Stokes' Big Day Not Enough In Loss At UK
once again battled hard at Rupp Arena, but for the eighth year in a
row, the Vols suffered a loss on Kentucky's home floor. On Saturday,
Tennessee lost to the 13th-ranked Wildcats, 74-66, before 24,246.
Vols (11-6, 2-2 SEC) led for nearly the entire first half and were
within two possessions for the first 9:27 of the second half, but
Kentucky took control of the game midway through the second.
Stokes had a monster game for the Vols as he tallied 20 points and
grabbed 15 rebounds for ninth double-double this season. Jordan McRae
added 17 points while Jeronne Maymon scored 12 .
twins Andrew Harrison (26) and Aaron Harrison (14) combined for 40
points while Julius Randle notched 18. For Andrew Harrison, it was a
new career-high, surpassing his former best of 18. The Wildcats
improved to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.
The Wildcats were
a near perfect 23-of-24 from foul line, making their first 17 attempts
in the game. While Tennessee struggled late in the game and finished
16-of-23 from the stripe. Kentucky came into the game shooting 65.9
percent on free throws.
The Vols and Wildcats were within five
points for the first 9:27 of the second half. Andrew Harrison's pair of
free throws with 10:33 left in the game gave Kentucky a seven-point
lead at 51-44. Aaron Harrison canned a 3-pointer with 8:39 left to give
Kentucky a 56-48 lead.
The Harrisons combined for 9 consecutive Kentucky points to put UK ahead by 10 at 58-48 with seven minutes on the clock.
Vols made a push in the final minutes as Darius Thompson knocked down
the second 3-pointer of the game (2-of-13) for Tennessee to cut the
deficit to six at 64-58 with three minutes left.
the deficit to six two more times in the final minute, but were unable
to overcome Kentucky's near-perfect free throw shooting.
Kentucky finished the game 7-of-16 for 44 percent on 3-pointers after coming into the game shooting 30.5 from beyond the arc.
Tennessee dominated the glass all game, outrebounding Kentucky, 39-24, led by Stokes' massive prowess down low.
Vols came out strong in the first half and led by as many as nine on
several occasions, but Kentucky took the lead with 45 seconds remaining
the half on a James Young 3-point field goal. The Wildcats led 34-32 at
Stokes and Randle dueled it out in the first half as
the Vol posted 12 points and 11 rebounds while Randle a game-high 16
points at intermission. Stokes' 11 rebounds were personally more than
the entire Kentucky team total of 10, as Tennessee won the battle on
the glass, 23-10 in the first 20 minutes.
With the Vols ahead
22-13, Kentucky chipped away, outscoring Tennessee 21-10 over the final
10:12 of the half to take its first lead of the game.
opened the game with authority scoring the first six points of the
game, in the first 2:19 of action forcing John Calipari to call timeout
early in the action. Stokes knocked down a pair of free throws 4:15
into the game giving him eight points, which equalled his total in his
previous two games at Rupp Arena.
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
thought both teams competed, played hard on both ends of the floor.
Thought it was a physical game. I thought the refs did a great job of
allowing guys to play physical. I thought guys did a good job without
fouling, playing physical. I thought we did a great job in the first
half and made some plays down the stretch, I think the last three
minutes of the first half they made plays. (Julius) Randle did a great
job of putting the team on his back, getting to the rim, getting
fouled, making his free throws, even made a 3-point shot. I thought
they did just enough in the second half - excuse me, end of the first
half to take the lead, get a little momentum. We had some breakdowns in
the second half; we had opportunities in transition where we didn't
capitalize like I thought we could have. Did miss 3s but I thought we
did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball on both ends. Told
our guys, especially our bigs, they did an exceptional job of keeping
those guys off the glass because you are talking about one of the
better rebounding teams in all of college basketball the way they crash
the offensive glass, that was a focus for us, to keep them out of the
lane. (Andrew) Harrison did a great job of attacking that ball screen
in the second half, getting in the lane, shooting a pull-up so give him
credit for making an adjustment, he made the plays to really get them
over the hump because going into the second half Jeronne (Maymon) knows
in order to keep Randle off the glass make him work for everything and
I think Randle might have had one field goal in the second half. I
thought, Jerrone's thing was, he might not get it, I won't get so one
of your guards get it. I thought he did a great job with that. I
thought he and (Jarnell) Stokes played well, I thought we played well
as a team just didn't play well enough."
