 ways to do this. We back up right now. We do go live some, but I try to keep as little body to body as I can. I’m coaching their minds right now. I’ve coached their bodies two, three weeks ago like conditioning and toughness and now we’re coaching minds. We’re trying to get them into a frame of mind as they go in, as an individual and as a team. I’m talking about swagger right now. As I said, there is only one place to develop swagger and that’s in that building. You walk out knowing you’re going to play well. Doesn’t matter how well you play the beginning of the game. You know over the course of the game, ‘I’m going to play well because I deserve to and I’ve worked at it and I’m prepared to play well.’ The swagger is developed in there. Ego is, ‘Well we just beat this team by a ton. They’re not ranked, we should beat them. I’m just hungry, what time is the meal?’ And then you get beat. So, we’re working on that. And again, we could all say, ‘Well we’re really that good.’ They’re all freshmen and sophomores. They have no idea. I don’t know what they’re going to do down here. I don’t know how they’re going to play. I hope they play well. I think we’re prepared to play well but they’re all young kids. You just don’t know.”
On whether it was Larry Brown’s influence that gave him the idea of backing up at this point …
“Being that he is a mentor and a dear friend, we talk all of the time and his thing is, you have to be their cheerleader at the end. You have to back up and that’s his thing to me all the time at the end of the year. ‘You be the cheerleader, man. You know you’re not changing them now. They are what they are. Cheer them on.’ But the stuff, I’ve always done it this way and I think historically my teams have played well in March and in April but we’ve backed up this time of the year. Now, I’m going to say it again. There are all kinds of ways of doing this. Someone is more comfortable doing it a different way and they win, you know. We do well winning it this way and that’s how we do it.”
On how much of coaching is psychological …
“It’s a big part of it. You can beat guys down. You can blame them every time they lose. Or, you can take responsibility so they just let it fly and don’t feel that, ‘if I lose, I’m going to get blamed.’ If we lose, I’m just going to try to do everything I can to win. The other thing is, letting them feel good about each other. We do a lot of talking right now and I keep telling them, ‘You want to feel joy? Wake up every morning and feel grateful, grateful that you’re having an opportunity to be with this team, these guys. There are a lot of teams right now that have turmoil. There are a lot of teams that have all kinds of issues. You guys are enjoying each other. That’s great joy. The second way you feel joy is you think about, what am I going to do for somebody else today? Doesn’t even have to be for a guy on this team. You want to feel joy? You start thinking about other people instead of thinking about yourself and you start to feel joy.’ So there is a lot of stuff you are trying to get through. I told Michael [Kidd-Gilchrist], ‘you’re too hard on yourself kid.’ When guys look at me when they missed a shot, I will say, ‘What are you looking at? Why are you looking at me? Just play.’ I’m just trying to continue to coach to get them to think right. It doesn’t guarantee anything. It just gives you your best chance. Your team plays its best. If that’s not good enough, you go on, it’s next game. Sometimes it’s the next season.”
#10 Twany Beckham, G, Jr.
On his return to Mississippi State …
“I am looking forward to it. It should be fun. Hopefully we go down there and get a win. That’s all I’m worried about.”
On what he is expecting …
“I think I left on good terms with my coach, so I think I will be good. I’ll be happy if they cheer me.”
On what he remembers from the game two years ago in Starkville …
“I was on the other side two years ago. It was the biggest game of the season for Mississippi State. I know it’s going to be crazy tomorrow night and I am just looking forward to getting through another game and getting another win.”
#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G, Fr.
On scoring fewer points in the past couple of games …
“I don’t look at the stats. I just love to win. That’s it.”
On the team’s improvement during the past three or four weeks …
“It’s been great. There is a lot of chemistry on this team now. We’re just getting better and better.”
On the possibility of going undefeated in conference play …
“I just want to get better. That’s it. We take everything one game at a time.”
On the NCAA tournament looming ahead …
“I can’t wait. It’s one of my life long dreams so I really can’t wait to stir it up.”
On tomorrow’s game compared to other road games …
“It’s going to be hard. The atmosphere will be tough and the fans will be loud like always.”
#33 Kyle Wiltjer, F, Fr.
On whether there is a difference in mentality when the team is away versus at home …
“No, we approach every game like it’s the same, whether it’s on the road or at home. Because if you take away the distractions and what court you’re playing on, it’s still the same game. Hopefully we’ll execute.”
On whether he feels he has a shooter’s mentality …
“When I go in there, I try to be aggressive and just shoot my open shots.”
On whether shooting is the first thing on his mind when he gets the ball …
“If I’m open I like to shoot it, but definitely you just want to do what the defense gives you. If the shot is, there you take it. If not, you just pass it around and get your teammates involved.”
On what kind of challenge Mississippi State could provide tomorrow night …
“They’re a tough team. We’re going to learn a lot about them today in practice and prepare for them. We’re just going to approach it like every other game and hopefully we’ll go in and get the win.”