VU-UK postgame quotes

Jan. 10, 2017

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Kentucky 87, Vanderbilt 81
Post game quotes

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bryce Drew

Opening Comments:
“Offensively, I thought we got the shots we wanted to get. Our goal was to keep the game close down the stretch and give our team a chance to win. We definitely had those opportunities. Our hope now is to work on our play down the stretch.”

On Vanderbilt Center Luke Kornet playing in foul trouble:
“He’s been in that situation with us before, maybe with three fouls instead of four. He knows he’ll play. He does so many things for us that we need him in there. He played a ton of minutes with four fouls and stayed in there.”

On Vanderbilt’s interior defense:
“[Kentucky does] an excellent job during the game at finding gaps. They bigs did a good job of creating gaps and their guards did a good job of driving to the rim.”

On Vanderbilt’s 43% shooting percentage:
“We knew they were a good defensive team. I don’t think they get a lot of credit for being so good defensively. Sometimes their best defense is their offense. Their length had a lot to do with it as well.”

On overcoming the early 9-0 deficit:
“Once we got some points on the board by making free throws, we saw the ball go in the basket, and that gave us some confidence… We knew runs would come in this game. The key is how you respond when they do.”

On Vanderbilt forward Jeff Roberson guarding Kentucky’s Edrice Adebayo:
“Jeff is a tough player. He took it upon himself to play defense and keep Adebayo out of the lane.”

On Vanderbilt’s comfort level:
“They’re getting comfortable with our offense. Big credit to Riley [LaChance] to be able to take some tough shots and get to the free throw line.”

On taking quick shots:
“We want to take the best possible shot… With the energy in the building tonight, you want to rush things a bit.”

On the crowd of 12,707:
“It was a great crowd. In the future, I wish it would be more black and gold, but we’re getting there. Our crowd was great, though.”

On Vanderbilt’s seven turnovers:
“To only have seven turnovers against this team – that’s probably our best performance of the season. I thought Riley did a good job of taking care of the ball.”

Vanderbilt Guard Riley LaChance

On Coach Cal’s compliment of only having 7 turnovers:
“I thought we did a good job of standing up for ourselves even though they were pressuring us. I looked down and noticed I had four of those so everyone else did a really good job and I need to get better in that aspect. The guys did a good job of making extra passes, moving the ball, and we didn’t let them get us out of our comfort zone.”

On being down 9-0 in the beginning and having to come back from that:
“It’s a game of runs. We either are going to make runs or not. They are a really good team and we had to put some stops on them.”

On driving the ball down the center more than in previous games:
“Their defense was trying to run me off the three-point line a little bit and I thought I had an advantage with them being so big and our screens forcing them to switch around a lot so I tried to use my quickness to get down to the hole.”

On the looks they got in the game and their three-point percentage:
“Yeah, we definitely got some good lucks, especially down the stretch. We are proud of the way we played and that we shot the ball well but down the stretch we got to make more of those shots to win.

Vanderbilt Forward Luke Kornet

On what one can take away from playing such a highly ranked team:
“I think just being prepared in the way we were for today and having that consistency of effort, and especially with them running around like that, being able to stick to the game plan and be confident with the ball throughout the game. You can’t ever get that discouraged feeling, you got to keep playing through everything. I thought we did a good job of following the game plan and doing what we wanted to do. Even with that early run, everyone did a good job of being committed to what we were trying to achieve.”

On the importance of experience vs a team of freshman:
“I think it is important more for some people than others. I remember being a freshman and playing Florida when they were number 1. If the game hasn’t really slowed down for you yet then it can definitely be an issue. But I think for all of us and all of the guys, we’ve played those kind of games before and we just got to keep our focus and not be overwhelmed by the moment.”

On whether this is a good feeling of holding your own against a highly ranked team or if the loss still hurts:
“We are still angry that we lost.”

On the last 3:12 in the game and the fact that they didn’t get a stop and improvements to be made:
“Our zone. We kind of had some issues of sealing them inside and they were bale to get shots off of the baseline. They also got some nice drives against the zone. We also let up some offensive rebounds which we hand’t really been doing the whole game but they came up there for a couple at the end. So I think we gave up some offensive rebounds late, which would of been good for us. Also, they were just driving in and making shots and we were trying to play without fouling.”

On playing for a decent amount of time with four fouls:
“There are certain times when its more of an issue. There were a couple of times when you’re fighting for positioning and you got to be more careful, you can’t just push them out or anything like that. In general though, it is the same thing I usually do. You got to get in between the man and the goal and just jump straight up in the air and get big. There was a couple of times where knowing I had fouls definitely impacted what I did. But in general, just being in between them and the goal and jumping straight up to contest it.”

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Opening statement:
“Great environment. Bryce [Drew] did a great job. It’s exactly the type of team, and I told the guys, more of this is on me than these kids, because I’ve got a talented group of kids. What they don’t have is discipline and the focus they need to win when another team is disciplined. This is a disciplined team. They turned it over seven times and we pressured. They’re gonna run their stuff and you cannot break down. Last night in that football game, if anybody made a mistake what happened; *raises arms* touchdown. You can’t make mistakes. We just can’t play this way right now, and I told them, I said not your fault, this is what I have to do. If they run and the game’s fast, it’s all fun, but this is a grind it out game and you break down on defenseâ€â€you ready?â€â€and then take a quick shot contested at the other endâ€â€and then break down again and then take another quick leap and leaner, or try and dunk one when you can just lay it in so we can win the game. We’re a ways away. But I’m really happy we won this game because they’re gonna win a ton of games and, like I said, Bryce is doing a great job with his team.”

