Opening statement ... "I thought it was a pretty well-played game by two good teams and we just didn't make enough plays down the stretch and they made some big ones. It seemed like every time they needed something (Anthony) Davis got it done for them, he was spectacular. I thought our guys, we got down 10 and I thought our guys really showed some courage coming back and getting the game back to where it got to. We missed some big free throws that would have kept the game within one possession and you have to make those in a situation like this because the margin with these guys is tough. We had a hard time guarding them, we didn't guard well, we had been guarding well and we didn't guard well (today). Some of that was their offense and some of it was us. Again, they're better but we could have gotten them if we had played better but they are awfully good. I like their team just from an opposing coaching standpoint because they try to play the right way, they aren't out there running their mouths or doing things that I think are uncalled for and unsportsmanlike. They just play the game, they play hard, they play for each other and I really respect that. We were hoping for a different outcome, unfortunately we didn't get it.""
On Anthony Davis hitting jump shots at the end of the shot clock ... "That's what great players do, they get those plays done at the end of the clock. We played exceptional defense two or three times and they threw them in at the buzzer against us. When that happens it is tough to overcome, but you can't play defense for 33 seconds, sometimes you have to play for 35. In some cases we played great defense and the ball went in anyway, you just have to tip your cap to the guy that made plays."
On the explanation he received on block/charge review... "I didn't wait around for an explanation, it wasn't going to be anything that was going to make me feel any better. I think the explanation that they gave my assistant was that Steve (Tchiengang) was in the circle. I might be dreaming but I think I even heard one of my assistants say that on the replay that maybe the back of his foot was touching the circle so it might have been the right call. It might have been the right call but it was just an emotional time so I didn't really want to hear any explanation. But, I was happy with how my team responded. We fought hard all day, we battled all day long. We didn't play great but again, a lot of that had to with them. They've had their way with most people in here and we lost, but the game was a game for 38 or 39 of the 40 minutes."
On Darius Miller being a factor down the stretch... "He's a good player, I really like him. I like how he plays, I like how he acts. I don't coach him so I'm not the authority on it but I admire him as a player. He makes big shots. He is a big shot maker and a really good player for them. He has really, in my opinion, appears to have sacrificed himself for the benefit of their team and he is a big reason why they are something and one."
On Anthony Davis' offensive growth ... "He was assertive and aggressive offensively today. Again, it was a terrific performance. I think we helped him some, I think that our defense at times was pretty suspect with him. We blocked him out twice in the game, twice, now that's not very many given that he is at the rim all the time. One time it was a freshman guard and the other time it was a senior guard. One we got a foul called, which was OK, but those were the only two times he got boxed out the entire day, nobody else bothered to try to put a body on him. That's disappointing when we have some older guys that should understand that concept. That part was disappointing but he's special, he is different. He is a different kind of player. Again, I am very impressed with how he goes about his business not just how he plays."
On Kentucky scoring at the end of the shot clock... "It's extremely deflating when you play 30 seconds of solid defense and they score at the end. Especially when you are playing from a deficit and trying to take the lead. It was disappointing."
On his play in the first half... "I thought I did what I needed to do and that is come out with energy. I thought that's what we needed with this being my last time playing here."
On Anthony Davis... "He was really good offensively. He got a lot of offensive rebounds and put them back in. He was very active on the defensive end and he blocked a lot of shots. He is an all-around good player."
On the play of Anthony Davis... "He did whatever he wanted to do. I didn't offer much of a resistance and he played very well today. He did a good job protecting the basket and blocking shots. He did a good job of contesting shots."
On his mindset after today's game... "I'm encouraged. We came out and fought hard. I didn't play the best. I always take responsibility for stuff like that."
On Vanderbilt's next game... "We have a huge game on Tuesday. We have that to look forward to and we are going to come in tomorrow and practice to prepare for that."
On Vanderbilt's confidence playing at Rupp Arena... "We were confident the whole game. We didn't come in here expecting to lose. We came here expecting to win and they made couple more plays than we did at the end."
On missing free throws... "I'm a senior, so I don't think the crowd bothered me that much. I shot it good. It felt good but it just didn't go in for me."
