Kentucky defeated Thomas More 103-61 in front of a crowd of 19,736 in Rupp Arena after the game players and coaches spoke to the media.
Thomas More Coach Drew Cooper and Damion King Jr
Highlights from UK Sports Video
From UK Athletics
KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
Thomas More at No. 4 Kentucky [EXH]
Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.
Friday, Oct. 27, 2017
FINAL SCORE: No. 4 Kentucky 103, Thomas More 61 – EXH
- This was Kentucky’s first exhibition game of the season.
- The Wildcats will be back in action Monday at 7 p.m. ET inside Rupp Arena against Morehead State for the Kentucky Cares Classic.
- The Kentucky Cares Classic will help raise funds for those affected by the devastating hurricanes in Florida and Puerto Rico and wildfires in California.
- The game will not be televised.
- This was Kentucky’s first ever exhibition game against Thomas More.
- This was the first game of the season for both teams.
- There were no foul outs in tonight’s game.
- Tonight’s attendance at Rupp Arena was 19,736.
- Kentucky used the starting five of Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox and PJ Washington.
- This was the first time the Wildcats have started five freshmen since the 2014 National Championship game vs. UConn on April 7, 2014.
- The starting five that night was Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, James Young, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson.
- Kentucky scored first to start the game with Knox finishing an alley-oop pass from Diallo.
- At the first media timeout (15:39) the Wildcats held a 13-6 lead thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Green.
- Thomas More recorded its first rebound in the game with 13:29 left in the half.
- Thomas More called a timeout with 13:43 left in the half facing a 15-point deficit (21-6), but responded with an 11-2 run to force a UK timeout at 11:06 with UK’s lead cut to six (23-17).
- The Wildcats responded by regaining a 20-plus point lead as part of a 15-0 run.
- UK held Thomas More without a field goal for 10:57 (0-for-15) in the first half before a TMU layup with 0:09 left in the half.
- Kentucky ended the first half on a 30-13 run to take a 53-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.
- UK outrebounded the Saints 28-13 in the first half.
- The Wildcats dominated the specialty stats in the first half, holding a 22-14 edge in points off turnovers, 17-5 lead in second-chance points and 30-6 advantage in points in the paint.
- Kentucky started the second half with Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Knox, Wenyen Gabriel and Washington – a different starting five than the one that started the game.
- The Wildcats outscored Thomas More 50-31 in the second half.
- UK shot an impressive 60.6 percent from the field in the second half, going 20 for 33 from the field.
- Kentucky surpassed the century mark at 0:51 in the second half, marking the seventh straight exhibition game that UK has surpassed 100 points dating back to the 2013-14 season.
- UK held Thomas More without a field goal for the final 4:12 of the game.
- TMU scored 21 of its 61 points off free throws.
- After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Wildcats had just five turnovers in the second half.
- Kentucky shot 55 percent from the field in the game, going 38 for 69 overall. The Wildcats were 5 for 16 from long range for 31 percent.
- Since their first basket of the game, the Wildcats never trailed. The two teams were tied at 2-2 early in the game with the Wildcats leading for 39:09.
- The Wildcats had 12 dunks in the game: Knox – 5, Richards – 2, Washington – 2, Gabriel – 1, Diallo – 1 and Gilgeous-Alexander – 1.
- UK won the specialty stats overall, holding a 34-19 advantage in points off turnovers, 26-9 lead in second-chance points, 26-22 edge in bench points, 58-14 advantage in points in the paint and 26-2 lead in fast-break points.
- The Wildcats forced 22 turnovers with 11 steals.
- Kentucky had seven blocks to Thomas More’s zero.
- Thomas More hit just 16 field goals in the game for 29.6 percent from the field overall, including going 8 for 25 from long range.
- The Wildcats outrebounded TMU 49-26, including 20-13 on the offensive glass.
- UK’s largest lead in the game was its final lead of 42 points.
- Kentucky played 11 players with five scoring in double digits. No UK player played more than 29 minutes in the game.
- Kevin Knox paced all scorers with 27 points, going 8 for 12 from the field, 1 for 4 from 3-point range and 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.
