Kentucky Hosts Instate Rival Morehead State

Nov. 20, 2012

The Wildcats will hit the floor following one of the most dynamic offensive performances in the John Calipari era in a 101-49 victory over Lafayette on Friday. UK topped the century mark for the first time since the season opener in 2011-12 while hitting .645 percent of its shots from the floor. That shooting clip is the single-best percentage under Calipari with freshman Alex Poythress' .900 mark becoming the third-best by a single player. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer hit a career-high seven 3-pointers en route to a 23-point effort. UK also forced the Leopards into a Calipari-era best 28 turnovers. Morehead State has jumped out to a 3-1 record under first-year coach and former UK standout Sean Woods. The Eagles garnered an 88-74 win over Lafayette on Sunday, while forcing the Leopards into 29 turnovers for the victory.

Gameday Information
Barclays Center Classic
Kentucky vs. Morehead State
Weds., Nov. 21 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | MSU Get Acrobat Reader
Gameday Live: Online video, audio, blog and stats
Radio: UK IMG
Live Audio
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Scouting Morehead State

Morehead State owns a 3-1 record following consecutive victories over Alice Lloyd (Ky.) and Lafayette under first-year head coach and former UK letterwinner Sean Woods.

The Eagles are currently paced by 17.3 points per game from Milton Chavis. The Eagles forced Lafayette in 29 turnovers on Sunday after the same Leopards' squad coughed it up 28 times in a loss to Kentucky on Friday.

Morehead State is outrebounding its opponents by an eight-board margin (41.2-33.5) led by 6.5 snags from Kahil Owens.

Kentucky owns an all-time 9-0 record against its instate foe with the last meeting coming on Nov. 13, 2009 resulting in a 75-59 win for UK.

Media Opportunity - November 20, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On how Ryan Harrow is doing …
“I guess better, he’s at an academic meeting. He’ll be at practice today but I guess better. He’s lost weight, he’s going to have to get some weight back, we’ll see from there.”

On what was wrong with Ryan Harrow
“They don’t know. All they’re saying is he has lost seven pounds and must have had something going on. They don’t know what it was but we will see.”

On Sean Woods’ comments …
“At the telethon and whatever these guys have done, they were hugging volunteers so I don’t know where he got that. There may have been somebody that didn’t know them or something, I don’t know. I love what our kids are about, what they’ve done academically, what they do in the community. Being here is a big deal and it’s hard to deal with all the stuff that goes around but these guys seem to do it pretty well … Knowing Sean I figured he misspoke, I chalk it up to that and I move on, I’m not taking it personal. Our kids, you may have talked to them, I bet half of them didn’t know he said anything. This program, do you know how much is said about this program and me personally? I don’t listen to it and then the other stuff is that I walk on water. Guess what? I don’t. I’m a regular guy, a sinner like everybody else and I try to do my job. I don’t buy into all that stuff. Say what you want 50 years from now people will evaluate the jobs we’ve done, where we’ve been and that’s all I can count on.”

On Kyle Wiltjer
“He shot the ball really well two days ago. He practiced half of practice yesterday but he’ll be fine.”

On being prepared for Morehead State’s defense …
“We’re not, we’re not prepared. They’ll scramble and if the game is allowed to be physical they will turn us over a bunch but it’s what we need. It’s not, how much have we worked on press attack, we’re still trying to get them to play hard. We’re trying to get them to play a full possession. We started working on situations yesterday and that was just very average, what we did. We have to continue from this point on, working on some specialty things but we still have the basics we have to get better at. The only way you create habits is do something every day. Well if you do everything that we have to improve on every day, we’ll have a nine hour practice. So we are where we are now.”

On if Ryan’s absence is building depth …
“Yeah, but I’d rather have him here. That stuff gives guys an opportunity. Any time you have injuries or things of that nature, things happen on your team, maybe you didn’t know or you’re surprised but the reality of it is you’d rather go through without that kind of stuff.”

On how long it will take Ryan to catch up …
“He’s obviously the low man on the totem pole. You have to start from behind and that isn’t all bad for him either because now he’s going to have to fight for time. He’s behind everybody which means you have to earn it in practice.”

On needing Harrow against Morehead’s defense …
“It doesn’t matter. We need to be pressed and played physical and let’s see what we’re about. If we’ll be strong with the ball, if we’re going to come to jump stops, if we’ll come back and meet passes, if we’ll make the extra pass, we’ll find out. This is all learning, we could have 30 turnovers and they beat our brains out, could happen. We’re a young team; we don’t even know how we’re going to respond to stuff.”

