With Duke’s comeback win over Virginia, coupled with U.K.’s dominating win over Alabama, the Wildcats are now the only undefeated team in the Nation. They should be unanimous #1 in all polls Monday.
The following quotes are from UK Athletics:
Alabama at Kentucky, Men’s Basketball – Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky., Jan. 31, 2015
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 70, Alabama 55
- Kentucky is 21-0, 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama is 13-8, 3-5 in league play.
- Kentucky leads the series 105-37, including 55-10 at home.
- With 21 consecutive victories to begin the season, UK is off to the third-best start in program history.
- Kentucky is now the lone undefeated team in the nation following Virginia’s setback tonight to Duke.
- Kentucky is 198-27 all-time when ranked No. 1 and has won 43 of the last 45 games as The Associated Press top-ranked team.
- Calipari has led three schools to a No. 1 ranking (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky) and has an 87-9 record as the top-ranked coach, including 46-4 at UK.
- Calipari is now 173-37 (.824) as head coach at Kentucky, the best winning percentage of any coach in UK history.
- Kentucky was behind for only 20 seconds tonight. UK has trailed for only 103:43 of a possible 855 minutes this season.
- Kentucky returns to action Tuesday at home against Georgia. Game time is 7 p.m. EST and it will be televised on ESPNU.
- Sparked by inside players, Kentucky shot a season-best 58.5 percent from the field. UK’s bigs (Towns, Cauley-Stein, Lee, Johnson) combined to make 13-of-16 for 81.3 percent.
- UK made 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) on 3-point shots tonight. Over the last 11 games, Kentucky has shot 44 percent on 3-pointers, 77-of-175.
- Kentucky had only five turnovers tonight, just one away from the season low of four miscues.
- Kentucky had balanced scoring tonight with four players in double figures and eight players scoring at least five points.
- UK is 105-5 in the John Calipari Era when holding opponents to 63 or fewer points, including 17-0 this season.
- UK is 54-0 in the John Calipari Era when holding opponents to 55 or fewer points, including 16 times this season.
- Kentucky’s streak of 921 consecutive games with a 3-pointer was extended early in the contest when Aaron Harrison hit a long ball from the left corner at the 17:47 mark of the first half.
- Kentucky’s opening lineup featured Dominique Hawkins, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein for the sixth time this season.
- Alabama scored on the game’s opening possession but Kentucky responded with the next seven points and the Wildcats never trailed again.
- UK led by as many as 17 points at 37-20 and took a 37-24 lead into halftime.
- Kentucky started the second half with Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Aaron Harrison, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson.
- The lead stayed between 12 and 21 points during the second half.
- Karl-Anthony Towns had a perfect shooting night, making all four field goal attempts and all four foul shots for a total of 12 points. All of his points came in the first half.
- Willie Cauley-Stein tallied 12 points, making all four of his field-goal attempts.
- Devin Booker had 11 points, including three of four 3-pointers. He’s now made 25 of his last 38 long shots, 65.8 percent.
- Aaron Harrison chipped in 10 points, the 10th time in the last 12 games he has tallied in double figures.
- Marcus Lee led the Wildcats in rebounding with five boards and also scored eight points, most for him since scoring eight vs. North Carolina on Dec. 13.
Tyler Ulis contributed a game-high four assists and scored six points.
AN INTERVIEW WITH:
COACH JOHN CALIPARI
Q: On Willie Cauley-Stein:
COACH CALIPARI: I told them, I don’t know what you’re saying to yourself at halftime, but you better change. He was so good, he looked like the best big man in the country in the first half. That’s what I think he could do. The only issue is he had no rebounds.
So, if he had clipped off three or four five rebounds with that kind of half, it would have been like, wow.
Comes out the second half, the very first play, he gets screened, he falls asleep, fouls on a rebound.
But he’s a young kid. That’s the stuff he does. That shows you how good he could be. I like the fact that we went at Willie and went at him a little bit and made him do some things offensively. I thought he did good.
- After struggling at his dad’s alma mater and missing his first couple tonight, were you glad to see (Devin) Booker sort of get back in the groove and is that what you’ve come to expect from him the way he shot the ball?
COACH CALIPARI: I thought he played good. I got upset that we threw a ball to him in the corner and he didn’t have a shot, instead of driving it, he just passed it.
I said if you’re going to play that way, I’ll take you out. With Trey Lyles being out, this was a good win. I look at it, you look at the stats, we shoot 50-some percent, had five turnovers, and there was, we were just a little bit off. Now think about what I’m saying. Like I wasn’t ‑‑ there was things that happened out there that ‑‑ I may be wanting these guys to be perfect on every possession, but you know what? I just think we have to keep that standard high of what we’ll accept and what we’re not accepting.
Dakari (Johnson) early in the game. Sorry. Then in the second half I thought Dakari played.
I thought Marcus Lee was good the whole game. Couple one-handed rebounds.
We’re reverting, doing some things that are just absolute sins in this program. One-handed rebounds, for us, is a sin. That is a sin. There’s no reason for it. They know that. And it’s something I don’t accept.
But again, it was a good league win and now we have two days to get ready for Georgia. We’ll have a film day tomorrow and practice on Monday and get ready for them on Tuesday.
- Obviously with Trey (Lyles) out there were some minutes available, didn’t see Derek (Willis), is he still sort of not gotten back to where you want him to be?
COACH CALIPARI: He’s going to have his opportunities and when he has them ‑‑ I just, I look at it and I tell you that Aaron (Harrison) and Andrew (Harrison) and even Devin (Booker) and these guys they deserve ‑‑ now Aaron played 32 minutes, I didn’t know I played him that many minutes, I was hoping those guys got around 28 and the others did. Andrew got 28. He probably got a couple of Devin’s minutes.
