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Kentucky Hosts No. 11/9 Florida on Senior Day




March 8, 2013

Kentucky will conclude its regular season with a home contest against No. 11/9 Florida on Saturday. Prior to the start of the game, UK will honor its two-member senior class of Twany Beckham and Julius Mays.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Senior Day
Kentucky vs. Florida
Sat., March 9 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UF Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
Gameday Live: Online audio, blog and stats
TV: CBS Sports
Live Video via CBS Sports
Radio: UK IMG
Text Updates

The Wildcats have dropped their last two road contests entering Saturday's game with the Gators, but have won seven-straight in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena. Freshman Willie Cauley-Stein logged his second-straight double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds at Georgia, while classmate Archie Goodwin poured in 20 points to lead all Wildcat scorers. Florida enters the match up with the Cats having already secured the Southeastern Conference championship. The Gators earned a 69-52 win in the teams' first meeting which snapped a seven-game winning streak by UK.

Scouting Florida

Florida earned the outright SEC Championship on Wednesday with a 66-40 win over Vanderbilt. The Gators have four players averaging double figures led by 12.6 from Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario. Erik Murphy is close behind with an average of 12.3. Patric Young logs 10.5 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game. Florida won the opening match of the home-and-home series between the Gators and Wildcats in Gainesville. UK freshman forward Nerlens Noel was lost for the season with a torn ACL in that game.

Media Opportunity - March 8, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On the "one-game season" mentality …
"This is a one-game season, it will be every game we play here on out. It's a one-game season. We will talk about it today, that's what it is. One-game season. Now, are you going to fight like heck, play through the ups and downs of the game or are you going to die. I can't put it anymore plainly or bluntly."

On the level of confidence the players are going to play with …
"You don't know until the game starts with this group. But, you know when you start figuring out you're going to die you start to figure out ways to survive. That's normal, unless you're so delusional that you don't know that you're about to die until you're dead. This team, we are going to make it real simple on what we're trying to do. I watched the tape from last game we played them, on the plane coming back. You know, got to be better versus the press. We gave them four 3s, just not talking. Just a side handoff up the sideline twice. Alex (Poythress) got screened twice and never said a word, bang bang. Those four 3s put us down at the half 12-13 (points). Other than that we played good. I watched the tape; it wasn't that Nerlens (Noel) played that great. We were fine. Got it to 10, had our chances and did some stuff. Again we've got to have better structure against the press, be more consistent and disciplined defensively. We just can't have the breakdowns we had down there."

On playing a team like Florida to help our chances to get in the tournament …
"We just want to win games, it doesn't matter who we are playing. To be truthful, if we beat Georgia, we still have to win this game (Florida). Now, I didn't want to say that down there but it's the truth. We have to win, this is the game that we have to go and say 'alright, it's a one-game season, how are you going to play?' And you're playing against a team that is vying for a one seed. They are playing for something too now. They are trying to get a one seed. So, it's going to be a hard ball game, but it's what we need. We need to keep an eye on this program and the far reaching parts of it. Not just tomorrow's game, but where this is going and who can be a part of it and who can't. I mean when this kind of game comes, this is what playing at Kentucky is about. You're at home, you're going to have 25,000 crazy fans with you, go ball. Don't hold anything back."

On what he wants from the crowd…
"Our crowd has been great. They will be there. I am not worried about our crowd. That's the least of my worries."

On if the team has the fight or die mentality …
"I don't know. I don't know. The best compliment I had as a coach was the players from Manhattan College when I was coaching at UMass. They said 'you know playing Massachusetts, it's like if they lose, they are going to go to the electric chair.' The greatest compliment ever paid my team. I've told every team that. You got to have that kind of fight. Teams normally do, this team does not right now. You can turn it on at any point. It's kind of like 'uh-oh, if I go under one more time I'm going to drown. I better start swimming' all of a sudden you start swimming. The car is laying on you; it's on your leg. You got to lift a 3,000 pound car. It's funny how you figure out how to lift it to get it off your leg so you won't die, so you can get out of there and get help. This team can do what they chose to do. I would say that they are tired of how we're playing but you know, we're going to have to go out and do it."

On Julius Mays' struggles offensively …
"They've kind of taken him away. I'm not worried about Julius either. They are going to guard him. If we play the way we should against pressure and all that he will get shots. I have confidence he will make some. We need him to score to be as good as we can be, but again Georgia's whole thing was we are not going to foul them. That was the whole thing. We are not putting them on the foul line. We are going to make them shoot balls. So we hold them to 36 percent and foul the jump shooters. Here is the game plan – let's go for it. Let's do it. I think again, a couple guys, and it's not the whole team, but a couple of guys break down and you know they are going to have to step up and play. They have no choice."

On where this team would be without Julius Mays
"We would struggle. We needed everybody. You needed Nerlens (Noel), you needed Julius. But you also needed guys to be the best version of themselves, not getting rolled over. You needed them to be what they could be. Now I am just saying you're up against it and you're going to have to beat it. This is part of what you do. This is the exciting part about being a coach. What do you do when they are in this frame of mind? How do they get in their frame of mind and how do you switch them over and get them ready to play. What do you do? You rack your brain and try and come up with some things and there is no rabbit in the hat. It is simply going to be you are up against it, are you willing to ball. Are you going to have excuses before we are ready to go? Let's just go. Nothing to lose, just go for it."

On getting after the game defensively …
"We've had that. We have had Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, we've had Marquis Teague. We've had guys that can do that. DeAndre (Liggins). We've had guys who did it, it's just no one wants to take on that role. It's a hard role. He's done what he is supposed to do to change up that role. The question is – He didn't do that to Missouri. Missouri's guards – and Arkansas' guards didn't do that. They got beat by 30. You're not going to do that to me. That's what I'm saying. We are capable, and we have shown signs. Let's get out there and play."

