UNC-UK Roy Williams Postgame
“I congratulated John [Calipari]. I told him before the game that I felt so badly because Alex [Poythress] appears to be a nice young man. I saw him during his high school days and played against him the last couple of years. They were far more superior on the defensive end than our offense was. I thought they dictated what we did on the offensive end with their athleticism, their quickness, their strength, their size. We didn’t do a very good job of scoring in the halfcourt. We got some breakaways early and got something out of break, but didn’t do a very good job offensively in the halfcourt. I thought two big keys for us were the number of turnovers – we can’t do that – and it was one of the emphases we put up on the wall. We put three of them up on the board and another one was the fact that we wanted to play without fouling. We let them shoot 31 free throws, and I’m not saying that’s the referees, I said ‘we.’ We fouled them way too much. They were much more aggressive getting the ball to the basket on the drive and much more aggressive getting the ball to the basket with their big guys going to the basket.
“We got it to nine and I thought we were going to be right there at the end and Steve [Kirschner] told me four of their next six were breaks or lob dunks. It seemed like about 50 of them to me. But we had a couple of turnovers during that stretch as well. It was a man’s game out there today and I thought that their athleticism and their physical play was much more to the task than we were… We’ve got to do a better job of beating the guy to the spot; that’s what they do. It was a physical game and they just played better and coached better.”
On the Wildcats making 3-pointers:
“I told John before the game, we can cure a lot of people's 3-point woes. We tried to play a little bit of zone early and we haven’t played any zone this year. We didn’t do a good enough job in the zone. We didn’t get there and guard them. Texas played in the zone, but they challenged them, they made their first three less than three minutes to play. Texas challenged those threes much better than we did. When we went man-to-man the dribble penetration really hurt us.”
On Willie Cauley-Stein:
“He’s going to be effective. I watched him in the Texas game and he was unbelievable. It’s hard to believe he was a wide receiver in high school. He effects the game in every way, he blocks shots, gets steals, gets follow-dunks, and gets dunks from guard penetration throwing it up around the rim, he goes and gets it, but he is a complete player. If you look at it, he affected the game drastically and only took nine shots. They are very gifted. John [Calipari] does a great job with them. He has everybody buying into the sharing the minutes and sharing the basketball. They had 19 assists and 15 turnovers in an up and down game and were trying to press and trying to do some things, and we have 13 assists and 18 turnovers. Their defense was so much stronger and I think that was the dominating thing in the game. And Willie was the spearhead.”
On the loss of Alex Poythress affecting Kentucky:
“Coach [Dean] Smith used to say if you lose a guy, that the next game you’re going to be so much better because everybody is going to try to pull forward a little more effort and play better, but in the long run nobody is going to be better if you lose one of your better players. But from reading all the comments in the paper, he’s the kind of kid I think he is. So it had to hurt everybody and at the same time the comments they made about him would make me think that he might have been challenging their rear ends in the locker room before the game. It’s a loss because he really is a gifted player, they got some depth which is going to help them get through some things.”
On Marcus Paige:
“He made some shots. We’ve been talking about his shot a little bit. There’s nothing mechanically wrong with his shot. Probably needs to get his feet set a little bit more. Four times today, he went up in the air to shoot the ball, and their defense was so good he had to pass it. He made a couple tough ones. We need him to shoot the ball like that, but we need some other guys to step up and make shots, also. We shot 54 percent in the first half, and you’re not going to beat Kentucky at Kentucky when they’re a real good team shooting 38 percent in the second half.”
On if today’s performance expose UNC’s physical limitations:
“The team we were playing was pretty doggone physically imposing, but whoever they play, somebody said that Portland Trail Blazers are the only team in America that was taller. So, physically, they’re going to show a lot of people some limitations. You’ve got to try to counter that with something that you do well yourselves. We didn’t do a very good job of sharing the ball and spreading the floor, being patient. We took some of the worst shots today that we’ve taken all year. But, I think it’s because their pressure took us out of our comfort zone.”
On Brice Johnson:
“They gave him some good looks early because it was on the break, a couple out-of-bounds plays, and things like that. In the second half, I think he made one field goal, I think is all. Their big guys are good. They have 12 steals and five blocked shots. A lot of that was their big guys. I saw Willie (Cauley-Stein) diving on the floor, I saw Dakari (Johnson) diving on the floor. Brice did hurt them in the first half, but most of it was in the open court.”
On managing minutes with a lot of depth:
“This may be even more of a challenge for John than anything I’ve gone through. I’ve always said I could get nine guys enough playing time, eight easily. Nine guys enough playing time to keep them happy. John was trying to get 10. I don’t know what he’s going to do because that’s the reason they pay him all that money, to make those big decisions like that. You have to have special kids I’d say is the first thing. They have to be concerned about the name on the front of the jersey. They have to be willing to give in. I’ve got wonderful kids in my locker room, and we’ve got to be concerned about the name on the jersey a little more. If I had to pick one thing, I of course would say the size — or the athleticism, I guess that’s two things. But the next thing that’s most impressive about John’s club to me is how unselfish they appear to be. That’s a pretty doggone good trait.
“When you add the size and athleticism, and add their willingness to work really hard defensively, now you’re painting a very complete picture. I think it’s the character of the kids. They trust John, John’s staff, and all those guys have been around for a while. I think they appear to trust the staff. If you give in, of your own selfishness, and become more unselfish with playing time, with shots and everything, at the end, players will be taken care of. I’ve really believed that. Our 2009 team, all those guys tested the waters, and they came back and trusted each other, and everybody worked out okay. I think they’ve done a nice job with good kids.”
What was the third key on your pregame locker room board?
“It must not have worked, because I can’t freaking remember. That’s just being honest; give me a couple seconds. Right now, I’m too ticked off to think about any (expletive) like that. Excuse my language.”
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