- Knox added five rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
- PJ Washington posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
- Washington went 6 for 12 from the field and 3 for 5 from the free-throw line.
- Washington had one block and one steal.
- Nick Richards earned 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting with three rebounds, adding one block and one steal.
- Hamidou Diallo scored 12 points with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.
- Wenyen Gabriel had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- Gabriel went 5 for 10 from the field.
- The sophomore added two blocks, one assist and one steal.
- Quade Green scored nine points with a game-best seven assists.
- Green went 3 for 5 from the field with all three baskets coming from long range.
- Sacha Killeya-Jones had eight rebounds (five offensive, three defensive) with four points.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had an overall strong stat line with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block.
- Gilgeous-Alexander went 1-for-1 from 3 and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
Quotes from UK Athletics
University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference
Friday, October 27, 2017
Kentucky – 103, Thomas More – 61
JOHN CALIPARI: Saint Thomas More, you guys did a great job, coach. What we needed a veteran team with juniors and seniors that won 25 (games) a year ago, won their league, won their league tournament and to come in here, how excited were they to be playing here? And then they execute, they’re not going to just — they turned it over 22 times — and we pressed, but just so you know, we pressed for conditioning more than anything. I just wanted these to stretch them out, my guys. We haven’t really worked on a press. Probably if you asked these guys, 15 minutes this year, we haven’t. So you’re like, well, and what happens with freshmen teams, and this is really a freshmen team. As soon as they get tired, they totally cannot be engaged and lose their focus on what they’re supposed to do and they’re just trying to hold on. You can’t play that way. My staff’s telling me we don’t have a guy on the team that can play three, four minutes at a time. So we are what we are. I challenged them a couple times. I wasn’t that bad, for me, but we need everybody to play a certain way and I’ve got to convince guys here’s how I need you to play for your team and for you. We’re still not there yet.
Q. Why is it that your team is not in condition? They have worked all summer, why can’t you have a guy that can play more than three minutes?
JOHN CALIPARI: It’s totally different when you’re walking in and you’re in this building in front of people, you’ve got anxiety, and now you run in here and you start running up and down and it’s basketball conditioning kind of shape. Totally different. It just takes time. You would say, ‘well, why would that NBA team not be in mid-season form right now?’ Conditioning, well you just play into it. Some of it is, it’s like playing a team that’s really quick and fast and you think you can do something. No, you got to get used to playing them and then figure it out as you go and hope you play them three or four times. This team will be fine. It’s not like they’re in awful shape, but as a freshman would do, it’s hard to play a full possession. So you saw at the end of the half or end of the game a guy gets beat and then instead of expecting help or moving his feet he just fouls. Just stop the play. Give them two free throws. But I’ve got to watch the tape. I told them ‘I’m going to watch the tape, we’ll do tape work tomorrow and then we’ll practice tomorrow afternoon, but there were some good things and there were some things that I expected to happen, which I’ll be able to show on tape.
Q. What was your thinking on starting five freshmen and then bringing in the relatively experienced guys in off the bench?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well the only relatively experienced (one) was Wenyen. And then I started him in the second half. This game Monday I may start a different lineup, just to see. I thought when we made that substitution that we did not do what I thought, but again it was Shai and Wenyen. We’re all like new guys trying to figure each other out.
Q. Nick Saban recently referenced the excessive hype heaped upon his players as ‘rat poison.’ What do you see as rat poison for your team more importantly what do you see as the antidote for that?
JOHN CALIPARI: I always say ‘don’t drink it, just don’t drink that poison.’ Because whether you’re reading them, them telling you how good you are, or who you are as a player, it is all poison. So for this team — I think they know. We have a ways to go. We just do. You may look at it and say, ‘well we dunked some balls and we did some good things and we shot it okay and made free throws.’ We’re not ready to play a 40-minute basketball game. We’re just not.