But again I haven’t subbed this way this year, so it’s hard to keep track of who is in and who is out. But I liked Tyler (Ulis) and Andrew together. I thought that was good. But we’re now a different team without Trey. So we change again.
- You only trailed by 20 seconds in the entire game today, your team was just seemed highly proficient in the first five minutes. What did you see out of them in the first five?
COACH CALIPARI: We’re an efficient team. That’s how we play. We’re ‑‑ we’re not ‑‑ the issue has been for us is our post play. Today our post play was good, which is why we shot over 50 percent. Because now it opens up everything else.
You either got to double team or you got to dig, you got to do something or the guy’s going to score. That’s what Karl (-Anthony Towns) and Dakari and Willie should be able to do. Even in a physical game they should be able to do that. We’re trying to get them to be confident and we did some stuff with Karl that I think helped him, but that second half is just like, come on now. No way. This should have been a 25 and eight night for him, it really should have. He had 12 in the first half, that’s what he ended with.
- Do you expect Trey to play on Tuesday and what in particular?
COACH CALIPARI: Don’t know.
- What did you like about Willie (Cauley-Stein)?
COACH CALIPARI: Don’t know if he’ll play on Tuesday or not. He’s pretty sick. So, but Willie, we’re telling Willie, don’t settle for just being a defensive player. 4‑of-6 from the line, I wish he was 5-of‑6, but 4-of‑6 is pretty good for him. But he scored around the goal. He’s got that jump hook, he’s long, he’s active, he’s big, just jump over people and score. Even when they’re pushing on you, want it. Relish that. That’s what I want. Push me.
But again, good win without Trey, I thought our defense in the first half was really good, then we fouled and gave up a layup late. Instead of being 17, 18, it’s 13, and they got a chance and that’s the one thing this team’s not doing, putting people away when they get that opportunity.
- Apologies to everybody for a non‑game question, but rule changes. I know Seth (Greenburg) asked you about it and you said you wanted more practices August, is there anything else, shot clock, anything else that you would do?
COACH CALIPARI: Shot clock would be fine if they put it at 30. It would have no affect on me. But I think that college basketball should own August and do things in August. There’s nothing going on. So let’s own it. Let’s, let us do it. Whether it be play exhibition games, whether it be practice, whether ‑‑ you want to go on a foreign trip and they want to televise it, so what? Do what they did with us last year. It was pretty good our games out‑rated the USA basketball games most of the time. As least the first couple. So people want to watch college basketball. Do it in August.
- What about refs? Would you do anything different with the way the refs are set up right now?
COACH CALIPARI: When you have a good team you don’t have to worry about refs. When your team’s not good, you really worry about refs. Say put a fourth out there. Somebody said four times zero is zero. Six times zero is zero.
- Is it surprising to you when you say post play has been our issue?
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah. Because it’s been rough. We have to get Dakari, you got to make some and ones, you can’t miss all those and expect to go to the foul line and then miss free throws. You just can’t. We can’t throw you the ball.
He’s gotten better. He’s got to figure out ways, am I not shooting it quick enough, do I need to make a quicker play, am I trying to bully and I can’t even bully a guy that’s my size or smaller, I’m not getting it to the rim.
But we’re getting better at it, but today was great because Willie and Karl, we threw them the ball, they went 8-of-8. Well if you are bigs go 8-of‑8 you’re going to shoot over 50 percent.
- John, Karl lost Kessens on a cut in the second half, did he turn his head or what happened?
COACH CALIPARI: He stood straight up and down. You’re standing straight up and down you’re just standing there and all of a sudden you get screened you’re like, oh my, it’s ‑‑ by that time the guy’s shooting a layup. And by that time, Dakari was back in the game.
- The last undefeated team now in the NCAA, I know you said that doesn’t matter to you.
COACH CALIPARI: I think South Carolina (Women’s Team) is undefeated and Princeton (Women’s Team) is undefeated, so there’s some other teams. I think our rifle team is undefeated. Did they?
Like I said, this team, the question is, how good can we be. And I don’t know yet. I’m trying to get guys to go to that next level. I’m prodding and pushing and screaming and yelling, go, because I really do want to see how good can we really be.
You’re not going to be great every night out, if you play 30 games in a season, 31, four or five of them are going to be really high level. Four or five of them are going to be so bad you just hope the other team stinks too. And then the rest of them are all going to be within a range of four or five percent. That’s the season.
I’m trying to get us to just come out one time ‑‑ and we have had a couple now, we had the Kansas game, that was a romp, I mean that was from start ‑‑ UCLA ‑‑ start to finish, we have had a few of them. But we have also had the Columbia’s down 11, we have had Buffalo down five. We have had ‑‑ and I would imagine there’s going to be a league game or two before we finish we’ll be down at half and have to see if we can fight to come back and we’re not at our best, it’s just how the season goes.
So when you say about undefeated, we’re playing every game to win, but if you do ‑‑ I told them last night, we lose today, we’re 20-1. So?
I said, you lose in March, your season’s over.
Right now, you should just try to find out how good you can be. And that’s all we’re doing. I’m not ‑‑ I’ve had a team at Massachusetts (UMass) that was started the season like this, I had a team at Memphis that started the season like this, both of those teams took an L and by the end of the year were the best version of themselves. By the end of the year.
So, and whether that happens to this team or not, one way or another, I would rather them win it all or win them all, but if they don’t, this doesn’t. Just as long as we’re getting better.
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