Cats Return Home for Las Vegas Invitational

Nov. 21, 2008

Complete Pregame Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Pregame Press Conference Quotes

The Wildcats return home looking for their first win of the season as they play host to the first round of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational, hosting the Delaware State Hornets.

Kentucky was bitten by the turnover bug again against North Carolina, turning the ball over 28 times en route to a 77-58 loss to the No. 1 ranked Tar Heels.

Patrick Patterson got back on track, recording his seventh career double-double with 19 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Jodie Meeks tied Patterson for team high scoring honors with 19 points while DeAndre Liggins led the Cats for the second straight game in assists with seven.

UK takes on Delaware State and Longwood in their two Las Vegas Invitational games in Rupp Arena before heading to Vegas to take on Kansas State and either West Virginia or Iowa.

Cat Scratches

  • Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
  • Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,966.
  • Jodie Meeks’ is averaging 29.0 ppg through the first two games of the season.
  • Perry Stevenson is averaging a double-double two games into the season with 11.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg.
  • Patrick Patterson recorded his seventh career double-double with 19 points and a game high 11 rebounds against the top-ranked Tar Heels.
  • Delaware State will be the first of four first-time opponents for the Wildcats. UK has not faced Longwood, Appalachian State or Florida Atlantic at any point in their history.
  • Kentucky ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in blocked shots with 20. Perry Stevenson ranks second with seven while Patrick Patterson is tied for fourth with five.
  • Once again, every Wildcat basketball game will be televised live, including both of UK’s exhibition games.

Billy Gillispie Quotes

On the North Carolina game…
“We’ve been a little over anxious. Last game we tried to make something out of nothing. We had too many guys who wanted to hit homeruns and we don’t need homeruns; we need a shot at the basket. I think our defense is going to be good and our rebounding is going to get better. One thing about Tuesday’s game is that we won on the board, which was good. However, we gave up 18 points on put-backs, which was bad. If we get the chance to set up by not turning the ball over and not giving up second chance opportunities, I think it’s going to be difficult for teams to score against us.”

On comparing the team’s performance in practice and in games…
“Practice hasn’t been the problem. These guys have worked hard in practice and that was what was so surprising in last week’s game. We practiced one way and played another. Maybe it’s just inexperience. Hopefully it is, but we need to start getting experience in a really big way. We need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. I think this team has practiced very well and I think they’ve prepared well. I think it’s a matter of adjusting once the game starts.”

On Jodie Meeks carrying a lot of weight for the team…
“He has a lot to do especially when we play so poorly at one of the perimeter positions. I think Patrick (Patterson) is a dominant player and Jodie can dominate whoever he’s playing against. Those guys have to dominate until we get better at that position as far as initiating offense. As far as the load, Jodie has to carry a huge load for this team. We’d like to have a situation where he didn’t have to carry that big of a load, but that’s probably not going to happen this year.”

On DeAndre Liggins’ performance in the second half…
“He passed the ball fairly well. Most of the time, he wasn’t starting with those plays, Jodie had to initiate offense quite a bit. I thought he threw to the post pretty well. He also defended well. He, along with all of our other guys, competed really well. It’s a good start especially as a freshman.”

On the positive outcome of the North Carolina game…
“I am really excited about our team. I have been, and I will continue to be excited about our team. Even though North Carolina got a good lead on us at the start, not too many teams can hold them to 41.7 percent shooting. That’s with offensive put-backs and with a couple of run-outs on that transition. Not too many teams go out there and guard them like we did when we got them to half court. It doesn’t happen often that teams out rebound them on their home court. Those are really good signs.”

On Delaware State…
“They’re hard because no matter what the situation is they hold the ball. They have really good players; they have guys who can make guarded shots. I think Coach (Greg Jackson) has done a really good job of getting them to buy into what they need to do to have the best chance to win no matter who they play against. It’s hard to speed them up; they take 45 shots a game or so. You have to really be patient and confident. They’ll spread the floor out, and they’ll do a good job of taking care of the basketball. They duck in hard, they play hard and they take guarded shots. It’s a scary team for me, but I think we’ll approach the game the right way.”

Player Quotes

#22 Ramon Harris

On if this is a frustrating start to the season …
“Nobody likes to lose, especially when you have opportunities to win and take control of the game but you don’t. That makes it worse. When you really want to win and you fight hard for that win and had the opportunity to win but you lose, it hurts.”

On the turnover problems through the first two games …
“That is what has been hurting us. When you think about it, in the VMI game, if we didn’t have as many turnovers, they wouldn’t have had so many transition points and North Carolina was the same way. If we can cut down our turnovers, then it will cut down their points.”

On if this team’s confidence is wavering …
“I would say it isn’t fear, but it is definitely in the back of your mind. You don’t try to turn the ball over and no one wants to turn the ball over. You try to play hard and if you have a few turnovers, it kind of gets in your head. It is hard to just say ‘Ok, I turned the ball over, but I’m not going to do it next time.’ We have been working on taking care of the ball, because we know that us not being able to protect the ball is favoring the other team.”

#23 Jodie Meeks

On how he thought he played against North Carolina …
“I was disappointed. Obviously, we wanted to come out and compete better, but it didn’t happen that way. We prepared well and I played as well as I could, but some nights you don’t shoot as well and sometimes you have a bad game. I have never been the type of guy that lacks confidence. It was one of those nights that didn’t go our way. Whether it was me or the team, we had some mental lapses and it snowballed from there. It is unfortunate for us, but it happens sometimes.”

On if the team is pressing too hard at the start of games …
“I sure hope not. You never want to think that way. You want to go in with the mindset that you are going to work hard like you have all season long. We are going into tomorrow confident and ready to play as hard as we can to get a win.”

On how much responsibility he feels with this team …
“I am a junior now so I definitely have some responsibility with this team, but it’s not something that I don’t want. Personally, I like responsibility. I like having the responsibility to carry some of the scoring role with Patrick. You can’t be afraid of failure. Me going 5-for-20 is not a great game, but I have to keep my confidence and go out there every night and play.”

#21 Perry Stevenson

On Kentucky’s offense…
“We have to get the ball open with screens. The big men haven’t done a good job of screening and we need to help Michael Porter and DeAndre Liggins out with that. It looks bad on them, but it’s our fault. Once we set better screens they will be able to initiate the offense a lot better.”

On getting the ball to Patrick Patterson…
“It’s a tough job getting the ball to Patrick because teams know how good of a player he is. Teams are going to pack in on him, and we have to do a better job getting the ball to him.”

On Jodie Meeks…
“If Jodie feels a big load, I can’t tell. He is a good player and that’s what good players do when they feel a burden. He helps put the team on his back.”

On preventing offensive rebounds…
“We need to get a lot tougher and prevent our man from getting to the basket for the rebound. If we get tougher, like I know we can, then we can stop their rebounds. We aren’t physical enough, and stopping offensive rebounds is all about being tough.”