Q. What did you think of them playing steady down the stretch?
COACH CALIPARI: Played well. What they did, they've done, I'm guessing, ten games this year, where, with five minutes to go, four minutes to go, three minutes to go, it's anybody's ballgame. Then they just grinded better than the other team grinds it, like they did us. They were just a little too experienced for us down the stretch.
I thought Andrew (Harrison) played a terrific basketball game, but the last four minutes, Scottie (Wilbekin) just outplayed him. But up until that point, I thought Andrew held his own. But, again, that experience of how to finish off a game. We missed two rebounds. Really, we missed three rebounds. I think it was (Casey) Prather just went after the ball harder than us.
(Dorian Finney-)Smith ran one down and our guy stopped. There were, I think, three rebounds that I looked and they scored seven points on, offensive rebounds, where they just go get it. We fouled them or they come out and score. Again, that's that will to win. We're getting there. We did a lot of good stuff today, defended a really good offensive team.
You know, I wish we would have made a few more free throws, because I think it would have been a little more interesting, but the press transition defense, the press, it was all ‑‑ we were good. We gave ourselves a chance.
Q. Cal, what happened on the technical? We couldn't really see.
COACH CALIPARI: You have to ask him. I just told the guy ‑‑ I was speaking softly. I don't know what he heard me say with my back to him, so you have to ask him.
Q. You kind of alluded to it, but do you feel like your kids kind of reverted in that last four‑minute stretch there?
COACH CALIPARI: No, they played an experienced team that's really good. And they played better than we played down the stretch. We fought. We got a couple looks and missed it, a couple plays that could have been fouls called that weren't, but we played.
Q. On how Scottie Wilbekin impacts the game.
COACH CALIPARI: Makes free throws. Most of the tapes that I've watched that they were in tight games, he got himself fouled. You know, at the end there when you're fouling, they just stop the clock. It's different. But he got them in shooting a jumpshot. We foul him -- on two drives we foul him, or at least that's what was called. I have to watch the tape to see how bad it really was, but...
Q. What did you think of your shot selection? I think you only had four field goals the last 11 minutes?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we missed some shots I would hope would drop. You know, I'm going to have to watch the tape. We tried to go inside a little bit, especially to start the half, and they defended us better, but, again, we shoot 47%, they shoot 44. Their play was 60% in the second half, and most of that was down the stretch where (Patric) Young made three baskets in a row. He gets an and-one where we stood behind him and stopped playing and then fouled him. We made some errors, but they take advantage of any breakdown you make.
Q. On what he saw from tonight’s game.
COACH CALIPARI: We lost to a good team. I'm not happy. We lost to a good team. But we had our chances and we're not ready to win that kind of game, and I told them that. So we've got to understand and listen and not blame each other. Take responsibility. If a guy outplayed you, admit it, the guy outplayed me.
Q. The points scored off that technical foul, it seemed to swing the game. Do you think it might have done that?
COACH CALIPARI: It could have. It could have.
Q. Can you talk about the last couple minutes and Andrew?
COACH CALIPARI: The only thing I wanted him to know is you saw what a veteran guy did down the stretch. That's all you need to learn from this. You're as good as anybody out there. Now watch what he did down the stretch, and he got the ball to the guys that needed it. He got fouled when he needed to get fouled. He controlled the game. He went fast when he wanted to. He pulled back when he wanted to. He played well. That's just you learn from it.
Q. On Andrew Harrison.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, he made shots. He was 6 for 12.
Q. On Andrew Harrison starting 1 for 7 from the field.
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, 8 for 8 from the line, and he had four assists, so he did a lot of good things. Four rebounds for a point guard in that game, high‑level game.
Q. Julius (Randle) had a pretty strong first half and they came really quick with the double. What were they doing differently and how did he react to it?
COACH CALIPARI: No, they were going to do ‑‑ I told him quit spinning. You're coming on the spin. Just get it to the rim or pass it. We worked all week on they're going to double, dribble out of the double team, which Willie (Cauley-Stein) did, threw it to him and he dunked it. But it was hard to get the other guys to really accept it. Just two guys are on you, you've got to pass.
Q. Why do you think Alex (Poythress) struggled to make an impact?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, Alex didn't get the minutes he had gotten, but I don't know. I thought Willie did a couple of good things. You know, again, down the stretch we don't talk and we give Scott a three. Just talk to each other. I got him, you got him. We back away and look at each other, and no one speaks and they make the three. That's what an inexperienced team does down the stretch.
But I'm proud of the guys. I'm happy how they fought. High‑level game, a lot of intensity to the game. Lot of hype to the game, and we performed. They put themselves in a position to win. Five minutes to go, if we make two free throws, we're down two, you know, you're right where you want to be.
But that's a good team. Florida deserved to win the game. When they got all those rebounds late and the execution, it's just an effort that I'm going to go get this ball. They got those three rebounds that cost us seven points. In a game like that, you can't recover with that least amount of time left.
Q. On Billy Donovan’s team.
COACH CALIPARI: He's had a bunch of good teams, but this is a veteran team that has a lot of things going for it, whether it be defensively, rebounding the ball. Again, we outrebound them and hold them to 44%. We shoot 47% and lose by 10. Think about that now.
Kentucky Student-Athletes#5, Andrew Harrison, G
“We didn’t play defense down the stretch to win the game. We didn’t make stops like we needed to.”
“They had a great team. I can’t take anything away from them. At the same time, it was just stuff that we could do—fouling, jump shots—stuff like that.”
“It’s the same. Losing is losing no matter where it is. You hate to lose in front of your home crowd, but they still supported us the whole way. We just have to go back to the drawing board. As a kid, you always wish you could play in front of a crowd like this with College GameDay and stuff like that.”
