Gameday: Kentucky vs. Miami
Dec. 5, 2008
Wildcats Riding Five-Game Winning Streak
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Wildcats play host to No. 22 Miami on Saturday in a nationally televised game on ESPN.
UK comes into the game off a 103-61 win over Lamar on Wednesday. The Wildcats were led offensively by sophomore Patrick Patterson who tallied a career high 31 points, while Jodie Meeks (19), DeAndre Liggins (16) and Josh Harrellson (12) all finished in double figures as well.
UK shot 64 percent from the field while limiting the Cardinals to just 34 percent shooting, the seventh straight game in which Kentucky has held the opposition below 37 percent from the field.
The Wildcats also shot 80 percent from the free throw line, the second straight game they've shot 80 percent or better from the charity stripe.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,971.
- Jodie Meeks was named MVP of the Las Vegas Invitational as well as SEC Player of the Week this past week.
- Jodie Meeks' is averaging 24.6 ppg through the first seven games of the season, the best seven-game start by a Wildcat since Jamal Mashburn averaged 24.8 through the first seven games of the `92-93 season.
- Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks sixth nationally in scoring (25.5 ppg) while Patrick Patterson leads the league and ranks sixth nationally in field goal percentage (.709) and ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring (17.7).
- Kentucky has outrebounded six of their seven opponents this season.
- Kentucky ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage (.526) and third in the league in free throw percentage (.763), field goal percentage defense (.367) and blocked shots (7.0).
- UK has held its last five opponents to 36 percent or less from the field.
Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes
On Michael Porter's and Ramon Harris' injuries...
"Michael Porter said he wants to play this weekend and he practiced today. Ramon Harris is out and we don't know how long that is going to be. Most importantly, they need to regain their health. Porter watched and participated yesterday and today, but he wore a headband. The headband pulls the swelling up so he can have better vision. He did well in practice, but we have to see how he responds getting back into the game. Porter is tough, but a lot of things go through your mind when you take a hit like that.
"I don't know the total prognosis on Ramon Harris and we have to be careful. It takes more time to know exactly what is happening when dealing with spinal cord injuries and concussions. We haven't determined what to do with Harris' spot and we have to see what happens. He is a good player, solid contributor, and most importantly, a defender. Harris also stabilizes the team, and he has great leadership on the court. Those things will be most missed. Most importantly he needs to get back to full health, and we hope that happens soon. His return is on a personal basis but we aren't worried about that. We would love to have him back, but the most important thing is his health. We hope and pray he is ok; basketball is important, but his health is more so."
On Miami 's Jack McClinton...
"He is really good. He is explosive, he can shoot, and he can score. McClinton is fantastic, hard to deal with; he is quick, he feeds the post, and he is a competitor."
On Miami ...
" Miami is a good team and I really like them. They aren't a one man team, and that's why they are ranked in the top 25. They are experienced and they have a number of fourth year players. Miami is athletic, and they have one of the best low post, back to the basket players in the country. They have good balance and, athletic and long players on the perimeter. They will be hard to keep out of paint and off of the offensive boards. Miami 's inside three are as athletic as any threesome we'll face this year. They are very athletic, they have great skills and they can score. North Carolina had players like that and they did a great job of beating us on boards. That is the closest thing to what we will see tomorrow. Miami can score both close to the basket and from three-point range. We will face a challenge tomorrow because they can shoot and block."
On the victory against Lamar...
"We need to keep a good pace tomorrow if we are going to be the better team. Our big guys ran the floor well against Lamar, although they didn't do it for 40 minutes, they did a good job. That helped us to establish the lead. We also ran the court, pushed the ball and pressured on defense. We need that to continue, no matter who we play."
On Kentucky 's improvement...
"It will be interesting to see if we have improved by playing against a ranked team. I only want us to improve and we are improving at a drastic rate. The better the team, the greater the challenge it is to improve. We have had major turnover problems against the teams we have played of that magnitude. It will be a step to see if we are improving in that area. Offensive rebounding has also been a problem for us. We have allowed too many, and we haven't gotten enough. This game will be a good gauge to see where we are concerning those components of the game."
On Kentucky 's confidence...
"Our team has always had confidence, and we've never gone into a game thinking we wouldn't play well. But, we are beginning to understand the little things that it takes to win a game. We are beginning to square up strong, post hard, become better targets inside, play team defense, block out on free throws and improve inbound plays. We are gaining confidence in the little things that give us the chance to win. The team is beginning to understand what leads to winning."
On Kevin Galloway and DeAndre Liggins...
"I want to see Kevin Galloway and DeAndre Liggins get better in every area of the game. Both of them, along with the rest of the team, were outstanding on Wednesday night. They need to step up the competition on Saturday, and we want to see them play the same way, only against better competition. They are inexperienced, and they can't get away with a lot of things anymore, because that will be taken advantage of. Both are on a path to becoming better basketball players and practicing good habits."
#13 Michael Porter, Jr.
On the collision...
" It was a hard hit. I had a headache for a little while, but I'm fine."
On a scale from 1-10 how bad was the pain?
"Maybe a five. It hurt pretty good, but I've been hit worse. I've taken some pretty big blows to my head."
On what the doctor told him...
"When the doctor was stitching me up, he told me it was a good spot for it to happen, on the forehead, but no broken bones."
On seeing Ramon Harris...
"I don't know how he's doing right now, but we're just praying for him and hope he gets back to 100 percent soon."
On whether he knew he collided with Ramon...
"I didn't even think about who I hit, I thought I hit one of their guys. I didn't know it was Ramon until they were stitching me up and saying something about him being taken off in a stretcher and that kind of surprised me and scared me for a minute. I didn't know how bad it was. I didn't know until they were stitching me up."
How did you practice?
"Fine I think, pretty much like usual. I felt good actually. Once I started getting going, I didn't really notice it. I put a band-aid on it; I have to wear a headband because it pulls the skin up. This morning when I woke up, my eye was completely swollen shut. I couldn't see out of it. We tried a headband to pull the skin up on it and I guess that's what I'll have to do."
#21 Perry Stevenson, Jr.
"They kind of remind me of North Carolina. They get up and run, with big guys that can pretty much do anything on the floor."
On the team's confidence...
"We're on cloud nine right now. We have the feeling that we can't be beat, but at the same time, we know that it's possible. That's why you still have to play the games."
Do you ever feel the need to sit back and shape your game around Patrick Patterson?
" That's one thing coach says not to do, `don't get caught watching.' He's a real good player, a lot of people, even people on the floor, get caught watching. It's because he can do so many great things."
On what the team needs to do to keep things rolling...
"We just have to keep competing on the defensive end and the offense will work for us. Coach preaches that every day, getting down and guarding people, being a competitor. That's why we're here, at one of the greatest places to play basketball."