On being impressed with Andrew Harrison's performance
wouldn't necessarily say impressed with the Harrison guys, they're
talented ball players, I had seen them quite a bit in high school so we
knew they were very talented so I'm not necessarily impressed by the
numbers he put up because they can play. But the game plan, I mean,
you've got to stop five guys, they're very talented. Willie
Cauley(-Stein), they don't go inside to him a lot but they feed him the
lob passes, the penetration and pitch action so it's really hard to
help up and I thought we did an exceptional job trying to keep those
guys out of the lane, especially the first half and most of the second
half. Keeping them out of the lane is when you help up and the big guys
behind you throw the lob passes. But no, I wasn't surprised by his
effort, he's a talented ball player and they did a great job as a team
making free throws. Again, I thought Julius set the tone the first half
and (Andrew) Harrison took over in the second."
On how important it was to get off to a strong start like they did
was great but the thing about it, when you're a ball player, especially
for our guys, they look forward to the atmosphere and the stage so it
wasn't a stage of being hesitant, weren't ready to play, we felt like
we had an opportunity to come up and win a ball game against a league
opponent, just came up short. Again, great atmosphere, most players
want to play - you want to be the best, you consider yourself the best,
you want to play on a stage like this."
On how well Jarnell Stokes played and what led to it
he was aggressive, he was hungry. Again, whenever he plays aggressive
he is a totally different basketball player, as well as Jeronne Maymon.
I thought Jarnell did a great job of attacking the glass, being
aggressive, being assertive, imposing his will, rebounding the
basketball and defending. I thought he did a good job, I'll have to go
back to be exact and watch our film, but I thought he did a great job
of keeping Harrison in front of him in those ball screens, Harrison
just did a good job of shooting that pull-up. I thought he did a solid
job on both ends."
Junior Forward Jarnell Stokes
On the hype of the matchup with Julius Randle
wasn't getting into any hype of anything. Julius Randle is legit. This
is how we've been playing all season, playing up and down, but we
always make a run. We've been playing well all season, but this is kind
of sad that we didn't finish the game like we were supposed too."
On getting off to a great start
wanted to trust in my craft. Guys say I struggle with length, so I feel
like guys with length struggle with size. That was my mindset coming
into this game. I would rather be strong and mobile than long. I just
wanted to answer those questions coming into this game."
On what gave him encouragement about the great start
felt good to get off to a great start because we were playing at our
pace. I've lost weight. I've made myself into more of a machine. I want
to run the floor, and I felt like we started the game off by doing that
and then we played into Kentucky's hands as far as slowing the ball
down and then those guys used their size."
Senior Guard Jordan McRae
On what he felt Kentucky's defense did well to stop him
"The past couple of games I have been missing shots that I normally hit. Its tough"
On how the team felt about Kentucky despite their efforts
whole game was tough for us. We did what we were supposed to do. We
rebounded and guarded them well. We just kept missing shots."
On how he feels his team started the game
started off good. We started off really strong. That was something we
wanted to do. We just had to finish the game better than we did.
RS Senior Forward Jeronne Maymon
On if he feels they executed their game plan
Oh most definitely. We came in and we wanted to pack it in and make
them hit shots and they hit shots. That is just the way the ball fell
On how the team feels about executing the plays and still losing
is very disappointing, we just have to get back in the gym and tweak a
few minor things. I think we will keep the ball rolling.
On what helped Kentucky get back into the game
think a lot of different things happened to help Kentucky get back into
the game. It's their gym, they are going to make runs. We handled
ourselves pretty good we just couldn't get the ball to fall in the last
Head Coach John Calipari
Not many teams beat you guys on the boards. They did. How did you like
the way you found ways to win and the free-throw shooting?
CALIPARI: Yeah, our guards didn't rebound. Many of those balls were
over our bigs' heads and they were in a mud wrestling match down in
there. The balls came over, and you had (Armani) Moore grabbing
rebounds; he gets three. You had guys over the top -- our guards didn't
And then (Jarnell) Stokes outworked our big guys. He
just outworked them. There was a free ball and he got them, almost
every one. But what I did like, we were strong with the ball. We put
more pressure. They're a team that runs great stuff and posts the ball,
and I couldn't get certain guys to pressure the ball. You're out. And
there goes Jarrod (Polson). How did he look? Then there goes Dominique
(Hawkins). How did he look? And it proves that there are games where
you've really got to get up and play because they're not trying to play
fast. They're trying to get motion and they're trying to post it.
a good team. Tennessee is not going to lose many in our league. I'm
just happy we don't have to see them again until tournament time
possibly, and I hope we don't see them there. They're a physical team.
(Jordan) McRae is as good as they get. Their guard play, they've got
length. They come off the bench with (Derek) Reese, who's a different
kind of big guy. They run their stuff. Cuonzo (Martin) has got them
guarding. They're really physical. They'll bump and grind. (Jerrone)
Maymon came back, and look at him; he's a beast.
