Gameday: Kentucky at Florida
Cats Close Out Regular Season at Florida
The Wildcats will put an end to their 2009 regular season Saturday when they travel to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators in a nationally-televised contest on CBS.
Kentucky will look to put an end to their current three-game losing streak, which equals their longest of the season. The Wildcats lost their most recent outing, a 90-85 defeat to the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs on Senior Night in Lexington.
Kentucky had four players scoring double figures, including Jodie Meeks who led the Wildcats with 23 points. Michael Porter added a career-high 15 points on a career-best 5-of-9 shooting behind the three-point line. Patrick Patterson finished wiht 14 points and nine rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots. However, UK couldn't overcome the Bulldogs 68.8 percent shooting from 3-pt range.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,985.
- The Wildcats are 86-31 all-time against Florida, including a 31-20 mark in Gainesville.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fifth nationally in scoring (25.0 ppg).
- Patrick Patterson is fourth in the nation in FG percentage (62.6) and tied for 32nd in rebounding (9.1).
- Patterson is the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in scoring (4th - 18.5) and rebounding (4th - 9.1).
- UK ranks third in the country in blocked shots per game (7.0), fifth in free throw percentage (78.1), eighth in FG pct. defense (38.6), 11th in field goal percentage (48.4) and 20th in assists/game (16.2).
- Perry Stevenson ranks ninth on UK's all-time blocked shots list (132).
- Jodie Meeks (1,142) became the 56th member of Kentucky's prestigious 1,000 point club. He currently ranks 44th 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 has allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent from the field just once this season.
Head Coach Billy Gillispie
On Florida's Nick Calathes...
He is a hard guy to guard, because he knows how to utilize the ball screen and he can shoot it from the perimeter. He drives it to the rim and he does a fantastic job getting to the foul line. We tried just about everything on him the first game, but if he makes his shots from the perimeter, he is almost impossible to guard. I think he is a great player because he makes everyone around him a lot better. I haven't seen anyone do anything that bothers him, but sometimes he makes his shots and sometimes he doesn't.
On Florida's Chandler Parsons...
He made seven three-pointers in a game and he makes you pay attention to him. He stretches out your defense because he is very capable. He is a good offensive rebounder, especially in transition, and he usually gets a rebound-dunk every single game. In his second year, he has improved as a player, and he makes them a special team when he makes three-pointers and gets the offensive rebounds.
On the matchup against Florida...
We are trying to play well against a team that we are in a very similar situation with. Both teams are going to play extremely hard because it is a good rivalry. It will mean a lot to both teams. We will try to play as hard as we can, and we both need to get back on track and win.
On last season's game at Florida...
It was good because it was on (ESPN's College) Game Day. They did a good job of being excited to play and it was a competitive game. Both teams made a lot of big plays, and Ramel (Bradley) made a big shot to tie it up and go into overtime. They got to the foul line too much and made too many transition baskets against us. They are a hard team not to give transition baskets up to because they run and push it really hard. It has been a good rivalry, especially of late. We look forward to the challenge.
On Kentucky in practice...
They've been great. We have practiced as well as any team I have been around all year long. We have to be a little more competitive when it gets down to the heart of it, and I think that we will. If a team practices hard, then they are selfless. They try hard and they understand what it takes to be successful. If you don't practice hard on a daily basis, it won't be good for you.
On the point guard position...
Some days it has been difficult, and some days it hasn't. Michael (Porter) has played very well, and not too many guys are going to make five three-pointers in a game. He ran the game very well and he defended very well. He has done as much on his best nights as anyone could ever ask for. On the tough nights, it has been more challenging, but Michael Porter has been great for us. I would hate to imagine what our success level would have been without him.
On Jodie Meeks...
Opponents are focusing a lot of attention on him. He was pressed a little bit the past few games, because he was probably trying a little too hard and he badly wants to win.
On Florida's inside defense...
We have a great post presence on the interior. Florida has great players, they are just inexperienced on the inside. Coach (Donovan) does a great job with them, but they are more inexperienced inside than most other teams. I think they perform roles well and (Dan) Werner stretches out the defense.
On Kentucky's defense...
I don't think we have gotten stops at the most critical times. I don't know if we have done that all year long. We have to defend much better than we did Wednesday night if we want the chance to win any game.