Kentucky defeated Centre College 103-63 in their final exhibition game of the season.

Highlights from UK Sports Video

Game Notes 

Tip off

From UK Athletics

Kentucky Men’s Basketball: Centre at Kentucky

Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky., Nov. 3, 2017
Attendance: 20,378

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 106, Centre 63

  • This was the third of Kentucky’s three exhibition games this season.
  • Kentucky leads the countable series vs. Centre 18-10. UK won the last 11 meetings, the final of which occurred on Feb. 13, 1929.
  • Kentucky returns to the court Friday, Nov. 10 as the Wildcats play host to Utah Valley. The game is at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

First-Half Facts

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Quade Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Kevin Knox. UK used three different starting lineups in the three exhibitions.
  • Green opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and the Wildcats never trailed.
  • Leading 10-6, UK went on a 10-0 run for a 20-6 lead.
  • Kentucky closed the half with a 24-2 run and took a 52-24 lead into intermission.

Second-Half Story

  • Centre opened the second half with a 10-4 spurt, narrowing the score to 56-34. That was as close the Colonels got in the second stanza.
  • Kentucky hit the century mark with a Nick Richards foul shot with 2:19 remaining.
  • Kentucky coasted to the final score of 106-63.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky used its size to good advantage, outrebounding Centre 52-17 and winning points in the paint, 56-22.
  • Five Wildcats scored in double figures tonight.
  • Kentucky shot the ball well, 61.5 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point land.
    • In UK’s three exhibition games, the Cats shot 57.1 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from 3-point land and 72.5 percent at the foul line.

Player Notes

  • Kevin Knox notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
    • Knox led UK in scoring during the exhibitions with a 19.3 average.
  • Wenyen Gabriel led all scorers tonight with 20 points.
    • He was the team’s leading rebounding during the exhibitions, averaging 8.3 per game.
  • Quade Green totaled 18 points and a game-high five assists.
    • During the exhibitions, Green shot 69.6 percent from the field (16 of 23), 63.6 percent on 3-pointers (7 of 11) and 88.9 percent at the foul line (8 of 9).
  • Nick Richards enjoyed a perfect shooting night, making all six field goals and all five free throws for 17 points.
    • Richards shot a sizzling 85.7 percent in the exhibition games (12 of 14) while making all seven free throws.
  • PJ Washington completed tonight’s double-figure scoring with 10 points while also blocking three shots.

Box Score 


John Calipari 

Nick Richards

Wenyen Gabriel 

Sacha Killeya-Jones

Centre Coach Greg Mason and guards Jarod Griffin & Tucker Sine


University of Kentucky Basketball Media Conference

Friday, November 3 2017

John Calipari

Men’s Media Conference

Kentucky – 106, Centre College – 63

JOHN CALIPARI: We just have so far to go. I didn’t think we passed the ball to each other in the first half. Everybody was trying to get theirs a little bit and it just looked bad. We just got a lot of work to do to be able to feel a comfort level on the court. I don’t want to have to call stuff every time down, but I will. We played our best when we were in running in a set, which I don’t want to play that way, but we’ll play how we have to play. I did play the zone just so we could look at it for a minute. But, again, gave up some threes, but it disrupted the game, which is why you go to it. You know what was great with Centre College, they saw no fear, they were so excited to play and they just played until the horn. And when he went to the bench that guy was excited about playing and I was disappointed that they got to the basket so many times on straight drives. Some of them were just simple pick and rolls where we didn’t talk. But we just got a long way to go. I’m not in a panic yet, I do have both feet on the panic button, but I’m not crazy yet. It’s just that — and yesterday was a probably one of the toughest practices I’ve had since I’ve been here — trying to get their heart rates up and get them not to surrender. You’re fatigued, don’t surrender. You’re fatigued, don’t let go of the rope. You’re fatigued, talk more. You’re fatigued, be there for each other, cover each other. That’s our biggest issue. Now, I may be able to do that again maybe Saturday, Sunday, but we’re off Monday and we got three games in five days and they’re all going to be hard games for us. So, we got to get a little bit fresh and go from there.

Q. I know Nick has put in a lot of work, some after hours work on his offense, he was 6-6 from the floor, 5-5 from the line tonight. How significant is that to you, he threw the little jump hook in there, looked pretty good.
JOHN CALIPARI: No, he’s gotten way better. But we just, he’s just got to keep going. Part of it is we got to go at him and let him know what we want him to do. He’s a really good foul shooter. He’s a good shooter. I mean, if you leave him open at the foul line in those areas, he can make that shot. But that jump hook at seven foot is hard. Again, they weren’t, they’re not in there 6′-10″, 6′-11″ putting a body on him, that bothers him a little bit, but like I said, we’re out there with a lot of young guys. I thought Wenyen did some good stuff, shot some balls. We shot the ball fairly well, but again, we got to be a team that really the ball zings and we get in that lane. And that means you got to play through bumps. In other words, you’re going to drive, they’re not going to just give you the drive, get the ball by them, they’re going to body you a little bit, you got to go through the first one, get through the second body check and see what you have. But I know, you look at the stats and all that stuff, but I’m like I said, we got a ways to really get this right. But I’ll watch the tape. I was more watching the game. I got a little frustrated with some of the guys’ decision making and I thought most of it was, I’m trying to get one, I’m trying to get mine. But I’ll watch the tape. Sometimes I’m wrong. I think it was 1978, might have been ’77 I was wrong.

