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Tennessee-Kentucky Postgame Quotes



Feb. 14, 2010

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Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl

Opening statement...

"In the second half, Kentucky handled our zone much better than in the first half. They shot it well. In front of Coach Calipari, they were able to have better spacing and a better handle on it. We have not played any zone this year and I thought it was effective in the first half when I had my guys in front of me. We could kind of help put them in the right positions, talk to them as the wings went through, as guys flashed for the lob and different things. I thought we did a really nice job with it. We continue to not get to the foul line a lot. A lot of charging calls and we had three baskets taken away with those charging calls. Part of it is drawing the contact and Kentucky did a good job of sliding over there and taking some charges, not just blocking shots. I thought we got terrific point guard play from Bobby (Maze) and Melvin (Goins), particularly on the offensive end with their ability to score and it shows they can really compete. You have to come in here and compete because they are so talented and they are awfully good. There aren't many players that would have played tonight the way Wayne Chism did. I'm telling you right now, there aren't many guys that would play through that. He was very limited in his ability to move and I think again, he competed. I thought we did a good job defensively inside. They are so big and so good in there. Obviously, (Patrick) Patterson and (DeMarcus) Cousins were a real key. But, (John) Wall getting to the foul line and (Eric) Bledsoe took a couple of those threes from the corner, and that was another problem for us. We didn't do a good job of communicating where he was on the baseline."

On Kentucky's outside shooting...

"It didn't matter who it was. You think it might be either (Darius) Miller, (Darnell) Dodson or (DeAndre) Liggins, he had hit the first one he had taken. It wasn't that we just weren't guarding Bledsoe, they had been reluctant to shoot that corner three. So, we were playing on that a little bit and he knocked a couple down. I think a lot of times it was because we don't play a lot of zone. When it's down at the other end, we couldn't help them. We weren't pushing at the bottom and those guys were wide open in the corners. They did a good job of knocking them down. Pick your poison. If I've got a chance to get beat by Eric Bledsoe from the three versus (DeMarcus) Cousins or (Patrick) Patterson in the inside, I think that's the risk we took, the gamble we took, and obviously it made us tight.

On Wayne Chism ...

"Wayne (Chism) hadn't picked up a basketball until this afternoon's shoot around where he shot a little bit. A pretty severe ankle sprain and he was in a boot two games. Our trainer did a terrific job with him. I gave a lot of thought to not playing him in the second half. But, the trainer said it's sore, but there is no risk to further injury. In other words, he's taped up tight, his ligaments and tendons were tight, there was just a little bit of soreness."

#3, Bobby Maze, G

On tonight's game differences in the first and second half...

"In the first half we did a good job in the zone. We did a good job rotating and making them take jump shots and not letting them get the ball inside or drive to the lane. In the second half Kentucky was able to capitalize and make shots in the zone. Eric Bledsoe made two three-point shots, they had a steal and a dunk. We were just never able to catch up with them. They did a good job on capitalizing on the mistakes we made in the zone. They had some wide open shots that they had to take and they made them."

On defending DeMarcus Cousins...

"We wanted to not let him get as many touches. We wanted to force him to take shots off of the block. In doing so, we let John Wall and Eric Bledsoe make shots. That goes to show much talent Kentucky has on this team. We were able to take a big player away from them and they were still able to win by double digits."

On foul trouble impacting the game...

"We are out there playing basketball and it is going to be a physical game. Kentucky got to the foul line 30 times and we only shot 13 free throws. That is a huge difference. They were able to get to the free throw line and make the ones they needed."

On moving on and preparing for their next game...

"We have to move on to the next game. We cannot dwell on this loss. We have to play Georgia at home soon and that is game that we must win. What we take from this is learning how to move on and get on a winning streak. The SEC tournament is coming up and losing cannot become contagious for us. This is a game that I feel like we could have one. For me, as a senior, this is the last game I will ever play at Rupp Arena, only that I got to play here. I know I have only played here for two years but that is something that will always stick with me forever."

#4, Wayne Chism, F

On how to prepare for Georgia ...

"We just have to recollect ourselves, get our mind focused and have two good days of practice. I have to work on being healthy. I always fight through a lot of things, like injuries, so I'm just going to keep fighting and get ready for Georgia."

On matching up with Patterson and Cousins ...

"I've been playing with Patrick ever since he got here and since I've been here so it's always tough but it's been the same. But playing against Cousins is a different task. He's a good player and played hard, and I can give him a lot of credit."

#32, Scotty Hopson, G

On his personal performance tonight...

"I tried to play well because my teammates needed me tonight. I just wanted to go out tonight and give it my all. But me being sick is definitely a weakness for me but I tried to battle through it offensively and defensively, and did the best I could out there."

On being close to the last 10 minutes ...

"I think we played well the majority of the game but down the stretch we had miscommunication, and didn't finish up the game. We didn't play the whole 40 minutes of basketball we needed to and that's something we needed to work on in our next game."

On learning from this game and preparing for Georgia ...

"I feel like there are some things we can learn from this game and we made a lot of progress. I think the score was what it was suppose to be. I feel like we could have won this game but I do think we have made a lot of progress. For Georgia I think we just need to put the negatives behind us. We need to focus on the positives and forget about the negatives and just look forward to Georgia."


Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On how John Wall and Eric Bledsoe played down the stretch for Kentucky ...

