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March 9, 2007

Joe Crawford

Randolph Morris

Tubby Smith


THE MODERATOR: All right, we're ready to begin with Kentucky. Coach?
TUBBY SMITH: Well, certainly, it was a hard-fought game. A very great basketball game. Great college basketball game. Certainly we were proud of our effort. Certainly want to compliment Mississippi State, they did a super job there. They've got a very talented team.

Q. Randolph, will you just talk about how physical it was inside, and just how both teams just gassed out in that last five minutes of the game.
RANDOLPH MORRIS: Well, that's what my intent was coming into the game, just to play physical, and try to, you know, get their opposing players into foul trouble and gain an advantage that way.
Like you say, the closing ticks of the game, everybody was running out of fuel, but you get to that point in a game, you just got to find a way to win, and they did.

Q. This is for Joe: Joe, can you just talk about the last possession, what happened on that play? You got the shot block trying to drive to the basket.
JOE CRAWFORD: You know, I was just looking at the clock, it was running down, I was looking to just drive and, you know, hopefully draw some contact and get a foul call. But they played great defense, and they recovered and got their hand on the ball.
THE MODERATOR: Fellas, you're excused. Thank you.

Q. Tubby, if you could just talk about Jamont Gordon's play, particularly in the second half.
TUBBY SMITH: He's a clutch player, very talented, athletic, strong. We couldn't stop him off the dribble all day, and that was our biggest challenge, not just with him, but especially in the second half. Anytime that somebody shoots 61% against you, a lot of lay-ups. You know, we really didn't take away his left like we should. But again, when you have a player of that caliber and that ability, he can do a lot of things. He'll hit that clutch three to tie the game up and go into overtime just proves his ability to do things.
So they made some big plays. That was probably the biggest of the game. But he's very talented. Hard to stop.

Q. Tubby, can you talk about what exactly happened on the lane violation play, where Jodie was trying to shoot the second free throw.
TUBBY SMITH: Well, we probably wanted to get somebody off the lane. I said to Sheray, "Back up, Sheray, go back." At that time I didn't see the official passing the ball, so it was probably my fault for telling him to move off the lane.
Again, I thought he was saying, "I got it," and my call. But I guess the rule is once it leaves his hand, you have to stay still.

Q. Coach, so many things didn't go right at the end of the game for this to turn out Mississippi State's way. I'm wondering if you're looking back on it, was it the lane violation, couple missed lay-up opportunities, couple of missed free throws, what is it you look back on and say, that's probably what didn't get us in there?
TUBBY SMITH: No, I look at lack of defense in the second half. You know, you dig yourself a hole by not guarding people like you should. Then you have to reach down. In basketball, it's a whole culmination, it is the total sum of all the things that you don't do during the course of a game that leads to a loss, not one or two plays. Yeah, it will win the game for you, but when I look back, that's what I saw.

Q. Tubby, how much do you think having to play an extra day affected you guys down the stretch in the overtime?
TUBBY SMITH: Well, you know, we were pretty gassed, but we scored right off the bat. We were energized, we played with a lot of energy. It takes a lot out of you when they score so easily. That was the tough thing. That's why you don't want to be playing on the first day. You want to get that bye because guys like Joe and Randolph had logged a lot of minutes in two days, and you could see they were really spent. But we got a tremendous effort out of some people, especially Jodie, Sheray, and Bobby. They stayed up.
Ramel struggled some today, but otherwise I thought we had a good effort all the way around.

Q. Coach, when you guys came back from 14 down, did you feel that the team had turned the corner, and it was just a matter of putting a couple more baskets in and that would have been the difference?
TUBBY SMITH: Yeah, I really felt good that we went to that zone, were making some stops. Again, they were still getting too many easy looks. We had a chance. If you make your free throws down the stretch, which we did. Again, taking that free throw out of that, because Jodie probably would have made that free throw, would have made a big difference. But, you know, we fought so hard trying to get back in it, I knew we'd be spent. But I thought our kids, especially guys like Joe and Randolph, stepped up and made some clutch plays. I thought that we had the game, because they were a little bit -- we had some momentum, they were a little shaky with the ball handling at the time, and I thought we could -- what was it, five seconds, 4.3 seconds, if we don't have that violation, we'd probably do win the game.

Q. Tubby, the last play there where you had the timeout with 3.1, you tried the inbounds and it got knocked away, what were you looking for there on the last possession?
TUBBY SMITH: We were looking for a throw to the basket on Randolph. They did a good job. They peeled him out of there. And if he didn't have it, Joe was going to back screen and step towards the ball. The kid got a piece of it and just deflected it, which was a great play. And that's all you had to do and then go get it, because the clock starts as soon as you touch it. But that's what we're trying to do. First throw it at the basket, step for a jumpshot or maybe get it off as quick as we could and get a second shot. We tried to get it to half court and set it up, and we did that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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