Men's Basketball
Postgame Quotes From Kentucky Vs. Michigan State

Dec. 23, 1999

Recap?|? Box Score

Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith
"I want to commend Michigan State. They are certainly a great team. I thought they really gave it their all playing without Mateen Cleeves. They are a veteran, gutsy team. But I also have to give our guys credit. We got down early and I was impressed with our composure and poise. We showed a lot of character and class tonight. Our defense was superb and it really helped us set the tone. We hit our free throws down the stretch and that's what you have to so in close games. We're learning as we go along."

On UK's play
"J.P. Blevins gave us a big lift and Jamaal Magloire was outstanding. He's had three double-doubles in a row and this was his best game in a long time. He just gives so much effort every time out. Tayshaun Prince had a great game on both ends, too."

On the Rupp Arena crowd
"I really want to compliment our fans. They love our program and really exemplify what Kentucky basketball is all about."

On UK's defensive plan on the game's last play
"(Jokingly) We wanted him to miss. We tried to take away the three-point shot and force them to drive, and we did that. They just missed. I think it was an early Christmas present."

On UK's early-season schedule
"We've played a tough, competitive schedule and that helped us tonight. Our guys understand that there are going to be battles and wars. It has really helped this young team mature."

On MSU's early 15-point lead
"We lacked energy early. We were stunned like a boxer, but we never hit the canvas and were able to claw our way back into the game."

On the win
"It's a momentum builder. We'll look to grow from this and I think it will have an even bigger effect on our confidence with such a young team."



On Jamaal Magloire's early technical foul
"I thought he played harder and smarter after that, and that's how you should respond. That's just another sign of his maturity."

UK Player Quotes
#3 J.P. Blevins (On hitting the three that gave UK the lead for good?)
"I was just worried about getting into our pressure and finding my man. But it felt really good to hit that shot."

(On his performance in scoring a career-high nine points?)
"Tubby showed a lot of confidence in me by playing me down the stretch tonight.

I got a little winded, but overall I was comfortable out there. I have been waiting for my opportunity to make an impact and I am happy that I took advantage of it tonight."

"If you look at Coach Smith's history, it speaks for itself. He has had a lot of players step in and make an impact right away. Hopefully it is my turn to do that."

(On playing fifth-ranked Michigan State?)
"This was the toughest team that we have played all season. You have to go up strong with the ball every time if you hope to score against them. Our communication on defense was also a real key for us. We were able to do what we wanted to do defensively and with the crowd behind us we were able to pull this one out."

(On the boisterous Rupp Arena crowd?)
"I want to personally thank every UK fan in Rupp tonight. This place was as loud as I have ever heard it. They were a real factor in tonight's game."

#21 Tayshaun Prince
(On the early deficit?)
"We knew we had to dig deep and fight back. The tempo was playing into their hands for most of the first half. The crowd got behind us and we definitely picked it up. Our defensive intensity was great."

"This is two quality wins for us against two great teams. Before the Louisville game we met as a team and set some team goals. We have played well these past two games and we are starting to meet some of those goals."

"We have people on this team that step up no matter who we are playing. If one of us is not on our game another one has to step up. We all stepped up tonight. I give a lot of credit to Michigan State, they came into a tough environment and played great."

#11 Saul Smith
"This game shows that we have heart. I feel that there isn't a tougher schedule in America. A game like this helps us know where we are and that we have come a long way. We have been improving. We still make mistakes, but we play through them. Tonight we played tremendous defense, made our free throws and made big shots. We didn't fold."

On the last shot? "They drew up a great play. It was a battle. There was some contact, but we played strong, both physically and mentally."

#42 Jamaal Magloire
(On his technical foul?)
"I don't think I was playing any differently. When you play hard and aggressive, technical fouls are going to happen. I thought the referees did a great job tonight."

"We're maturing as a team. Everyone understands what his individual role is. It feels great. We played our hearts out. It's a great win over a good team. It shows we have the characteristics of being a great team"

#10 Keith Bogans
(On the play of J.P. Blevins?)
"J.P., no matter what, never gives up. He always works hard in practice and keeps his head up. He hit some big shots tonight when we needed them."

(On being down in the first half?)
"We kept our heads up and didn't get down on ourselves. Coach Smith felt we weren't playing hard enough. Michigan State is a great team. Coach told us to stay intense for 40 minutes and I think we did that."

"We proved to ourselves that we can be the type of team that we really want to be. We were a young team at first, but I think we're starting to know our roles and play like we want to play now. This game was a lot of fun. We worked hard in practice all week. This is a dream come true for me. Games like this are why you want to play college basketball."

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
On Michigan State's play tonight?
"I think maybe our program isn't quite where people in Michigan think it is because we didn't handle the adversity as well as we should have. I think that was probably the best coaching job done against us because they were one of the few teams that really took away our strengths and exposed our weaknesses."

I'm disappointed in our team because I think, for a lack of a better word, we cracked a little bit. I guess that maybe it was the crowd or our young kids. I'm disappointed because I thought we played good enough the first half, but my hat goes off to Kentucky. They've got a great coach."

On Kentucky's play?
"Even though we got a lead early and got some good shots, they mixed up their defenses and mixed up their presses. Tubby must have really spent some time in the film room because they are one of few teams that really came at us in those ways."

On the last play of the game?
"I wanted a three-point shot. We run a play were we have three different options and I was pleased with the play, but I think we passed up a couple of good shots. I really didn't see the shot. I don't know if it was blocked or if he (#25 Aloysius Anagonye) just missed it. It seems like it was there for almost a lay up, but the game wasn't lost on that play. It was a lot of little things early. We missed some free throws and fouled too much."

On what Kentucky did to take away Spartan's strengths?
"I thought they really mixed up their presses. They are a good pressing team and there were no secrets about it. He switched out on us well, he took away a lot of our plays and did a great job. Defensively they were most impressive. Not many teams have done that to us."

MSU Players
#42 Morris Peterson
On MSU's play in the game:
"I have to give credit to Kentucky. I think the biggest thing is that down the stretch we made a lot of mistakes. When you're on the road you can't do that. I think we had a shot to win. Today we just came up short. Today they were the better team. Our turnovers led to easy baskets for them. We weren't as strong on defense as we should have been. We had some good shots but they didn't fall. At the times we had lulls, we made mistakes. We just let them get back into the game. Coach told us that we needed to pay attention to detail. We didn't do it."

On his play:
"My shots were falling, but we lost. Obviously it wasn't enough. We'll just have to go back and see what we did wrong."

On whether MSU wanted a three-point shot at the end:
"Yes, if it was open. But they switched and I reversed it. No one could get it to go. Turnovers and carelessness cost us the game."

On Kentucky:
"They played hard and played great defense that led to some easy baskets. After that, the crowd got into the game and got really loud. We didn't get the job done today. It was the loudest crowd I've ever played in front of. They were real crazy."

On whether the Spartans let the game slip away:
"Most definitely. The guys came back to the locker room very disappointed. We felt like we should have won this game. But tonight they were the better team. Usually when we know we can win, we go out and take it. Tonight we didn't take it."

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