UK is back on track, Missouri takes a beating 86-37

Missouri at Kentucky, Men’s Basketball – Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky. – Jan. 13, 2015

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 86, Missouri 37

  • Kentucky is 16-0, 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri is 7-9 overall, 1-2 in league play.
  • Kentucky leads the series 7-0, including 4-0 in Lexington.
  • Along with Virginia, Kentucky is one of two undefeated teams in NCAA Division I.
  • With 16 consecutive victories to begin the season, UK is off to the fourth-best start in program history, tying the 1933-34 team for that honor.
  • Kentucky is 194-27 all-time when ranked No. 1 and has won 34 of the last 36 games as The Associated Press top-ranked team.
  • Calipari has led three teams to a No. 1 ranking (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky) and has a 78-9 record as the top-ranked coach, including 37-4 at UK.
  • Kentucky returns to action Saturday at Alabama. Tipoff is 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. CST in Tuscaloosa) and it will be televised on ESPN.
Cats dominate Missouri - Photo by Tammie Brown - Midwest News & Sports
Cats dominate Missouri – Photo by Tammie Brown – Midwest News & Sports

Team Notes

  • This was Kentucky’s largest margin of victory against a Southeastern Conference opponent since a 62-point margin against Vanderbilt, 106-44, on March 5, 2003.
  • The 37 points scored by Missouri is the fewest by an SEC opponent since a 50-36 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 31, 1987.
  • UK held Missouri to below 20 points in both halves. It is the second time this season UK has achieved the feat (also vs. Montana State). UK has now held an opponent to 20 or fewer points in 12 halves this season.
  • Missouri was limited to 27.1 percent from the field, the ninth opponent this season held under 30 percent shooting. UK entered the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense (31.3 percent).
  • Missouri was held to 5.6 percent on 3-point shots (1 of 18), the lowest percentage this season by a Kentucky opponent.
  • Kentucky made 8 of 18 shots from 3-point territory, 44.4 percent. Over the last six games, Kentucky has shot 43.8 percent on 3-pointers, 53 of 121.
  • Kentucky shot a season-best 80 percent from the foul line, hitting 24 of 30.
  • UK is 100-5 in the John Calipari Era when holding opponents to 63 or fewer points, including 12-0 this season.
  • UK is 50-0 in the John Calipari Era when holding opponents to 55 or fewer points, including 12 times this season.
  • Tyler Ulis’ 3-point shot with 13 minutes to go in the first half extended Kentucky’s streak of a 3-pointer in 916 consecutive games. It’s the second-longest streak in the country.

First-Half Facts

  • Kentucky’s opening lineup featured Dominique Hawkins, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein for the third time this season.
  • Leading 12-10, Kentucky took control by closing the half with a 32-8 run, going to intermission ahead 44-18.

Second-Half Story

  • Kentucky started the second half with Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson.
  • Kentucky outscored Missouri 42-19 in the second half, the 12th half of the season that UK held the opponent under 20 points.

Player Notes

  • Aaron Harrison led all scorers with 16 points. He made five 3-pointers, tying his career high set a week ago vs. Ole Miss.  He has made at least two 3-pointers in six straight games.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein compiled 13 points, his best since tallying 15 in the win over North Carolina on Dec. 13.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season (also vs. UT Arlington).
  • Devin Booker had a perfect shooting night. He made both field-goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and both free throws for a total of seven points.  He has made 17 of 22 3-pointers (77.3 percent) over the last six games.
  • Dominique Hawkins made his third start of the season, his first since the Montana State game on Nov. 23. He tallied six points, three assists and a career-high two steals.

AN INTERVIEW WITH:

 

COACH JOHN CALIPARI

 

  1. Last week it sounded like you weren’t going to go to a 10‑man rotation, so what changed to put Dominique (Hawkins) in there?

COACH CALIPARI:  Well, I had planned on it, I just didn’t tell you guys.  I don’t tell you guys everything.

