Cats Return Home to Take on Austin Peay

Dec. 18, 2009

Cats Return Home to Take on Austin Peay

After a two-week absence, the Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, where the Cats host Austin Peay.

Kentucky Austin Peay
Gameday Information
Game Notes UK Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Austin Peay Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Dec. 19, 4:00 p.m
Coverage TV: CSS (coverage details)
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Online Video via ESPN360
Live Blog
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Austin Peay Governors at a Glance
Head Coach Dave Loos
Record at School 321-265
2009 Record 7-4, 0-0 OVC
Ranking NR
Series Record UK leads 4-0
Last Meeting UK defeated Austin Peay 61-53 in 2003-04.
2009 Team Stats UK APSU
Scoring Offense 80.3 72.5
Scoring Defense 65.5 69.2
FG Percentage 49.7% 45.8%
3-point FG Percentage 38.0% 38.4%
FT Percentage 66.0% 67.7%
Rebound Margin +10.6 +2.6
Assists 16.8 14.0
Turnovers 16.8 14.2
2009 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (18.1)
APSU: Anthony Campbell (15.3)
Rebounding UK: Patrick Patterson (9.6)
APSU: John Fraley (6.9)
Assists UK: John Wall (7.1)
APSU: Wes Channels (3.4)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (53.3%)
APSU Anthony Campbell (49.0%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (2.2)
APSU: Marcel Williams (1.1)
Steals UK: John Wall (2.8)
APSU: Anthony Campbell (1.2)

Kentucky enters the game on a 10-game winning streak, its best start to open the season since beginning the 1993 season 11-0.

UK earned a 90-73 win in its most recent outing on the road against Indiana. Freshman Eric Bledsoe led the Cats with 23 points. Patrick Patterson tallied his fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds while John Wall wasn’t too far from a triple-double with 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. DeMarcus Cousins was the other Wildcat in double figures with 14 points.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari 

On the Bobby Knight comments …

“I get up to go to Mass this morning and there are like 100 text messages and I am like, ‘What in the world happened?' I get word about it and what I can tell you is that I am big fan and respect him as a basketball coach, and always have. As a matter of fact, I took my staff down to Texas Tech and spent the day watching them practice. He helped me with the dribble drive offense and he made it even better. I don't agree with what he said, but it doesn't change how I feel about him.”

On the Austin Peay game …

“My team yesterday had the worst practice. It was so bad that we conditioned for an hour and I haven't done that since my UMass days. (Assistant) Coach (John) Robic came in and said that was old school because we ran for one hour. So I am anxious to get in there and see what we have today. I tried to tell them that you may or may not understand Austin Peay. I have coached against (Austin Peay coach Dave Loos) and he does a great job. His team beat my team when I was at Memphis, by a point and I had to give them a check and the W. I called him the next day and said, ‘You did a great job and should have beat us by more than a point.' But this one coming up is a hard one and I don't know if they understand that. We will see.”

On the practice that he wasn't there this week and how he thought the players responded to that …

“I came to practice and warmed them up and did what we do for getting them ready. We went for about a half hour and went hard and I felt good. So I said, ‘OK, now we are going to scrimmage but I am not going to stay because I stop you too much and I want this for conditioning as well. But, I will watch the tape and they will bring it to me afterwards and right after practice I will watch the tape.' I watched it and basically, we reverted about five weeks. Basically, they are not ready to be empowered. What we are is that I have to be in there and be on top of them and drive them. And I told them, I said, ‘To be empowered, you have to be, one, responsible. Two, you have to be trustworthy and that we know you are going to do what we want you to do. Three, you have to be loyal to each other and when you are down 16 or on a 10-2 run you don't blame each other but you are loyal to each other. The other thing is that you have to have from within a drive. It doesn't come from me it doesn't come from a coach. It comes from you. It is a drive that comes from within. We are just not ready for that.”

On if he would expect them to be ready …

“I wanted to see and at first I was angry at the point that I was sweating when I was watching the tape. But it was good because it told me where they are right now. Yesterday, I told them when they were all angry that, “When I am angry, I never go home angry by myself. Everyone in the building or near me is going to be angry too. So now, go home because you are angry and I am angry and we are all angry. If you come back and do this again, then I am going to take up the conditioning another notch.' There are just so many lessons for this team and they are so inexperienced.”

On Austin Peay and what they do …

“They are really well-coached team and they play the UCLA offense and will go man-to-man and zone and try to switch it up. They're good; they beat Ohio University on the road and Akron on the road. They're coming in here like Miami (Ohio), Sam Houston State and how we thought Rider would play, but we played very well that game. It is a team that if we don't show up and they want it more than we do (we could lose.) They have good 3-point shooters. They are athletic enough and deep enough to beat us.”

