Billy Gillispie Speaks on Georgia Loss

straitpinkieCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2009

Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie
On Kentucky’s mass substitutions…

“We weren’t getting much production. It’s entirely my fault. I’m having a hard time finding five guys that play hard, smart and together the whole time. We are trying a lot of different things but none of them seem to be working right now.

"Georgia played great. They made a lot of shots. We didn’t do that. I guess we aren’t mature enough to understand what we need to do. We didn’t play the way we needed to in order to win. Georgia really took it to us.”

On playing with a lack of intensity…
“I think we played hard, I just don’t think we played very smart. We haven’t communicated well when we needed to. We started off well and then we made mistake after mistake. It’s disappointing that we can’t play a little bit smarter.”

On Jodie Meeks…
“He played okay. We need Jodie out there because he’s been a great player for us. He played real well tonight in spurts. We have to do a better job of throwing it to the post when the post is open. I thought Jodie was tired early in the game today.”

On if his team has regressed…
“I don’t think they have shown a great deal of maturity of accepting a challenge. When things go well for them they are really good. I don’t think we have been tough or mature enough. Georgia didn’t take any steps back and we didn’t respond to that.

"We haven’t accepted challenges personally or as a team very well. There are too many mistakes being made. Any mistakes that are made are my fault because I’m in charge especially on the execution—offensively and defensively.

"Some of those things that are happening are not the way they have been taught to play and that’s not the way they’ve been practicing.”

On Patrick Patterson…
“I think he needs to dunk the ball more instead of lobbing it up in the air. One main reason is he doesn’t have much help inside. Georgia has good interior guys. He gets beat up for 40 minutes and he doesn’t have any help. It takes its toll on him.”

On where the mistakes are being made…
“I don’t think our team is competitive enough. That’s my fault too. We’ve been trying to make changes.”

On Dustin Ware’s play…
“He controlled the whole game. We didn’t have many guys step up and say they wanted to guard him. He was great tonight.”

On Georgia’s play overall…
“A lot of teams don’t play the way they do until they play Kentucky. Going back to a competitive level, it’s my fault. A lot of teams seem to be having really good games against us.”

On Kentucky’s statistics …
“There is one stat that matters and that’s winning. You can throw out all the stats you want. You can talk about the good, bad, and ugly stats, individually or as a team. There is one stat that really matters and that’s wins and losses. None of that other stuff means anything.”

On moving forward…
“We have to keep trying to get better. No matter what our record is. You have to understand what you need to get better at, and improve on that. It’s not over yet.”

Kentucky Players
No. 5 Ramon Harris
On the game …

“I think there were too many times tonight that we didn’t execute. We got a few chances to put the game away and we didn’t take care of our business. When we had the opportunity to make a big lead we didn’t. Our biggest mistake was not playing better transition defense because Georgia took advantage of that and scored a lot of points.”

On Kentucky’s defense …
“I think one thing that really helped Georgia tonight was how well they shot. We allowed them to get too many open shots. We did not communicate well, we have to talk more and rebound better. They got too many offensive rebounds and easy put-backs that forced us to foul them.”

On the rest of the season …
“Right now the only thing we are thinking about is Florida. We are going to prepare the same way we do for any other game to get ready to play Florida. We are going to focus on Florida and if we start thinking about the SEC tournament then we could look past Florida. We will just keep taking it one game at a time.”

No. 23 Jodie Meeks
On the game …

“It is really tough to let another game slip away. I don’t know what to say because it is really hard to come out and lose another game.”

On mistakes in the game …
“I thought we played really hard but we made too many mistakes down the stretch when we shouldn’t have. We had too many turnovers that they converted into points. We gave away a game that we never should have.”

On the rest of the season …
“I thought everyone competed as well as they could have tonight. We had a problem executing. We forced some shots, missed free throws and made turnovers.

"I’m not sure what this game means in the bigger picture, but I know we will have to get focused and start preparing for Florida. We want to win as many games as possible and finish this season strong.”

No. 54 Patrick Patterson
On the overall game…

“We just lost. They played a lot better basketball than we did. We didn’t play tough, No. 30 [Terrance Woodbury] got to do what he wanted to; we let them penetrate and get to the basket and they were able to kick it out.

"We basically let them do whatever they wanted to do. We let our guard down and played in a way that we shouldn’t have played. We were frustrated and didn’t hit shots. The team that played the best ball game won.”

On how UK might have overlooked the game against Georgia…
“None of us had that mindset. We knew that they beat Vanderbilt and Florida so we knew that they were still a great basketball team. Even with the game in Athens and the way we played, we were able to hold them to 45 or 47 points, but we knew that they were still capable of scoring.

"We knew that [Terrance] Woodbury is a great player; we knew that [Trey] Thompkins is a great player and the list goes on and on. We knew that they have improved and that we had to play better than we did in Athens.”

