UK Earns First Round Bye in SEC Tournament

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Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Fri., Mar. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: SEC Network
Radio: BBSN
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Live Video via ESPN3
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Location Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Ga.

March 9, 2011

Kentucky closed out regular season action in Knoxville, Tenn., getting a much needed road win against the Volunteers, 64-58.

The Wildcats trailed by seven at halftime, 29-22, but came out on a 7-0 run in the second half to tie the game at 29-29. UK hit its first five 3-pointers en route to outscoring the Vols 42-29 in the half and eventually the victory.

Brandon Knight led all scorers with a game-high 19 points. Terrence Jones tallied his 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Darius Miller joined Knight and Jones in double-figures with 15.

With the win, the Cats earned the East No. 2 seed, receiving a first round bye in the SEC Tournament.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On if he likes how the team has been doing recently …
“We’ve played well the last two weeks of the season. They got better, they were trying, they were having fun, they understand what that means. I’m going to talk to them today about winning in post season. I’m going to give them some things that my best teams, what we drove them with and what they thought about and see if we can get into the frame of mind. I’m going to talk to them about the success our teams have had post season, both (conference) tournament and NCAA tournament. But there’s only one way to do that. You have to have more fun than everybody else and you really have to stay in the moment, you can’t worry about anything else. Like today is all about practice, there’s no other thing, we’re not worried about anything else.”

On being viewed as potential winners of the SEC tournament …
“If it helps us get a better seed then let’s go for it. I just want my team playing well. If we’re playing aggressive, if we are coming out and having a ball then we’re executing. Like our women’s team. [Tennessee] goes 17 for 23 from the 3 then you go home. I’ll tell you that yeah, we’d like to win it but it’s for seed more than anything else and this tournament is to prepare us to play well that following week.”

On how the team has gotten better throughout the season …
“Throughout the season we’ve been trying to find ourselves and now we’re a little more established on what we are and our weaknesses. It’s taken some time to get individual players to accept their weaknesses but I think they’re slowly understanding that if they recognize, they can change. If they do what they’re supposed to, their game elevates and so does ours. I wish we’d won a couple of those road games but it’s all a test, it’s all a lesson. I didn’t give up on this team, I believed in this team, I told all of you guys I like my team. We just don’t have the most viscous kind of guys, yet they’re getting that way. They’re getting better.”

On how being young and shorthanded will increase the challenge of the SEC tournament …
“It’s not so much the tournament, it’s more about the NCAA’s. The good news is you’ve got two and a half minute timeouts, they’re longer, and you can get away with playing less. The issue becomes any time you play when you’re playing like we do, you don’t have a whole lot of room for error. Error becomes foul trouble; error also becomes poor play like against Tennessee in the first half. We had three guys that were just playing awful. Well that means you’re trying to play with just three or four guys. That’s hard because they have five, or they have eight, however many they’re playing. That’s the issue more than anything else.

On how (Doron) Lamb has been playing recently …
“What you guys are missing is that he’s really defending. What’s happened is that for the first time in his life he’s using up a ton of energy defending. So what’s happening? He doesn’t have as much offense, it’s lacking a little bit but not much. But he doesn’t have the energy because he’s really thinking about how he has to guard somebody, which is what we’ve been on him about. So I think he’s been getting better. He’s playing rougher. There are still plays where he goes to shoot a lay-up, he gets bumped, he takes to the rim and that’s all physical play he’s getting used to as a freshman but I think he’s trying to do the right things.

#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.

On focusing more on his defensive game rather than offense …
I’ve been trying to work on defense and do what I have to do to help our team win. I’m trying to stay in front of the guy I’m playing and let it lead into the offense.”

On the confidence he gained from guarding the best player …
“I got a lot of confidence since Coach was having me guard the best player. I’m doing a good job I think, so if he keeps giving me that job I’m going to do it and get better at it.”

On enjoying the challenge of guarding the best player …
“I’ve enjoyed it but its hard trying to play both offense and defense. It’s tiring but I have to do this for my team and try to win every game.”

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G, Fr.

On what he would tell the players that are new to tournament play …
“Get rest. That’s the most important thing for the tournament.”

On his approach to defense …
“There’s no hate, it’s competitive. It’s all about just being competitive and doing whatever it takes to help my team out because at the end of the day, we’re all just playing.”

On what has helped the team improve recently …
“I think it’s all started with practice. We’ve started to stress the importance of practice, paid attention to details and listened to Coach Cal more.”

#55, Josh Harrellson, F, Sr.

On if it has set in the regular season is over …
“It hasn’t clicked yet. You know, it’s just hard to believe my season is already gone. I had fun this year.”

On what this team developed the last week of the season …
“Just knowing we can win on the road. Going to Tennessee in a tough environment playing a great team like that and playing a rough first half like we did, and coming out with a victory. That just shows a lot of maturity in our teams and hopefully we can carry that over to the neutral site games too.”

On his thoughts of the SEC Tournament Bracket …
“I don’t even know who is on our side (of the SEC Tournament bracket). I just know we play the winner of the South Carolina/Ole Miss game. We are going to be looking forward to both of those two teams. Hopefully we can get our way back with Ole Miss if we have to play them, and if we play South Carolina hopefully we get a win against them too."