Kentucky vs Montana State 11/23/14
(Sunday 6 PM) (SEC Network)
Cawood Ledford Classic
Montana State Bobcats (Big Sky Conference)
Head Coach: Brian Fish
Career Record: First Season
2013-14 Record: 14-17
2013-14 Big Sky Record: 9-11
2013-14 Postseason: None
2014-15 Record: 0-3
UCLA 113 Montana St. 78
Grand Canyon 61 Montana St. 45
CS Northridge 72 Montana St. 65
First year coach Brian Fish inherited a tough opening schedule with the Bobcats first 5 games on the road and the result thus far is 3 losses. It’s probably fortunate that their game with Buffalo is postponed because of snow.
Thus far Montana St. has been playing 9 players for at least 12 plus minutes as coach Fish is obviously trying to find the most effective starting lineup. Returning starter Marcus Colbert led the team in assists and steals last season and was an effective perimeter shooter. Colbert is being counted on as steady experienced ball handler this season. Coach Fish is hoping that the 5 freshmen will be an effective force as they gain experience this season. Importantly, the freshmen bring some needed height to the Bobcats. The Bobcats through 3 games are only shooting 39.2% and they are averaging 20 TO’s per game.
Probable Starting Lineup:
Danny Robison-F 6’8” Jr.
Eric Norman-F 6’9” Sr.
Marcus Colbert-G 5’11” Jr.
Michael Dixon-G 5’9” Sr.
Stephen Holm-G 6’3” Soph.
Other Key Players:
Blake Brumwell-C 6’7” Sr.
Zach Green-G 6’4” Fr.
Terrell Brown-F 6’4” Jr.
Kentucky returned home after a great win over 5th ranked Kansas and had their hands full with a pesky Boston U. team. It was probably expected that the Cats would have a bit of a letdown which was obvious in the 1st half against Boston U. when UK had only a 5 point lead. However, the Cats played a solid 2nd half in winning 89-65. It was great to see Devin Booker have a great game shooting from the perimeter making 4-6 3’s. The Harrison’s played well with Aaron scoring a team high 19 points and Andrew playing solid at PG with 5 assists and only one turnover.
As coach Cal pointed out….Boston U. came to play….they weren’t intimidated….they pushed and shoved and never backed down….they spread the court and took 24 perimeter shots making 9….and they played zone. UK can expect other teams to have a similar game plan which means the Cats must improve in guarding the perimeter and bring intensity to every game regardless of the opponent. In addition, UK must improve their free throw shooting….especially Dakari who was 3-8.
UK will be a heavy favorite over Montana St., but don’t expect the Bobcats to lay down….they will come to play! I see a more focused UK team offensively and defensively and a 30 point win. GO CATS!
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Kentucky vs Montana State 11/23/14
Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV
COACH JOHN CALIPARI
COACH CALIPARI: Well, he had seven assists. A bunch of them were in the zone where we were throwing that lob, but he shot the ball pretty well. It’s nice to see when he makes shots, we become a little bit different. But we struggled. Again, I thought Boston U came in and played as the aggressor and played exactly how people are going to play us. They’re going to try to spread the court, try to beat us on the bounce, make sure their 4 man can spread out on the floor so they don’t have two guys standing next to the goal and try to control the pace and try to beat somebody on a dribble or shoot a three, hope we foul them. We had guys that didn’t move their feet today instead of squaring guys off, and then down on the other side they’re going to sag in a zone or they’re going to man-to-man and they’re going to sag. That’s how they’re going to play us. We did not fight in the first half. I was disappointed for Dom and Derek, because I really wanted them to get in this rotation and get their opportunity because Alex was out, but at the end of the day, I just tried to finish out and we played units, but I ended up playing like nine guys.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, what we looked at today, we only out-rebounded them by five. But again, here’s the good stuff: You shoot 58 percent, you have 24 assists and 13 turnovers, you win by 24 and we’re all upset. So it probably means we’re not bad.
But you didn’t see the energy you saw the last game. You didn’t see the fight and the energy. Well, let me just explain to you, these guys are not computers, they’re not machines, they’re human beings, and I expected a letdown. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be too bad. That was a high-energy game what you just came off of, and then you’re playing a team that shoots the three well, and they did, 37 percent, made their free throws, 90 percent, and got beat by 24.
