UK Hosts No. 20 Vanderbilt on Senior Night
The Wildcats continued their winning streak at home, pushing their consecutive games won at home to 33, including 32 straight in Rupp Arena with a 76-68 win against 13th-ranked Florida.
Darius Miller tallied a career-high 24 points to go along with five rebounds, three blocks and three assists. Joining Miller in double-figures were, Brandon Knight (16) and Doron Lamb (14). Knight stretched his streak of consecutive games scoring in double-digits to 23. Knight also added six assists.
The win pushed UK's total to 20 this season, the 55th 20-win season in program history. It was also head coach John Calipari's 500th career win and 17th straight 20-win season.
The Wildcats close out their 2011 home schedule on Tuesday, hosting No. 21 Vanderbilt.
Kentucky is in its 108th season of basketball.
Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 2,043.
UK is 133-44 all-time against Vanderbilt, including a 74-14 mark against the `Dores in Lexington.
The Wildcats dropped an earlier meeting with Vandy, 81-77 in Nashville.
Kentucky is the only school in the SEC to have two players in both the top five of scoring (Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight) and top five in rebounding (Jones, Josh Harrellson).
Brandon Knight is the only player in the league to rank in the top five of scoring (3rd) and assists (2nd).
The Wildcats have posted a 163-52 (.758) record against SEC East teams since the league split into
divisions in 1991-92.
UK is 87-19 all-time on Senior Night and has won 11 of its last 13 Senior Night games and 43 of its last 47.
The Wildcats have the nation's second-longest home-winning streak at 33.
John Calipari is 32-0 at Rupp Arena as Kentucky head coach.
Pregame Press Conference Quotes
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
On the development of Josh Harrellson this season ...
"He's (had), since the change, different habits, different body, different mentality, almost a fear of, `I've got to do this now.' He's a totally different player and I'm proud of him. He went from 35 minutes in a season to being nominated all-conference. If any of you thought after watching us in Canada, that he would have an impact on our season, then you need to be drug tested. So, I'm proud of him and how far he's come. The greatest thing now is it's not me saying, `Well I'm coaching him up, he's not a very good player. I'm just getting him to overachieve.' He's going to make money playing basketball. How about that? And here's a young man that 35 minutes he played last year. (I'm) proud of him."
On the growth in maturity he's experienced this season ...
"He knows there was no room. It scared him into being straight. It's kind of like you're scared into doing the right things. And he did it. He had a choice of beating it, getting out of here, or changing. And he changed. The biggest thing you come back to, you have to change habits and change the way you do business if you want to get different results. And he was doing the same thing over and over. If it got too heavy at practice let's crack up a little bit, let's start laughing because this stuff is getting too hot and heavy. That all changed and now you see a different player. You know, for me as a coach I just want to see players max out. That's all I'm trying to see. Let me see them max out. And I don't know if I've ever coached a player that has gotten more out of his body and his skill level and his athleticism, than Josh Harrellson. And I've coached a lot of players. That's as big a compliment as I can say to him."
On him saying that he would give up his senior season if it would allow Enes Kanter to be able to play ...
"It was neat for him to say and I believe he meant it. I believe he meant it. I think a lot of people thought we lost five first round draft picks, they're not going to let Enes play, they're not going to be anything this year. A lot of people thought that. Then we started a little bit and all of a sudden maybe we're better than we thought but the reality of it is we are what our record says we are, but I'll tell you what, guys are starting to go play better than they've ever played in their lives. And that's all I wanted. At the end of the year, has he ever played better in his life? If that's how he's playing it's a pretty good deal for all of our staff."
On if Harrellson was one of the guys he sat down with when he first got here who he said he might want to think about his position at Kentucky ...
"No. There were issues other than just basketball that were the reason we sat down with guys. It was all intertwined. Who could accept their role with the team? I knew some guys would never accept the role. There was no reason for you to be here. That was part of it. Some of it was maybe other things I said, `You know, this isn't going to be the right place for you.' But no, Josh was never - I think he was afraid that was going to happen, but it was never..."
On Kentucky's shooting woes on the road compared to at home in Rupp Arena ...
"I don't have the answer. I wish I had it. The good news is, the NCAA Tournament is played on neutral sites. What's our record at home and neutral sites? 17-1, I like that since the NCAA Tournament is not going to be played on the road. I always say, `I don't know what you learn from road games.' You try and toughen yourself up, but at the end of the day, that's not the environment you're in when you're going after the ultimate prize. We'll see. Wish we would have won a couple of those road games we had our chances. If we would have, then we would have been top 10. We'd have been a top 10 team. And I'm telling you, if we were top 10 there are a lot of bad teams out there. We are in that and now we've got to take it up a notch and stay hungry and see what happens."
