UNC-UK: Tubby Smith & Player Quotes

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky head coach and several of his players addressed the media following the game...

Coach Tubby Smith

Opening remarks
"First of all, I have got to complement North Carolina. I thought [UNC head coach] Roy Williams had his team really ready to play. They outplayed us and I thought they outworked us in a lot of areas. They hit some clutch threes and shot the ball extremely well. Defensively, we got caught up on some screens in the first half and really dug ourselves into a hole. We had trouble with some of the same issues that we've had all year long – rebounding the ball. They really beat us on the boards in the first half and the second half was about even. That was our primary concern. We also didn't get to the free-throw line like we would have liked. We got there a little later than we should have. I thought we had some chances. We did a good job inside, I thought, of guarding [Tyler] Hansbrough, but we gave them a lot on the outside with them knocking down some threes. We made some careless mistakes when we were making a run there in the second half. I thought we had a couple of opportunities that we couldn't connect on and then we began turning the ball over. You can't make those kind of mistakes when you're trying to make a run. You give them the momentum. We had some guys do some good things. I thought Bobby [Perry] did a good job on the boards and Patrick [Sparks] had some good shots. We definitely had some match-up problems and we were missing a player like Joe [Crawford]. He probably could have matched up a little better with [Reyshawn] Terry. I thought [Bobby] Frasor did a good job of controlling the tempo with his team. We did some good things – we shot the ball well today. We usually don't lose when we shoot this well."

On the UK guards' lack of poise
"When you're not making shots – you have a couple of good looks and you can't knock them down – it starts to mess with your psyche. We needed a little confidence there. When the game is tied to your offense like that – like most teams – it becomes difficult. I told our team that they were not going to force a lot of steals. You have got to play with a little more poise and a little under control. I thought we played too fast and a little out of control. A team like North Carolina is going to overplay and deny. You have to fight the pressure and not panic. We just had too many turnovers."

On the team's offensive rebounding
"We really got pounded there. They had 15 offensive rebounds with about nine in the first half. We did a really poor job of boxing out and we take that pretty seriously. We work pretty hard at offensive rebounding. I thought that we really didn't get the play out of some of our inside people as far as putting some bodies on the court. That really hurt us in the game and when we only get eight [offensive rebounds], that's critical."

On whether or not he's happy with the team's progress
"No, I'm not happy with where we are coming off a loss. We really regressed in a lot of ways – boxing out and dribble penetration. I thought we had some careless turnovers and this was really a step back for us in a lot of ways."

#3 Ramel Bradley

On losing the game
"I think this was a big lesson we learned from the game. They came out and played with heart and hustled more than we did. We have to learn from it and move on."

On what Kentucky needs to work on
"We have to go back to the basics. We have to communicate and execute on defense. We need to box out and dive after loose balls. Those are things you have to have heart to do. You can't teach them, you just have to have them in you."

#22 Patrick Sparks

On his shooting
"I made some shots today. I probably should have knocked some more down when I was open. I have to put that behind me and move on."

On Kentucky's upcoming schedule
"We have some tough games coming up, This is a tough part of our schedule. We have final exams and big games coming up and we have to buckle down. We have to come out with heart and play hard."

#4 Rajon Rondo

On North Carolina's play
"They shot the ball well from outside. Our scouting report said they were strong inside, but they shot extremely well."

On what Kentucky needs to work on
"We have to take it one game at a time. We play against Georgia State on Tuesday and we can't look past them. We have to stay positive and stick together. We have to keep each other's heads up." #42 Rekalin Sims

On the game
"They (North Carolina) jumped out on top quick and led by 12 at halftime. We put ourselves in a big hole, but we bounced back in the second half. We just couldn't get over the hump to get back on top."

On North Carolina
"They were just knocking down their shots. They hit a lot of three pointers, out-toughed us and had several offensive rebounds. We didn't match that intensity."

#13 Bobby Perry

On Kentucky's play
"We didn't do a good job of boxing out. It's all about who wants the ball more, and North Carolina brings everybody to the boards all the time. We've got to find that same hunger." On the game… "We have to play with more heart. We can't let people come in and take our heart from us, and that's what happened in the first half. We didn't have any energy, but we picked it up in the second half. You just can't start to play well that late in the game."

#2 Ravi Moss

On what Kentucky's weakness was during the game
"We didn't do a good job of boxing out and rebounding. They got second and third chances on shots, and you can't give a team like North Carolina that many chances because it's going to hurt you."

On North Carolina's three-point shooting
"They shot the ball extremely well. Part of it was our fault because we took their shooting ability for granted, and they burned us. We didn't expect them to shoot like that."

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