Q. Talk about the boost that Dakari (Johnson) gave you off the bench today.
CALIPARI: Well, Willie (Cauley-Stein) didn't play as well as he'd been
playing, and we went with Dakari and he was terrific. What happened was
we played through Julius (Randle) in the first half, and you notice we
kind of put him on different spots out on the court and then told him
to beat the guy on the dribble, and he created for his teammates.
the second half we tried it, but they crowded him and he held the ball
too long, so he tried to go one more dribble than he really needed to
because they were crowding him, so we went through. Andrew (Harrison)
did an unbelievable -- that's who I expect. Maybe not 10 out of 10,
I'll give him a 9 out of 10 free throws. But what he did in
pick-and-rolls; he got in the lane; he made the right play; he had no
turnovers; he made big shots, the runner, the pull-up jumper; and he
ran our team. He played like a point guard. So he got better today, he
Alex (Poythress) was good again. You guys are
looking at numbers, I'm not. Alex was good again, deserved to be out
there that last rebound the end of half where he mixed it up.
It was a rough game. Some of the guys are in for a rough game, other guys on our team don't play as well when it's rough.
Q. What did you see in Andrew that said, okay, I can put the ball in his hands and he's ready to do this?
CALIPARI: Well, we've been working really hard on pick-and-roll stuff
for him and trying to teach him the pace of the game and how fast you
have to go off the screen, how you have to set your man up -- how you
have to attack the big man. What he was doing was messing with the
ball. All the stuff, and then not covering any ground and not putting
any pressure, and we've just been working for weeks on him doing that,
and I thought initially we were trying to go over the top and then we
told him, turn him down. You go and attack the 5 man, and he did a
great job. He's big, he's got size, so it's not like a 6-foot guard
going in there. He did good stuff.
Q. Every college you have
somebody that wants to know what you're doing to work on free throws or
wants a new guru to come in. What happened today?
CALIPARI: Well, we did something new in the last two days, and it's
something that is unique and something that -- I don't know if it's
ever been done, but we went in the pool and we put on those pool
baskets, and we got them to get down and just start making them for the
mental part of it. It worked. And if you believe that, I've got great
land to sell. (Laughter.)
I had this whole room. You people...
Q. The way they beat you in Knoxville last year, did you sense the returning players had a little more juice for this game?
CALIPARI: No, they were going to do the same thing. The game was 6-0. I
had to call a time-out, had to get some guys out of the game. Had to
change up what we were doing. They make it hard because it's hard to go
switch pick-and-rolls with them because they're so big. Even if you
switch behind, you're really giving them something that they do well.
it made it hard. We didn't play the pick-and-roll great. Andrew got
hung up on just about every pick-and-roll again. We were trying to
switch late. Our bigs didn't do a good job of squaring off the ball
handler. But again, they beat our brains in. I mean, I can remember in
the tournament a few years ago when we beat their brains in, like by
50. It's how this stuff is. This was a close game. We played them in
close games. They beat us bad, we beat them bad. They're Tennessee.
They're really good.
Cuonzo is -- again, they defend, they
rebound, they run their stuff, they get baskets close to the rim.
They've got a player who can get his own. Like I told them, the play
that McRae made down the left side where he just stepped back and we
had two arms on him and a guy falling at him and he swished it easily,
I looked at my staff, I said, "Oh, my; I hope he doesn't get that going
because there's no defense for that."
Q. You talked about you
have some guys that just aren't in for a rough game. Is that Willie?
That's two games this week that he's kind of stepped back.
CALIPARI: Well, but he's owning his performance. See, there's a
difference, and what we try to teach our players here, sometimes we do
it nicely, other times we don't do it nicely, but they have to own
their performance. I'm talking clutter. The clutter around them enables
them. In other words, it wasn't your fault; he likes the other guy
more; if you had as many shots as so and so. You can't -- look, own
your performance. Own it. You did it, you own it. Own your practice
performance. Don't make an excuse. Don't alibi. Own it, and then change
it if you want to change it.
So I think that's why our guys
leave here knowing we don't have excuse makers. If you didn't play
well, you didn't play well. Willie didn't play well. James (Young), it
was a rough game. He didn't play well. That's just how it is. He did
okay, but he was a non-factor in the game. So now own it and change it.
Q. What was the difference for Julius in the second half, and was there any of the fatigue or cramping stuff --
CALIPARI: No, they just went at him, and he didn't give it up quick
enough and I wasn't comfortable with what I was seeing, so I just said
spread the court, we're going with Andrew. It had nothing to do with
anything in the first half. We isolated him and made them come off and
he made a quick pass. He had those assists. Second half he held it a
little long, tried to go one extra bounce, and that's the old stuff
that creates the turnovers. So we just went away.
things, you're trying to do what you can to win the game, and then you
deal with egos after. Let's just win, and I'll deal with all that stuff
after. Again, he's a physical player. He gave them trouble.
