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Tennessee-Kentucky Postgame Quotes



Feb. 21, 2009

Recap |  Box Score

Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl

Opening Statement ...
"I would like to congratulate Kentucky on a great effort. They had tremendous execution and completely dominated us and our players. As a head coach, I have never been so embarrassed by how I coached, or how my team played. I apologize to our fans and the University of Tennessee. We didn't play with poise, passion, or with a purpose, and I thought that there were times where we quit. I have never had this issue. I have been a head coach for a lot of years and my team has finished first or second in every conference that we have played in. Those teams have played hard and unselfishly, this team doesn't do either."

On his team's performance in Rupp Arena today ...
"I have always taken great pride in bringing basketball to Rupp Arena. Our first year, we came in here and won. In our second year, we came in here and won the first half without Chris Lofton and I was so proud of that team. I don't know how many points we lost by but boy did our kids battle. They had no business being in the game but stepped up and made plays and we were right there at halftime. Last year, it was a close game. I can take losing, I don't take it well but I can take it, but I can't take losing like we did today."

On guarding Jodie Meeks ...
"We triangle and one him and put one guy on him. If you look at the stat sheet, give Ramon Harris, (Michael) Porter, (Perry) Stevenson, and (Darius) Miller the credit. (Patrick) Patterson, I would hold off for a second. I think those guys were 13-17 and that is what Coach Gillisipie has been looking for, and we gave those other guys some opportunities to make some shots and they did. We did a good job on (Jodie) Meeks, it wasn't like Loyola (Maryland) against Davidson where they put two guys on (Stephan) Curry, we put one guy on Jodie. I thought that Bobby Maze and Josh Tabb did a good job. Interestingly, Maze and Tabb don't have very good offensive numbers because they were worn out from guarding him. I still think defensively you have to make the other guys beat you, we did and they did. They weren't able to do that against some other teams. At the same time our inability to score at the offensive end, in that area, gave those guys confidence. We didn't put them under any pressure. It is one thing for those guys to take and make those shots in a close game it's not when you do it when things are going your way. It went there way from the beginning."

 

 

On the play of Scotty Hopson ...
"I thought that Scotty competed. He has made a lot of improvement and a lot of progress. I thought that Scotty was one of those guys that did keep his poise and certainly belonged out there. He is really growing as a player and is a terrific person. He works really hard and as he gets more physically strong, he is going to be special."

#32 Scotty Hopson

On preparing for the game ...
"I think we prepared well for this game but we weren't really aggressive coming out. We didn't execute our play calls as Coach (Bruce Pearl) wanted us to do. (Kentucky) got off to a good start and that really hurt us."

On staying mentally focused ...
"Sometimes guys would put their heads down when things were going bad. We didn't have good body language. That's one thing we have to have. We have to have poise and keep our heads up and stay motivated."

On playing at Rupp Arena
"It felt good because this is close to home for me. My family and friends were here cheering me on. It was just a blessing to be back here playing."

#4 Wayne Chism

On the game ...
"We have to focus. All I have to say is that it was like our last game when we had a lack of focus. We have to go back to the table and begin to focus on what we need to be doing. We have to quit worrying about other things when we are out on the court. We have to be able to go out there and play our game. We have to change what we are doing and get back to playing our game."

On the mental focus of the team ...
"We should have won because we needed this win. We didn't come out and do what we needed to do to win this game. The bottom line is that we lost."

On defending Jodie Meeks ...
"It doesn't mean anything that we defended him well. Everyone else on Kentucky's team had his back tonight and they played really well. It felt like Kentucky was hitting everything. It does no good to play tough defense on just one person, we should have played better defense on everyone. Miller and Porter hit shots tonight. We tried to take away Kentucky's prime players and the rest of the team went crazy."

On bouncing back after the loss ...
"It is going to be tough. We are going to do what we have to do. We started off undefeated in our road games but now we have lost three in a row. We have to bounce back big time. It will be hard but we are going to have to do it."

Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie

On Darius Miller's game against Tennessee...
"Darius was great. That was the Darius Miller that we recruited. He's been making strides. It's great for a guy like him to have a bust-out game like that and for what it can do for him the remainder of the season. I really thought he'd be our third leading scorer the whole season but we will see what happens. I was very proud. He has been a good defender and I don't think that was his strong suit coming into this program. He's worked hard and he's a good rebounder. He's an offensive player. I think he's going to be a great player before it's all over, but I've always thought that. It was nice to see him have a great game today."

On other Kentucky players playing off of Jodie...
"They had a smart game plan in store for us. Michael [Porter] made some really good shots for us, Darius [Miller] was great, Ramon [Harris] hit a really big three at the beginning of the game, Patrick [Patterson] hit a couple of jumpers in the lane and that's what we've got to do. We don't always do that. It was great because Jodie [Meeks] is really getting knocked around a lot. He never quits working. He's guarding defensively. He needs to rebound a little bit better, but he's great. The amount of energy he spends is unlike any I've ever seen before. I've never seen anyone play harder. For us to be our best we have to make some shots and we have to get a lot of protection from other players."

On speculation that Kentucky is on the bubble for post-season play...
"I haven't heard any committee members speak about that. Those are the 10 people that make the decisions. It isn't the appropriate time to be making a decision. We still have four SEC games left and the conference tournament. We have to play them all, because it's a 16 game conference schedule. We have a lot of work to do. We have to get a lot better. We have some daunting challenges in front of us. We have to go on the road Wednesday to South Carolina, who came into our own gym and beat us earlier in the season. That's the way it is. The games at this time of the year are fun. Conference games are the absolute best in my opinion. You know each other and you try to take away everything the opponent does. It comes down to players making plays. That's what makes it so much fun."