On DeMarcus Cousins' play and what gets him going more in the second half than in the first half …

“I think one is foul trouble, but it all comes back to him learning how to warm-up. I think that he gets so crazy to get ready for the game that the first four minutes in he is spent. So he fouls, walks and makes bad plays. He has to understand how you warm up. Again, it was only three months ago that warm-ups were three minutes before the game and then you play a ballgame. He is still learning. Yesterday, I was stunned that he made it through the conditioning. I will tell you a story. On tap drill, which is the meanest thing that I do, ever, and I am watching him and that is the only guy I am watching because he is about to break. If he does, then I am going to stop the drill. With 30 seconds to go I am about to blow it (the whistle) because I am watching him and then I was like, ‘He may make it.' I keep watching and he made the drill, which is incredible. I told him afterwards that I was proud of him and that he broke another barrier. He is doing stuff that he never thought that he could do and he has a smile on his face. It doesn't mean that he isn't going to do some dumb things at times but he is trying.”

On if he has thought about not starting DeMarcus and bringing him in off the bench …

“Maybe, but right now he is one of our best players and you try to start your best to see what is happening. Daniel (Orton) at times has been really good and other times he hasn't been. Right now, we will stick with what we have but I can do that.”

On not being here very long and already having a top-five team …

“It is neat. I am not for sure if there is any dominating team out there. I think that Kansas is probably better than the rest of us, but there are probably 10 or 12 teams that are all in the same boat. The question is: in the next month which of those teams is going to get better and who jumps the most in that period of time. I am hoping it is us. I can't promise you that and I don't know it but that is what we are working for.”

On which areas they need to improve …

“Shot selection, turning the ball over, playing out of control, stop watching balls on shots and defensively staying the whole possession and being aggressive. Those are probably the major areas that we have to shore up.”

#21, Perry Stevenson, Sr., F

On dealing with being undefeated and ranked in the top five …

“(It is important) not to get big headed and to come to work every day. Coach preaches that, but it is a pretty good group of guys so it doesn't need to be said too much.”

On if he is being effective coming off the bench …

“Absolutely. It is just about being a team player; whatever the team needs; doing whatever you have to do.”

On if he is having fun playing fewer minutes …

“It is definitely fun. We are winning and that is the ultimate goal.”

On the dangers of playing Austin Peay …

“We are still learning about who we are. They may not be a big name school, but they can beat you.”

#24, Eric Bledsoe, Fr., G

On going several days without a game …

“We have been playing against each other, trying to pick up the pace. We have won 10 games and coach isn't going to let that go to our heads.”

On the demeanor of coach Calipari …

“No, he hasn't been very happy. He has been pretty intense. He wasn't here for a practice and when he saw the tape, he was pretty mad. Guys weren't going hard. We were walking down the court. He came back for practice and made us run a whole lot. We weren't practicing as hard as we can and he didn't like that. Guys were looking out of shape, then Coach Cal came back and all the guys looked in shape.”

On being ranked in the top five …

“It feels good, but we still have a lot of work to do. It is nice to be up there with a lot of good teams, we've just got to come in and work hard.”

On getting geared up to play Austin Peay …

“We just have to play every game like it is our last. It is real dangerous because come tournament time and if we were to get a high seed, it would be like facing a team like Austin Peay and they come out and beat us. So, we can't take anyone lightly.”

On how his ankle feels …

“I can play on it now. It still bothers me a little bit, but not really. I would get down on myself real quick (when the ankle was bothersome). If I can't do things that I am usually able to do, I can get out of the game.”

#55, Josh Harrellson, Jr., F

On Austin Peay …
“I heard a little bit about them. I heard that they don't ever give up. I heard that they are a good running team, and they are going to try and run with us.”

On the importance of the winning streak …
“I don't think we really look at it as a winning streak. I think we look at it as the next game. We try and prepare for every game. We just try and prepare ourselves the best that we can.”

On practices during exam week…
“We still went a little over two hours each day. We did what we normally do, but we did scrimmage a little more than we normally do just because of finals and the schedules. We still got a lot done.”

On being able to just focus on basketball in the coming weeks …
“There aren't any more rules – like we don't have to have a day off during this time. He (Coach Calipari) is going to get us in here (the gym) as much as he can. We can just focus on basketball and get prepared for what is coming up as a team.”

On Kentucky returning to the national spotlight …
“Personally, I don't really look at the rankings. It's nice to know that everybody is supporting us again. Everybody is back supporting us and we are back at the top like we should be. I don't really look at the rankings, but is nice just to hear about it.”

On the preparation for the next three games …
“We're just going to see if we can continue to build on what we accomplished over the last three games that we played. Hopefully, we can build on this team continuing to take steps forward instead of taking steps back. We have to just prepare for any game because any team can beat us at any time. So, we just have to prepare as best as we can.”