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
Q. We are used to what Anthony (Davis) does defensively; what about the way he played offensively today?
COACH CALIPARI: I've been holding him back. I'm trying to get him to stay in school another year.
After the game, I just told everybody, they did what they did, and how good, and I said, "You were pretty good, too." And the whole team started laughing. They thought it was hysterical.
He's a good kid. He's just unselfish. He only took 11 shots; he made 10. You tell me, if you're that kid, blocking shots, rebounding balls, you're not trying to take 20 shots?
And then I couldn't get mad at Marquis Teague for holding the ball to get two more points. You understand, he held that ball to get fouled. He could have thrown it to Darius (Miller), and he's like, no, I'm getting two more myself.
And when I called him over, I said, "I know what you just did, you'd better make these two free throws. That's why he started laughing, and he made them. And after the game I said, you played so well, I'm good with that. Let the kids score a couple baskets. Let them score a couple points. But you know, it was a good effort.
And let me say this: You see how good Vanderbilt is? Can you see how good they are? I mean, in the NCAA Tournament, they are going to advance. I mean, that is a ball team, and they shoot it; they make their free throws. They had seven turnovers, and we are a pretty good defensive team. They had seven turnovers. Are you kidding me? They are turning people over 15 times. We didn't press a whole lot but that's not how we play. They are good.
Q. Can you talk about the way Marquis (Teague) came back and played after three turnovers in the first three minutes and you sat him down?
COACH CALIPARI: I said it, one turnover the rest of the game. I just felt our shoot around was just so-so, and I felt at the pregame, when I talked to them before they went on the court, I didn't like the stare I got from two or three of the guys.
So at the beginning of the game, I knew what was happening. And I just told them, I said, hey, I took guys out, I sat Terrence (Jones) out, and you know, you've got to be ready to play every game. You've got to figure it out.
Here is what the deal is. Noon games, hard to play. So? Guess what. In New Orleans, when will we be playing? Noon. Okay. Then, in the NCAA Tournament, probably noon. We play early games. So, be ready for it. You can't use that as an excuse, it's an afternoon game.
Q. Veteran teams often make plays at the end of shot clock, come up with big plays. Your team has done it consistently despite being relatively young. How rare is that and how often do you see young guys continue to make those plays over and over again?
COACH CALIPARI: This team is the most efficient team in the country on offense and defense and it's really only because they are talented.
They play together, they play off of one another, they make easy plays defensively. They are talking more. But we just have to have everybody ready to go to war, every game. We don't have many left. Two more league games, hopefully some in the tournament, and then we play on the real stage. We don't have many left.
Q. You talk about guys maybe not being ready to play at the beginning of the game. You've always talked about how they have a will to win. Can sometimes you rely too much on will to win?
COACH CALIPARI: That was my fear to start this game. But the way we finished, and we played so well down the stretch, I wasn't going to get upset with them.
The other side of it, I looked at my staff and I said, you know, I'd like to let this one go, the way they started, to prove a point. I'm about to let this one go, and then I said, I can't. I just don't have that in me.
But, believe me. I said to my staff, because you've got to learn a lesson from it. But their will to win; their ability to execute down the stretch and defend and take everything up a notch, you know, is pretty amazing.
Q. Yet again Darius (Miller), zero points, 10 minutes ago and then he turns it on. What is it about him that he does that?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't know. I mean, I was upset with him in the first half because I thought he had passed up two shots, and he did, because he was 0 for 5. I said, that's the old you. You've got to keep shooting. You can't keep doing that to your team.
Doron (Lamb), I thought he played a poor first half, too. Couldn't make a shot but then again defensively in a three-minute span, gave up three baskets. And I didn't think Darius (Miller) played well in the first half -- or Terrence (Jones). I thought Michael (Kidd-)Gilchrist fought like crazy.
You know what's good about this one? Just like down at Mississippi State where Marquis Teague sat and watched the end of the game, Michael Gilchrist probably played a minute in the last seven, eight minutes of the game and we won without him on the court. And he cheered just like Marquis Teague. He cheered harder than anybody on that bench. And I also thought, which was good, Eloy (Vargas) did a good job, went in there and banged and did some good stuff.
Q. What did Mike (Kidd-Gilchrist) do on the play where -- did he bang knees, or did he do something else what was that injury?