On early season SEC losses …
“I’m really not following scores. Folks, I really don’t have time to do anything except try to coach my team. I know what our record is, I believe, what is it, 2-1? Other than that I don’t know anybody, who they’ve played, how they’ve done. I have not watched one second of our league right now. I haven’t. At the end of the day we’re going to have 5, 6, 7 teams right there with a chance to be in the NCAA Tournament and advance. We’ve had a team in the Final Four, four of the last seven years, I think, or eight years we’ve had a team in the Final Four. The league is fine and they’ll be fine. I wish them well; unless they are playing us then I hope they get smashed.”

On figuring out how the team will play …
“We have to get through games and play people, the Duke game we learned some stuff, Maryland we learned some stuff, Lafayette we learned some stuff. We put in our presses, we just put them in so now we have two of our presses in, they’re not very good but they’re in. Now we can press, we couldn’t press before. We have some zone stuff in so both zone defense and zone offense, so now it’s not very good but we can do it. Our press attack is in, it’s not very good but it’s in. Now we have to find out what we like about what we’re doing and what we’ll change. You put it in, you go with it, if you like it fine, if you don’t, we’re playing different than we played a year ago. I like my team, this will be a great test, they’re all teams that are different and that’s what we need.”

#5 Jarrod Polson, G, Jr.

On playing against great players and how it’s helped him improve…
“I definitely think I have gotten way better. Obviously I didn’t play much in my first two years, but I was going against great players in practice every day. I have definitely improved a lot since high school and playing against them has helped tremendously.”

On how much they have worked on beating the press…
“The past week we have been going over press at least fifteen minutes a day. We even had six guys out there playing defense. I’m just trying to get in game like situations during practice, because we know that they are probably going to press tomorrow. We have gotten a lot more comfortable with the press break and we kind of know what we want to do with it now.”

On how players with limited playing time should use their opportunities in the game…
“For me, it’s just going out there and playing hard. Obviously, when you are not getting as many minutes, it’s probably easier to get yanked out of the game, but you can’t really think about it like that. Just play as hard as you can because you don’t know how many minutes you are going to get. That’s my mindset really, just play hard and pressure them defensively. That is going to help with getting more comfortable and less nervous.”

#33 Kyle Wiltjer, F, So.

On if he is looking to shoot the ball more…
“I’m trying to be more aggressive, so I guess so.”

On getting closer to having Ryan (Harrow) back in the lineup…
“He worked out yesterday and looked fine. I have seen him a lot the past couple of days. He seems up to speed and he’s looking forward to practicing. He’s practicing today so hopefully he can get back to full speed and get better.”

On what kind of difference Harrow will make with his return…
“He’s a very talented player and having him back will give us a little extra depth. Hopefully he will continue to get up to speed and get where we need him.”

On the improvement made by the team…
“We are improving as a team. We have done a great job at practice and going hard every day and bringing it. Regardless of who we play, we have done a great job of learning from these opportunities and getting better as a team. Also, just little things like running wide or running hard in practice every day. The more you do it in practice, the more it becomes instinct.”

#34 Julius Mays, G, GS

On how the team is improving …
“We’re still looking at every game as a learning game. We’re trying to get better at something new each game. We’re still trying to attack to the offensive and defensive glass a lot better. I think we are starting to define ourselves scoring in transition, wanting to post the ball and play like that.”

On having 10 assists with no turnovers against Lafayette …
“I knew when I was passing a lot of people were hitting shots. I figured I had a nice number of assists, but I didn’t know I had that many. I also didn’t know I had zero turnovers, so it felt good … If another guy is open and he has a better shot than I do then I’m always ready to pass it.”

On the possibility of playing point guard …
“If you get the ball off a rebound or a big guy throws it to you, it’s not like Coach Cal told me I can’t push it or make a play. We really don’t have a set point guard when we’re in transition. It’s mainly when we’re trying to play in the half court.”

On being able to find Kyle Wiltjer so often against Lafayette …
“It’s really when you’re in the heat of the moment. At first I was thinking layup, and then Kyle popped up in the corner. I saw he was wide open, and I had drawn most of the defense when I drove it. He had a better shot than me taking a contested layup.”

On his role at Kentucky compared to last season at Wright State…
“It’s different. Last year I was a guy with the ball in my hands for half, if not more than half of the game. Making plays a lot more myself than anything else. Coming in this year we have a lot of guys that score the ball even better than I do. I said at the beginning of the year I don’t care if I average five points a game, I just want to win.”