Nov. 18, 2011
The Wildcats continue their three-game road stretch in Uncasville, Conn., where they take on Penn State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament followed by either Ole Dominion or South Florida.
UK enters the weekend following a 75-65 win over No. 11 Kansas in the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden, Tuesday night.
For the second straight game, the Wildcats placed five guys in double-figures led by sophomore Doron Lamb's team-high 17 points. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist barely missed his first career double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Anthony Davis added seven blocks to his 14 points. Terrence Jones (15) and Marquis Teague (12) also scored in double digits.
Located in University Park, Pa. (512 miles northeast of Lexington), Penn State is in the Big 10 Conference.
Penn State is led by a pair of players averaging double-figures led by Tim Frasier (20.7). Frasier also leads the team in assists with 26, averaging 8.7.
The Lions have opened the season with three straight wins, including a victory over Long Island on Wednesday night.
The Nittany Lions are under the charge of first-year coach Patrick Chambers. Chambers came to Penn State from Boston University where he led the Terriers to the America East Conference Championship and the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002 during the 2010-11 season. He posted a 42-28 record in two years as head coach at BU was the only BU coach to earn 20 wins in each of his first two seasons and the fastest to earn a conference championship in program history.
This is the third meeting between Kentucky and Penn State. The Wildcats are 2-1 all-time against the Nittany Lions.
The two schools haven't met since the 2000 season when PSU collected their first win in the series, 73-68, in Lexington.
Pre-Game Media Opportunity - November 17, 2011
On the value of taking a long trip …
“The issue became that it is a Saturday afternoon game, which means we would do a two in the morning or three in the morning flight, get back at five and leave to get back up here either Thursday night or miss class on Friday and that is why we stayed. We didn’t want to put them through that kind of travel. We wanted to get them a day off so we took the day off today with one day off a week schedule. Now we have to get back after it, we get up to Connecticut today and work on what we are going to do offensively. Right now we made some strides offensively, we do break down to block shots and do those things, we did get outrebounded yesterday. We had a couple of turnovers early in the second half, but we didn’t have really any after that.”
On the play of Marquis Teague …
“He has done everything a guard I have brought into the (Madison Square) Garden has done. You know it is like all of a sudden you forget about what you have to do for the team and you start to do your own thing. That happened to Derrick (Rose), John (Wall) and you think about Brandon (Knight) early who had eight turnovers against Washington and five against Connecticut. He averaged 13 in two games and so that was early in the season and that is going to happen when you play the way we play and that guy has his hands on the ball a lot.”
On Penn State …
“They’re good. I mean they have won a bunch of games here. They do a good job at running their offense, as a matter of fact they run some stuff similar to what we are doing. They do a nice little job of throwing stuff at you, and they bring some press at you. We need to really perform to be able to do this. I had no idea how we would play against Kansas. I was right in what I thought and we came out the same way verses Marist. We need to understand that every opponent is a worthy opponent, especially because they are playing us and playing out of their minds.”
On how the team’s performance is a reflection of a team in November …
“That’s probably as much as it is. I told you guys this, I want it to be easy but I walked off the floor after the Kansas game and said well this will be another grind. A lot of times you try to analyze and put the players in the best position to succeed as well as get minutes for everyone to play. You need to have guys, because you never know what is going to happen throughout the season. Last year we didn’t have this much, but we do now, so we have to get the guys on the floor to get minutes.”
On the best thing he saw from his team against Kansas …
“I like our will to win, you know the first part of the game we shot all jumpers and I didn’t want this to be that way. Most teams are going to do that to us, they want to get physical and not let us run up and down the court. We hope that they foul us, and be physical, which is the game plan against us.”
On how teams will scheme to prevent UK from transitioning …
“They want to make us play half-court traditionally. And people who watch my team historically, if we are winning a nine or 10 point game, we will be grinding it out. That’s the reason we play the way we play so that we will be fine if we play that way. All I know is you better score because if not we will be flying back on the rebound. We are a pretty good defensive team, and I think when the other team changes the way they play then we are winning. We just need to be more aggressive and make plays, now like you said we needed a half-court game, but we still stretched out the lead.”
On the play of Darius Miller …
“He played well. He did fine. What happened to us in the first half was we were not getting involved. When Doron (Lamb) is at point guard, you’re trying to get everyone involved and what Darius did in the second half when they went zone, we put him in the slot and told him to let it fly kid and he took his shots and made them. Now defensively and rebounding, he needs to get those tough balls. Terrence (Jones) and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) got in there and got some tough rebounds too. I thought he did well though, he did well.”
On Terrence Jones being the go-to guy …
“You can’t go to a guy who can’t make free throws. I have had players that shoot 25 percent from the line that want the ball and I said you’re not going to (get it) because they will make you shoot free throws. What I told the guys yesterday, we need to explore what block they were going to and we needed to expose it. Terrence then went physically after it as well as Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) sometimes and Kyle (Wiltjer) when he’s in there. We took away some lobs and the skip pass, and then we used it on them. We had it there the whole game but Doron would over penetrate and didn’t skip it out. We need to do a better job of recognizing it and using the pick and role.”
On shot-blocking as a learned skill …
“Well it starts with being long-armed and you can’t be a shot blocker by going up before he releases it. Marcus Camby texted me after the game, and I asked if he watched the game. He said ‘I watch every one of your games.’ I asked if Anthony (Davis) looked like a young Camby and he laughed and said ‘yeah.’ I then joked and said he shoots better though.”