UK Plays Final Game Before Christmas Break

Dec. 22, 2009

UK Plays Final Game Before Christmas Break

Two days following Kentucky’s historic 2,000th win against Drexel, the Wildcats play Long Beach State in their final game before breaking for the Christmas holiday.

Kentucky Long Beach State
Gameday Information
Game Notes UK Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Long Beach State Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Weds., Dec. 23, 1:00 p.m
Coverage TV: FS South (coverage details)
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Online Video via ESPN360
Live Blog
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Long Beach State 49ers at a Glance
Head Coach Dan Monson
Record at School 27-45
2009 Record 6-5, 0-0 Big West
Ranking NR
Series Record First meeting
Last Meeting First meeting
2009 Team Stats UK LBSU
Scoring Offense 81.8 76.5
Scoring Defense 64.0 75.4
FG Percentage 50.1% 46.5%
3-point FG Percentage 42.1% 38.6%
FT Percentage 69.7% 62.9%
Rebound Margin +12.4 -1.2
Assists 16.2 14.9
Turnovers 16.5 15.5
2009 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (17.8)
LBSU: T.J. Robinson (17.0)
Rebounding UK: Patrick Patterson (8.8)
LBSU: T.J. Robinson (10.7)
Assists UK: John Wall (7.0)
DU: Casper Ware (5.6)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (54.8%)
LBSU: Stephan Gilling (45.3%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
LBSU: Larry Anderson and Eugene Phelps (0.5)
Steals UK: John Wall (2.4)
LBSU: Larry Anderson (2.4)

The Cats claimed an 88-44 win in their historic victory, led by DeMarcus Cousins’ 18 points and game-high 13 rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. It was his fifth double-double of the season. Patrick Patterson also shared game-high scoring honors with 18 points, while freshman John Wall finished with 16 points and seven assists.

UK outrebounded the Dragons 45-22, the second straight game with a +20 rebound edge. UK also shot 17-19 from the free throw line and have hit 94.5 percent from the charity stripe in the last two games.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On the game against Long Beach State…

“The good news is they have a short turnaround too. They played last night and they have to travel. We will have no excuse. We didn't play guys 40 minutes and it wasn't an overtime game. Hopefully they got their rest last night, and if they didn't, it will show, and it will be another lesson to be learned. We have enough people and we'll have no excuse. The issue right now, for us, is we are going on Christmas break and so are they. We are all in the same boat. This is a team (Long Beach State) that beat UCLA. I just watched the game they played with Clemson, and they had a chance to beat Clemson who is ranked No. 19 in the country. If we don't play, we get beat.”

On the team's celebration after win No. 2000…

“I know there are people around the country watching those guys celebrate saying, ‘What are they doing? Why would they even be jumping up and down?' They weren't even a part of a small, small half a fraction of the games. But, you want those guys to know what it feels like to accomplish, do it together, and know hard work is paying off. I didn't mind it, but we'll talk about how it is behind us and now we move on to the grind of that part of the season. We are a couple of games from the halfway point in the regular season. I keep telling these guys in a blink of an eye, you are in postseason. Every game matters and every practice matters. We have to get after it.

“I was happy that (Herky Rupp and Joe Hall), and Hazel (Keightley) and Karen (Marlow) were able to share the celebration. You think of Mr. (Bill) Keightley, Coach (Adolph) Rupp and Coach Hall all those years. I'm glad Coach Hall gets to see how much he is appreciated in this town. They were chanting his name. It was great stuff. He and I have developed a great relationship and he is a mentor. He has been in this seat. There haven't been many in this seat, but he has been in this seat. He knows what it's like and he is able to walk me through some of those things.”

On former players returning for win No. 2000…

“I had a relationship from a distance. We all knew each other. So, I've always known Rex (Chapman) and Jamal (Mashburn). Having Jamaal here yesterday, his response, and other players' responses about being here as an athlete was special for all of us. But, this is a unique place and they all know it. They lived it. Sticking together and being loyal is what they talked about. It's what Jamal talked about to our team yesterday. We wish we had more time.”