Q. What were you emphasizing with Quade (Green) a couple times in terms of his passing?
JOHN CALIPARI: Give it up early so you get it back so we can have you shoot. He’s one of our best shooters so why would you hold, hold, hold, hold, hold hold? Throw it. You never get that one back. What you do is — and I, when I played I was very selfish, so I knew all the tricks – you throw a slow bouncer to a guy that (you) know he was going to get guarded and then he gives it back and then you shoot it. You give it up way early and then, boy, pass, pass, pass and then you shoot it. Or you can hold, hold, hold, hold, hold, throw him the ball. You can’t get it back. So I want Quade in positions to shoot it, which is give it up early, get away, and we come back to you. ‘I’m shooting this thing. I’m letting it go.’ I thought he shot the ball good today. He just, again, if you hold it, you are not getting shots off. You can’t. You give it up early, you got a chance. Give it up early, go on the weak side, and we start driving and the ball swings to you, let it go.
Q. How do you think Wenyen played today?
JOHN CALIPARI: I thought he did pretty good. His energy is what you need. There were a couple teams he caught it or rebounded it right next to the basket and didn’t go straight back up. Again, I believe it’s physically you’re a little bit tired. Now you grab it and you’re trying to like deep knee bend instead of grab it and go right back up, and either dunk it or lay it in. But I thought again he shot the ball, he comes up with plays. I haven’t really looked at stats right now, 5 of 10 from the floor. 5-5 rebounds, 10 rebounds. A double double from him. Double double for P.J. P.J. turned it over — see here’s the issue, he was zero assists, four turnovers. I’m looking at P.J. as a play making big man. He can’t be zero assists and four turnovers. Now, I will tell you, we had 17 turnovers, how many were offensive fouls? Five. So we really had 12 turnovers where we threw balls away, the rest of them were running somebody over.
Q. Speaking of which, it seemed like several of them were in the post running people over, were you trying to establish (the post)?
JOHN CALIPARI: No. If you’re in the post and you use your shoulder to create space, it’s an offensive foul. And it’s an easy call. So we work every day on moving people with your hips. That means you have to bend over, like get low, and then move them with your hip. You won’t believe this, that’s very hard. You know what’s easier? Throwing that shoulder in there. The only problem is, every time you do it, it’s a charge. ‘I know, but it’s easier.’ ‘I understand, but it’s a charge, you have to move them with your hip.’ So again, it’s a little bit tired. Grab the ball, throw that, offensive foul. We had five of them today.
Q. You joke a lot about having to watch these early season tapes as a coach and a teacher. Do you enjoy this time of the year when there’s not the pressure of having to land that airplane?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, one thing I’ll tell you, I’m at Kentucky, so there’s not that much pressure here. You can just sit back and coach a team and not worry about it. But why is everybody laughing? What happened? Something happen? Okay. It’s like Eric. ‘It’s early, we’ll be fine,’ as he throws popcorn to himself with his toes up on my desk.
Q. Did you get a picture of that?
JOHN CALIPARI: Yes. Yes. But I told them prior to the game. ‘You know what I’m excited about? Watching this tape after the game.’ That’s what I said to them. Because it just, I’ve got to learn more about them. They have got to learn about themselves, they’ve got to self evaluate. Watch the tape, like each of them will have their personal tape with a coach, but tomorrow morning we’ll watch clips offensively that were good and clips that were bad. And then we’ll do the same on defense. Here’s a great five, six clips where we really played. Here are the other 10 that you see we let go of the rope or we switched without talking. Just point. And you just, there’s things that they’re going to have to learn and I’m going to be honest with you, you can’t skip steps with a team like this. I’ve said it before. When you have all freshmen you cannot skip steps. It’s one at a time. We may be ugly early, I just hope we’re not just awful early and that we do enough to be able to play some of these people we have early. I mean we have got teams coming in here like Vermont, that’s a top-50, 60 team. You got Illinois-Chicago, that’s a top-50, 70, 80 team. And we got like two or three others that we’re like, ‘wait a minute.’ Teams that you think, ‘okay, we — no.’ They’re going to be hard games for us. Because they’re going to have veteran teams that they’re going to play every basket to make it tough for you and every shot they take is create one that they can make. They’re not going to let go of the rope or lose focus. They’re veteran teams.
