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March 13, 2016

Billy Kennedy

Danuel House

Alex Caruso

Nashville, Tennessee

Kentucky - 82, Texas A&M - 77

THE MODERATOR: Ready to begin with Texas A&M.

BILLY KENNEDY: I'm really proud of our team. I'm proud of these seniors for fighting hard in a tough environment against a really good team. We had our opportunities, and you've got to give Kentucky credit. They made a couple of big shots to win the game. This is hopefully a great experience for us to get us ready for the NCAA Tournament and do something special in the tournament.

Q. Danuel, can you just talk about how your game totally in this game. It seemed like you were on top of your game for most of this game. Just talk about that. And also the last three that you missed.
DANUEL HOUSE: To talk about the first question, just played. Coach Kennedy and the guys got me the ball. And knowing that they believe in me, I just wanted to go out there and make a good play for my teammates, and I just wanted to give them my all. Thanks to those guys for finding me in the right spot, setting screens, and getting me open, I was able to knock down a shot.

Q. Alex, if you could, could you just talk a little bit about the play of Tyler Ulis and what makes him so effective.
ALEX CARUSO: Well, one, he's played three straight days about 40 minutes, and he could probably play another game right now. He's a tremendous athlete. His conditioning is outstanding. I think that helps a lot. When someone doesn't get tired, they can play at their best, and his best is really elite. He's a good player, Player of the Year in the conference, I think rightfully so.

He leads their team. He makes shots. He creates for others. He's the ultimate team guy. Just a real good talent.

Q. Danuel, speaking of Tyler, at times they put him on you. What was the difference when he was covering you compared to like one of the other guys, like Murray or Briscoe or somebody? And what did you try to do differently when that happened?
DANUEL HOUSE: What I tried to do differently is, instead of handling the ball out there, which i know he's a little bit quicker than I am, I tried to go to the block, get to the goal and post up. But he's laterally quicker than the other two guys, Briscoe and Jamal. But all three of them are good defenders. Can't take nothing away from them.

Q. Alex, can you just talk about, again, the offensive rebounding that kept you in the game. It seemed like every time they were up like three or five points and you guys would miss a shot, you'd still get the rebound and then get a basket to stay in it.
ALEX CARUSO: Yeah, we have really good athletes. I mean, our front line is really good at just playing hard and crashing every time. Our coaches emphasized going to the boards, and Kentucky is a team that we thought we could try and get them on the glass after our first meeting. So we just tried to be diligent about going to the glass every time, and then the ball bounced our way a number of times.

Q. I know it's kind of tough right now, Alex, but can you look back -- and Danuel too -- and see what kind of a great game you were just in?
ALEX CARUSO: Yeah. I mean, the fight from both teams is outstanding. That's why we finished co-champions of the SEC, two really good teams battling it out. I mean, there's just a testament to how good each of these teams are and how well coached they are.

DANUEL HOUSE: Like Alex said, two good teams.

Q. Coach, defensively, you switched a lot, and not only with who was guarding who, but going to the zone. What did you think worked best, and why did you go to the zone a lot more than you have this year?
BILLY KENNEDY: We knew we were playing basically in Lexington in Rupp Arena, and we needed to control the game and control the tempo. We didn't want to just let them get up and down. So we wanted to change the pace of the game. I thought that was pretty good because our goal was to hold them under 68 points, and they had 71 at the end of the game, and we had 71. So the pace of the game gave us an opportunity to win.

And then we needed -- they did a really good job of doubling Tyler Davis and causing some traffic around Jalen.

And that hurt us.

Q. Coach, you talk about Danuel's game and what that could mean going forward because he had struggled for the last little while here, but not today.
BILLY KENNEDY: Yeah, I've said probably for a few weeks now that I thought he would have a breakout game. And this is when we needed it. To his credit, he stayed with a great work ethic and worked through the issues that he had, and then he did a heck of a job today. I'm just proud of him for hanging tough and fighting through it.

Q. Coach, did you learn anything new about your team today? I mean, you guys have kind of struggled on the road but played pretty well.
BILLY KENNEDY: We've been good all year. I expected us to play well. Is this the fourth game we played against Kentucky where it's been an overtime game? And they're good. I mean, they're Final Four good. With Ulis and Murray, I thought we wore them down some, especially Murray. Ulis, I don't think you can wear him down, but we wore him down some, and he missed some shots. But when he needed to make a big one, he made a big one, and that's a credit to those guys.

Q. With a game like this, how do you use it to your advantage, your players' advantage moving forward into the NCAA Tournament when you play one like this?
BILLY KENNEDY: Like I told them, all week long, everybody was talking about Kentucky is a Final Four team, the way they've been playing. And I said, if they're a Final Four team, then we just showed that we're a Final Four team. But it means nothing if you don't win the first game in a tournament. So everything this week is going to be about first game of the tournament.

Put this behind us. We're disappointed, but we don't have time to hang our heads or be disrupted in the journey we're trying to accomplish.

Q. Coach, you kind of touched on it with what you do with Murray, but can you explain a little bit more what you did do to shut him down a bit? I think this is the first time he's been under 20 points in ten games.
BILLY KENNEDY: I really think he was tired. I think we chased him around, chased him, chased him. You could tell he lost the ball a few times. We were just aggressive and knew where he was, and we changed defenses and disrupted some rhythm, I thought.

But Alex Caruso did a heck of a job, and Admon Gilder, when he guarded him, did just a heck of a job. He didn't have any looks. We did a good job of guarding him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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