Q. With the season opener coming up, are there one, two or three things you can look at as a priority and say, we got to get better at this right now. Is there a priority list?
JOHN CALIPARI: It probably is being more, I want this to be a random playing team, but it looks like we’re going to have to have some really, not over structure, but good structure that they know, if there’s nothing there, this is what we’re doing. We probably are going to have to play in segments like for four or five segments, four or five minute segments we’re playing a certain way and, okay, now let’s go to this and see what’s — and then finish with what works good. We got to see — we’re not going to be pressing the whole game, that’s not what I’m doing. But we’re doing that to condition, to get these guys to play up and down. So, but we’re not where we want to be, we’re not where we were, but we’re not where we want to be. And I told them, I’m not worried about where we are right now, I just want to see that we’re getting better.

Q. To piggyback off what you said a moment ago about some of the disappointment, there were a lot of threes and I saw your reaction on threes when you have a height advantage. They didn’t drive as much as you would like, is that fair to say?
JOHN CALIPARI: On our shooting threes? Well, look, we only took 14, okay. But there were a couple where the lane was open, drive down the middle and dunk it on everybody. If someone tries to step up and take a charge, we work on that every day, attack and avoid. And if you avoid them, it’s a moving, it’s a block. Just don’t run them over. But take that ball. And again, when the easiest thing at times — and let me say this, if the ball is driven in the lane and thrown out, shoot the three every single time. If the ball is passed around the perimeter, drive it, don’t shoot a three. That’s when I was getting upset. The ball went from a corner to the wing to the top and a guy shot it. We never got it in the lane. Again, our advantage is we’re long, we’re active, if we can get guys helping, we’ll offensive rebound, you are not offensive rebound – swinging around the perimeter shooting jump shots. Not going to. But if you drive it, kick it out, and get them out of whack and we miss that shot, we’ll rebound it. I liked the fact that Kevin had 11 rebounds today and Sacha had nine rebounds today and Wenyen had nine rebounds today. But again, I mean we should have out rebounded Centre because we’re just bigger.

Q. Veterans Day is coming up, the football team is kicking off Lexington’s Week of Valor tomorrow. Are you going to do anything special with your team and what would you like to say to all the men and women who have served?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, at this point we haven’t really spent a whole lot of time thinking about that, but Eric and DeWayne and I will probably come together and see what we do, but let me just say that the freedoms that we all enjoy are because people are willing to put their life on the line for all of us. You can’t ever take that literally. Now we have Americans around the globe trying to protect us here at home in what they’re doing for my team and for all of us to really recognize. And we have done a lot of stuff with the different military here, especially within our state with the National Guard. But, yeah, this is a special time, especially now with all that’s going on around the world.

Q. How would you assess Diallo’s progress through these three games? What things do you like and where do you feel like he needs to focus on improvement?
JOHN CALIPARI: He’s got to get better and that’s okay. Where he is right now is not where he’s going to be in a couple weeks, in three weeks, in four weeks, but we all hope it was — you know, when you get fatigued, you start like being lackadaisical. That’s what I’m saying when you start surrendering to fatigue. And I think that what you’re talking about is you saw three or four plays where, wow, he just kind of went after it nonchalant. Well again, when you’re fatigued you surrender. And that’s the stuff that we’re trying to do in practice, get guys, when you’re tired, go get that ball and then go dunk it. Come up with that ball. Don’t flip a lazy pass, don’t do it. But again, he’s a freshman, a freshman like all these kids. And what we’re asking them to do they have never done before, all of them. They have never played this hard. They have never played this way. They have never — they don’t even understand when we start Friday and it’s for real, it’s going to be up another level and the teams we’re starting to play, whether it’s Utah Valley and with a bunch of kids back and Vermont, a top-50, 60, 70 team, whatever they are, with all their guys back and they have had two or three back-to-back great seasons. They’re hard games. Then you got to go play in Chicago, Kansas, I mean, this is, it’s pretty heady stuff to throw at these guys right away.