On how UK has a small margin of error for the rest of the season…
“Yeah, we have a very small margin of error. We want to win against Florida and we can’t lose. Hopefully we can get the job done in the SEC tournament. We probably will have to win the SEC tournament to get into the NCAA tournament.”

On the importance of getting an NCAA bid…
“It’s very important. We want to make it to the NCAA tournament. We want to still be playing ball at the end of March and beginning of April. We want to keep playing. We know that Kentucky has a great tradition and history. They have made it to the tournament for the past 20 years almost and we don’t want to be the team that didn’t make it.”

No. 13, Michael Porter
On the loss as a whole…

“It’s definitely depressing. It’s a heartbreaking loss. We have to bounce back though. It’s a big loss, especially at home. It was the game that we needed to win.”

On what Kentucky needs to do to go to the NCAA tournament…
“First we have to put this behind us and go in and look to win every game from here on out. Obviously winning the SEC tournament would put us in there, but we just have to look to win every game starting on Saturday.”

On the losing stretch…
“It’s been really tough. It’s tough to lose anytime especially when it’s games that we feel we should be winning to get into the tournament.”

Georgia Head Coach Pete Hermann
Opening Statement …

“I thought this was a terrific win for our players. Our two freshmen, Trey Thompkins and Dustin Ware, keep growing. I said to them in one timeout that once the Kentucky fans get excited, they can really affect the game.

"I asked how they were going to rise above that. I thought they really maintained their poise down the stretch. Corey Butler was a senior force for us. He’s a terrific kid; I think he really went after Jodie (Meeks) and made it very tough for Jodie to make easy baskets.

"We tried to swarm around Patrick Patterson who has a terrific low-post presence. Our guys just really did a good job in regards to rebounding. Also getting to the foul line was very important.”

On playing against Kentucky’s defense …
“Kentucky leads the league in defense. They’re very good at cutting off passes. We said that you have to drive the ball and threaten the rim because if you do then it will cause them to come in and foul. This gives us easy shots and gives us a good chance to get to the foul line.

"When we go to the foul line 30 times and make 25, that’s what helps your shooting percentage. We shot 50 percent overall because I think we drove the ball and then when they fouled we were able to make extra plays. I thought that was the key for us in scoring.”

On the expectation of playing in Rupp Arena …
“Having coached at Western Kentucky, I know a lot of people in Lexington that I just think the world of and I told them before the game that we have to score baskets. We’re not going to win this game getting 50 or 60 points. Kentucky is averaging 71 or more points in order for us to win we have to be aggressive on both ends.”

On if he thought Kentucky seemed tired …
“I thought they played hard and they went after it. They know the importance of an SEC game. I don’t think they took us lightly. They blocked shots early and were very aggressive. I thought it was a very good college game.”

Georgia Players
No. 23 Corey Butler
On getting a win against Kentucky in Rupp Arena…

“It feels pretty good. It took me and (Terrance) Woodbury four years to get this. This was our last chance to win here. It’s a tough place to play, especially when you’re playing against guys like (Jodie) Meeks and (Patrick) Patterson. It feels pretty good.”

On how Georgia pulled ahead…
“We just stayed composed the entire game. That’s what we preached going into the game. The coaching staff and even the players were preaching about staying composed and making sure that no matter what happened we needed to seal the deal.”

On Georgia’s defensive strategy…
“The defensive game play, like any other SEC team, was to try to contain (Patrick) Patterson. You’re not going to stop him. You just have to contain him. We tried to hold (Jodie) Meeks under 20 points.

"The guy can shoot very well. I think we did a good job of that. He still got off a couple shots, but I think we did well.”

On what the win will do for Georgia’s morale as they approach the SEC tournament…
“This is exactly what we did last year. We were struggling and came up with a few wins at the end of the regular season. Hopefully we can take this momentum with us into the SEC tournament. You never know what can happen there. You just have to win four games.”

No. 30 Terrance Woodbury
On the victory…

“It was a big win for us. We needed it to get our confidence going. We played really well as a team tonight. We just got to try to keep the momentum.”

On getting a win in Rupp Arena…
“This is my fourth time here, I’m a senior, and every time I’ve been here we lost. It’s sweet to get it now as a senior. It is a really big win for us and like I said we just have to grab some momentum.”

On getting a win after going through adversity this season…
“We’ve been through a lot of adversity as far as winning games and struggling to score points this season. Tonight defined our moment as far as knowing what it takes to win and play two halves. We didn’t play great at all time but we were able to stick together as teammates.”

On the difference offensively tonight…
“I feel like we passed the ball really well tonight. Guys were making extra cuts all over the court and I think that helped us knock down shots all over the court. Also when we got to the line we knocked down free throws, we’re a good free throw shooting team.”

Courtesy of


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