After the last game I just said I’m going back to 10.  Then the question became, would it be Derek (Willis) or Dominique (Hawkins).  Dominique had played better in practice, and he deserved the opportunity and he did well today.  I mean, he belonged in the game.  His energy was great, he drives over the middle ‑‑ missed a couple jumpers, but he’s shooting the ball well in practice he just hadn’t been in the games enough.

I thought our defensive intensity, because of the platoons, was back to where it was.  No one got hurt today.  Everybody helped themselves as a player and they helped our team.  The only thing that gets in the way is the ego.  You should be playing more – and why aren’t you shooting more – and this is crazy – and it’s all ego.  Everyone helped themselves, their deficiencies today were off the charts.

 

  1. In terms of making a decision to start that 10th guy, was that to balance out that second group, get Trey Lyles offensively?

COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah.  Because if I would have started Derek, it would have been Derek with that second group.  I just didn’t want to have two smaller guys on the same team.

And, it did another thing:  It let Dominique play the ball.  So now you always have pressure on the point guard.  Dominique or Tyler (Ulis).  I don’t know if I’ll do it next game.  I may not.

 

  1. I was just going to ask you that, about Dom’s defense on (Keith) Shamburger.  How important that was?  Setting a tone early.

COACH CALIPARI:  Well the one thing we said is, we wanted to take away they’re 3s. That was the whole game plan.  They did it through screen the screeners, they did it through ball screens, last game they made 10 3’s.

They have been shooting 23 to 24 3’s a game the last five games.  And let me say this:  They got what UCLA and Kansas got.  That’s what they got.  That effort.

But understand, they had Illinois beat, they lost by two.

They had Oklahoma State, they lost in overtime.  They had them beat.  These are their last five games.

They beat LSU.

And they had Auburn down 10 and they ended up losing by a couple.

So, you can say what you want, they played a buzz saw today.  I think what Kim (Anderson) has done with his team to get these guys to play the way they have to play to win.  Think about it, they beat LSU and had Auburn.  They should have come in here 2‑0.  They had Auburn down 12.

 

  1. About that effort and the buzz saw, was there oratory on your part to produce that or was it a pride thing among the guys?

COACH CALIPARI:  What I said before the game is, if they give a great effort, I’m going to give them off tomorrow.  Kind of like what we did for Christmas.  You’re going to have three, four days off.  And they went nuts.

So I said, we’re going to have ‑‑ now I took that back and I said, we are practicing tomorrow ‑‑ but I did say that prior to the game.

 

  1. Karl (Anthony Towns) had a double-double, but it didn’t seem like you were totally thrilled the whole game with him.  Could you talk about his play a little bit.

COACH CALIPARI:  Well, what he did, I thought he fought like crazy and I thought it was the best game he’s played in weeks.  Best game he’s played in weeks.  And the reason is he sustained effort.

Now, he still broke down and I let him know every time he did.  His breakdowns were standing straight up and down, not being in the stance, not being alert to move, getting caught in a mud wrestling match with a big because you won’t bend your legs.  And then the ball comes to you and you can’t even rebound it because you’re in a mud wrestling, it hits you, you can’t get it.  Its things like that that I’ve gotten on him about.

But he’s getting better.  He’s a great kid.  I took him out, if Marcus Lee one‑hand rebounds, he’s coming out.  That moment.

If Karl (Anthony Towns) steps back to shoot a 3, he’s coming out.  So he stepped back to shoot a 3, you’re out.  I mean I ‑‑ that’s just ‑‑ I told him that and that’s what he did.

 

  1. Would you talk about the greater production from the paint.  Was there more going inside out tonight?

COACH CALIPARI:  We showed tape of Texas A&M where we didn’t throw it to the post and I basically said, if you don’t throw it to the guy when he’s open, you’re coming out.

So it’s pretty simple.  If he’s open, throw it to him.  Well, I thought ‑‑ you’re out.  You’re not playing, I’m playing somebody else.  I hate to do it that way, but that’s what we did.

The other thing I did today is, we did more of a random zone offense.  In other words, play off of each other.