Forty-four percent 3-point shooting. With what you guys already do well
offensively, can this performance elevate you to that level that you'd
like to be at offensively?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, the biggest
thing is we're not a team that's going to shoot 25 3s. That's not who
we are. We're a driving team. We're a post-up team. We're a rebounding
team. I want us to be a vicious defensive team so we can get out and
run because we're fast. But if you jam us in, we will shoot 3s.
we have had games like this and we've had other games where we're 1 for
12. My thing to them is if you think you are missing, you're probably
going to miss, so step in and shoot a two. If you know -- you're in the
frame of mind, I'm making this, do it. The second thing I'm telling the
passer, tell the guy to shoot it: "Shoot it! Shoot it!" Because then
that'll build his confidence; dude wants me to shoot it, I'll let it
So we're trying to get these guys -- again, I've got all
18-, 19-year-old kids. This is all new, how to finish a game. James
Young took it out of bounds. Why did you take it out? I was close to
the ball. Really? You're not supposed to take it out, whether you're
close to the ball, far from the ball, the ball hits you in the head.
You don't take it out. Why did you do it? I don't know. We get a lot of
All I can tell you is we're going to continue to work.
This team is getting better. They're playing and fighting. They're
playing together. They're executing better. Again, we held a pretty
good team to 41 percent from the floor. Last game we held them to 37,
out-rebounded them by 18. They may have done a few things and we broke
down a little bit, but we're moving the right way.
Q. Is Dakari about on target for what you'd expect, and does it take a bigger player a little longer to develop at this level?
CALIPARI: Big players develop later, but again, all these guys, they've
got to eliminate the clutter. You've got to quit -- own your
performance, come in, practice and work. And again, this is not a
disrespectful thing, but you know how you get letters, and if there's
an addressed envelope, like I will never -- my secretary doesn't give
me any unaddressed letters. They're torn up, so I don't even see them.
someone sends me something about play more guys. If you play more guys,
which is -- different teams. It's harder when you've got a young team
to play more guys because you're trying to get your team right. But the
second point I said, this is with all due respect, in 2010 when I
called Coach (John) Wooden about my team, he told me I play too many
guys. You need to play six or seven, maybe eight max if somebody is in
foul trouble. All kind of ways of doing this.
He was behind
Willie; how well was Willie playing? Not a whole lot of minutes there.
Now Willie is not playing as well, now you go do your minutes and prove
you should play more. Own your performance. And he did. I'm proud of
him. I'm proud of Alex.
You know, all these guys, I didn't put
Jon Hood in today. Jon has had the greatest attitude and the greatest
approach and has grown so much in the time he's been here, I just see
him, like what do you want to do, do you want to get into coaching?
What do you really want to do? But you just see the growth. Sometimes
you see it fast; Alex it's taken time. So what? What if it takes two
years, three years? So? It does take time.
#44, Dakari Johnson, C
On making adjustments
have to learn to adjust. You adjust during practice and during the
game. I have just been trying to do that and do what I am supposed to
do. I just executed as I was supposed to. I tried to mix it up and be
On waiting his turn to play
"Yeah it is
tough, but my mom told me to listen to the coaches and get better. I
have been trying to do everything exactly as I am supposed to do it. I
am happy for my teammates when they were playing well. I just waited my
turn. It starts in practice and has carried over to the games."
On Jarnell Stokes
"He is really strong. He gets low to the ground. I get higher than he does, and I was trying to play physical with him."
#5, Andrew Harrison, G
On his personal growth over the past few weeks
know that I am not playing as well as I can and that is what I am
working on. That just comes from hard work and being in the gym. I just
want to play well for my team."
On what he would like to personally improve on
"Making decisions and finishing through with contact, no matter what the call is."
On if the team wanted to make a statement after the results of their game against Arkansas on Tuesday
(John Calipari) always tells us to just play and never worry about the
end result, just play the game. The night before you cannot think about
the game tomorrow, you don't know who is going to win or lose. The day
of the game you don't even know that. So you just work as hard as you
can and don't worry about the end result, you just try to get better
On having a breakthrough performance today
frustrating when you hear people that say you are not as good as you
think you are. I feel that it is my responsibility to step up as the
point guard of this team."
On what he's learned up to this point from his first game to this game
work and that every play matters. Even when you are off of the ball
defensively, it matters. You have to stay aware at all times."
On going 23/24 on free throws
"When we are doing that along with good defense, it is going to be tough to beat us."