Q. But you’re having fun, right?
JOHN CALIPARI: Oh, I’m having a ball. Yeah, I love it. I love getting root canals. It’s great, you go in and jab me. Go ahead, do it.
Q. How much do you envision the low post offense being a part of things this year?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, we worked on it, so there’s a couple things. I need to get a couple more motion movement offenses and we have got to do a little bit of that. Then we just have to have better spacing and movement when we do try to post it. Like I said, I’ll watch the tape and I’m trying to figure out how exactly. This team has got to play. And there may be things we’re doing right now that a month from now we won’t do because I didn’t like it and we’ll try new stuff. Then at some point hopefully it all comes together to where we see it, that they’re defending and bouncing and blocking and running and dunking and making shots and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘okay, you got this. Now, that’s halftime. Now we got 20 more minutes, guys. Let’s go.’ I mean that’s it.
Q. How many guys are you comfortable with leading the break right now?
JOHN CALIPARI: Probably maybe three, four maybe. The other thing is in the second half we didn’t run like we did in the first half. First half we got out and flew. The second half, it was like we’re just feet didn’t move as fast. There wasn’t like a sense of urgency, there wasn’t a vicious bust out, run, here I go, throw it ahead to me. We just didn’t have that. Again, this is, right now I think we could play about an 18-minute game. So hopefully as we go forward we’ll have some 18, 20-minute games. I think if it’s 40 we’re going to struggle for a while.
Q. Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) looked like one of the guys who could give you sustained energy the whole game.
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, he’s on the IV in the back right now, but he could, yeah.
Q. What’s his potential as an on-ball defender?
JOHN CALIPARI: He’s good. He got beat a little bit on the bounce. I told Hammy and Quade, ‘you can’t get beat on the bounce, especially both of you together or I can’t play you together.’ I thought Shai did put great pressure on the ball and came up with some steals. I don’t know exactly. I wanted him to shoot more. He had four steals. That’s who he is. I mean, and I left him in – if you saw – I just said let him go a little bit, let him get used to this. I thought he did good. There were a couple balls he should have shot, which ended up being turnovers where it’s just, ‘shoot it, you don’t need to drive it.’ Then Quade got him that pass on the swing where he made that shot on the wing and like I said. Shot the ball from the free-throw line pretty good, we had a couple guys that didn’t, but overall shot the ball well from the line. I told, I thought he had 12, no, he didn’t he had eight. Sacha had eight rebounds, and you may have looked at some missed shots or missed free throws. If he rebounds the ball, I can play him. And he had five of those that were offensive rebounds. I just keep, ‘if you defend and rebound, I can play you. Then you don’t have to worry about scoring.’ He missed three free throws, I never said one word. And they were not close.
UK MEDIA RELATIONS
OCT. 27, 2017
RUPP ARENA – LEXINGTON, KY.
#5, Kevin Knox, Freshman, Forward
On the first exhibition game with competition …
“Oh yeah it was good to get out here and play against somebody else. We’ve been beating each other up for the last couple months so Coach Cal was big on us coming out here, being aggressive and making sure that we can take all the stuff we’ve been working on and put it against them.”
On what kind of condition he thinks the team is in …
“We’re not too bad, but twenty minute games – a lot of us haven’t played a college game so we don’t really know how big time games go. It’s a lot of up and down basketball. In practice, we don’t really do that much up and down. We do a lot of sprints and stuff but not too much scrimmaging. We just have to get used to it and do more conditioning drills and more running so we can be in shape for the first game.”
On comparing stress levels and conditioning in practice to this game…
“Tonight, like Coach Cal said, the anxiety and all this stuff can play big parts in conditioning. You get tired easily because all the people watching. In practice, we do a lot of sprints, 17s and running on the treadmill and stuff. But like he said, that’s just getting ready for the game. The game is a little bit different than just running sprints.”
On how good this team is in transition …
“I think we’ll be one of the best teams in transition. Me, Hami (Diallo), PJ (Washington), and Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) are really good against it. We all can get to the basket in transition. We are able to get around the defender, get the foul called and get the basket and one. I think we will be one of the best transition teams. You just have to keep getting the guards to throw the ball up so we can have the opportunity to attack in transition.”
