Jan. 21, 2012
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Postgame Press Conference
Head coach John Calipari addresses the media after the game, followed by Alabama head coach Anthony Grant and players Jamychal Green and Trevor Releford.
Q. How do you explain the free throws, the struggle early, but then in the clutch, everyone?
COACH CALIPARI: I have no idea. I can't explain the 14 one-footers we missed in the first half either. We missed seven free throws and 14 one-footers in the first half. We're lucky we were in the game.
You know, teams like this that are physical, have some maturity, are playing for their lives. They made every play and free throw down the stretch they needed to keep it a game. Give them credit. Here we are with eight turnovers.
The point guard made a couple of bad decisions, but we didn't -- Anthony (Davis) was not the same guy, and neither was Michael (Kidd-) Gilchrist. Again, foul trouble.
Michael made the big plays though - the diving on the floor, and came up with some balls that made a difference in the game. But six guys in double figures, nine assists, eight turnovers, but we still, it was a very physical game, and we didn't, especially at the start, we weren't able to play through the physical play. That's going to be, until we learn to do that, every team's going to play us that way.
Q. Cal, they shot 65% against you guys in the second half?
COACH CALIPARI: They were shooting 85 for a while. They're a team that doesn't shoot the 3 well and they shot 72%. Three of them were on Darius Miller where he just backed away and gave a guy a shot. Teams will do that to us.
I even told Tom (Leach) on the radio, I imagine they'll come in and make every 3 where that's one of the worst parts of their game, which they did.
Like I said, I'm happy we won. I told the guys enjoy the win. It was a rough game. We're still growing. We've got a long way to go. We're not the team everybody thinks we are, but we're getting better. All I want to see is improvement.
Q. Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) played so well in the first half, then he got two fouls. It seemed like the second half he was never quite the same. Is that fear of foul trouble or sitting too long?
COACH CALIPARI: He fouled out, so it must not have been the fear of foul trouble. But it might have been that. But here he is, 13 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes. Not bad.
What's happened for us here is we're all spoiled. If we don't win by 25, what's going on? Part of it is, you don't believe this, but they have scholarships too. They're good. They're a team that's now 13-6. They're not afraid to get some veteran guys out there who play well. There are some things we did good. I'll watch the tape and get a better idea of it. But right now, I'm just kind of happy we get a W and move.
Q. It seemed down the stretch under a minute to play, you wanted the ball in Darius (Miller's) hands. You wanted him to go to the line and hit those free throws.
COACH CALIPARI: He did it too though, and I like that. I like the fact that he held that ball to get fouled. I like the fact that Marquis Teague made his foul (shots). That's a good thing because now when your point guard and you have Doron (Lamb) and Darius (Miller) all making free throws -- and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) in most cases are making them. He missed a bunch today, and Terrence (Jones) missed a bunch -- but the free throws we had to make down the stretch, we have a nice will to win.
But I'm going to tell you, we've got to play better than this, because instead of it being a two- or four-point game, we're going to be down eight or 10, and we're going to get caught in that situation.
Q. How different of a game is it for Anthony (Davis) when they're taking it to him?
COACH CALIPARI: What they did was they never left him. All they did was made sure there was a body on him. Somebody's hip was on him 24/7 until the game ended. As a matter of fact, they put a hip on him in the postgame handshake too. So it was somebody on his body so he can't block, so he can't jump. Just stay on him.
That's why Marquis Teague had some opportunities to get to the rim because they just didn't leave him.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
On his overall thoughts on the game …
“We just had to get stops. They were making a lot of shots and a lot of lucky shots. Things happen like that, always against us. It doesn’t really affect us that much. We knew they were going to come out and make shots. So we had to come out and execute and do what we do best and make shots.”
On how much better this team is getting …
“We are way better. We are practicing way harder now. It’s very physical and we are getting used to it. We are getting way better at it, we just have to learn how to finish plays.”
On the physicality of the game …
“It was physical, but it wasn’t that physical. We executed at the end, and we made the tough foul shots at the end to pull the game out.”
On the physicality of the game…
“It was very physical. We were missing a lot of one-footers, dunks, and layups. We had looks but we just weren’t finishing. It was a rough game. We knew they were trying to make it a physical game from the jump so we had to fight through it and grind it out. And that’s what we did the last four minutes.”
On winning a close game…
“We are just happy we got the win. We still have a lot to work on. We’re going to watch film to see what we did wrong and try to fix our mistakes. But we’re just happy we got the win.”
On whether Alabama set the blueprint for other teams…
“Well especially on rebounding and offensive rebounds and putting them back and scoring. And not just me, but Terrence [Jones] was missing them and our whole team was missing them. Those are buckets that we usually have, guaranteed. But I think they did make a stand for other teams. We just have to get back into practice. We just have to go at each other and fight through these bumps.”