On not honoring anyone that has been here for four years …
"Jon Hood and also Jarrod Polson are graduating. (Undergraduate assistant coach) Marquis (Estill) is graduating. So, you know, we've got guys who are graduating and finishing up academically. Senior night is for them as much as anything else. With Julius (Mays) and Twany (Beckham), we have had a lot of guys leave. And I wouldn't want it any other way. If you tell me 'Would you like to take away the national title and have players that weren't so good and have them all come back?' No. I'm good where we are. Like I said, you've got guys graduating with college degrees along with Jon Hood along with Jarrod Polson. That means we have had 10 or 11 kids graduate in my four years here along with every kid that has gone pro. We have brought back (two) guys who have come back to finish up. That's what we are in the business for. We are in the business of helping kids and doing what we can. We are also in the business of winning here. So hopefully we come out and we fight like heck and we see where it goes. You just want your chances. I think that if we play like we did against Missouri, and we have our chances, it will be a terrific ballgame. You are going to have to battle and fight and never put your head down and not worry that they may make three, four shots in a row. They can do some crazy things. They are really good. You can't let that effect how you play the game. So hopefully that's what we will be able to do."

#12, Ryan Harrow, G, So.

On maybe needing do-or-die stakes to get them to change …
"We don't have any time left so it has to be."

On what has been the heart of his recent struggles …
"I don't know what it is. I've just got to play better. That's all I can say for real."

On how he flips his switch to playing aggressive …
"It just has to be from the start of the game. Just come out there and be aggressive and score and make plays for my teammates."

On the confidence level of the team …
"All the guys I think are pretty confident. I know I'm confident. I'm just ready to play."

On the shock of needing to win tomorrow …
"It's a shock just because of who we are, as in Kentucky. We've just got to worry about the next game."

On how much of it is on him tomorrow to win the next game …
"If I do well then we should have a pretty good chance of winning. If I don't then it's on me."

On getting tired of it being on him …
"That's just the responsibility that I have. I'm either going to step up or I'm not."

On what (Julius) Mays has meant to the team this year …
"He's just been a great leader and has tried to lead by example."

On Mays saying that he isn't going to accept anything less than everyone's best effort tomorrow …
"He (doesn't) want to be done playing basketball. He wants to get to the tournament and all of those types of things, so I wouldn't expect anything less."

On how much they want to win for him …
"Of course we want to win for him, but we want to win for ourselves too and for our respect."

On what he means by respect …
"Of course a lot of people don't respect us just because the way things have been this season and we just have to make them have to respect us with how we do tomorrow and how we do the rest of the season. Like (Coach) said, you either win or you die."

#22 Alex Poythress, F, Fr.

On the sense of urgency heading into the Florida game …
"There is a sense of urgency. It is really sink or swim now. If you don't play, you'll drown. So you don't want to drown so you've got to keep on swimming really."

On if he feels like the team has ever started swimming …
"I think we just needed to be in a situation where we needed to start. Now it's urgent that we must swim now."

On the do or die approach Coach Cal is taking into the game …
"It's close to tournament time. All tournament games are do or die, so it's really like we're starting the tournament early. We just want to take every game as a step, just want to come out and battle hard."

On whether he has played better in elimination games …
"I'm not sure really. I guess we'll find out. We all have to come out and play hard. It is a one-game series and we have to come out and play hard and just fight really."

On Calipari repeatedly talking about fighting …
"That's a big thing with him. He just wants to see us fight out there. Mistakes are alright. Everybody makes mistakes. No one can be perfect every game. We just want to come out and fight hard."

On whether things can still change …
"There's always time. There's always time 'til the fat lady stops singing. But we're just going to keep on keeping on and just keep on giving it our best. Just try hard, just battle hard, just try to make plays. Sometimes the ball doesn't fall in our favor, but we just have to pick our heads up and just look to the next game."

On the effort he has given this season …
"I'm kind of disappointed in myself because I do feel like I can give more effort out there. I feel like this season I kind of let some things go by, haven't given my all sometimes. But now it's time to change so I just have to keep on giving it all from here on out."

On what he means by letting things go by …
"You can't dwell on the past. You can't correct the past. What's done is done."

#11 Twany Beckham, G, Sr.

On the senior Day festivities and his individual plan …
"I wish I was in uniform, but I will be in the warm-up uniform. I will be in my jersey just in case coach puts me in. Hopefully we get up by a lot so I can get in the game."

On if he plans on playing at all …
"No, I am still not fully recovered from my back injury."

On the pain of not playing on Senior Day …
"I wish I were playing. Like I said, I am not fully recovered, but I can understand that. Right now all the focus is on all of my teammates. We have to go out and get this win. The focus should not be on me right now. It should all be on my teammates."

#34, Julius Mays, G, Sr.

On Senior Day …
"It's a bittersweet moment. It's weird to think about how long I've been in college, but to see it finally come to my last regular season come to an end, it's tough. It's what I've known for the last five years and it's my last one."

On his thoughts about coming to Kentucky and the tournament on the line…
"This game is do or die for us. I think it's a must win for us unless we win the whole conference tournament. I'm just hoping guys' minds are ready and everything that has come upon us before this is behind us and come in with free minds and be ready to play like we played against Missouri."

On any regrets …
"Not at all. I try to live life with no regrets. Obviously it hasn't gone how I'd like it to go but I don't regret it. I met a lot of great people coming here and I've made relationships that I will have for a lifetime, I will never take that back."


 

 

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