Q. You played quite a bit of zone in the second half, how do you think you looked in the zone?
JOHN CALIPARI: I’ll look at it. I was really — the one that just disappointed me is the skip over the top and Wenyen 6′-9″ and that kid’s 6′-3″ and if he drove it, we’re in a zone, we got a guy on the elbow and we got a guy on the block, the only thing you could hurt us doing is shoot that three. But we haven’t played much zone, how could I get that upset? I mean, we haven’t played zone in a week in even practice. So we went to it and I told Coach Barbee, just talk to them and we’ll, let’s see what that big lineup looks like when we’re playing. And I tell you, we got our hands on a lot of balls, we, you’re really that long, it’s pretty good stuff.

Q. The most lopsided margin of defeat in U.K. men’s basketball history was at the hands of Centre, 70 points, and I was just curious —
JOHN CALIPARI: Centre beat?

Q. U.K. by 70 points.

Q. And I was just curious, did you schedule this game exclusively out of revenge or primarily out of revenge?
JOHN CALIPARI: Wow, they beat them by 70? How many points was scored in the game? Wow. Who was coaching that team?

Q. Answer my question.
JOHN CALIPARI: No, you know, again, this is — the one thing, and coach was so appreciative and, but we are too. I mean, I want teams to come in and run all their stuff and out of bounds plays to try to score and get their kids to feel good. We try to leverage this program to help, to become involved in this state and what we do. And Thomas More came in and had alums and they were cheering. And it was funny, when we played Morehead and they were cheering and you could hear them chanting in our building, which I think is kind of neat. But it’s a way of helping different programs and this thing is kind of unique in that the seat I sit in, you cheat the position if you’re not reaching out to help. And the same with this program, we have a chance to help other programs, and I know when we schedule non-conference games, that’s more beneficial to that other team than us and the only, you know, players or the programs I remember is when I was at UMass and Memphis and they wouldn’t play me. So now I won’t play them. They’re out. But everybody else is in play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #176 at 2017-11-04 01:35:00 GMT




Nov. 3, 2017

Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky. 

Kentucky Players

#1, Sacha Killeya- Jones, Sophomore, F

On how the game went… 

“I think tonight is something we can learn from. We could have done a lot better. There are many more things we need to do and learn. We are not where we need to be yet. I think we can also see strides of where we have come and where we will be later on in the season. We are still growing and every game and practice we have gotten better. We are just going to continue to grow.”

On what specifically he think the team has gotten better on …

“I think we are starting to talk a lot more. In the first game, and even the blue and white scrimmage, it was really quiet out there. Now, everybody is talking to each other and we are trying to communicate. That has been a big emphasis. I think we are getting in better shape. We have been running a lot and everyone has been getting stronger and more conditioned. I think those are our two big things. There are a lot of things we need to do like take care of the ball better and rebound as a team. We are getting better though so it’s good.”

On his offensive game…

“It has been somewhat frustrating. Your whole life, you come up and think you’re going to score 25 points a game or something like that. I haven’t really let it get to me because I am doing the things coach has asked me to do. That is the more important part. This team isn’t relying on me to score 20 points a game, this team is relying on me to rebound, talk, be there for help-side defense and just do things like run the floor. I am doing what this team needs me to do and as long as that’s happening then I’ll be happy with that.”

#4, Nick Richards, F

On what he could have done better…

“Could have had more rebounds. I wasn’t really impressed with my rebounding effort. Just got to take it game-by-game and hopefully I can see improvements.”

On the development of his game…

“I wasn’t really much of an offensive player in high school. I was probably the main scorer for my high school but I wasn’t really that much of an offensive player. Now I have to show a little bit more confidence in my offensive game. It took time; I just had to go into the gym, thousands and thousands and thousands of hooks with Coach Kenny Payne. You can see the results. It’s getting there. It’s not where it needs to be but it’s getting there.”

On how the team has developed during the preseason…

“We definitely got what we needed out of the preseason. It shows where we are right now. We’re nowhere close to where we want to be. Hopefully by midseason or hopefully it clicks overnight with what type of team we should be.”

#32 Wenyen Gabriel, F

On how much more confident he is after this past summer…

“Definitely confidence played a role in this game. The shots were there today and I was just ready for them to start falling.”

On his scoring spurt and if that was to show coach he can play more minutes…

“I was really just trying to bring some energy to the team today. I thought we were lacking that for a little bit. I just needed to pick the team up. I was just trying to focus on winning out there right now. I’m not trying to show coach or anything like that, we do that in practice.”

On if rebounding was the major focus this week…

“We got to practice and Cal put the rims up so we can’t make a shot. We just ran 17 and started playing five minutes straight. You get points off of rebounds. Offensive rebounds two points, and we just played and losers run. That’s what we were doing at practice. Came out here and rebounding was definitely a focus for the game.”

On Nick Richards how he’s seen him in the gym working on his shot…

“Nick Richards is in there before the games, early. He’s in there before practice working with KP (Kenny Payne), he goes back there at night. Those are the type of shots he’s been working on. He made a couple shots today, and KP says ‘Nick made a couple shots, go back to him.’ I think that post presence right there is going to be really big for us as the season goes on.”



