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March 9, 2012

John Calipari

Anthony Davis

Terrence Jones


Kentucky – 60
LSU – 51

CLAUDE FELTON:  We're joined by head John Calipari and student‑athletes Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis.  We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH CALIPARI:  Hats off to Trent and LSU.  I thought they played‑‑ had a great game plan, played physical, did what they had to to give them a chance to win.  It was a two‑bucket game with probably five minutes to go, and they had a chance and that's all you're asking for as a coach.
And I thought his kids played extremely hard for having played yesterday and never really stopped playing.  So they were pretty good.
CLAUDE FELTON:  Take your questions for either of the student‑athletes.

Q.  You guys were in the tight game and they started going to you repeatedly coming out of a timeout.  What happened there?  Was it discussed during the timeout, that you seemed to kind of take over for a few minutes?
TERRENCE JONES:  Yeah, we just wanted to go to the post and get buckets inside, and we were just running the play that had an option to go for me or Mike.  And they just started playing Mike because he was getting it going earlier in the first half out of the play.  So it just made me more open in the second half.

Q.  It's been said that really no matter what happens in this tournament, you guys are secured as a number one seed in the NCAA.  Can you just talk about y'all's mindset coming into this game and do you feel like everybody is on the same page in trying to win this tournament?
ANTHONY DAVIS:  I think so.  Most definitely.  Everybody mindset who come to the game looked like we had to win this game.  We love to win and that's what we tried to do.  Unfortunately, we came out lackadaisical, wasn't playing any defense, let them do whatever they wanted.
And they got into an early lead making open threes, finishing around the rim.  Offensive rebounding too.  And so in the second half, we went in and said, We need to take over and start getting the ball in the post, making open shots, and always be ready to shoot.  And that's what we did in the second half.

Q.  In the play where they were going to Kidd‑Gilschrist, and then they adjusted and started going to you, what was the adjustment, what were they doing that made you guys adjust to start going to you?
TERRENCE JONES:  It's two options, and so it was just if he's not open, then come back for me.  We just tried to be more aggressive on every drive and just play through bumps.  And our coach challenged us to be more aggressive, said that they were being more physical than us in the first half, and we just tried to step that up in the second half by getting to the foul line, by just going through bumps.

Q.  Do you feel like this was a good game to have, though, especially your first game in the post season, a team that tried to play you as physical as LSU did, and you guys were able to pull out the win?
ANTHONY DAVIS:  I think so, most definitely.  For our first game, we knew they were going to come out like a desperation game for them.  And for the first game to have, it really ‑‑ you really have to have us thinking now, Okay, the team's going to come out and play us like their life is on the line.  And if we don't come out and play, then we can lose.  So I think it was a great game for us to play to get our mindset right going into our next game.

Q.  They were pretty relentless in attacking the rim, even their little guys kept going inside.  Were you surprised that they kept coming at you?  And just comment on how physical they were in the low block.
ANTHONY DAVIS:  No, I wasn't surprised at all.  Especially when we get in foul trouble early, I'll keep attacking as well to try to get them to keep fouling.  And I played with my hands up, they way they released the ball, and then go block it at the rim.  It made it a lot easier for me and harder for them to pick up fouls on me.
CLAUDE FELTON:  We'll excuse the student‑athletes and take questions for coach.

Q.  Johnny turned you over 18 times.  Were they doing anything specifically or just not good ball‑handling on your guys part or a combination of the two?
COACH CALIPARI:  I think it was that press, that relentless press ‑‑ oh, they didn't press, I'm sorry.  They were physical and we were getting bumped and we couldn't hold on to balls.  It just got too physical for guys.  I had a couple guys I couldn't leave in the game.  I made two bad calls down the stretch that got them back to two baskets and I don't know what I was thinking until Anthony Davis said, Coach, go to me.  And then I went to him and it was basket, basket, basket.  I think I lost my mind.
But this is a good game for us.  And they also jammed it in a little bit.  They left Marquis Teague, they went under our pick and rolls, they did some good stuff.  They were ready to do some things.  And I'll go back and watch the tape and see what adjustments, because people will be watching the tape saying this is how you need to play them and we have been played every way possible.
I was surprised they didn't go any zone.  They didn't play one down of zone, and the reason was they didn't have to.  They just got really physical and made it tough.  It wasn't what we did defensively.  We were good defensively.
Now when you think about it, we gave them eight points in the first half on offensive rebounds, and I'm guessing they had four breakaway lay‑ups on lazy passes.  And when you think of taking those away, the rest of it was really hard for them.  It was what we did offensively.
And again, our spacing wasn't real good, our decision‑making on drives, come on, get it to the rim.  Why aren't you playing through the bumps?  We did a lot of that.
But again, 18 turnovers, we have been averaging seven a game.  We just had 18.  And they caused them.  It wasn't us, they just got up in us and made it tough.

