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UK Faces Red-Hot Gamecocks in Columbia

Kentucky (16-9, 6-5)
at South Carolina (14-10, 5-6)

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006 - 1:30 p.m. ET
- Columbia, S.C.


- Feb. 17 |
|

Television Coverage
CBS


Kentucky, fresh off a 68-61 win over Georgia Wednesday, travels to Columbia, S.C., to face a South Carolina team that is riding a three-game win streak. Kentucky snapped a three-game losing streak with its win over the Bulldogs, while South Carolina is coming off a 67-56 victory over Alabama.

The Wildcats used their ninth starting lineup of the season against Georgia as senior Brandon Stockton earned his first career start. Joining him in the lineup were Ravi Moss, Bobby Perry, Lukasz Obrzut and Patrick Sparks, the lone Wildcat to have started every game this season.

UK and Carolina matched up in one of the SEC’s best games this season last month in Lexington. The Wildcats pulled out a dramatic 80-78 victory on Rajon Rondo’s three-pointer with a second remaining. The game was tight throughout as both teams shot over 50 percent from the field.


  • Press Conference Quotes

    Head Coach Tubby Smith

    “It is kind of a condensed day because we are practicing earlier and getting on the road to head to Columbia to play South Carolina. Georgia was a game where I thought we had some good play from the guys who started and played. Guys like Brandon [Stockton], Woo [Obrzut] and Ravi [Moss] did a good job and gave us a big lift. As we evaluate practices I am still not sure who will start tomorrow, so we will see how that goes after evaluations continue today. South Carolina is a team that represents a lot of problems. We were very fortunate to get the win here. They are playing better – [Renaldo] Balkman and Tre Kelly are playing real well. They are a team that is playing to go places in the postseason - like we are. We are teams kind of in the middle of the pack in the SEC. We are trying to figure out a way to get wins and get better. I know they have a very talented team. They are quick and fast, a big key for us is to make sure we go down there with the right frame of mind. What we did the other day can carry over and be a part of the rest of the season. Playing harder, being more fundamentally sound - it is going to take a lot of poise. Their fans are loud and it is a tough place to play. We got beat there pretty bad last year. I am more concerned with out mental focus then our physical focus because everyone is pretty much healthy. Ravi [Moss] took a spill against Georgia but he worked real hard in practice yesterday, and has been getting treatment so he will be fine.”

    On South Carolina’s improvements over the season…
    “Energy - they are playing with a lot of enthusiasm. They are shooting the ball better. When you are shooting the ball better good things happen. Looking back at their game stats from the other day [against Alabama], they are getting a lot of hustle points, second shots, and rebounding the ball better. Those are things which have improved and made them a better team over the last few weeks.”

    On areas which Kentucky can improve…
    “Get everyone to focus in on doing the little things. Focus on the details like getting in proper position, making the proper decisions - as far as when to go for a steal, when to contain a guy, rotating in to box out, running the floor with a guy - things you have to do to win consistently.”

    On Kentucky sophomore Randolph Morris’s rebounding…
    “You can’t get rebounds if you are on the bench with three or four fouls. That is the first thing. Secondly, you have to go after the ball with two hands. That is one of the issues that we discuss with him all the time. If you rebound with one hand you're off balance and can’t control it. We tell Randolph to go up with two hands.”

    On the mental preparation needed for the game…
    “You play the game because you love it. There are going to be days like this. How do you handle adversity? What kind of attitude do you bring to the game? We still have a lot to gain and a lot to play for - it is not like the end of the world. We have a few games left and this game is as important as any game. I am concerned just like anyone. We have to find ways to keep the guys motivated.”

    On sophomore guard Rajon Rondo…
    “He has some great expectations. There is no reason for him to take [losing] upon himself. The team hasn’t preformed up to expectations. That is something we have fallen short on - something we are trying to correct. Rajon is a bright spot for the team. He has made some good plays and came up big in games for us. One guy doesn’t win the game and one guy doesn’t lose the game, it’s a team effort.”

     

     

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