COACH CALIPARI: I thought he was okay. He was okay. We just weren’t as dominating. I wanted him to really smother the ball. Again, he hadn’t been playing in the games and I think it affects those guys, he and Derek, it’s hard. Derek walked in and you can tell, looked a little lost. And it’s not his fault. And that is why I wanted us to play well so they could get into a flow and they can go show who they are because they’re both very good players.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we didn’t fight in the first half. We should have been able to throw it and post the ball like we did in the second half, and guys were stepping off the block, wouldn’t fight back, would jump in the air and get pushed out. He’s pushing me. What? Push back. And we just did not fight for position.
We didn’t drive it enough. We didn’t get in gaps, but it’s hard when they’re really backing up like they were. But again, we shoot 58 percent and 38 from the 3. I would take that every game. I’d wake up after the game is over.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, he played 25 minutes so he played three more minutes, so, if you look at playing three or four more minutes, it’s probably like he took 12 or 13 shots, but the biggest thing is he had 4 assists and no turnovers. I mean, that’s huge.
Again, I thought Dakari (Johnson) played pretty well, but 3-for-8 from the line is not getting it done, and he is so much better, but you can’t — you’ve got to make free throws or I can’t have you in at the end. Karl-Anthony Towns struggled, so he’s played well one game, struggled one game, played well one game, struggled one game. That’s about where he’s going right now. But I think he’ll be fine. And Trey (Lyles) didn’t play — what they did to Trey is they went right at him, but again, two assists, and it’s what we thought. They’re going to put a smaller 3 man against him and Alex and try to beat them on the dribble. It’s not brain surgery. That’s how they’re going to play, and I told those two guys, you’ve got to guard, and if they play zone you’ve got to make sure they’re playing you.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, every guy that comes in here, we all know they’re excited about playing in this building. They’re excited about playing Kentucky. That team was giddy before the game and they played that way. They never stopped. They weren’t afraid, they battled, they weren’t backing down. If we pushed, they pushed back. The first half they pushed and we didn’t push back. We were like, why are you pushing, don’t you know who I am? It’s like, guys, every team we play is going to come in and it’s going to be a dogfight. You either want to play or you don’t. I’m not playing you. I’ll let the other group play. But, we will see.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, it was something we put in yesterday just to say they’re going to sag, so I want to show you some things we can do, and then we went back and did it like seven, eight times because they struggled with it. I think Joe (Jones) will go back and look at that and make sure that doesn’t hurt them, but there’s a couple ways you can hurt them with that cut. You can throw it right to the middle, which we did, to Dakari. You don’t have to foul. If they fight the screen you throw it right in the middle of the zone, right dead middle, which Dakari got it, but like I said, we still had a lot of guys do a lot of good stuff. It’s just, we all expect this team to be world beaters every night out, and let me say, folks, they’re not going to be, and there are games I’m going to have to drag them across the finish line. They’re normal 19-, 18-, 20-year-old kids. Something happened in class today, I don’t know.
COACH CALIPARI: Again, if you look at it, I think three or four of them were on lobs. So I took him out at one point, I think he had Aaron ahead of him and he kept dribbling, and I just took him out. We don’t make that play. If a guy is ahead of you, you throw it to him. We’re still — there’s things that are unacceptable that these young kids don’t know yet. Karl(-Anthony) Towns, had to take him out, didn’t square off a pick-and-roll and the guy drove around him. Trey was getting beat on the bounce, and again, there’s all kinds of things you can do, don’t let the guy catch the ball. He’s too good for to you guard off the bounce. Well, then I’m not letting him catch it. That’s a pretty simple one. Or, you can back up and, all of a sudden, you’re going at him, but it’s all stuff that he’s going to learn, and that’s the greatest thing. Trey Lyles is one of our best players. Believe me when I tell you, he is one of our best players. He and Karl are still learning. So is Devin. How about the cross-court zone pass? It was a look away. He looked this way and threw it cross court. The problem is he threw it to the other team, the red team. Wait a minute.