On the home winning streak…
“We don’t think about it during the game. We just try to worry about winning the game. Nothing goes through our head but guarding our man, playing hard, being physical, rebounding the ball, and everything that ‘s incorporated in the basketball game. We don’t think about keeping the streak alive, it’s not in our heads when we’re playing. If you worry about that, your mind is off the game and you can make huge mistakes.”
On Alabama pushing UK to the limit …
“It was one of those games. They had a good team.”
On Anthony Davis being focused down low …
“Anthony (Davis) was working really hard. It was one of those games.”
On how physical the game was …
“It was real physical. Their big men were stronger than ours, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
On what Darius Miller means to this team …
“He is everything. He is (one of) the only seniors on this team and he means a lot. He means a lot to us.”
On whether Alabama’s physical play bothered them at all today…
“I think it did in the first half when it came to us making one-footers and low post shots in the paint that we should have made and we missed. That could be the only cause of it.”
On whether this was the most physical game they had played all year…
“One of them, but I mean all of the SEC teams are tough and they’re going to try to play us this way. But as long as we’re coming out with the win, it’s only going to make us better as a team later on in the season.”
On what he did differently in the 2nd half which resulted in his 12 points…
“Just being aggressive and just not listening to anything besides my teammates.”
On how hard it is to erase missed free throws from the mind when getting off to such a slow start from the line….
“It’s just something you have to do mentally, and when it gets closer down the stretch, we just say, as a team, that we’re going to make them. I think that’s what happened.”
Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant
Opening statement …
“I thought it was a very good college basketball game. I thought you had two teams out there that really battled and fought hard. I thought our guys certainly gave the effort and played with the passion as a coach that you want to see. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make the plays that we needed to make down the stretch to win the game. Give Kentucky credit, they had a lot of guys that stepped up and made some plays to allow them to come out with the victory.”
On physical style bothering Kentucky…
“I know a lot is being made about people trying to be physical but we just played the way we play. I don’t think we intentionally went out there and said we were going to do that. Kentucky is a very good team, they are obviously a physical team in their own right. We thought we had to do our best to take away some of the strengths of their team. Obviously, they have a lot of weapons when they can put six guys in double figures in the game, that’s pretty impressive.”
On Trevor Releford in the second half …
“I think Trevor took what the defense gave him in the second half. He was able to create some opportunities off the dribble when we had late clock or broken floor situations. A couple of times he was able to knock down some perimeter jump shots just because the defense was focused on what our interior guys were able to establish. It allowed him opportunities on the perimeter and he took advantage of it.”
On free throw differentials in last two games …
“We had 25 free throws in the game. We have to figure out a better way of defending without fouling and do a better job of making sure we get to the line. ”
On game plan of taking it into Anthony Davis …
“I think Davis is a great player. For a freshman in this league to have the type of impact he has, I think our guys have a lot of respect for him and his teammates. We tried to neutralize some of the things that allow him to have the success that he has. He had 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, I think a lot of coaches in this league would take that.”
On game plan against Michael Kidd-Gilchrist…
“We never set a plan based on individual players, it’s a team game so we’re going to do the things that we do from a defensive standpoint. I thought he had a great impact on the game in the first half, I think he had maybe eight points in eight minutes. He had a couple offensive rebounds. His footprint was all over the game. He affects the game for his team in a lot of ways. On the defensive end he does a great job of bringing energy and intensity and offensively he is an attacker, a playmaker. Again, a lot of good players on their team and certainly our guys have great respect for their team.”
#1, JaMychal Green, F
On Alabama’s physical style of play …
“We came into the game and we knew we had to be physical and hit them because they’re athletic and long in the front court. Our focus mainly was hitting them, being physical and rebounding.”
On whether the team planned to always attack Davis when they had the ball on offense …
“That was our number one plan. Our coach did a great job of scouting. He told us to always go to [Davis’] chest so he wouldn’t able to block our shots so we could draw the foul.”
On the attention they paid to defending Davis…
“Coach did a great job. He told us to sometimes switch up our ball-screen defense on them. I always kept a body on Davis if he rolled to the goal because we watched him play. We saw a lot of lobs and dunks so we knew that’s how he scored. We just kept him off the boards.”
#12, Trevor Releford, G
On Kentucky’s press…
“UK’s press is pretty good. They’ve got good guards out there (like) Doron Lamb. They can knock down shots and can change the game.”
On Alabama’s defensive plan coming into the game…
“My teammates found me when I was open and I was able to hit shots. I just took what the defense gave me.”