On DeAndre Liggins…

“He is doing well. He obviously didn't have a choice, because if he didn't handle it well, he wouldn't have played. You put together a contract for kids of, 'this is what you have to do before you play.' They have to do it and you live by it. If it takes them longer than they were supposed to, then that's too bad. These kids have got to be responsible and held accountable, yet you treat them all different, because they are all different. All these kids are different, and we're holding them accountable and to a high standard. The biggest thing for me was that everything that he did, he understood he had something to get done, he stayed after, and he did extra. When you watch him go into the game, he will be an effective player for us and he is accepting his role. Instead of show time, turnover, missed shot, and air ball, it's going to be 'I'm going to be that stopper. I'm going to be the defensive guy that goes in and absolutely takes teams out of what they want to do because of how I play perimeter people.' If they have a guy that is scoring, I'm going to guard him. Then, you don't worry about offense, and all of the sudden, you are playing better offensively too. The guys that are worrying about offense struggle offensively, can't defend, and can't rebound, which means they don't play much. He is athletic, tough and strong. He fouls on every occasion. He fouls us in practice and I tell him, ‘When you get in the game, you better foul the way you are fouling our guys.'”

On handling pressure and expectations…

“This team has had a lot of stuff thrown at them. The biggest thing here is dealing with the expectations and the pressure, if you let it get to you. That's why I say, don't read, don't listen to it, and don't hear it, just go day-to-day. But it's hard for them because this is an information age. They are on the computer all day seeing and hearing things. We have got try to get them to have fun. Any team that is not having fun looks tight. If they are having fun, they'll look loose. I want people to watch our teams play and say, man, they play. At the end of the day, whoever has the team having the most fun will be the last man standing. It's having fun together on the court, really swarming and covering for each other, being loyal to each other, trusting each other, and because of that, playing unleashed. It's being on autopilot because you can trust your teammates. Then we come in everyday and trust that they really bring it. That builds a swagger that adds to having fun. We are a ways away from having that. But, I like some things I saw last night.”

#15, DeMarcus Cousins, Fr., F

On last night's celebration …

“It was fun. We are now a part of history. I didn't even realize that we were that close to doing that until a couple of days ago. It was a lot of fun. It was something that I will always remember and it was a special moment, but there is a bigger goal in mind.”

On what he has tried to do to get better …

“I have tried to play with a little less emotion now. I try to just go play. That is basically the only thing that I have changed. It is hard because I am use to playing like that. But it is a change that I have to make to better myself and help my team.”

On how serious the players are taking the chance to go undefeated and win the National Championship …

“We are serious about it. We take it a day at a time, but that is a goal that we are trying to reach and another part of history that we are trying to make. We take it very serious.”

On the closeness that the team needs to be able to accomplish that …

“We still are trying to develop that, but we are all very close. We trust each other a lot, but we still have some work to do in that area.”

#34, DeAndre Liggins, So., G

On how he has dealt with not getting as many minutes this year as he did last year …

“I have just been trying to stay positive and focused. I have been focusing on my academics, as well. I put it in God's hands, and things have worked out for me. I knew if I came to practice and worked hard that things would take care of its self.”

On his role on the team …

“I just try to come in and bring energy and try to pick things up a notch defensively. You just have to accept the role. That is what makes this team so great is that everyone has a role.”

On what he felt like he did well last night …

“I think that I defended and guarded the ball well. I knocked down a couple of open shots and that is what coach wants me to do when I have open shots, is to take them. I tried to take up the energy and be a leader defensively.”

On how last night felt …

“It felt good, really good. It wasn't really the 3-pointers though, it was my defense. That is what coach is most proud of me about, is my defense. That is what I was in for and that is what I am going to help this team do.”

#54, Patrick Patterson, Jr., F

On the quick turnaround in preparing for Long Beach State …

“We know they are an extremely tough opponent. We have to put our hard hats on and concentrate in practice and pregame practice and learn everything we need to learn. All we have to do is put the 2,000 wins (achievement) behind us and concentrate on the game at hand and get the victory.”

On getting the team to play with the same level of intensity as was shown against Drexel …

“It won't be that difficult. We did it once. We should be able to do it again. It's all about playing hard, believing in one another, passing each other the ball and just playing hard defensively. Hopefully, we can give that same type of effort every game.”

On reaching the 2,000 wins milestone …

“It's definitely something I'm going to remember. Being a part of this group and being a part of something that's never going to happen again. Other schools will get to 2,000, but we were the first one. Just to be able to say, ‘we got to 2,000 wins first,' it just makes us feel good about ourselves and everybody who has put on that jersey.”