So they’re still learning, they’re going to do stuff like that.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, let’s just talk about the stage these guys were on a couple days ago. Pretty big stage. I mean, pretty big stage in a crazy game, in a game that mattered and two top-five teams, and here they are, freshmen, and you throw them in there and act like you should be fine. We expect these kids to do things beyond the norm, but that’s why you come here. You’re not afraid of that challenge.
You’re also not afraid that every team is going to come in like Buffalo did, like Boston did, like these next games. Wait until you see the Providence team. Wait until you see Texas. They’re coming in this building with one thought: We’re winning. And you’ve got to be ready to fight and battle.
COACH CALIPARI: Right. That’s why if you can tell, I’m like, good. We weren’t very good today and what we looked like was a November team. The Kansas game on defense, we looked like a January team. On offense, we looked like a November team. Today we looked like November. And it’s what you have.
But again, you’ve got to give Boston U credit because of how they played. They were the aggressor. They controlled tempo. They played exactly — I told my — they called Buffalo, you don’t think he called Buffalo? Spread him out, beat him on the bounce, control the tempo, sag back. I mean, you’ve got to make 3s anyway. If you make them, you may beat them. If you don’t make them, it doesn’t matter, you weren’t winning anyway. That’s how people are going to play us, and we’ve just got to be prepared for it.
On his performance …
“I finally got to see a shot go in. That’s good to see, and most of all, I wanted to get other people involved and I feel like we did that. We had a slow start, but in the second half we pulled it together.”
On how often he’s had seven assists in a game …
“Not very often, but it’s easy when you have teammates like this.”
On how much of a relief it was to hit four 3′s …
“It was real relieving. Shooters keep shooting. That’s what people keep telling me, so I kind of shot of myself out of it and from here on out I feel like I’ll be good.”
On not letting bad shooting affect the rest of his game …
“It’s an adjustment that you have to make from high school to college. And like I said, I feel like it’s coming along right now. But like I said, when you have a team like this, if you’re not shooting or not scoring, you can involve yourself in different ways to contribute to the win.”
On whether the atmosphere affected him against Kansas …
“I don’t think so. Like I said, the games before I didn’t shoot well either. I think it was just a matter of — I really don’t know what it was. But like I said, I just keep shooting. I had a lot of talks with Coach and my dad. They just said, ‘Keep shooting. It’s going to fall.’ And I came out tonight and it did.”
On whether this was a letdown after Kansas …
“At halftime, we had to realize that we have to come out with more energy. We started the game kind of sluggish, probably from the excitement of the Kansas game. But like I said, we pulled together and got the win so it was all good for us.”
On whether it’s difficult to sustain energy after a game like Kansas …
“It’s kind of tough, but we have to put ourselves in that mindset that people are going to come at us every game as the team that we are and we have to accept that, and we have to come out every game and play like it’s our last.”
On whether he thought Hawkins could get up that high …
“Actually, right when I threw it I thought I threw it a little bit too high, but I’ve seen him jump before and he can jump like that.”
On how excited Hawkins was to make his first start …
“I guess he was really excited. He played well, so that’s good for us. Like I said, that lob was incredible. Seeing it from my view, it was crazy.”
On whether he’s the lob specialist …
“Well, Coach drew it up for me, so I guess I was put in that situation. It’s kind of easy when you have people that can jump like Dom.”
On whether he did anything different to get out of his funk …
“Yeah, I always get extra shots before and after practice. Just keep shooting, and I kept doing that and, like I said, I feel like it’s a good start for me.”
On whether he shot more …
“A little bit more, but usually I keep it the same because we have a lot of practice and we’re ripping and running all day.”
On whether he remembers the moment when Cal took him out against Kansas after he missed a few shots and they laughed together …
“Yeah, I do. He just told me, ‘Keep shooting. They’re going to fall.’ So it’s kind of easy when a coach has confidence in you like that. It makes it easier on me.”
On not letting missed shots bother him …
“I’m a little frustrated in the head because the shot’s not falling and obviously I want to win, but, like I said, you just have to keep doing what you do, keep doing the fundamentals that you learned how to shoot and eventually it will go down.”