"They played well. When a team is trying to hold a ball late in the shot clock and take a shot late, if you can make a shot it puts so much pressure on that team. We have had games where we were missing every open shot. The first half tonight was similar to that. The second half we made them and you are seeing the gap that we are talking about. It is not like you have to make them all, you just can't miss them all. You can make 34 percent or 33 percent and you are fine. You cannot shoot eight percent. Which we do at times, normally they are not playing us they are wide open but we just don't make them. Today, Eric showed so much courage in what he did and how he played. It was a great game. I liked what I saw. We did a lot of good stuff."

On the defense down the stretch that gave Kentucky a bigger lead ...

"I think there was a real passion that we played with right there and our guys really dug in and we were taking charges. We were coming up with loose balls and there were a lot of plays that we made. Let's give Tennessee credit here. Bruce (Pearl) came in and they went to a 3-2 zone and I will be honest with you, we didn't work on it. I knew that they had it in their arsenal, but I did not know that they would run it because they didn't run it in any tapes that I had watched. What happens in the first half is that we came out and to be honest we didn't look like we knew what the heck we were doing and we didn't." in the second half, when we had the halftime, I told them, `Guys, they are playing a 3-2 zone and that is not your fault that is my fault. I am not blaming you but here is what we are going to do in the second half and how we will attack.' They were better in the second half and listened. It is not their fault that we didn't prepare for three days and their coach did not understand. Then you have to give them credit for how hard they played in this environment. This is a hard environment. They came in here and played us as well as anybody. We made a couple of shots that created a gap, but hats off to them because Bruce did a great job of keeping their team in the game. If Eric doesn't make those threes and we don't make a couple of free throws it is a different ballgame."

On shooting from the corner and if that was to break the 3-2 zone that UT was playing ...

"That it was we talked about at halftime. When you are in a 3-2 zone that is what is open is the corner because you have three guys above the free-throw line and only two guys below the free-throw line. We started flashing our center in the middle to make one of those low guys guard them and then our corners were open. We just made open shots."

On what he liked about his team tonight ...

"When DeAndre (Liggins) plays as a finisher and doesn't think of himself as a point guard. When he thinks of himself as a point guard then he tries to make plays and turns it over. When he is playing just to play basketball and be a finisher (he is much better). Look at his energy out there and how hard he plays and goes after balls. DeMarcus (Cousins) who didn't play particularly well and it is not all bad because it is one of those things where you say to him, `Are you ready? Deal with it.' He still got 12 rebounds and is a beast because he goes after every ball. If he made five free throws, if he goes 6-for-8 he gets another double-double. I thought that Daniel Orton went in and did a great job. I thought that Perry Stevenson went in and did a great job. I thought that Darnell (Dotson) and Darius (Miller) played fine. Noticed how I shortened the rotation. I wanted to get those guys more minutes and make those guys try a little bit and that is what we did."

#34, DeAndre Liggins, G

On not playing the role of a ball handler ...

"It's good for me because I can play multiple positions. I have a different role this year and I accept my role. Everything is paying off. I waited patiently at the beginning of the season to play and remained humble. I got a chance to focus on my academics and my family remained by me and supported me through it. I held my head high and now I'm doing fine. I am happy. Things happen for a reason, I had to sit out but now it's paying off. "

On your aggressive mind set for a loose ball ...

" I will try and dive for it. A winner plays and Coach Calipari loves it. If you play like a winner you play. I try to do all the dirty work and that's why my minutes are increasing. I get my knees dirty all the time. I have scares all over them and that's because of the competitive edge I have. "

On where you think this team is right now...

" I like where we are at. We just need to keep taking it one game at a time and we will be fine. We need to practice everyday and continue to get better. "

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On point guard combination between him and John Wall ...

"When the other team is frustrating DeMarcus (Cousins) we have to step up. DeMarcus is one of the key players in our offense. They were kind of beating him up on offense and defense and he was getting frustrated. John and I just had to step up."

On the last 10 minutes of the game ...

"It was intensity and hustle. I think playing hard is half of the battle. I think that is what we did and DeAndre (Liggins) came up big."

On Coach Cal chest bumping DeAndre Liggins after a big play ...

"DeAndre has so much energy that nothing phases him. He has a lot of energy."

#54, Patrick Patterson, F

On his play tonight ...

"I think I played pretty well. There were some things that I could have done a lot better. I missed a couple of easy shots, not catching the ball with two hands and a small lack of effort in the beginning. I think I did okay."

On Coach Caliparl saying the team didn't prepare much for Tennessee's zone defense ...

"He took it upon himself and said we didn't prepare for the 3-2 defense. We usually go against the 2-3 and 1-3-1 defenses in practice and never really the 3-2. He told us the offensive plays to run and what to do and luckily we were able to execute in the second half."

On his three-point shot late in the game ...

"It was pretty sweet. I just took a shot and it went in. It was pretty sweet to be able to hit that in crunch time."

#11, John Wall, G

On how tough Tennessee was ...

"Oh they were a pretty tough team. They came out being physical. Coach told us from the start they'd be pretty physical. But we had to figure out how to figure out how to score against their zone. We were running our 2-3 offense, and we really didn't go with our 3-2 offense and coach said it was his mistake. But, it was us too. We adjusted to what he told us at halftime and came out there and made plays and defensive stops."

On Eric Bledsoe's shooting performance ...

"Oh yeah he said he lost it because he went like 0-for-6 and he was frustrated. But he got back to the basics, we stayed out there and he came early to practice and we stayed out there and get extra shots up. You could tell that showed tonight when he started finding his stroke."

On penetrating the zone defense ...

"It's basically just going off of film and listening to what coach Cal is telling us. When I catch it they say I'm holding it too long and by the time I try to go they're closing the gap. So, once I get it just go ahead and take it and then look for your teammates or find a shot for yourself, and I think I did a good job of that tonight."

 

 

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