On Jodie Meeks' game against Tennessee...
"He ups everybody. We haven't made them pay for it nearly enough over the course of the season. He's had a tremendous season. He had another tremendous game even though the numbers may not seem like it. He had a great game. He set some screens. He made some cuts that got baskets for us. We got a couple of dunks in the first half because Jodie made really hard cuts. Because of how great Jodie has played, Tennessee had to help with more than one defender so we took advantage of that. We haven't been doing that enough consistently. He set a great screen at the start of the second half. He does everything for us every single day. We have to understand how we can benefit from that the most."

On Kentucky's defense against Tennessee...
"Our defense today was great. Coach Cyprien did a great job of scouting Tennessee. Our guys did a great job of playing to the scouting report. Our defense was unbelievable until the most important time came and that was when the ball came off of the offensive rebound. We got dominated in the paint again. I thought our first shot defense was as good as you could get until late in the game when we let them drive in to the basket. The first 36 minutes, I thought it was great."

On the effect of getting off to a good start...
"We guarded them well. We made a couple of shots. I think we have always been ready to play we just don't always show it. When the ball goes in the basket you really look like you know what you're doing, but when it doesn't, you don't. There are a lot of times it looks like we don't know what we're doing but it doesn't mean our guys aren't playing well. They really did well. We were defending. We had a big lead and we let them offensively rebound the ball. It's great to get off to a good start, but we knew they were a good team that was capable of playing better than they did today. They didn't shoot the three very well today. It's a good team with a good coach at a great program. They have a lot of really great players. We knew we had to keep playing because it's a 40-minute game."

On Kentucky having 23 assists on 28 made field goals...
"That's a great number. We've never been a selfish team. I won't let them play if they're selfish. We don't have any guys with those problems. That's credit to the type of people they are. We've had some great passes this year but we didn't make the baskets. That's misleading. This time we got the ball in the paint more effectively."

#54 Patrick Patterson

On being back on the court from an ankle injury...
"Oh, it feels great. I have had a great week of preparation in practice. I have been working my ankle and I had some help from the trainer. I had to tell him if it hurt and it hasn't. So, I came out here tonight and it felt great. There was no pain during practice this week so I was able to just go out there and play my game."

On the team effort...
"It was a great team effort. We knew that they were going to try to do a box-and-one a bunch of times to challenge our shooters. Mike (Porter), Darius (Miller) and Ramon (Harris) were able to shoot the ball out there and Perry (Stevenson) and I held up with confidence. We ran a bunch of plays in practice against a box-and-one. And Mike and Darius were able to show that they could hold their own."

On Darius Miller's confidence...
"He came out there with a great attitude and tremendous intensity. He had total confidence out there and that just showed through his intensity. He was playing great defense and was an offensive threat."

On the way the team is playing right now...
"Defensively, I think that this is the best the team has played all season. Everyone was doing their part on defense. We had a great defensive night. We helped out each other a lot. We didn't do too much rebounding on the defensive end and we gave up too many offensive rebounds, but otherwise it was a great defensive night."

#13 Michael Porter

On today's game being a team contribution...
"It was definitely a good win. We don't want Jodie (Meeks) to have to score forty or fifty every game. It helps out a lot when other guys contribute so it was a big win in that area."

On today's team effort carrying over to future games...
"Hopefully it carries over in a big way. We just have to step up and make shots and make big plays."

On his shooting today...
"I just put it in my mind that if I was open I was going to shoot it right away, depending on the clock situation and stuff. But I missed a couple shots really early and coach told me to keep shooting so I kept doing it and they finally fell."

On what the keys are in regard to Kentucky's success for the rest of the season...
"I think that it takes all of us. So, if we all do our part then I think we are a really good team. I just think that if we continue to play like we played tonight, with everyone chipping in, then we will be a hard team to beat."

#1 Darius Miller

On Jodie Meeks...
"They had a person on him everywhere he went. Half of the time another man was looking at him too. We had a lot of open shots and open driving lanes, so we were trying to take advantage of it."

On making improvements...
"Throughout the season, Coach has been stressing defense to me and the entire team. We do a lot of that in practice. I'm playing with a lot more confidence than I was at the beginning of the season. My coaches and my teammates have helped me out with that. They have told me what to do and have been there for me the whole season."

On the return of Patrick Patterson...
"Ramon (Harris), DeAndre (Liggins), Michael (Porter) and I had a lot of open looks when Patrick was posting hard. That freed up a lot for us. Just his presence helped us out."

#34 DeAndre Liggins

On Darius Miller...
"He played well for us, and this was probably his best game of the year. He helped us out a lot, because when they doubled Jodie (Meeks), he was on the wing ready to shoot."

On Tennessee...
"They didn't give up, we just kept grinding it out. We didn't care how much we were up by, we just kept grinding it out."

On making improvements...
"I've been playing a little timid. That's something I need to work on in practice and build up. I need to work on my ball handling skills and everything else. I'm getting used to coach and I'm adjusting well. This is the time that I need to adjust, because the year is winding down. I need to be patient and wait for my time. I need to do what I can to make the team win, whether that is rebounding or scoring. My role is to help the team."

On the rest of the season...
"We need to take it one game at a time and come in with a game plan to stop our opponents. We need to play aggressive and with confidence."

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