On what he thinks of facing teams that play zone and spread the floor again and again …
“Hopefully I won’t shoot as poorly because I definitely missed a lot of shots that I need to make against that kind of defense if we’re going to win. But other than that, I think we missed a lot of easy shots in the first half. In the second half, I think everyone was hitting shots.”
On Booker making a few shots …
“I was happy for him. He’s just gotta get in a rhythm and slow down a little bit and that’s what he did.”
On whether he thought Hawkins could get up that high …
“Oh, yeah. I think the team is probably the only people who know how high Dominique can jump because he’s not going to go, just, kind of show off or anything like that. We were surprised when he did it, but not that surprised.”
On whether he said anything to Booker after his rough start …
“Oh, yeah. Of course you gotta keep shooting. Just like he had a good shooting day today and I had an awful one. You just gotta keep your confidence. That’s what being a shooting guard is. No matter how many shots you miss, you gotta keep going because that’s what your team needs you to do: score the ball.”
On whether BU pushed them around in the first half …
“I think they did push us around a little too much in the first half. It’s just something we have to learn, coming out being more physical, having more energy.”
On whether he liked playing with the three-guard lineup …
“I think it helps a lot with the sagging zone, just to have shooters on the outside. I really wasn’t a shooter tonight, but just in that type of defense I think that will really help us.”
On the team’s performance coming off Kansas …
“I mean, I knew that some of the young guys wouldn’t know how to go into a game like this after coming off such a big game. And that’s why I think we started off a little slow. We just had to refresh each other’s minds and tell each other what we’re trying to do this season.”
On Boston’s zone slowing them down offensively …
“Yeah, I mean, I just think we missed a lot of easy shots in the first half, and I think that’s what slowed us down. If we were making shots in the first half, we would’ve been just fine, and, just, I think that’s the big thing. We won’t shoot that, or I won’t shoot that poorly.”
On how good it felt to deliver on the increase in touches he got tonight …
“Uh, I mean, I really didn’t deliver. But, it was a zone, so it was kind of different in terms of what he means by getting me touches and stuff like that. So that was a different type of defense that we going against, so it wasn’t really the same thing. But, I mean, of course I, we shot the ball well. Devin shot the ball well. Dominique shot the ball well. And we just starting posting and that’s what worked.”
On his reverse scoop shot and if that’s something he shoots a lot …
“Oh I mean, I just thought it was going to be a more simple shot, but, I mean, they had a 7-foot guy that was in there, so I just tried to get it up there a different kind of way and it fell for me.”
On if that shot shows how much more well-rounded he is this season …
“Yeah, of course. That’s part of being a player. Just like today, I couldn’t really hit a spot-up jumper. My shot wasn’t falling today, so I had to figure out other ways to score, and I think that’s what I tried to do. And I just played defense and do what I can.”
On how he relates to Devin Booker, when his shots finally fell tonight …
“Oh yeah, I mean, you just have to — I think it comes with just being mature and just knowing, if you play shooting guard, you’re going to have to shoot and you’re going to have bad days, and you’re going to miss five, six straight. So you just have to keep your confidence and keep shooting, and I think that’s the biggest thing about being a shooting guard.”
On going against the taller guys in practice and using creative shots …
“Oh, I mean, I guess sometimes, but most of the time you just have to pull up because, in practice, that still would’ve been blocked, really.”
On if his teammates have made him more creative …
“Oh, yeah, definitely. You definitely have to figure out how to get different ways to get it to the rim in practice, so, that probably helped me a lot this summer and in preseason.”
On what he thought about Hawkins’ dunk at the end …
“I mean, we were excited for him, but we weren’t surprised. We knew how high he could get up. You guys probably don’t know because he doesn’t, like, show off or anything like that, but, he think it’s showing off I guess. But, we’re just happy for him. We knew he could do things like that.”
On when he found out he’d be starting …
“Last night. Coach Cal, we had a walk-through last night. He talked to me, told me that if I wanted to start, and I said yes.”
On feeling more comfortable out on the court …
“Definitely, I’m more comfortable. My teammates basically build my confidence. They tell me to shoot the ball and so, once your teammates tell you to shoot it, you definitely want to shoot it. And, when it goes in, it gives you a lot more confidence. And in practice I’ve been shooting really well.”