If we have the best players in the country, we don’t have to run a whole lot of plays, we’ll run some plays, but you got to be able to play off of each other.

Now what that does is, you can’t use the offense as an excuse now.  Why aren’t you competing, why aren’t you driving?  Why aren’t you ready to play?

You can’t say it’s, well I thought we were running ‑‑ no, it’s random.  You got to get in gaps, you got to drive the ball, you got to post the ball.  You got to figure out if a guy drives where do I move to get out, who is flashing to the middle.

So I’m just trying to do some stuff to keep these guys going and I told them after the game, I don’t want them to be in March looking like it’s March.

We still offensively broke down a bunch today.  And even ‑‑ there were some defensive breakdowns.  But I said it’s January 15th, that’s what you should look like, a January team.  Play hard and defend you can do those things and still look like a January team.

 

  1. Did we all maybe under estimate the significance of (Alex) Poythress going out and how long it might take you guys to figure out how to play without him?

COACH CALIPARI:  In a physical game it is devastating he’s not here.  In a physical game ‑‑ and we have had some physical games.  But we still have things we got to take care of.  But it was nice.

We needed to have a win where we could get our swag back a little bit.  Get ‑‑ but it was all based on an effort and an intensity and we never let up.  We never let up through the clock and through the game.

 

  1. Talk about Willie’s play.  When you look at that line, what you want?

COACH CALIPARI:  Willie was really, really good today.  I will tell you that I still think offensively he can do more.  He needs to have a wider base.  He needs to create contact instead of trying to move from contact.  When he makes free throws and he’s been working on it, even at the shoot around today he stayed after and shot another 25 free throws.  Guys, they know what they have to do.  But today, again, every player performed.  No one played ‑‑ Willie played 23 minutes, only because Marcus Lee was one‑handed rebounding.  Any time he one‑handed rebounded, I took him out.

 

  1. So when Willie says he hits 80 out of a hundred free throws every day?

COACH CALIPARI:  He’s making them.  He is.  But you got to do that stuff in the game, too.

 

  1. Did you like the shots that Aaron was taking tonight after his 2‑13 performance from three the other night?

COACH CALIPARI:  It was 4‑20.  4‑20.  2‑13 doesn’t sound good, 4‑20 sounds worse.

But, no, he was good.  They listen.  Look, the greatest thing is we have got great kids.  They don’t play great every night out, but they want to do well, they want to listen, they want to be coached.  They celebrated each other today.  You have to admit, people talked about our defense and our bench.  Well, what happened to our bench in the last few games?  Our bench went away.  So the platoon got us back to being into each other and celebrating each other.

Now we got to build on this.  We got a tough game, we got to go to Alabama, I bet you they haven’t lost there yet.  They’re playing well, had Wichita State down 10 with two and a half minutes to go.  I mean, they’re a Top‑20 RPI team.  So, it’s going to be a hard one for us.

 

  1. You said you felt like you guys got your swag back tonight.  Is that something that you did in practice tonight before the game or is that something that you just saw in this game?

COACH CALIPARI:  No, we went in with an idea for each platoon.  If you gave up more than six points, you were out.  So, you weren’t going to get your full minutes.

And if you really played and you had that, you could sustain it, we would give you more minutes than the four minutes.  But it was a six point first half, they didn’t get six in any of the sets ‑‑ they got six in one segment, they didn’t get more than six.  So we’re trying to challenge them with different things to keep them motivated to play.  And it’s really to play defense.  We’re a defensive team.  That’s what we are.

 

  1. What was the key to slowing down Johnathan Williams and how important was it to do that?

COACH CALIPARI:  Well, he is really, he’s gotten so much better.  Today the length bothered him.  We just made him get to his right hand.  We didn’t ‑‑ we were trying really hard not to let him get to that left hand.  I think that the length of our team, you think, oh, we’re all right, and then you get out there and the guards are 6‑6 and 6‑7 and Trey Lyles is 6‑10 and two seven footers and we’re long and all of a sudden your drives are not like, I got a lay up, you’re thinking, man, I may get this blocked.

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