Opening statement... "We're obviously thrilled to come in here and get the win. I thought it was a game of two pretty evenly-matched teams. Neither team took any significant control of the game. Then we got it down to the last four minutes and it comes down to who makes a couple plays. We hit a couple of big shots. Derrick Byars and (Dan) Cage made that big three in the corner. Then we made a couple stops. It really became a game condensed into the final three minutes and fifty seconds. I'm really proud of our team, I'm proud of the courage and the toughness they showed in the stretch run of the game. We beat a good basketball team today."
On how he felt with Cage attempting a crucial three-pointer towards the end of regulation... "When Dan Cage shoots it, if he is open, there is not one ounce of my entire body that says `oh no.' Every time he shoots it when he is open I am saying `oh yes.' He is a phenomenal shooter. If he misses I get mad at him, that's how often he makes them. He was `o-fer' (0-3) in the first half. There is no part of me that doesn't want Dan to shoot it. You just come in here and play not to lose. You have to come in here and play to win. I thought our guys really did that in the stretch."
On Derrick Byars' game tonight... "Well Derrick played very well. Derrick is a good player and in a real good stretch right now. We sometimes refer to him as `big-shot Byars' because he tends to make big shots. They don't always look as big as meets the eye. In the Alabama game he busted a three about a foot behind the line and the momentum of the game came right back to us. He is a big play-maker and playing really good basketball for us right now."
On tonight's game being a physical one... "Well, the two road games we have lost have been because we did not defend the way you have to defend on the road to win. It wasn't because we went into a situation and played tentatively or played without effort - we just didn't defend on the road well enough to win. Obviously our point of emphasis today was to defend as hard as we could for as long as we could. That definitely made a big difference for us. "
On beating a team like Kentucky.... "It's always big to come up with a win in the conference, but when you can beat a team like Kentucky, with their tradition and everything, it's definitely good for our confidence."
On mental toughness in key situations... "Everyone had good mental toughness tonight. We had a couple dry possessions there when it was 58-57. Against Kentucky you can't do that often and survive. Everyone stayed positive, and luckily we came away with the win."
On being a 3-point shooting team.... "Well we don't have a Randolph Morris that we can dump the ball inside to, so 3-point shooting is key for us. It's our strength, and luckily tonight we were hitting them when we needed to."
On mental toughness of the team... "We knew we needed to stay together on the road. It's something that we talked about all week because we knew it was 20,000 fans against 13 guys. If we could stay together in an atmosphere like that, we thought we could come away with the win."
On respect after beating 4 ranked teams.... "We can't focus on it, but it will definitely come. We need to keep doing what we need to, and we'll keep getting wins. All we can do is worry about our next game, and if we keep winning, more respect will come."
On team defense... "With the effort we know we can give, we know what we're capable of. Our confidence is sky high right now after this win, because it's a test of will playing against a tough defense like Kentucky. We were fortunate to play hard and together on defense to force some turnovers and do some good things."
Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith
Opening statements... "We tried to let our players know that Vandy is a great shooting team and that you have to get out on their threes. We tried to work hard the last couple of days to defend the three, but we did a very poor job and I am disappointed with our defending of their threes. Again, Vandy is one of the best three-point shooting teams that we will play. Vandy's execution down the stretch; taking tough shots, making tough shots and taking care of the basketball, earned them the win. We need to deal with prosperity better and I tried to allude to that earlier in the week; every SEC win will be a battle. Coming off the win at South Carolina and the way we handled it, well it showed today because we didn't have the proper amount of focus. We did some good things; we just never got into a rhythm or flow. When a team shoots 50 percent for the game and 47 percent on threes, you just aren't defending well and that is what happened today."
On the team's offense... "Vandy did a good job of pressuring the ball and had the double-team formula on Randolph (Morris). We had a really tough time of getting Randolph out of the double team - that's why they held Randolph to only 11 points. Since they were shooting threes, we had to match them, which allowed them to dictate the tempo and style of the game, instead of us dictating how we were going to play the game. We missed some shots early on and turned the ball over and created some crucial situations that cost us the game. We had that one-point lead coming down the court and Ramel (Bradley) threw the ball away. In a game like this, it's about who's going to execute down the stretch and Vandy did that."