On the teammates telling him to be ready to go up for the lob …
“Uh, well, they don’t tell me that though, but they always tell me they’ll throw me a lob if I ever have the chance to get one.”
On the feeling on getting a dunk …
“It’s good. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m waiting. After this I’ll probably go watch it. (Reporter says he was at the top of the square.) Really? That’s nice. That’s nice.”
On what he continues to work on defensively …
“I just want to pressure the person that’s handling the ball. Coach Cal always tells me that one of my strong abilities is pressuring the ball. And I’m so good at it that it frustrates the ball handler a little bit. And when that happens I feel like I’m helping the team out.”
On the feeling he had starting in his first game …
“Uh, it’s an amazing feeling. I was so nervous. I’m blessed to be able to start for the No. 1 team in the nation, and it was just a crazy feeling. I felt like I was dreaming.”
On if he would’ve preferred to start today so he could get some sleep last night …
“I slept good last night. After walk-through we were supposed to take a nap and I really couldn’t sleep through it, thinking about it. At the beginning of the game, when it got going, all the nerves went away.”
On how Alex Poythress is doing …
“To be honest, I really don’t know how ill he is. But I know he was sick after practice before, he was throwing up. But we don’t know what he has.”
On what’s going through his mind when the lob is on its way …
“Uh, first thing is catch it, no matter how high it is, I’ve just gotta go catch it and get it in some way.”
On if he was surprised on how high he went up …
“I don’t even know how high I went up for it. I’ll have to watch the video after this is over. (Reporter says he can’t wait.) Yeah, I really can’t wait.”
On what the team said to him after …
“They were like, why don’t I do that all the time. But, I’ve never had a play for me made like that before, to do it all the time. But hopefully, another game I’ll be able to do the same thing.”
On if the play was drawn up and how it got communicated …
“It was basically drawn up last night. Well, we used the play last year though. We haven’t used the play this year. So, we actually used it for the first time today. I think Trey Lyles, he got, like, three dunks off of it.”
On if he had a bunch of messages after he got back to the locker room …
“Yeah, I have like 50. I haven’t even seen them yet.”
On how it felt as a Kentucky kid to finally get a start in Rupp …
“It was crazy. I was so nervous about it. I was just focusing on not messing up at the beginning of the game. I’m blessed to be able to start on the No. 1 team.”
On how he thinks he’s been playing in practice …
“Oh, I feel like I’ve been playing really well. I’m more confident, knocking down shots from the 3-point line and inside when I drive.”
On what’s going through his mind after he gets the breakaway and the floater …
“I just felt like I was, free to play. Like, once I get the ball in transition, I’ve always been good enough not to turn it over, just make a play, ‘cause basically, in high school, I did that all the time.”
On what it felt like to guard a guy so hard that he went down on his knees …
“It’s a good feeling. When you get someone to do that, it really frustrates them. And I can tell he didn’t really want to handle the ball, so I just kept attacking him until he passed the ball. “
On if he’s done that to anyone in college yet …
“No, I haven’t had that happen yet. He fell down a couple of times though, but he’s a really good player. He was knocking down a lot of 3’s, so I had to put pressure on him.”
On the team saying he might be the best dunker and why he doesn’t dunk very often …
“Uh, well I really haven’t had a breakout, a fast break, where I was wide open to do a dunk. I’ve never had a play for a lob, but today I had a chance to be the person to get a lob. Not a lot of people know that I can actually dunk, and I believe I’m the best dunker on the team still.”
Friday, November 21, 2014
Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV
“We just have to keep working. We played really hard. A lot of their shots didn’t fall and stuff like that, so we know we still have a lot to improve on. It’s just the third game of the season. It really doesn’t mean anything.”
“You just have to play D and listen to what Coach is saying and be unselfish and I think everybody on this team is like that. Everyone wants to win.”
“It’s just determination and practicing, practicing hard. It’s being a leader, making sure everyone is still practicing hard and don’t be satisfied with a win.”
“Yeah, I think so. Especially when you have so much talent on a team and there’s no drop-off, it’s great.”
“It’s just better execution in the first half, and that’s on me. I think we were a little tired the first little segment the blue team had or whatever, but it started working out. You get your second wind and I just tried to make sure the freshmen weren’t that nervous and stuff like that.”
