Cats Close Out Regular Season at UT

March 4, 2011

Gameday

Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Tennessee Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sun., Mar. 6, 12:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
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Location Thompson-Boling Arena
Knoxville, Tenn.

Kentucky closes out regular season action in Knoxville, Tenn., looking for its first regular season sweep of the Volunteers since the 2009 season.

The Wildcats closed out home action on Tuesday, knocking off 21st-ranked Vanderbilt, 68-66, running their home-winning streak to 34, the nation's second longest home winning streak.

Brandon Knight led the Cats offensively, scoring a team-high 17 points, while pulling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists.

Terrence Jones also scored in double-figures with 15 points and nine boards. Darius Miller also scored in double-digits for the fifth straight game, finishing with 12 points.

Lone senior Josh Harrellson celebrated Senior Night with eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On how much value there is in earning a bye in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and how much he thinks about that ...
"My whole thing is that (NCAA) seed. We just have to keep fighting. Just play hard, play harder than that other guy and play with a reckless abandon. You do this together, you execute, which we've been doing a pretty good job of, and then wherever it falls it falls. It's not one and done yet. It will be in about two weeks, but it isn't that right now. We just have to fight. This is a talented team we're playing. (Scotty) Hopson is as good as anybody in our league, maybe the best talent in our league. With Tobias (Harris) and (Melvin) Goins they just go at you with so many guys, and they're a deep team. I know (Brian) Williams didn't play last game and they won anyway. They got up 20 on the road. But I imagine he will play against us, and that's fine. They're big, and they're athletic, and they're long and they're a very good team."

On the morale boost a win against Tennessee could provide ...
"I think the last two (games) built some confidence for us. Last one we made it a little bit close. But again, as I watch the tape, they made plays too now. Vandy played to win; they went right down to the wire. So we played a good team and beat them - Florida the same. Florida comes back and beats Alabama by 40. We had Florida down - they got it a little bit closer - but we had them down double digits."

On Tennessee junior guard Scotty Hopson ...
"He can score, he can take over a game and he can create his own shot without help. Those are the kind of guys who are dangerous. I watched a little bit of Wisconsin-Indiana last night. Indiana was great, until that little kid got the ball and scored 12-straight points and then it was the ballgame. They did not run one play for him. They ran a pick-and-roll, they switched, he played one-on-one. He scored 12- or 15-straight points. I sat there and felt bad for Tommy (Crean). What do you do? Well here's how we stop that play-er. Player. It's not a play. That's what Hopson can do. He can just go get his own and they don't have to run anything and no one has to take credit. He got it and he scored it."

On how important it was against Vanderbilt to win a close game ...
"It was important. The free throws down the stretch by two freshmen. Say it again; I don't know if - well, I know for a fact there's nobody asking their freshmen to do more than we are. It's not even close. Other teams have freshmen who are playing well, but if they don't they're OK. We're not in that position. I mean, these kids have to perform. And the last six free throws were by our freshmen and they made five."

On Tennessee's ability to outscore its opponents in the paint this season ...
"Tobias (Harris) and (Brian) Williams and all those other guys around the goal are active. They get after it, they tip balls in. Hopefully we're working a little bit. There are two things that we didn't do. One was, really teaching Josh (Harrellson) how to play a kid when we say we're guarding the 3-point line, you're bare. I didn't do a good job. I let that kid come all the way under the basket, find position and then look for the ball. Versus telling them you have to meet the guy higher so you're fighting higher. We've always taught one-on-one that way and you know what, this season I haven't. But then again, we were doing different digs and traps in the post to protect him. Now he had no protection and we didn't do a very good job. The other thing is when there's a big kid on Brandon (Knight), things we can do to get him in a different position. We talked about it yesterday. They had a good practice yesterday. I don't know what that means, but the guys are trying."

On what else the team did differently against Vanderbilt to get the win ...
"They held on to the rope. They held on to the rope. What's happened in this, and even some of this past game against Vandy, the players - someone - has got to make a play. There's a rebound and the ball is free. Someone has got to get it. `Go get it.' They're all telling each other to go get it. `No you got to go get it.' We still have a little bit of that versus, `I'm going to go make the play. I'm going to go get the ball."

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.

On what makes the rivalry between UK and Tennessee so big ...
"Just how competitive and talented both teams are. Every time we get on the court we're in to win. They're going to be ready to go, we're going to be ready to go and it's going to be exciting to watch."

On the importance of not giving Tennessee second chances ...
"It's very important because they do a good job of crashing the boards. All of them go and go really hard so we're going to have to keep them off the glass, especially offensively.

#3, Terrence Jones, F, Fr.

On the importance to winning on the road, especially against Tennessee ...
"It's very important. It'd be great to win and (give us) great confidence going into the SEC tournament."

On whether the close win against Vanderbilt will help to win on the road ...
"We just have to have a whole other mindset to play well on the road because of the trouble we've been having on the road. I think it's about having confidence all the time."

#12, Brandon Knight, G, Fr.

On how the team's confidence level is ...
"Well our team is getting better and that's brought us a lot of confidence. I know I got a lot of confidence from our last win since it was such a close game, but it really helped our team overall."

On how to handle Tennessee's defense ...
"You just have to stay in control and not let them get you rattled. You have to run the offense and just make sure you're confident in what you do."

On how he did in the first game against Tennessee ...
"I think I did pretty well, but they're a different team at home so it'll be a different game."