Kentucky-Mississippi State Postgame Quotes
2022-23 Mississippi State Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky – February 15, 2023
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
Q: Is the rebounding in this game the grit you’ve been talking about?
JC: “Yeah, we talked about it. Mississippi State, what they’ve done in this winning streak and what they’ve done to good teams, they’ve dominated offensive rebounds. They’ve outhustled, been tougher and turned people over. We had one guy [Cason Wallace] go 1-for-13, and we won the game … He had 11 assists though. He defended and the biggest rebounds, Cason [Wallace] came up with. Oscar [Tshiebwe] is beginning to be himself, not quite there yet. They had a small man on Chris [Livingston]. So, we posted him up four or five straight times. It’s stuff that we have. So, we didn’t have to do something new. We just wanted to get him the ball on the cuts.”
Q: How did the nothing to lose mentality help your team?
JC: “The biggest thing I’ve been talking about to them is ‘Refuse to Lose.” You may run out of time, but refuse to lose. Just keep fighting. Today, we missed that one free throw. Then, we miss a couple of three’s. Whatever we do to teams, it feels like they shoot 90 percent from the free throw line. It doesn’t matter if you usually shoot 50 percent. If you go against us, you shoot 90 percent. We made the plays at the end. The play at halftime made me mad because we were going to let them catch it. Adou [Thiero] tried to go get it, and that kid [Cameron Matthews] makes the three. I thought it was a hard-fought game for both teams.”
Q: How does the good free throw shooting at the end effect your team?
JC: “It’s how you win games. I’ve had some of the worst free throw shooting teams ever, but they made shots in the last four or five minutes. Hopefully that’s what this team is. Cason [Wallace] knocked his down, Oscar [Tshiebwe] went 3-for-4 and Chris [Livingston] made his.”
Q: What did you think of the environment at Humphrey Coliseum?
JC: “It’s always crazy here. It’s been nuts every time we’ve played here. To get out of here against a team who is on fire right now was a big deal for us.”
Forward Chris Livingston
Q: What changed at halftime for you?
CL: “[Coach] Cal was holding me to a high standard. He was being hard on me because he expects much more out of myself during the game. That’s his job. In the second half, I knew I had to play harder and make some plays to make up for how I played in the first half.”
Q: How much did the refuse to lose mentality effect you in the second half?
CL: “Down the second half stretch with about seven minutes left, that was all we were saying. Refusing to lose. When it hit four minutes, we said it’s winning time. It’s that time of the season.”
Q: Was there anything that clicked for you in the second half?
CL: “It was more of a mindset. It was a mindset thing. Coach [Calipari] was on me, and I also didn’t want to lose. I was playing as hard as I could trying to make winning plays, whether that’s getting deflections or rebounds. I was trying to win.”
Q: Would you call this a breakout game for you?
CL: “Yeah, I guess you could say that. It was just the mindset of not wanting to lose. So, I was just making winning plays, whether that was scoring or rebounding. That was the mindset that I had, and I had to play with that energy.”
Forward Jacob Toppin
Q: What was your takeaway of the overall effort everyone had?
JT: “We knew coming into this game it wasn’t going to be anything but a fight. We refused to lose today. We fought and made our runs late. They made their runs late. We stuck it through, dug deep and got the win.”
Q: How big was the 18-2 run?
JT: “Obviously, we went on a run. We understood that basketball is a game of runs. We knew they were going to go on their run. We could’ve backed down and let them win the game, but we didn’t. We kept fighting, stayed together and dug deep to get the win.”
Q: What is it about this team when your backs are against the wall?
JT: “That’s one thing about us, we’re never going to back down. We’re in a hole right now, but we’re going to dig out of it. We believe we’re going to dig out of it. We’re a great group of guys who are going to stay together, and we’re going to continue to fight to the end. We’re going to figure this out and turn it around. It started today, we got a good W.”