On freshman point guard Brandon Knight's numbers being much better at home ...
"I tell you what, I think he's played well on the road, too. Maybe not shot as well, but he hasn't been the issue. We've had two or three guys go comatose on the road and some of it is inexperience, some of it is just being young, some of it is maybe the anxiety from, `We have to win, we're Kentucky, we have to win every game,' and all that kind of stuff. I don't know. What I'm trying to tell them is, `Quit worrying about winning. Let's just play hard, play harder than the other team's playing and let's execute together. If we do that, let the other stuff fall where it falls.' "
On Vanderbilt playing very well in the first meeting this year ...
"We played good though. They played good and we played good. They're playing better than they did when we were there. They have another kid, (Andre) Walker playing who's going to help them who was a big time player for them a year ago. They're a better team. Hopefully we're a better team. But we played well there. We went down the stretch and turned it over three times and had the same guy shoot two balls that, `You're not our shooter,' and he missed two balls. So there were five attempts, three turnovers, two tough shots, one of them I think Terrence (Jones) rebounded it and got an and-one and bailed us. So hopefully now we're playing a little bit better. But I tell you, you never know. When you're coaching a really young team you think you know what to expect. I don't know who I was talking to the other day, a coach, he said, `You know we did everything. Practices were great, the shoot around was great. We went out and laid an egg.' And I said, `That's these kids.' You don't know. Hopefully we'll be ready to play. The crowd against Florida was ridiculous, it was an electric building to be in and a great environment and I'm hoping for Josh (Harrellson), being senior night, people come early and are hyped up and help us play as well as we can play."
UK Players Quotes
#4, Jon Hood, G, So.
On looking at the upcoming SEC tournament ...
"We're taking it one day at a time. We're just trying to win (these last games) right now."
On next year's team with new recruits ...
"I haven't thought about next year at all. I am thinking about this year and this year only. Next year will come when next year comes just like the next game or next day. That will all take care of itself. Just have to work hard."
On Josh Harrellson's role on the team ...
"Now, he's part of the team. He is one of the main vocal parts of the team as far as leadership and everything else goes. This next game (Vanderbilt) is going to be a tough one. Hopefully, everybody comes out. I know there will be 24,000 at this game. I hope they give him a warm welcome. He might cry after, but I know he'll be smiling from ear to ear the whole game."
On finishing the rest of the season ...
"We really can control our own destiny. I mean, what we do from here on out determines our seeding. We can improve or worsen (our seeding). Like I said, we do control it and it's just all on how we play. It puts the pressure on you, but at the same time I think it makes it easier. You know what you have to do. At the beginning of the year, we were trying to win everything. But now, we are just looking at our final goal. We are trying to win out so we make sure we get there."
On what to expect against Vanderbilt ...
"(Vanderbilt) won't beat themselves. That's the main thing. They never have and there's something about it. Not like many other teams across the country. It should be a good game. It will be really physical and really tough. I don't know how fast-paced it will be, but it should be a good Senior Night."
#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.
On playing better at home ...
"We have the crowd with us, we are used to the rims and we play harder. We just want to let everybody know that we can win every game at home. I think we play harder at home. I don't know why, we just do. I think it's because we draw energy from the crowd."
On finishing the rest of the season ...
"(Playing Florida) was payback, but we have to win tomorrow's game (against Vanderbilt). We have to beat a ranked team. We are trying to get a high seed in the tournament in March. So the better seed you get, the easier it is to win. Coach (Calipari) didn't say we had to win, but that's what I think. We have to win. He's just worried about a good seed. But really, we are just trying to win every game we have left so far. That's our main goal, to win every game."
#55, Josh Harrellson, F, Sr.
On Senior Night ...
"(Tears) might not run down the cheeks, but my eyes will probably be watering. I will definitely be smiling. If there are tears, (they) will be tears of joy."
On what to expect against Vanderbilt ...
"It is going to be a tough game playing Vanderbilt. Great opponent. One of the toughest teams in the SEC. They are very physical so hopefully we can come out and contain players better than we did last time. We definitely want to beat them. We feel like we owe them something because they beat us down there. They came out with the victory in a very close game. We thought we should have won down there. Hopefully we can come back and get a `W' at our house."
On playing better at home ...
"Being comfortable maybe. Just knowing that when we come home we just play better. Everybody has a different mindset. (We are) more relaxed and not nervous knowing we are playing on the road with a hostile crowd. Everybody is relaxed and able to play better because we are not so tense; home court advantage. Most teams usually shoot better at home and play better at home. So when we're home, we do the same thing that other teams do. We play better. People have better games. We come out and perform better."