Gameday: Kentucky vs. No. 18 LSU
Kentucky Hosts 18th Ranked LSU
The Wildcats return to Rupp Arena Saturday to host the 18th ranked LSU Tigers in a nationally televised game on CBS.
LSU has already claimed a share of the SEC regular season title, having won 12 straight conference games after dropping their season opener.
The Wildcats are in a fight for the SEC East Division title, but suffered a setback on Wednesday dropping a 77-59 decision at South Carolina. Sophomore Patrick Patterson tallied a double-double with game highs in points (28) and rebounds (12). However, it wasn't enough to help overcome 20 UK turnovers and a 21-point, five-assist, five-steal effort by South Carolina's Devan Downey.
Kentucky is now in a three-way tie for second in the East with Florida and Tennessee.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,985.
- The Wildcats are 78-22 all-time against LSU, including a 39-4 mark in Lexington against the Tigers.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fifth nationally in scoring (25.1 ppg).
- Patrick Patterson is fifth in the nation in FG percentage (62.9) and tied for 30th in rebounding (9.1).
- Patterson is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top six in scoring (6th - 18.3) and rebounding (4th - 9.1).
- UK ranks third in the country in blocked shots per game (6.9), fifth in free throw percentage (77.7), sixth in FG pct. defense (37.9), 14th in field goal percentage (48.5) and 20th in assists/game (16.2).
- Perry Stevenson ranks ninth on UK's all-time blocked shots list (130).
- Jodie Meeks (1,095) became the 56th member of Kentucky's prestigious 1,000 point club. He currently ranks 45th on UK's all-time scoring list.
- Meeks broke the UK single-season three-point record previously held by Travis Ford (101 in 1993).
- UK is 10-1 when recording more or the same amount of points off turnovers.
Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes
On A.J. Stewart's status...
"(A.J.) Stewart had a tough time the other night, like all of us have had before. He said some things he didn't mean to say, and since that time he's had a great deal of remorse. He's part of our family. Those things happen from time to time. People make mistakes. Sometimes when you have a time of remorse you realize how lucky and fortunate you are. I don't think young people should be punished forever for having a tough night. He quit when we returned from South Carolina. He didn't ever want to quit. He was disappointed in his playing time and mad that we lost. It's not the end of the world. That wasn't where his heart was. I wish he hadn't said it, but he did. He's part of our family so we will move on. In a situation like this his teammates wanted him back on the team. There was never a lack of love for his teammates or respect for the coaching staff or the University of Kentucky."
On what A.J. Stewart can provide to the team ...
"He played quite a bit at the Vanderbilt game, but not as much the last two games. Hopefully he'll provide the same things we've been looking for him to provide the whole time. We need a defensive rebounder because we haven't been rebounding the ball very well. That's a major deficiency for us."
On Patrick Patterson...
"(Patrick) Patterson is on his way back to being super. He looks totally healthy. He looks very athletic. I hate for him to get a shot blocked but that's as competitive as I've seen anyone after he had his shot blocked several times. I think that's going to carry over to the next games. He got 24 shots off and nine offensive rebounds. I would like to see us get the ball to him more. We will have a great deal of success if we do. We haven't been very consistent playing inside out, but we are working on that."
"They have a bunch of seniors that provide a great deal of experience. There are guys there that have been a part of the team that went to the Final Four a couple of years ago. Trent Johnson has done a great job with that team and they have a great player for every position. They take better and more efficient shots than any team we have played in a while. Their shot selection is fantastic. They are really good defensively; they rebound the ball well; they are a really good free throwing shooting team. They are very consistent and they have a great deal of composure. They never seem to crack. I think that has a lot to do with experience. They are a really solid team. They are probably a more disciplined a team as there is anywhere. You know exactly what they are going to do every time. You know how they are going to execute offensively, defensively and in transition. It's a very experienced, well-coached team which is why they have won so many games in a row."
#5 Ramon Harris, Jr.
On the past couple of days ...
"The South Carolina game was not a good night for us. We were expected to do more and play differently than the way we did. Coach has really been able to use that game to make us better over the last couple of days. Hopefully we can show up and do what we need to do tomorrow."
On the game tomorrow ...
"Coach told us the South Carolina game was a big opportunity, but we still have a great chance to do something really special this season. With three games left, we still have a chance at winning the SEC East. Our season is not done and we still have a chance to make a big bang. We are getting close to March Madness and we want to be the best we can be, like any team across the nation."
On relaxing in games ...
"I think we just relaxed for a moment in some games instead of just pressing and pressing. We needed to take control of games at certain points. Coach has been working with us in practice and emphasizing to get better and keep our focus level up."
#23 Jodie Meeks, Jr.
After the South Carolina game, on how much the team needs something good to happen ...
"We definitely need the win, but I don't think it's time to panic. I think this game is very important to us, like all the other games. We're going to approach tomorrow's game it like we always do, try to stick to the game plan and play as best we can."
On the margin of error for making the NCAA Tournament ...
"We're not on the board or committee. I don't have too much to say about that, but the only thing we can do is control what we do and that's play hard and give ourselves the best opportunity either way."
On LSU's Marcus Thornton and if there are similarities ...
"He's a great player. I like his overall game - he shoots it really well and gets to the offensive glass - he's a complete player. He's aggressive on offense and really plays defense hard."
On LSU's Garrett Temple ...
"He's a great defender. He's pretty tall and very long with long arms and very athletic. He's a complete defender and he tries real hard. I have to set up my cuts really well and take smart shots. I really don't worry about people or the defense trying to shut me down. It's not always about me."
#54 Patrick Patterson, So.
On the South Carolina ...
"I watched the South Carolina game on DVD a couple of times after we got a copy. That game is over, so we have to put it behind us and focus on LSU. South Carolina always had someone coming over to help out whoever was guarding me. I needed to do a better job of putting the ball above the rim and using the rim to my advantage."
On the LSU game ...
"It is a big game. They are first in the SEC and they have only lost one game in the SEC. Also, they are nationally ranked so it is a huge game. It would mean a lot to get the win tomorrow. We want to go out tomorrow and get the win. A win tomorrow would mean more recognition for us. If we get this win then hopefully it would carry over to the last couple games. A win would also help us out in the SEC and NCAA tournament."
On proving how good UK is ...
"I don't think we have anything to prove. Tomorrow will be a hard game because LSU is a great basketball team. They do a lot of things very well. They play hard game in and game out. We know tomorrow will be tough because of how well LSU executes."