No. 2 Kentucky 58, No. 17 Vanderbilt 56 February 20, 2010 - Memorial Gym Postgame quotes Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings
Opening Comments: That was a really good college basketball game. Both teams competed and both teams played hard. I’m proud of our team. Obviously, both teams struggled to make shots and that was our undoing. We had some open ones and had some that were contested. We had some good looks at the basket.
On Vanderbilt’s Final Shot: That was pretty close to the basket to have covered that amount of ground in 2.5 seconds. We practice those shots – at least our big guys do – and it was a pretty good look for 2.5 seconds to play.
On the Game’s Defense: It was very physical, hard-fought, tough game. There wasn’t any backing down going on.
On Losing Festus Ezeli and Steve Tchiengang to Fouls: A.J. [Ogilvy] was in foul trouble too. We were doing a decent job at playing man-to-man and then we had to switch to zone to buy us a few minutes. A.J. did a nice job of playing with four fouls.
On Steve Tchiengang’s Game: It was awesome. He had a couple of bad turnovers in the second half, but his effort, his play on the boards, and his defense were outstanding.
On last shot: “It was set up for A.J. to take the ball and for me to sprint to the basket, so I could lay it in. It just didn’t work out.”
On the loss: “I’m disappointed because we had the chance to beat a really good team. I wanted to do it for our fans and our student body and we didn’t get it done. It hurts.”
On physicality: “It was a physical game. All week, we worked on boxing out and being physical. You have to match that physicality and I thought we did well with that. We just didn’t make shots. It’s not the end of the season and tomorrow is another day.”
On Kentucky’s defense: “They have two people (DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson) that did a really good job contesting shots and made it hard to get to the basket. We just weren’t getting the shots we needed to win. We knew they were going to make a run. They scored two in a row and we didn’t answer. It was a toss up from there.”
On Steve Tchiengang: “Steve is a huge part of our team. He’s a very physical player and isn’t afraid of anyone. He leaves it on the court. All of our big guys played hard and put it out there.”
On last shot: “I hoped it was good and it hooked out of my hand, but it wasn’t meant to me. Coach drew up the play and I thought I could take a better shot, but I tried and missed it. Jeff was supposed to have it and I was going to feed it to him. It’s heart wrenching to know it was that close. I was really comfortable on that shot. I had a great look at it and I’d make that 8 out of 10 times and this was one of those two that I didn’t.”
On physicality: “It was really physical. They’re a strong team and I think both teams struggled shooting the ball. It was a bad shooting night for both teams.”
On defense: We played hard and used all the effort we could, but we missed too many shots and at the end of the day, you’re not going to win if you can’t make shots. Defensively, we played great and played tough against them. But if you can’t make shots, you’re not going to win the game.
On Jenkins’ final attempt: “I probably should have released it a little sooner. I hit the shot before and thought I could hit it again. I went up too fast.”
On Vanderbilt’s low shooting from the perimeter: “They got some hands on a lot of my 3-point attempts and they did a good job contesting those. I don’t think it’s an adjustment I need to make. I need to keep trying and doing what I’m doing. It was just one of those nights and one of those games.”
Kentucky Head Basketball Coach John Calipari
General thoughts: “I thought that Vandy’s game plan against us today was perfect. They played physical, held the ball on offense, controlled John Wall on defense and played zone against us, which made us attempt contested three pointers. Wall‘s defense was good tonight, Patrick Patterson rebounded the ball well and DeAndre Liggins did well coming off of the bench.”
On tonight’s game environment: “Coaching from the end zone was unique but not difficult. The only thing that was different was how close I was to the officials. We were able to win a game tonight in an Elite Eight environment.”
On final minute of contest: “I made a mistake in calling the timeout with two seconds left in the game. I should have just let Vandy go and play but I gave them a chance to set up a final play. Coach Stallings is a great coach and prepared his team well and got his main guy the ball with a chance to make a shot.”
On instructions to Wall with six minutes left in game: “I told him to get the ball inside and make things happen for us on offense. I wanted to substitute him out of the game but it was too tight. I wanted us to just shoot the ball when we had a chance.”
On importance of win: “This is the type of win that I love. We were able to grind it out. Everyone knows that we like to play fast, but we don’t force our will on the opponent. When it comes to tournament time, you have to be able to play different styles and we did that tonight.”
“It was a slugfest out there, very physical. We had to make plays in the end to get the win.”
On not substituting DeMarcus Cousins into the game with six minutes left: “I thought that there was too much time in the game to put him in there with four fouls. We have veterans on our bench like Perry Stevenson who have experience playing in the SEC that can contribute for us.”
On youth of team: “We sometimes give the other team a chance to beat us by trying to do too much. However, they don’t know that they aren’t supposed to win as much as they do. I’m proud of the guys tonight because they played hard and competed.”
On defensive effort: “We were able to use our physical advantages on defense tonight and showed mental toughness. That effort will make us advance in the tournament. We struggled defending three-pointers earlier in the season but have gotten better and it showed tonight.”
On Patrick Patterson: “He has made big shots for us all year. I want him to do more on the court and be more aggressive because I have confidence in him. He sometimes defers to Wall and Cousins but he is capable of doing things himself. He has been doing that more lately, especially the last two games.”
On season so far: “I didn’t expect us to have the record we have so far this season and I can go down the list and tell you some games that we should have lost, but we’re winning games. We’re such a young team but its been enjoyable coaching them. Now, I’m started to make them more accountable for what they are doing out there.”
On Wall’s final shot: “He was dribbling the ball on top of the key and I told him to drive to the basket. He fought his way to the basket and showed his will to win by getting the ball back after missing the first shot.”
Kentucky forward DeMarcus Cousins
On playing in Memorial Gym: “We knew coming in it would going to be a crazy environment. We already knew their personnel and how they played. Basically we just kept the same physical play that we had the first time we played them. We just came in and got a tough win.”
On Kentucky’s improvement throughout the season: “I believe we’ve grown a lot. We’ve shown people we can play in a hostile environment. We’re a young team, but I don’t really think that affects us in big time situations.”
Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson
On playing Vanderbilt: “We knew they were going to step up their game, especially with what Beal said in the newspaper, and playing at home. They always play ten times better at home. It was a highly anticipated game. They’ve got the home crowd behind them and the energy going. We knew they were going to play a great game. We just had to focus and prepare and watch a lot of game tape. It was a hard, tough, physical game. Luckily we were able to pull out the win.
On what it means to get a win in Memorial Gym: “It feels great. It’s a great team victory. I haven’t won in this building since freshman year. For us to come in this hostile environment and come out with a victory feels sweet. It tastes good. It feels good to know that we came out with a hard earned win and to know that all of my teammates were playing with passion and great intensity out there.”