KENTUCKY WILDCATS (5-5)
vs. San Diego Toreros (6-8)
Saturday, Dec. 29 ? 2:00 p.m.
Lexington, Ky. – (23,000)
Kentucky returns from the Christmas holiday by hosting San Diego Saturday in the second game of a five-game homestand.
The Wildcats defeated Tennessee Tech, 69-47, in their final game before the holiday, snapping a four-game losing streak. UK was led by freshman Patrick Patterson, who posted his fourth double-double (fifth most by a UK freshman) by recording career highs in points (24) and rebounds (15). Sophomore Ramon Harris also tallied career highs in points (8) and rebounds (10).
Patterson leads the Wildcats in both scoring (17.2 ppg, seventh in SEC) and rebounding (8.9 rpg, second in the SEC).
Kentucky plays twice in three days, and three times in an eight-day span. After facing USD, the Cats return to the court Monday versus FIU and next Saturday against Louisville.
Kentucky is in its 105th season of basketball. Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,953. Kentucky leads the SEC from the foul line, shooting 74 percent (123-166). The Wildcats rank first in the SEC in field goal percentage defense (.367). Patrick Patterson has four double-doubles, tied for the second-highest total in the SEC. He ranks in the league?s top 10 in both scoring (7th, 17.2) and rebounding (2nd, 8.9). Patterson is the first freshman since Sam Bowie (1979-80) to record two 20-10 games in a season. Kentucky has used nine different starting line-ups through the first 10 games of the season. The only constant starter has been walk-on Mark Coury. Joe Crawford (1,069) became UK?s 54th member of the 1,000-point club against North Carolina. He currently sits in 46th place, tied with Dirk Minniefield. Teammate Ramel Bradley (972 career points) is 28 points shy of 1,000. The Wildcats held Tennessee Tech to 26 percent from the field, marking the sixth time this season that Kentucky has held its opponent below 36 percent shooting from the field.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO
Located in San Diego, Calif. (2,192 miles west of Lexington), San Diego (6-8) is a member of the West Coast Conference.
The Toreros, who play their games in Jenny Craig Pavilion (5,100), are getting the bulk of their scoring from a pair of juniors. Point guard Brandon Johnson is averaging 16.1 ppg, while forward Gyno Pomare is scoring 14.8 ppg and pulling down a team-best 6.9 rpg.
The Toreros are led by first-year head coach Bill Grier, a 1990 graduate of Oregon. He came to San Diego after a 16-year stint as an assistant coach at Gonzaga. This is Grier?s first head coaching job.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES – DEC. 28
Head Coach Billy Gillispie
?San Diego is a good basketball team coming in tomorrow night. They just played a really good and efficient game to beat the University of Texas San Antonio. They have outstanding guards and post players; they are very athletic and able to get it to the rim. They are very well coached. They won 18 games last season. They have very high expectations for their season, but I think they have experienced some of the same things that we have this season being a transition year for them also. They have a couple of all-conference type players. They have guys on their team who understand their roles. San Diego is a very formidable opponent.?
On Jodie Meeks and Derrick Jasper?
?Jodie (Meeks) is still very sore. The call on whether either one of them will play will be Coach (Billy) Gillispie?s call. Meeks practiced very little today. (Coach) will talk to our training staff and make the call after that. Jasper practiced today in a limited roll. We will see how he responds after tomorrow. He is progressing well and is slowly coming along. He practiced for about half of practice today. He had more offensive workouts than defensive. Jasper practiced today in a controlled practice and I think there is a lot of difference in that and a game-style pace of basketball where you have to play with higher intensity and make game like cuts. There are three people involved in deciding when he will be back, Derrick, our medical staff and Gillispie. Jasper?s mobility is considerably better. He is a whale of an athlete and he is very mobile as an athlete. He is a competitor and his mobility is better, but still not nearly as close as he needs to be. ?
On (Billy) Gillispie being sick?
?He has to be really sick to stay away from basketball. I have known him for a long time and he may be the toughest guy I have ever been around both mentally and physically. I have seen him sick before and never knew it until much later on. He got a stomach virus in the middle of the night and he is pretty sick, but I don?t think he will be gone for very long. I think everyone knows that he will be back and we are all just an extension of him, so his presence is still there. When you do a good job of coaching like he has done everywhere he has been, then you develop culture. He does the best job of anyone I have ever been around of developing culture.?
On getting better defensively?