COACH CALIPARI: He just hit knees. But I said -- I'm in the time-out, I said, "Is Michael okay?"
"Yeah, he's ready to go."
I went, "What?" He acted like he got shot. "Ready to go?" I said, "Run up and down the court." I wanted him to run to see that he wasn't fooling me. I'm like, I shook my head, I said, Oh, my gosh, okay, go back in.
Q. I know you don't put too much significance on conference achievements, but how do you look at this in terms of the way it sets you up for March?
COACH CALIPARI: Every game we play, it's all about seeding. And that's -- we are just playing for that. I mean, we have won over the years a lot of conference championships and tournament championships, but I'm telling you, my teams have never -- that isn't what we are playing for. It's all about that seed.
So hopefully we are doing what we need to. Getting better. It's nice, I told him, congratulations, but you all know, this is not why we are playing, and they know that.
Q. On if he cares about being the overall No. 1 seed or just a No. 1 seed ...
COACH CALIPARI: Somebody told me out west, they said we are the favorite. Somebody said that to me. And I obviously don't follow that stuff. But the crazy thing is, they don't have any emotion out that way. It's all based on green dollars. They have no emotion. There's no, I don't like this guy, and I like that guy, and I don't like this program and I like that program. It has nothing to do with that.
So, I don't know. Let me just tell you, Syracuse is outstanding; Missouri is outstanding; Kansas is outstanding, Ohio State is outstanding; Duke and North Carolina, outstanding, Michigan State is playing their butts off. Everybody could be a 1-1 seed. We are just trying to do what we do.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
#1, Darius Miller, G
On if this team needs to lose a game before tournament time... "I still think the same way I'm not trying to lose. I don't really think he (Coach John Calipari) is either."
On playing well in the final 10 minutes the past two games, and if it is coming from confidence... "I think so. We don't want to lose a game. I don't think at any point we feel like we are going to lose a game. I think that is what keeps us calm and gives us good looks at the end of the game."
On Kevin Stallings' saying he "sacrificed himself for this team"... "I honestly don't look at it like that. I feel like I'm doing what I need to do in order to make this a successful team. I feel like we have all the right parts and if everyone plays their part we will have a championship."
#23, Anthony Davis, F
On his performance ... "I just tried to come out and play hard. Coach (John Calipari) said, prior to the game, that we all were looking sleepy and not ready to play. I just didn't want to do that, I didn't want to prove him right."
On his crucial buckets late in the shot clock ... "I was down and ready, I knew my man went up to guard Marquis (Teague) and (Teague) threw it right back to me. I knew he was going to throw it to me so, I was making sure I was down and ready for the shots."
On being a National Player of the Year candidate ... "My teammates always give me credit for everything but Coach (Calipari) makes jokes. They say `you played all right' or `you played ok', but he always likes to make jokes. We all just sit back and laugh, just say we had a great game and move on to the next one."
#03, Terrence Jones, F
On Darius Miller improving... "It's a whole new year and he is shooting the ball really well. He is just staying confident, no matter how many times he misses (his shots). I think that was the best change in his game, not worrying about the last shot and he just keeps shooting because he is a shooter."
On Darius Miller 3s... "Darius (Miller) and Doron (Lamb's) job is to knock down the 3s. Especially if a team goes on (a roll) like Vanderbilt does at the end of games. We were just ready for that, Darius was just ready to knock down (shots) and make a big play on the pitch. He drove, got in there and just made a good shot."
On the team hitting clutch free throws ... "I think we've always been, almost this whole year, knocking down (free throws) down the stretch in games at the end. I just think guys do not want to lose. It is not too much pressure especially when we play here, to shoot free throws."
#14 Michael Kidd Gilchrist, G
On if he thought he was hurt when he fell down... "I thought I was hurt at first, but I'm all good now - just knees. But it's almost March, so I have to suck it up."
On how much Anthony has improved on the offensive end from where he was in the summer when they all first came... "A long way. From his athletic part and on offense, he's just a monster and hard to guard."
On Darius (Miller) performing well late in the game ... "I don't really know what got into him. He ate something."
On what he and Darius Miller's relationship has been like playing the same position with him being a senior... "I love Darius Miller for who he is and he's a brother to me now."