UK Continues on 40-Game Home Winning Streak

Dec. 19, 2011

The Wildcats continued the nation's second-longest home winning streak, posting an 87-62 win over Chattanooga running its streak to 40-consecutive games.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Samford
Tues., Dec. 20 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | SU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: ESPN2
Radio: UK IMG
Live video via ESPN3
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Live Postgame Press Conference

Freshman Anthony Davis had one of his best games of the season with a 14-point, 18-rebound, five-block performance.

Kentucky had four other players score in double-figures led by Doron Lamb's game-high 24 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 17, while Darius Miller chipped in 12 and Marquis Teague added 11.

Teague also tied his career-high with eight assists while turning the ball over just once.

UK hit a season-high 12 3-pointers in the victory.

Scouting Report

Located in Birmingham, Ala. (424 miles south of Lexington), Samford is a member of the Southern Conference.

The Bulldogs enter off a 90-64 win against Spring Hill on Saturday and have won two straight heading into Lexington.

Samford is led by Drew Windler offensively. Windler is averaging 11.7 points. Jeffrey Merritt leads the Bulldogs on the boards, grabbing 6.6 per game.

The Bulldogs are coached by Jimmy Tillette who is in his 15th year as a head coach, all at Samford. He is the all-time winningest coach in Samford history. During his tenure, he has led the Bulldogs to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and entering this season, had registered a 140-114 record against conference opponents.

Tillette quickly climbed the school's career wins list and rapidly became the only coach in Samford history to record consecutive 20-win seasons. In 1999 and 2000, Tillette guided the Bulldogs to 24 and 21 wins, respectively, and led his team to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

Series History

This is the first meeting between Kentucky and Samford.

The Wildcats face the third of four first-time opponents this season posting a 2-0 record in the first two games.

Kentucky is 31-4 against first-time opponents over the last nine seasons.

Pre-Samford Media Opportunity - Dec. 19, 2011

Head Coach John Calipari

On Terrence Jones’ finger …
“He is not going to practice today because it is still swollen and black and blue, but that stuff is alright. It will just take some time, but he will be fine.”

On if he will play Tuesday against Samford …
“I don’t know yet. We will see. I don’t expect him to start if he doesn’t practice today, but I don’t know.”

On what the normal recovery time is for an injury like that …
“It depends. The doctor said he thought he may be able to practice today but then he looked at it and said, ‘eh, let’s keep him out another day.’”

On when the freshmen’s maturity level reaches where they can be considered a sophomore …
“Usually it will be February or March when you get an idea that they are seasoned enough to go into those kinds of games and play the game to win. It is no more show time. It is not the hardest play I can make and I am not going to stop on defense. I will dive on the floor. I will take a charge. I am not taking possessions away off because I know understand. Usually, that is February or March.”

On if he has seen any of his players take strides to meeting that maturity level yet …
“The one thing that I like is that they are listening to what we are saying. The way we go about this is that you have to keep understanding that we have young kids and it is hard because I am not looking at them like that. I am looking at this team like how do I make them better. I am not looking at this team saying, ‘Well he is young and he is young.’ No, we raise the bar here. Now, players that come here understand that. They are going to be challenged and it is the hardest place to come and play basketball. You are not only challenged in practice, but challenged in every game you play. You are someone’s Super Bowl. You lose on the road and they storm the court and you have to really cover and run for the locker room. That is what you bought into coming here. But, I am not changing. I raise the bar and make it hard. The other thing these guys see is results. The guys that listen and the guys that perform, good things have happened for them. Not only have good things happened for our team, but good things have happened for them.”

On how critical the time off school in December is given the players don’t have class to work around …
“What we are doing now is like: yesterday we practiced twice and then had dinner together and they are together more. A couple of these guys are starting a breakfast club where they get up and lift in the morning, four or five of them and they have breakfast together. Then we practice and have dinner together and then we practice again. I am going to be out recruiting later tonight. Our practice will be here, but the one tonight will be more going over our opponent and touching up things and I will let Robes (assistant coach John Robic) do that. Then we shoot around and play a game and the next day we will go twice and have breakfast. But they are together. It is as much about getting them together all the time. Like, you are not on the phone while we are at dinner. Talk to one another. You are not on the phone, you are with these people. If you chose not to be with us, that is OK, now go somewhere else. But if you are going to be with us, we eat dinner and we are at breakfast then we are with each other. This team doesn’t talk enough right now and that is something that we have to get with. You know, bouncing on defense, playing for one another defensively. Not saying, ‘OK, my man doesn’t have it I am stopping.’ That is all stuff that we have to get going with this group.”

On if he has a no cell phone rule at meals …
“No, but you are just not on it. But if I see a guy on the phone, I am like, ‘What are you doing? You want to talk on the phone more than you want to talk to your teammate? Is that person more important than your teammate? Well, then go sit with them. See ya, bye. You don’t need to be here.’ It is all those kinds of things and again it is new, they have never been taught that way or coached that way and they don’t understand what’s the importance or what’s the big deal. ‘I want to be on my own.’ Good, go to bowling. Golf is a good game. Singles tennis, wrestling aren’t bad. But this is a team sport.”