“No, not really. Actually we just get it from seeing what everyone else says, to be honest. We just think of it as one team and we just take turns.”
“Um, I don’t really want to say. Usually my team though.”
“Oh, definitely. Coach knows that we’re sacrificing. We might not be getting the numbers that we planned on getting and stuff like that, but when we win and we’re playing like that together as a team and everyone is shining and everyone is seeing what we can do, it’s great.”
“When you’re winning like that, definitely. But Coach also (says) anybody can see how good you are in 20 minutes just like they can in 35 minutes. It’s not like you can’t see the talent or you can’t see how good you are.”
“I’m just trying to be a leader and I’m just trying to get better every day. I have a long way to go.”
“Just talking. Make sure everyone’s loose, make sure the pressure’s not on them and just trying to help out any way I can.”
“Yeah, I have the experience and I feel like we’ve been through a lot as a team and as an individual. I feel like I can help.”
“That was good. Like I said, it’s good because the pressure’s not really on them so they can just go out there relaxed and play. I’m sure they had fun and they played great.”
“Yeah, I think so. Just because some of us have been through it and we know how hard it is to try to win on individual play. We’re just trying to play as a team.”
“We just all believe that—you just have to trust in every player on the team that you’re going to stop your team or if you get beat Willie’s going to come help you or Karl’s going to help Willie. Just stuff like that.”
“Definitely. It’s definitely to our advantage having 10 guys that can all play. And we take pride in defense and wearing people down, so I think it’s working.”
“He said he wanted me to be more aggressive on offense. And he said we were just sloppy offensively at the beginning of the game, which we definitely were. I think we were all just catching our breath and things like that. But other than that, I think we played a really good game defensively.”
“I don’t think they need an individual (to be the lead scorer). I just think Coach wants to keep it going and just for the team’s sake. But other than that, I think we won the game on the defensive end, and I think that’s what’s important.”
“I don’t know. He just said he wanted me to get more touches and things like that. So I mean, we won pretty handily, so I’m not worried about it that much.”
“I mean, I know how they feel. I practice with these guys every day and it’s really hard to get a shot off in the lane. So I just think you have to hit a lot of 3’s to be able to beat us and they had a rough shooting night. But they’re a good team. I can tell they’ll be OK down the road.”
“It just gives me more confidence just to know that the big guys have my back and I can play aggressively.”
“Oh yeah, it’s been the biggest thing, I think, because we’re so big and so long that we know teams are going to have to hit a lot of 3’s to beat us. So we try to run teams off the 3-point line and make them take tough 2’s.”
“I don’t know think we emphasized running them off the 3-point line as much last year, so that’s a big factor in our game plan and every game we play.”
“Yeah, they’re a pretty good team, a pretty good shooting team, and I think that’s going to be a big, big factor in the game.”
“He knows, we all know we have a long way to go. We didn’t play well offensively. We offensive rebounded really well, but I think we can execute on the offensive end a lot better.”
“I mean, I don’t know. I think we would just be more fluid in our half-court offense. I think we did settle down once the game got going and did get it more efficient, but I think we should start off like that. We just need to start off better on offense.”
“Yeah, of course. I think the platoon system did help us, ’cause last year in the same game we were a little worn down. And we weren’t used to that intensity and we needed a couple of breaks that we didn’t get.”
“It’s good. We’re all in great condition, and put in a lot of work this summer. And I think it helps us because we can wear teams down and there’s a lot of guys coming at you, so it’s hard to handle.”
“He’s just playing more loose and more relaxed. He’s just having more fun, and I think that’s the biggest thing.”
“Yeah, I think it’s just all about being more comfortable and having the green light to do, to know that you can do what you need to do while he has to get us involved.”
“I think we just, once we’ve focused on the defensive end we’re a really tough team to score on and we take pride in our defensive. We’re going to be a defensive team this year.
“I mean, it was fun to see them in that atmosphere. I remember my first big game like that and I was real nervous. And I think they handled it really well.”
“It’s really different. I mean, just going out, and not even starting a game, just knowing that the game’s on you and you have to play the whole game, and it’s on you to win or lose. But for them, I think it’s less stressful to be in their situation.”