Gameday: Kentucky vs. Appalachian State

Dec. 20, 2008

Complete Pregame Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Appalachian State Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Pregame Press Conference Quotes

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UK Takes on Appalachian St. in Freedom Hall

Kentucky returns to Louisville for its annual neutral-site game at Freedom Hall, where the Wildcats have played 67 times since the facility opened in 1957.

The Wildcats will play the first of two games in the Derby City, beginning with Appalachian State on Saturday and then the annual intra-state matching against Louisville on Jan. 4.

UK enters the game on a two-game winning streak including a 72-54 victory in its most recent outing against Indiana.

Kentucky placed five guys in double-digits, led by Josh Harrellson who tallied 15 points and seven rebounds. Perry Stevenson was 5-for-5 from the field for 10 points while pulling down nine rebounds and blocking six shots.

Cat Scratches

  • Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
  • Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,973.
  • Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks 14th nationally in scoring (21.9 ppg) while Patrick Patterson leads the league and ranks third nationally in field goal percentage (71.4) and ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounding (9.1) and fifth in scoring (17.6).
  • UK ranks fifth in the country in block shots per game (7.9) while ranking 14th nationally in field goal percentage (50.3).
  • Patrick Patterson has recorded six double-doubles this season and 12 in his career, tying him for 30th on UK's all-time double-doubles list.
  • Kentucky has outrebounded nine of its 10 opponents this season.
  • Kentucky ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage (50.3) and second in the league in free throw percentage (76.3) and blocked shots 79).

Head Coach Billy Gillispie Quotes

On Ramon Harris...
"He looked good yesterday and then he looked a little sore today. We just finished practice and he played very well, but I haven't had the chance to talk to him about how he feels after today's practice. I'm not going to rule out the possibility of him playing tomorrow if he feels like it. I'm not guaranteeing that he or will not play tomorrow. We miss having Harris because he does a lot of dirty work on the court that we need done. He really makes it easier for everyone else out there. He has turned into a very good leader and it will be great to have him back. The most important thing is that we are happy that he will be able to get his full health back. Harris is the type of player that has evolved into the kind of player we need. Players like him have to do things like that to get playing time. I don't think he is our best shooter or our best rebounder and I don't know if he is our best defender or ball handler, but he is really good at all of those things. It is good to have him on the court because he knows where to go. He has been around for a while and he makes everything easier. I have never seen a good team without a dirty work guy. The more guys that are willing to do the dirty work, not to be confused with being a dirty player, then the more chances you have for a very special team. If Harris is able to play tomorrow then he won't be able to play for as long a period as he has in the past."

On the collision between Michael Porter and Ramon Harris...
"It was a scary deal. When the collision happened our trainer went out to Michael Porter first because of the blood and I didn't know how badly Harris was hurt. To look back and see how Porter came back the next day was pretty amazing and really is a testament to how tough he is and how much he cares about his team."

On what to expect during practice over Christmas break...
"We have to get better at every aspect. I think our defense will be very good because it is getting better every single day. I think we are getting more guys to understand how to play with each other in transition defense and half-court defense as well as understanding some different wrinkles we might throw into our defense. We are getting better at understanding our defense and offense, even though it takes a little longer to understand the offensive aspect. I think I am seeing a real hunger from our team in rebounding and hustle plays. We are getting tougher. We have to start taking care of the ball better. Our assist numbers are high and our turnover numbers are high. We will have to minimize our turnover numbers. We need to continue to work on timing and getting the open man to take the shot. We are passing up a lot of shots and we need to get the open man to shoot some more. Passing up shots sometimes leads to turnovers and we need to get the ball to the post better. We have some inexperienced players on the court but we are getting better all the time."

On how the team is playing...
"As far as numbers go I think Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins could average double figures. I think Michael Porter is getting more comfortable and he can have good numbers. He probably won't average double figures, but he could certainly get that in a game or two. Perry Stevenson can average a double-double and we need him to play strong. Josh Harrellson could average double figures, and A.J. Stewart is coming on like gangbusters. He is playing better than he has ever played since he has been here. Stewart has really matured. Patrick Patterson is averaging 18 points a game and I think that he could average five or six more per game. I think the missing thing is better ball movement and taking care of the ball. We have been missing that. We are getting much more comfortable with each other and what we are trying to do."