On what improvements he wants to see from Doron Lamb
“Just more of a consistent effort and he has been terrific. Now, let me explain what has happened to him. He did the extra work, now. He is coming a half hour or 45 minutes before and getting extra conditioning and work. Have you seen the results? But, that is hard. So if you do what he does then you will have (the same results). ‘Well, I don’t want to do that, I just want the results.’ It doesn’t happen. You have to put in time. That is why I kind of like that breakfast club. See, Michael Jordan did that breakfast club. They met at 6 a.m., they trained, the stretched, they had a personal trainer and then they ate breakfast and then they went to practice. They did it every day, including gameday. Breakfast club. So we have four guys doing it right now. Hopefully, a couple more guys will step up and start doing the breakfast club. Well, why wouldn’t you want to do it by yourself? Because we are not bowling, we are not wrestling, we are not playing tennis. There is a group of us that started to build a bond that we are not caving in. We are in this together. That is a neat thing that has happened and the next step for us to becoming a better team.”

On who started the breakfast club and who is in it …
“I am not going to say who is in it because I don’t want to. But it is a good group of guys and the guys that you expect to be in it are in it. Hopefully, the other guys will join in and do it. It is the same thing. ‘Well, I will do my own thing by myself.’ Alright, now you are a heck of a wrestler, get in there and wrestle. But this is a team sport.”

On if any of the freshmen are in that group …
“Yes.”

On if a starter is in the group …
“One of the guys was doing it on his own. He was already coming in and what I talked about was that this was something that Michael Jordan did to bring his team together. And what he did was they wanted to win 70 something games and they wanted to win a championship and we are going to do more than any other team does. They won 72 (games) that year and won a championship. But, that was Michael saying, ‘We are going to do it.’ It wasn’t the whole team that did it, but it was like six of them. But, it is guys that have totally sold in and bought in. ‘I am in. What do I have to do? Let’s go.’ Again, spending that extra time for young kids is hard. Getting them off the phone, getting them off a computer and all that social networking and media stuff that they do. Getting them away from the video games. Think about it, they have all that stuff to do that could help them be a better basketball player.”

On if he will say who started the club …
“Nah, it will come out. It’s a neat thing. I told them, between now and January 9, you are playing basketball and you are eating and you’re sleeping. That is it. You are playing basketball or you are eating or you are sleeping. We may go four times a day. You may have breakfast, practice, dinner, practice and go film at my house. What else? I know the video game, you didn’t get to do it today. It is going to help your shooting and your hand and eye quickness. I know. They don’t have anything to do now. Now, they are going to go on break. I always give them Christmas break. I think they need to be with their families and regroup and then they come back and have two tough games and then we start right into league (play). I mean, this stuff is on. Where they are right now, I will say it again, for a freshmen team to be where they are right now is probably farther than they deserve to be, especially defensively. For freshmen to defend the way we are defending is not normal. Yet, offensively we are just not there. Biggest thing for us, we don’t talk. Everyone is wondering how they are playing and it’s not pieced together yet.”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Sr.

On if this is a tough time of year to practice with the holidays going on …
“No, it’s not really tough. This is all we have to do is focus on this. We get more free time, we get a lot of time to spend with each other so it’s not really tough. I’m kind of looking forward to it.”

On if he knew how bad Jones’ finger was during the game …
“I didn’t (know), personally. I don’t know if anybody else did. I didn’t know it was that bad, but that picture was nasty.”

On how much better the team can get with so many practice opportunities over the holiday break …
“I think we should get a lot from this. We should benefit a lot from this, especially with how hard this team works, how disciplined we are. I think we should get a lot out of it. I think we’ll be a way different team once the break’s over.”

On how they will be a different team once the break is over …
“We’ll have more time to spend with each other and more time to practice and get everything together. All of the kinks and stuff, if they’re going to get worked out, this is the time to do it.”

On how it would affect them if Terrence Jones wasn’t able to play …
“It would affect us a lot. Terrence is a huge part of the team. He’s one of our best players. Whenever you lose someone like that, it always affects you.”

On getting on a better shooting percentage …
“I think I’m kind of just rushing it a little bit, instead of taking my time and shooting it. I think I’m kind of rushing my shot and hurrying up and shooting it. I think I just need to take my time in getting it off.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G, So.

On what Coach Calipari wants him to do better …
“Run the floor, really, make all the shots, and always add to the motor. (Calipari) wants me to talk more on defense and talk in general and in practice really.”

On playing harder compared to last year …
“I’ve been working out before practice and after practice, putting shots up, trying to get sweaty before practice, and getting ready for practices between games. It starts at practice. You do it in practice and it goes to the games.”

#30 Eloy Vargas, F, Sr.

On if he is happy with where his game is at …
“Yeah, I am really happy, especially with what I am doing right now. The coaches have been great to me and to the team.”

On if his confidence is growing …
“Yeah, I have more confidence now. The practices have been better for me and for the team.”