Q.  That stretch there where they go up five and then it seemed like Terrance just decided it was going to be his game from then on.  He goes on a one‑man 9‑0 run.  How big was that?  You said before, maybe we don't lose if he plays that way.
COACH CALIPARI:  I didn't say 'maybe,' I said 'we don't.'  But it's hard.  The kids aren't machines.  Today Darius just didn't play well.  Well, we'll count on him next game.  I told Marquis Teague after the game, I said, It wasn't one of your better efforts, but we're fine.  We just got to figure out how you'll play and we'll make it clear.
In most cases with these young kids, if they're not playing well, it will come back to me.  There's something that we have to do to help them because they're confused.  I grabbed Marquis Teague right after the game, he and I by ourselves, and I said, Look, I got all the faith in you in the world.  You keep them honest, shooting jumpers.  So if they're not playing you and you want to let it go, go, you let it go.  And then if you don't want to play that way, then you cut to the rim.
But again, I think Terrance and Anthony really played‑‑ in the first half, it was Michael by himself.  It was Michael Gilchrist, or we would have been down 10 at half.  Michael Kidd‑Gilchrist kept us in the game.  And we don't say anything about him.  He goes 5 for 8, he hits 19 points, nine rebounds, and that's Michael.  What?  Game is a war.  It was a physical war.  And he did his thing, too.

Q.  Talk more about Kidd‑Gilchrist, he went right to him on the block I think it was also out of a timeout and repeatedly over and over until they adjusted.  What were you thinking there?
COACH CALIPARI:  That not any of these other guys are ready for this, let's go at Michael.  I looked and said, He's the only one competing, so throw it to him.
And then we did it later with Terrance.  Now he's going to just keep giving him the ball, make them make plays.  The only thing that I've got to do a better job of with this team is we got to get better spacing.  We're a good 3‑point shooting team.
Again it's hard when Darius isn't in that zone, so to speak, because it puts pressure on the rest of us to make shots.  But it was a physical, tough, hard game.  And I was just doing whatever I could to keep us in the game.
When they went up five, the same thing.  They got balls from us, they made baskets, we missed lay‑ups, we turned lazy passes over.  They're shooting breakout lay‑ups.  But it was ‑‑ I'm happy we won, now we got to go on and figure some of this stuff out.  And again, I'll watch the tape when I get back to the room and have a better idea of what happened.

Q.  What's it say for the U.K. fan base, that you guys really took over the arena today, playing in Louisiana against LSU and did it feel like a home game?
COACH CALIPARI:  These fans, they saved money to come to this event, and I'm going to guess 95 percent of the people in this arena cannot get in Rupp Arena for a game.  Can't get a ticket.  So this is their event.  You have Rupp, we have the tournament.  And they save their money.  Do whatever they can to scrape it together and let's go.
I'm not a big fan of tournaments at the end of the season because I think you played a whole season, and it should be right there.  But you almost say, You got to compete for these fans.  These fans are sacrificing to get here, they probably most of them have driven down here to be here, and now you want to win enough to say, hey ‑‑ and they're everywhere.  They're in the hotel, they're in the street, outside the bus.  But we pulled up, there were, I don't know what was going on, but they were everywhere.  But it's neat to see.

Q.  Do you think LSU should be in the NIT?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yes.  And you know what is crazy is they were right on the edge of a NCAA bid.  They hit that skid of games that hurt them.  But, yes, I do.  I do.  Johnny O'Bryant yesterday, I watched that game tape of him yesterday, he was just an absolute beast.  And again, what we do, because we're so long, most teams will not do to LSU.  We're just long, and it makes it hard for them.  But Trent's done a nice job and, yes, I think they deserve that.

Q.  You said earlier that this was a good game for you guys from the standpoint of the way they played you.  Can you just expound on that a little bit?
COACH CALIPARI:  Let me give you a couple things that happened.  One, they were playing out of desperation, and our players are so young, they didn't understand.  That's what's going to happen from here on out.  Every game we play, someone's in desperation.
The second thing is as the game wound down, we got lackadaisical.  We had three turnovers that were just even unforced.  And you can't make those in this ‑‑ what if it was a two‑bucket game, all of a sudden, bang, they hit a three, you go home.  Your season is over.  It's done.
And these guys, they sometimes think, well, eight months ago, I was playing in Vegas, and if we lost, we had another game at 6:00.  Well, this isn't the AAU, this is real.  And so teaching these guys that was a great lesson and that's what I talked about after the game.
And then the other thing is, everybody's going to come in and play physical, you got to hold your ground, you got to make them pay, you got to negate the physical play, so they can't play you that way.

Q.  You mentioned about spacing.  Had that been a problem lately or did that just jump up out of nowhere?
COACH CALIPARI:  It just kind of jumped up because of how they played.  And one of the things that we really do a good job of is normally spacing.  But we ran some different stuff and we did not get to the spots on the floor that we needed to be on.  I can't blame those kids for that.  They're looking like, What are you talking about?  And they have a reason to understand ‑‑ I got aggressive with these guys today and I got really aggressive with a couple of these guys.  To just let them know like, Hey, I said at halftime, Guys, just play.  Just ball.  Get out there and do your thing.
And the aggressive play, a guy beating us to the ball, they out hustle us to the 50/50 balls.  That's the stuff that I can't take.  And even this late in the season, I can't take it.  But again, good win.  Now we'll figure out who we're playing, get a good night's rest and get up at 7 o'clock in the morning and start all over.
CLAUDE FELTON:  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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