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March 13, 2016

John Calipari

Jamal Murray

Tyler Ulis

Nashville, Tennessee

Kentucky - 82, Texas A&M - 77

THE MODERATOR: Ready to get started with Kentucky.

COACH CALIPARI: Well, first of all, I'm really proud of this basketball team, how much they've improved. Individually, guys are becoming the best version of themselves. As a team, they're becoming more efficient on offense. We're still not where we want to be defensively. We've got a couple guys not moving their feet, rebounding tough rebounds.

But this team has gotten better all year. We're finally healthy for the first time, where we have a full complement of guys. So when guys didn't play well, you can just pull and go to somebody else.

There was no doubt in my mind I was going to go to Derek Willis that last play. It was supposed to be the play before, and Tyler went the other way into a pick-and-roll, and I looked at him and said, we're running the drive play, and he drove right at Derek, and Derek threw that dagger.

Derek needed to defend a little bit better today, but he made the shots in the free throw that we really needed to create a gap.

Q. John, can you talk about Tyler's performance, 45 minutes and a career high in points, and just seemed to be answering every time you needed him.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, when you look at our guard play, we had -- he had five assists, one turn, and he had three steals also. And you're right. Every big play, he made, or he passed it for the play. All we were going to do late in the game is play through him. I was telling Jamal, if you have a shot, you take it. If you don't, you're giving it to Tyler, and we'll play off of him.

The good news is there's been games that he and Jamal have played this many minutes, so they were able to withstand it. I looked at him a couple times, you need a break? Both of them were like, nope, not me. I took Jamal out in the first half for a minute. But they played well.

And Tyler Ulis, again, you're watching all this -- again, I might be biased. I don't think I am. But he should be one of those guys for Player of the Year, if not the guy. And because he's 5'9", everybody, it's like, how can you do it? But when you look at his numbers and what he's doing, that's the Player of the Year, those numbers.

So his heart and his energy that he plays with is just ridiculous. We feed off of it, to be honest with you.

Q. Tyler, you played the whole game. How were you feeling there in that second half particularly? I think you had 15 there, and every time they needed a play, you found a way to either make the pass or make the bucket.
TYLER ULIS: We were trying to execute, and when things broke down, I just tried to get the ball on the ball screen and make things happen for my team, and luckily it did.

Q. For both players, how does it feel to win this title and add to the collection that Kentucky has?
JAMAL MURRAY: Whoo! It's a good feeling. We came together as a team, and we fought hard all season. It's been a journey. We trusted Coach all the way and trusted our point guard. So it's up to them to lead us again.

TYLER ULIS: It's a great feeling getting this win, especially they came out and fought hard. House, he made some big shots at the end, and Derek made a big shot, Jamal made a big shot. Everybody fought at the end, and it's a great win for us.

Q. For Jamal and Coach, if it's okay, that last play, that last big three with about six seconds left on the shot clock, was that how that was drawn up? And was there ever any doubt that that was going in?
COACH CALIPARI: I doubted it was going in, but he didn't. That's what's good about it. Was that for Jamal? I can't remember what it was.

TYLER ULIS: It was, like, you told me to give it to Jamal, and then you told me go back and get it, and we were like running back and forth.

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, that was a play we set up.

JAMAL MURRAY: No, it wasn't.

COACH CALIPARI: At the end of the overtime, so you know, they showed a 2-3 zone, and then they went man to man, and that screwed us up.

Billy coached a great game. He really did.

Tyler's looking at me, saying, what did you call? I said, they went zone and then they went man. I mean, what do you want me to do?

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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