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December 10, 2014

John Calipari



Q.  Was that unexpected, the way you guys started tonight?  And also just your thought on the way Andrew played.  I think he was 1‑12 tonight.
COACH CALIPARI:  I was disappointed in the energy level.  But, see, that's what the platoons have done for us.  It hides all this.  Because instead of getting seven minutes of that, you get two.
Then you figure out how to play and you come back and you do it.  I think the platoon has helped everyone on this team doing it the way we're doing it, every single guy.
You got to give Columbia credit.  They came in, they were not afraid.  They played Michigan State the same way they just did us, up at Michigan State.  And they knew they could do this.  And Kyle did a good job of spreading us out.
But you saw more energy in the second half and you saw that you could take them out of things and we didn't play with any energy.  There was no fire, there was no buzz, there was no, nothing.  But give them credit, here's the other thing they did:
Every time we broke down, left a corner, got broken down on a bounce, they made a three early.
I told the team, I said, look, they have just made like three or four threes, but they're not a great three‑point shooting team, so just keep playing.  Don't break down and leave corners.  Make them take tough shots.
As the game went on, we did it.  It was a game ‑‑ we had four turnovers.  It's a game that, again, it's our third game in a row where we're not making shots.  I mean, literally, not making like open shots, shooting air balls, and plugging them and missing them so poorly, open shots.
I thought Trey was outstanding today.  10 rebounds and had a couple stick backs.  If he makes those, he goes two assists, two blocks, 10 rebounds, seven points, he was really good.  Great motor.  Great motor.

Q.  What's the status of Tyler and Devon and are they going to be back for North Carolina?
COACH CALIPARI:  Don't know yet, I hope so.  I basically said, if you don't practice tomorrow, you're not playing Saturday.  So if they can't practice, then they won't play.

Q.  What do you attribute the poor shooting to the last three games?
COACH CALIPARI:  I don't know.  Somebody said why don't we come down here and shoot?  I said, we're shooting just as bad in the practice facility, maybe we should go to the blue courts outside and try it out there in the wind.  Maybe the wind will knock some shots in.
But the crazy thing is we got good shooters.  We're a good shooting team that's not making shots.  Thank goodness, we're a terrific defensive team, because this isn't the first game we shot the ball like this.
I was proud of Derek Willis.  Derek right now, if Devin can't play and Tyler does play, then Derek will be the two on that team.  He'll be the other player.
Derek was really good today.  I mean defensively active, played with confidence.  There's just a couple things that he's got to do in the zone to post the ball, but I thought Derek was outstanding.

Q.  Was there anything today that Columbia did that was surprising or caught you off guard?
COACH CALIPARI:  They made those threes.  The tape I watched, they hadn't been great three‑point shooting team.  And they started the game like they were on fire.  It was 11‑0 to start the game.
Thank goodness we had the three‑point play to slow things down and get it back to eight points.
But here's the other thing that kind of surprised me:  They, they fought us in the post.  And they fought more than our guys fought.
They kept us away from offensive rebounds that we could get, except for Trey, everyone else just accepted being pushed and that was it.
They also ‑‑ we couldn't fight them for position.  So we missed how many one‑footers?
And then, if you got fouled, a guy goes 2‑5 from the line.  Those are demoralizing plays.  And that was based on one thing:  They fought and we didn't fight back.

Q.  Are you happy with the shots you're getting and above and beyond making shots what do you see that you're not doing offensively?
COACH CALIPARI:  I think there are opportunities for us to drive and we don't.  Again, I thought the energy was so bad.  We threw it ahead, got it back, and stood straight up and stopped, when there were areas to get in the lane and throw that lob we throw or go in the lane and throw him a shot that he can make.  It's all based on that.
But it's going to be fine, because if anyone is out there, there were times Alex stopped today.  Like just had no, boom, out.  Trey, go.
I mean, it's not real hard.  The way we're doing this, the only thing I'm asking is, play with a high motor, really play with energy, clap, be enthusiastic, play.
If you don't choose to, then let someone else play.
This stuff happens.  I'm happy with my team and I'm happy this happened today.  It shows us.  And you guys, you'll focus on Andrew 1‑12.
What Andrew did today, he kept trying to draw fouls by throwing his body in.  I kept telling him, they're not going to call that foul.  That was last year.  That's what he did.
Well, he's gotten away from it.  Today he reverted back.  They're not calling that a foul.  If you go into the guy and throw your arm or shoulder they're not calling it.
So, of the 1‑12, let's say seven of them were that way.  Seven of them were that way.

Q.  On the three‑point shooting, is there a fine line between working on it and not making an issue of it?  How do you try to bring it around?
COACH CALIPARI:  I don't make a big deal of it.  I'm not worried about it.  You guys understand, if we go 10‑17 from the three, against anybody, you know what that score's going to be.  It's going to be really ugly.
But we can go 2‑17, if we guard, and still have a chance to win the game.  May not be a double digit game, but you can still win the game, because we guard.
That's what's kind of crazy about this.  There's no pressure on you to make them.  It just makes the game a little easier for the rest of us if you do.
We had a lot of good looks, we had some of them unguarded, like unguarded threes, and didn't make them.  And that's unusual because we got guys that I think are three‑point shooters and can make them, but, you know, we will see.

Q.  In the first half I think you guys were a plus two in rebounding, you finished plus 13.  What changed from the first half to the second half?
COACH CALIPARI:  Trey Lyles went after the ball.  I went to a different lineup.  Dakari and Karl weren't getting balls, so I went with Willie and Marcus Lee and we started getting rebounds.
You know, this was one of those games where Marcus and Willie were the two that broke the game open.  With Trey and, you know, the two guards with Derek Willis.
Those seven broke the game open playing that way ‑‑ or those six‑‑ but it was only a four or five minute stretch that we won the game.  The rest of the game was, we were either losing or even.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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