#32, Wenyen Gabriel, Forward
On conditioning now compared to last Friday …
“I know Cal mentioned that last Friday. We’re still a young team, but we do a lot of conditioning in practice now. We’re just starting to get used to it. It’s our first real game, and we are trying to get our legs under us.”
On how he thinks he played …
“I think I played with a lot of energy out there. There were a couple things I did wrong, and think I could have done better. As a team overall, we did pretty good though.”
On what Coach Cal said when Thomas Moore went on a 9-2 run to get them out of the slump …
“He was telling us we needed to pick up our energy and there was no reason that team should have a 9-2 run on us. He said we had to pick up our defensive intensity and that against a better team – that may have gotten us in a deeper hole.”
On if him being a veteran added some energy …
“Definitely. Coming back for my second year, a lot of the young guys look up to me for energy and leadership in that aspect. I have to be more vocal and get the young guys going.
On Quade Green accepting his role …
“I mean it’s Quade. That’s what he does. He’s the floor general, and that is one of the aspects of his game. He just wants to really let that show when he’s out on the floor. He gets assists, gets the ball moving and talks. You know he shows a lot of leadership while he’s playing the game, so that’s one of his best aspects. He wants to show that to the whole country.”
On if he likes when the media writes good articles on them …
“We don’t really read all of the articles you all write. We really are just focused on what we’re doing as a team right now like listening to what Cal’s plan is for us and trying to buy into that. We know that we need each other to make it where we’re trying to go at the end of the day, so we are depending on each other as teammates.”
#0, Quade Green, Freshman, Guard
On playing against an actual opponent …
“It was really good. We’ve been playing against each other all month so we got tired of that … It was real good today – got our feet wet for the first time.”
On playing overall in the game …
“I played ok. I got control of the game – really with the team everyone got involved. Got Kevin more and more touches today, so I think I did pretty good.”
On hitting the three-pointer and shooting well in practice …
“I shoot well all the time. That’s one of the keys of my traces. It was a regular thing for me.”
On any surprises during the game …
“We got up and down the floor more tonight than I thought we would. I thought we were going to stop more today because we stopped more in practice. I thought we did a good job getting up and down the floor scoring on fast breaks. When we did get stopped, we executed real well.”
Thomas More Head Coach Drew Cooper
Opening statement …
“I’ll probably keep coming back to this: I think it’s tough to comprehend from the outside looking in when you are part of a community like Thomas More College, what this does for us. I think we have such a great thing up in Northern Kentucky. What Coach Calipari, DeWayne Peevy, the entire Kentucky basketball staff and everybody, the way we’ve been treated leading up to this game today – it’s something that our community, certainly our coaches and more importantly our young men, but this entire community, Thomas More alumni, guys that have been around for 30 years and guys that will be around 30 years from now – this is something that we will never forget. Basketball is basketball but we are so appreciative of what the University of Kentucky and their basketball staff has done for our community and our young men.”
On how Kentucky looked in transition …
“We couldn’t stop them. I think this will hold true all season long. It’s like you put a stopwatch on (Hamidou) Diallo, on (Quade) Green, how quick they get the ball from one side to another. You have to be perfect offensively. You have to be perfect offensively because if you give up a deflection, turn the ball over, take a bad shot and get a long rebound it’s a four-point swing or a five-point swing in a heartbeat. So if we were not perfect offensively it was two points, three points them.”
On the play of Kevin Knox …
“I haven’t had a chance to … golly, 8 for 12 and 10 for 10. I really haven’t digested that.”
Thomas More Student-Athletes
#5, Damion King, Jr., G
On Kevin Knox …
“I saw his high school highlights. I knew he was a terrific player, but it is a lot different playing against him in person. I think he is a really great player, and his career will last a very long time.”
On preparing to play against Kevin Knox…
“In practice, we can’t really prepare for it because we are all 6-foot-5 and under, but I can definitely tell you it was different playing against all the tall guys here. Going in the lane, it was like their players were trees out there on the court. It is definitely different playing at a higher level than what we are used to.”