?We still have a long way to go. We need to be consistently getting better. We need some anchors defensively and consistent effort daily. We haven?t been consistent night after night for lots of different reasons. I think we are getting better and our expectation level is getting better as well. Our mindsets are getting better, but it is still not where it needs to be. Even though it is better, it needs to be outstanding and great but it is an ongoing process. Effort is one of those things that we are always asking our players to give more than they think they are capable of. Defense is a mindset of playing smart, and when you play against teams of the caliber that we play, it takes time to learn the system. It is progressing but it is not where we would like for it to right now.?
On Ramon Harris playing all 40 minutes against Tennessee Tech?
?During the course of the game (Ramon) Harris did a great job defensively. He took the entry passes away and stopped the reversal passes. I think he did a much better job of taking care of the basketball and a super job rebounding. If you can take care of the ball, rebound and not turn the ball over, then you will stay on the floor. That is one thing a lot kids don?t understand about this game; that we have (Patrick) Patterson who can play and if we can have someone that can get the ball to him and not turn the ball over on the other end, then you can play this game. A lot of kids mess up by trying to prove to us they can do things that they can?t. We are starting to get guys to play to their strengths and not their weaknesses and that helps a lot. Harris was able to do that the other night. He capitalized the other night by doing the things we have been coaching him to do. He did a great job of capitalizing on the situation he was presented with the other night.?
On whom Coach Cox feels has improved the most?
?I think Jared Carter has improved as much as anyone since we have been here. He has really improved both mentally and physically. He has become more aggressive and confident. We believe he can be a great player and has great potential. We are trying to get him to understand that the way we do. He has gotten better every practice. He still needs to get more aggressive but he will get there.?
On better practices?
?We broke after our last game for Christmas and I think it would have helped had we been able to practice after that game. When we came back I think we have had good practices. I agree with Gillispie that success breeds success. Good games increase our enthusiasm, intensity and pace of practice. Gillispie also says that we play how we practice. We had great practices leading into the Tennessee Tech game. I think we have had some good practices coming into this game.
#3 Ramel Bradley ? Senior
On the importance of winning games going into conference play?
?It?s really important to start winning consistently. You always want to be playing your best basketball going into conference play.?
On the progress of his individual play?
?I think I?m playing better. I need to work harder on getting the team more organized and leading better on offense. I think my shooting and rebounding could both be better.?
On the practices since the break?
?Practices after Christmas break are always intense and brutal. Whenever you take a couple of days off you have to work even harder to get back into conditioning, which is always difficult. Sometimes it takes a little time to get back to where you were when you left off.?
On practicing without Coach Gillispie today?
?There was a lot of intensity today in practice without coach. Whenever the head coach isn?t there you can look at it two different ways. You can look at it as a day off, or guys can step up with leadership and push the team. We went that way today, and there was a lot of focus and intensity.?
On getting Derrick Jasper back into the lineup?
?When Derrick [Jasper] comes back, it will be really good for me. He?s doing well right now, so hopefully he?ll be back soon. He takes a lot of pressure off of me when he?s handling the ball and running the offense, which will let me find better shots.?
#32 Joe Crawford ? Senior
On the practices since the break?
?The intensity is still there. We know we have to have great practices from here on out in order to play well in games. Guys have to step up more, especially since we?re getting closer to starting conference play.?
On sitting out the first half the last game?
?Whether Ramel [Bradley] and I are playing or sitting down, the guys have to hear us. We have to be the leaders on this team and continue to encourage them no matter what. They need to be able to hear what we have to say, and we have to stay positive so they will too. There have been some tough times, but we have to stay positive.?
On reducing turnovers in games?
?Ramel [Bradley] and I are leaders, so we have to take some pressure off the younger guys. We need to handle the ball more and work harder to get open so the other guys can get us the ball.?
#54 Patrick Patterson ? Freshman
On the break?
?It was way to short. I feel like Christmas day was the only day we had off. We are back now and ready to get back to work and prepare for the rest of the season. I wish we had longer off. It felt good to have a couple days of rest.?
On San Diego?
?They are a good team. I want to keep rolling after beating Tennessee Tech and get a win against this team. They (San Diego) will come out ready to play and we have to be ready for them also. We should be fresh and ready to go.?
On Coach Gillispie being sick?
?I?m sure he will be fine. We still practiced hard today. There are no days off whether he is sick or not. All the coaches know the system, and today was just as hard as any day in practice.?