“We are getting better as a team every day in practice and I feel like we can play with anybody out there. It’s just we have to finish in the long run and play all 40 minutes of the game.”
“They are all seniors and they have that communication and I think that is where they had the advantage over us. We should have come out with just a little more power in the second half and just finish out strong.”
“It was amazing. It was the best crowd. We fed off their energy and we stuck around because of them. Everybody loves them.”
“We definitely learned that we have to finish out strong in games like this and just keep playing all 40 minutes and not back up in the second half like we usually do. In the second half we usually lose focus. We should have come out with just a little bit more energy and I think that would have got us the win.”
“It was amazing. It was a big lift for us right off the bat. It kept us going. It kept us energized, and it kept us fighting.”
“They are a really good team. I never had a doubt about that. I still feel like we should have won though it was just key things down the stretch.”
Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan
“Yeah, you know, I don’t know. Obviously John (Calipari) knows his team. I said before the game that they’re as talented as anybody in the country one through five. Obviously, they have great length and we knew we were coming in here against a very, very good team. I don’t know if I felt that in any time of the game that our experience was overwhelming them. You know, John is with those guys every day. He’s got a much, much better feel on his team than I do.”
“Obviously when you play on the road, there are going to be some peaks and valleys. Obviously we didn’t get off to a great start. I think the score was 7-2. (Michael) Frazier got a good look. We really struggled shooting the ball. We had good looks in the first half. We didn’t shoot a high percentage at all. I actually thought we played fairly decent defense. They have some really, really good shot-making ability when they get into the lane. They can make some very difficult, challenged shots and then we kind of got up by a few points and then they got up by six and we closed out the half fairly decently and cut it to three. We started the second half with the possession, missed the shot and they came down and got two-consecutive offensive rebounds. I think they got as many as seven. It was one of those things where you kind of have to stay the course. It’s a 40-minute game. There are going to be those kinds of things. With a team as talented and as good as these guys are, you’re not just going to walk in here. We haven’t done that at all on the road. We haven’t walked in and dominated from start to finish. It’s always a grind when you’re playing on the road.
“I thought he did a really good job of --. We ran a lot of different actions. It was really no different than what John (Calipari) was doing with the Harrisons, putting them in high pick-and-rolls and then letting guys create and make some plays. We were trying to do the same thing with Scottie. He was able to draw some fouls. He was able to get to the free-throw line. That was important. He made a couple shots. He got the ball too some guys that made some plays. I thought down the stretch when in was a five-, six-point game we got a couple stops there that kind of opened the game up for us. But, Scottie, obviously being a point guard, certainly controlled and did a really, really good job.”
“Yeah, Patric (Young) has always been a high-energy guy giving good effort. (Casey) Prather has always been the same way. Those guys are always pretty tough kids, I’d say. There were the system and things like that they had to learn. Patric has always been like that. Obviously that play stood out on national TV. It was a crucial point in the game; it was an incredible dive, an incredible play. It probably got a lot of attention, but, Patric had to play in the Alabama game earlier this season very, very similar to the first half when we were trailing in the first half and we were kind of teetering a little bit and he dove head-first, and he went after the ball and he came up with possession back and made a 3. I’ve never really had a problem with Patric’s passion or his energy. He has really been a guy who has given good energy and played really, really hard.”
Florida Student-Athletes#4, Patric Young, C
“We were just trying to stay in the moment. We knew that they were going to throw punches and we were going to do the same thing. There was a lot of time left in the game. Our main focus was to stay with our principles and stay together. The game was not over with eleven minutes left. No one has ever won the game with eleven minutes left. We stuck with our guns, kept playing basketball and got it done.”
“We try not to worry too much about what other people are saying outside our team. We have a lot of things to work on, but we were able to pull it out down the stretch. If we get in this situation again we can say guys we have done this before. We just need to stick together and do what we do.”
“It was surreal. I couldn’t believe it. When we were walking off the court it didn’t seem real. It was so hard for us. Last year, we let it slip away. Years before we weren’t even in the game. It is huge especially when you are the underdog. I was really thankful we were able to get it done.”
“I feel like we stuck to our principles. We practiced defense every day. We stayed true to who we are and got the job done.”
“It was a hostile environment. We looked at each other and said lets get it done. We stayed the course and came out with the victory.”
“I think down the stretch we knew what we had to do to be able to get the win. I think we did a really good job guarding them down the stretch, getting stops and rebounds. Casey (Prather) had a huge rebound, Dorian (Finney-Smith) did a good job as well. We just made plays and I think that helped us.”
“I think it helped us a lot because I feel like we’ve been through it before. You know, we were down against Tennessee and we just tried to stay in the moment like Pat (Young) said. I think we have a lot of guys that believe in each other and we believe in our teammates so I think we believe that we can make plays down the stretch and we try to just stay in the moment and stay in the game and just keep going and playing defense.”
“I think we did that and Pat (Young) was real aggressive in the second half. We were trying to get them in foul trouble and we knew that if you just give the ball to Pat, he would be able to make a play and help us rebound. I think he did a really good job second half, making shots and putting the ball in the basket.”
“ He did that a couple timeouts. In timeouts, he just refocused us if we were getting a little lethargic. Had a couple plays that we slipped up on or missed and assignment, he just tries to fire us back up and get us locked in on the next possession.”
“I feel like I’m always confident. When the clock gets down to the lower seconds and the ball’s in my hands, I feel like I have to make a play. I try to get to the basket or get the best shot for our team.”
“I would just attribute that to being locked in and staying the course, sticking to the offense for 40 minutes and just trying to wear them down and keep running offense and get shots and rebound.”