On the play by Sheray Thomas and Bobby Perry... "Sheray has been playing better, 12 points and six rebounds; he's doing a really good job of taking care of the ball. Bobby's the same way; he had 13 points and forced two turnovers. They are veteran, seasoned, senior players who have stepped up to the challenge. That is one of the positives out of this game. We had some problems in the game with matchups and taking someone off the dribble. We were never there at the basket to take charges. Vandy didn't get all of their points on threes, they were shooting lay-ups too and that is what happened to us today. Going back to Sheray and Bobby, we did have some good play from those guys and that was good."
On the play of Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley... "Joe and Ramel had some problems shooting the ball. We need to do a better job of attacking the basket. A lot of times, Joe was pulling up instead of attacking the basket. After he got his shot blocked in the first half, we kind of stopped penetrating. Vandy did a good job of getting a guy between the player and the basket and Ramel couldn't get by him. It's a problem that they are not moving without the ball as well."
On the team's transition defense... "Vandy is really good at suckering you down and then skipping the ball across the court. We worked on that in practice and explained to our guys that they like to penetrate and then kick the ball back out. Vandy caught us watching the ball and was able to execute. Our transition defense is something we know we need to work on and we did. Like I said before, we didn't practice well and it showed. I am disappointed, but not surprised."
On the team's response after the win streak... "It's all about attitude. The guys need to come to practice with the right mental frame. Practice will be a little more confrontational. Hopefully they will learn from the loss and practice better. You play the way you practice."
#13 Bobby Perry, F
On the play of Sheray Thomas... "I thought Sheray really kept us in the game in the first half. He hit some big shots and chased rebounds all over the court. He's really improved and playing hard."
On Coach Tubby Smith saying the team didn't practice well this week... "He's right. We need to stay focused. We need to continue to concentrate on what we need to do to improve, and we need to concentrate on the next game. We can't focus on the past. We need to keep working hard and prepare for our next game."
On the physicality of the game against Vanderbilt... "We watched film on them, so we knew what to expect. They are very aggressive on the defensive end. They like to get out on the shooters, and they trap a lot. They kept their zone high and aggressive. Their zone really messed up the flow of our offense. I thought we got it going there at the end of the first half, but they went in at halftime and made some adjustments."
#23 Sheray Thomas, F
On his play against Vanderbilt... "It was a tough game. It wasn't a career day for me. I just wanted to come in and bring some energy to the game. I wanted to come in and get some rebounds maybe hit a few shots. I just tried to make plays and give the team a boost."
On the turnovers at the end of the game... "They did not force our turnovers. Those turnovers at the end of the game were our own mistakes. We got ourselves in trouble and just threw the ball away."
On the team's practice this week... "We knew that Vanderbilt was good. We knew they were a good three-point shooting team. We wanted to come out here and play well. We were forcing our shots, committing turnovers and we weren't making plays when we needed to."
#33 Randolph Morris, C
On Vanderbilt double teaming him in the post... "We didn't get the ball down in the post as much as we wanted to tonight. They did a great job of collapsing down on me and closing the passing lanes. I tried to kick it out and find the open shooters, but they (Vanderbilt) just did a nice job."
On Vanderbilt's offense... "It's not that we didn't put in any effort. They stretched our defense really well. We played defense tonight like we have been playing all along. It hasn't changed. They just do a good job of back-door cuts and skip passes across the court. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities and they executed perfectly."
On Kentucky's offensive struggles... "We didn't move the ball like we should have. We didn't find the open man. We have to keep passing the ball, and we need to stay aggressive on the offensive end. We can't let the defense dictate what we want to do."
#3 Ramel Bradley, G
On Vanderbilt's outside shooting... "We knew coming in that they were a good three-point shooting team. We needed to get out there and contest shots and make plays on the defensive end and we didn't do that tonight."
On the third loss in a row to Vanderbilt... "We didn't play as aggressively as we need to. It hurts a lot. We're certainly disappointed in this loss. We did not want to play like that at home. They came in here ready to play, they were motivated and they weren't intimidated. We didn't take care of our end."
On Kentucky's defense... "They (Vanderbilt) are a tough team. When they're shooting threes the way they were they are tough to guard. They also take advantage of back-door cuts. We just weren't aggressive enough."