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Kentucky vs. Athletes in Action Post-Game Quotes




Nov. 11, 2002

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Head Coach Tubby Smith

On the final play of the game...
"We run sideline plays in practice and when the situation comes up the players have a number of options. [Athletes in Action] were playing off the ball and took away a few of our looks. They cut off a skip pass to Gerald (Fitch), took away Chuck (Hayes) and switched on a down screen to Kelenna (Azubuike). Marquis (Estill) came back up to the top to receive the pass. Keith was open coming off the inbound and Marquis gave him the ball back. All those things came together and then Keith made an acrobatic shot. It was an amazing play -- I'm happy for Keith and the team."

On the team's play...
"I thought we were too tentative in the first half. Whenever you finish a half with only one foul you're probably not being aggressive enough. We have to create offense with our defense more than we did tonight. We did a poor job contesting some of their three's. I'm glad to see the character and heart we showed in the end, though. Overall, we have a lot to work on, but I'm happy to have this group to work with."

On point guard play...
"Gerald (Fitch) was very gutsy. For his size, he plays very big. He did what he had to do to win the game. Brandon (Stockton) also did a good job. He didn't shoot so well, but his play was very solid. It's good to see them playing well, especially while Cliff (Hawkins) is out."

On experiencing a close game...
"We had guys make plays when they had to. Late game situations are very important - they'll be critical all year. You have to be ready for anything. I'm sure we'll probably have a lot of very close games during the season. You just never know. It helps to get that experience early because it shows us some things we need to work on."

UK PLAYERS

Keith Bogans, Guard
On the buzzer beater...
"I had a tough night shooting, but I've been through that before. I just kept playing and I got a good look at the basket and the shot went in."

 

 

On the team's start to the season...
"It's a good sign. To start off in an exhibition game, we're tied then we're down by two and I hit a big shot in the end, that's big."

On heaving the shot in a crowd...
"I was thinking if I got the ball back I had to hit the shot. My teammates executed the play, Quis got me the ball and I just made a big shot."

On the post-game celebration on the court after an exhibition game...
"That's big. We couldn't lose to Athletes In Action or the media would have tore us up."

On the team's performance...
"I don't think we played the way we know we're capable of playing."

Gerald Fitch, Guard
On his hot shooting...
"I think I had to take a few more shots than I normally would. My shot was feeling good. Playing the point, I kind of got a feel for the ball. The shots were there and I just started knocking them down."

On the celebration...
"We don't look at it as just an exhibition, we look at as a game, and we got a big win."

On playing the point...
"I worked on it all summer. I worked on my ball handling skills and watched a few tapes on point guards to help me prepare."

On his feelings about Bogans making the last shot...
"I feel great for him. I would take my 25 points away to come away with a win. I'm just proud of him for hanging in there and making that shot. It was huge for him and the team."

AIA Head Coach John Farwell

On team's effort...
"We played very well together and we handled Kentucky's pressure. They made several runs at us but we answered every run. We were able to get a lead but they made a push and went up by seven and then we regained the lead - I was really proud of that."

On Keith Bogans' last-second game-winner...
"There was a lot of strategy, probably a little over-coaching there. But that's great. He made a great shot and God bless him. That's one of those shots where you just say there's nothing you can do about that."

On guard Ryan Sears...
"He did a great job - he played his butt off tonight. He played a tremendous game and battled out there."

On UK's play...
"They're going to jell together. Obviously they have a different mix of guys this year. Leaders will emerge on the court and they'll bring them together. They'll play hard and have a great year - I know they will."

On UK guard Gerald Fitch...
"He dominated the first half with 14 points. He really kept them in the game in the first half and his quickness was a problem. He created a lot of plays for them."

On playing in Rupp Arena to start 100th season...
"I didn't know that. I'm just trying to figure out what day it is, we travel so much. I'm happy for the program and the Kentucky fans. They saw a great game and hopefully heard a message that is much more important than the game of basketball."

AIA PLAYERS

10 Saddi Washington, Guard
On the atmosphere in Rupp Arena...
"We were happy to have the chance to play in such a great place. We travel around a lot, so our energy level can drop at times. To be able to play in the kind of environment that you see at Rupp Arena helps us to get excited. For me it's a real treat to be able to play in front of a hostile crowd."

On who he was most impressed with from UK...
"(Gerald) Fitch played really well tonight. He was their leader and he has the type of game to carry a team for a while. I was also surprised with some of their young guys. Azubuike was aggressive. I think he'll definitely be helpful for them as the season progresses."

12 Ryan Sears, Guard
On what he saw from Kentucky...
"They are very gifted athletically. It's difficult to defend them because they aren't one-dimensional. Their skill level is as high as anyone we've faced so far. They should have a successful year if they continue to work hard and play as a team."

On playing before the Rupp Arena crowd...
"That was a great atmosphere out there tonight. To see all those seats filled is a thrill for me. We walked in and saw all the tradition and banners, and I think we were all in awe for a minute or two. It's always fun to be able to play in that kind of basketball atmosphere."

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