Cats Host Rider in Cancun Challenge
Nov. 20, 2009
Cats Host Rider in Cancun Challenge
Kentucky hosts Rider in the final round of the campus-portion of the Cancun Challenge. The Wildcats enter the game on a three-game winning streak, including an exciting 102-92 win over Sam Houston State on Thursday.
For the third straight game, UK was led in scoring by a freshman, this time DeMarcus Cousins did the honors with a team-high 27 points to go along with a game-high 18 rebounds. It was Cousins second straight double-double. Freshman John Wall (21) and junior Patrick Patterson (20) joined Cousins win the 20-point club while Eric Bledsoe (19) and Darius Miller (15) also scored in double-digits.
The Wildcats also hit a season-best 11 three-pointers.
- Kentucky is in its 107th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,991.
- Once again, every Wildcat basketball game will be televised live, including both of UK’s exhibition games as well as the Blue-White scrimmage and Big Blue Madness.
- Kentucky is 2-0 against Rider. The last time the two played was the 1996 season (W, 90-65).
- The Wildcats are 11-0 against teams comprising the MAAC.
- Patrick Patterson recorded his 23rd career double-double against Miami. He is one shy of 10th on Kentucky’s all-time double-double list.
- Patrick Patterson was named Associated Press Preseason 1st Team All-America.
- Patrick Patterson and John Wall were named to the Naismith Preseason Watch list.
- John Wall was named to the Bob Cousy Watch list, given to the nation’s top point guard.
- Patrick Patterson was named preseason SEC Player of the Year, while freshman John Wall garnered the second most votes and was named a second team performer by the league media.
Head Coach John Calipari
On the game against Sam Houston State...
"We had no sense of urgency defensively. There was absolutely no communication on the court, which makes it hard. We stopped playing as much as any team I've ever coached. We just stopped. But, I've never coached a team where we play five freshmen, two sophomores and a junior. I've never coached a team this young. Our offense didn't take any bad shots. John Wall missed some layups, but they were good shots. I took a look at (on film) John and Eric (Bledsoe) and we looked at 12 turnovers. We saw there was no need for nine of them because they tried to make a hard play, instead of an easy play. Offensively, we're getting better."
On the transition defense...
"Do you know where transition defense starts? When you take a bad shot and turn it over. Then you have trouble. We took good shots, but we had 23 turnovers, so it all starts right there. It's hard to get back when you're giving them balls for no reason."
On guarding the three...
"When you live and die with the three, mostly you die. You mostly die. When (an opposing) team takes the majority of their shots as threes, normally, you can win that game. Unless, they are making ridiculous shots, which sometimes they do. Rider could come out and shoot 20 threes, because they could shoot enough to get 20 makes in. They are going to shoot it. If they do make 20, we just lost the game. That is how it is. What we are trying to do is guard and make those shots as tough as we can. The other part of it is rebounding."
On testing the young players...
"If you understand what I've done with the early scheduling, I put veteran backcourts against our backcourt. I put veteran point guards against our point guards, because, I really wanted to see these guys and what I needed to work with them on. Now they understand that everyone wants to make their name at John's (Wall) and Eric's (Bledsoe) expense. Now, we go against another veteran team."
"I just got done watching their game against Virginia. On offense, Virginia was grinding it out and made them (Rider) play defense. (Rider) didn't get those breakout threes, or open ones that get you going. We are giving those up right now. This team has got to come together and say, `We are going to be a great defensive team. We are going to listen, work on the defensive end, start talking, rebound, get tougher and go after 50-50 balls.'"
On Ramon Harris...
"The guy who has done the best job right now is Ramon (Harris). Ramon talked and rebounded. In his time, he had five rebounds. He got what we needed. I'll be honest, if he made a shot or two, he'd be playing 20 minutes a game."
On making improvements...
"I'm concerned about us getting better. It's not just winning. We're trying to win games, obviously. But, it's more than winning. Offensively, we got better. The only thing we don't get is how to play with three or four minutes to go. They are playing how they played AAU ball six months ago. It doesn't matter what the score is, they get numbers in the last three minutes. They say, `I'm getting mine, this game is over. I'm getting a few more baskets.' You can't do that now. You have to work clock and play to win. I just saw the Virginia game and that is all they did. With 10 minutes to go they got up 22 and they were working the clock. They said, `We are going to be disciplined here, work our offense and pass it.' Obviously, we don't play like Virginia and I may get that at the four, five or six minute mark against a really good team. But, we need time to work on that."
#4 Jon Hood, Fr., G
On seeing his first action of the season...
"It did feel pretty good to get in there and get my feet wet. We have to start coming together as a team a little better. We have to work on our confidence and come together as team mates. But we will do that."
On what they know about Rider...
"I know they beat Mississippi State by fourteen, and should have beaten them by twenty; plus they can shoot."
On whether a trip like the Cancun trip helps build team unity...
"I know it helps bring people together. We did it in high school AAU ball, and it brought us together quite a bit. I know it works, so we will just have to go down there and see how it goes."
#21 Perry Stevenson, Sr., F
On his playing time as a senior...
"You just have to be a team player. If it works, which it is for us, then I don't mind it at all."
On how much time they'll spend on defense...
"A lot, especially defending the three pointer. The last two teams came in and, I don't know how, but they shot lights out. I'm sure they broke records for Rupp, but we will make sure that doesn't happen again."
On what a trip to Cancun can do for the team...
"It can bring us closer, or tear us apart. We are already close before we go over there, but spending that much time with each other will definitely help."