On Isaiah Briscoe:
“He has played well, but he had seven rebounds, he did moreâ€â€five assists, one turnover. But I want him to just play. He’s not the issue. He gets it and he knows. When you’re playing all these young kids and these freshmen, we’re all freshmen. With Isaac [Humphries], I’ve got to figure out what we’re gonna do when Bam [Adebayo]’s not in. I’ll keep trying Isaac but, if it can’t be Isaac, it can’t be Isaac. You saw that I went small, I kind of like that. You’re still 6’10” and 6’9″ and that’s with Wenyen [Gabriel] and Derek [Willis]. Good win for us.”

On De’Aaron Fox:
“He’s really spending time in the gym right now. He’s really mastering his craft. He made a three, he made his free throws, he played well. He’s 11-out-of-17. I told them after the game, we were 1-9 from three, and I was ecstatic because, when you’re 1-from-9 and you still win, it proves to your team that you do not need to make threes to win. Many teams in this country, if they do not make threes, they do not have a chance of winning, we’re not one of them. This was a prime example, they played well, they shot a ton of free throws, they made them, they shot threesâ€â€we guarded a bunch of themâ€â€but ten assists to seven turnovers. An exciting game, it’s a different game for us and we need all these kind of games to show us where we gotta go. Mainly me as a coach, I’m not here with veteran guys.”

On freshmen making big plays late in close games:
“I’ve got good players. It’s not about me coaching, my job is to get a more disciplined, more focused team. We’ve got talented kids now, watching this team play, you have to have fun. The stuff they’re doing, as fast as they’re playing, some unbelievable plays that they make.”

On playing more halfcourt versus transition:
“The only issue was I had to make calls every time down the floor for us to get the kind of shot we needed. That means they’re not empowered yet. I had to come out of a timeout, when your team is empowered they can do it themselves. They know where to go with the ball, they know what kind of shot to take. We’re not empowered yet. This team, that’s all a part of the discipline and the focus and then the trust. We still don’t trust each other because guys aren’t doing their job defensively, what they’re supposed to do. We ran gaps, we didn’t switch when we needed to, we didn’t talk. That lack of trust makes you look timid. If at some point this year, this team is supposed to be what everybody thinks, then we better be empowered. It better be their team.”

On how his team can become empowered (follow up to previous quote):
“You’re right. It took us a while last year. I had to get thrown out of South Carolina, which I did on purpose so that I could see if they were empowered. It worked. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You know what I just said to them? What I’m asking of you is probably not fair, but I looked at them and I said, but you’re Kentucky, that’s not fair. So we’ve just got to do it. They all know, they know. This stuff’s not easy. How about every game we play is like this, this kind of environment, this kind of effort, every game. If we come in and we don’t give a great effort, we have no chance of winning, and that’s unusual. Again, it’s freshmen coming out an doing it. There are three or four guys that have got to step up their play so we can get them out on the floor, let them help us, and have more of a rotation. The only thing that happened this game is, because some of those kids didn’t play in the first half that much, the minutes don’t look crazy except Isaiah’s. But I played two guys with two fouls. If I’ve coached a thousand games, I’ve done that a handful of times. Normally, I would notâ€â€you’re out. But I did not like the feel of the game. I didn’t like their energy, I just said look, I’ve got to make sure we’re in this. And we went out up five which is pretty good.”

Kentucky Guard De’Aaron Fox

On the importance of winning a game like this:
“I think it was extremely important just to be able to show people that even if we’re not out and running, we can execute in half-court, and that’s what we did in the second half.”

On his shots in the game:
“It’s just things that I’ve been working on the past few weeks. There’s a lot of shots that the team is giving me, and I just have to knock them down. Nothing more, nothing less I can say about that.”

On adjusting to the tight calls made in the game:
“Just to start off, we had to stop making those silly fouls early. Me and Malik both had two fouls in the first four minutes of the game. Once you pick up that first one, you just can’t pick up that second one. Usually Coach Cal doesn’t play you the rest of the first half, but he let us play. It was something we needed; I feel like we gain discipline. We had those two fouls, and we had to play through them. So it was just a game that we needed to show that we can adjust, and we have to get disciplined quickly.”

On the low amount of steals in the game:
“I mean, they play a slow half-court. They’re extremely disciplined, and we just didn’t get those steals. But at the same time, when they miss shots, we’re out and running. Usually our defense translates into offense, but if your teams misses a shot, or even if you make a shot,we can still run it.”

On the execution in the last 3-4 minutes of the close game:
“We need more close games. It’s important for us to show people that we can win these tough games. We had a tough game with North Carolina, and that’s just something we need to build towards. We’re a young team so people think that if they can get us in a close game, that we don’t have the experience to be able to win games like that. But I think down the stretch, if we execute all our plays, we get those layups, mirroring those shots that we needed, Malik made some tough free throws. We just need to show people that even in a close game, we can still execute.”

Kentucky Guard Isaiah Briscoe

On the physical nature of the game:
“I knew it was going to be a tough game when we came out and the refs were calling easy fouls on De’Aaron and Malik. So when those two went out, that’s a big part of our team, but we had guys from the bench step up, and we held it down to the second half and it was fine.”

On the importance of winning a game like this:
“I think today we showed people that not only are we a championship team, but we can play in half-court also.”

On De’Aaron’s role in the game:
“We actually practice shooting everyday. He’s in before practice working on his shots, and when you work hard you don’t really worry about missing shots or anything. He knows how hard he works, and like I said, he was due for a good game. He was working hard and he deserves it.”

On getting to the rim over and over again:
“When you play often, I just get on full speed towards you and just change directions and just get in the lane. It’s just something that I always knew how to do.”