UK vs. Centre 

Nov. 3, 2017

Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky. 

Centre Coach Greg Mason Quotes 

Opening statement…

“What a night for Centre basketball. What a night for Centre College. In the dictionary, nirvana is a state of perfect happiness, and that’s me right now and I think it’s our guys as well. Obviously we lost to a very good Kentucky team. I know that they’ve got a lot of learning to do, but eight of 14 from three, everything we tried to do we did well. They just devastated us shooting the ball, 52-17 on the glass. I think we’d all agree that they’re better than they were one week ago. Just very, very thankful. Can’t thank Coach Cal, Dwayne Peevy and Kentucky Basketball enough for an amazing night for these guys up here and the guys in the locker room.”

On Centre attacking the rim tonight …

“It was totally the game plan. We pretty much said, ‘Hey we’ve got…’ This is two and a half weeks for us in and we probably had 15 offensive sets in, a lot of stuff we just, well I take that back. We probably had about seven or eight offensive sets, but we just said space it, drive it, because Kentucky’s going to take us out of all of our sets anyway. Defensively, and I think our guys would say this, they are devastating just because of their size and just because of their length. But we wanted to drive it, and we knew offensively that’s what we were going to have to do. We called it wildcat, just drive it, jump stop, make a pass, make a one more, knock down some three’s. We shot eight of 27, and that’s not too bad against those guys.”

On the competition level of his players …

“Very proud of them. I mean, it takes a lot of courage to come into an environment like this. It’s kind like playing golf with Phil Mickelson. You want to do it, but then you get up on that first tee box and the butterflies hit. Other than just a devastating run at the end of the first half, I thought we were awesome. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. I told them, ‘Let’s represent Centre College and Centre basketball in a way that’s deserving.’ And I thought our guys did that and more. So very, very proud, very pleased.”

On number 32, Perry Ayers, and also commenting on his daughter …

“This is little Lucy Mason. She’s a big Centre fan tonight, and tomorrow she’s six months old. My wife and I are very blessed. She’s beyond awesome. And tomorrow she’ll be the biggest Kentucky fan; I know that, but tonight not. Perry was really good. I thought Perry got to his right hand against devastating defensive play. That’s a lot of confidence moving forward, but as far as competing I thought we all did an amazing job. We’re talking Jarod Griffin took Kevin Knox to the rim, transitioned and scored. There’s a lot of SEC athletes that have not been able to do that this year.”

On Centre being a scrappy …

“Yeah, I mean we had more lose ball recoveries than we had defensive rebounds. We had 12 defensive rebounds for the game. I remember a couple plays where they would get the ball and somehow Bailey Rakes would get a steal or whomever would get a steal. There was a couple occasions, and the crowd was getting into it and loving the scrappiness.  This was a, and we got beat 43 points, but this was an awesome night for Centre basketball and for our guys. I think there’s a lot of lifetime memories that our guys can take from this.”

On how he uses this game to prepare for the season …

“There’s a lot about tonight that will not translate to Hanover, our next scrimmage, but the confidence that our guys gained. Like I said Perry Ayers took his right hand, he did it against Kentucky, so he should be able to do it against others. There’s just so many great things. We turned it over 15 times. If you told me five hours ago we’d turn it over 15 times, I’d give you a big hug. I’d take that. I was worried about the turnovers. I was worried about the glass. We did one well. We didn’t do a very good job on the glass. But, hey, credit Kentucky. Nick Richards is, he’s got a lot to learn, but my gosh, that kid has got a bright future. He was hard around the rim.”

On what areas Kentucky improved in …

“There’s so much. A lot of them are 19-20 year old guys, and I’m 46 and I walked in this arena. It takes a little bit of time to get used to it. I think we forget that they’re 19-year-old kids. They shot it really well. Quade Green shot three threes, and our guy kept saying let’s go over the top of that action because he’s a great shooter. He was hitting shots and we were like no because then the alley-oops would come. But they’re getting better. Big Blue Nation needs to stay patient with them. Coach Cal’s the best in the country on bringing the team together. A lot of youth, and that’s what they are. But man, Kevin Knox is really good. Nick Richards was really good tonight. (Hamidou) Diallo, I think he’s got a gear that we didn’t see tonight. A lot of special players. One thing our guys talked about was how good of guys they were on the floor, and lot of times we don’t talk about that. No talking, they just played, good sportsmanship.”

On moving forward, if season will be easier from here … 

“You bet. Now we play the number seven team in the country in Division III on Thursday night, and they’re good. They’ve got one or two players that could play in this environment and play well. But yeah, just so much confidence. Kentucky, it’s lottery picks. I’m looking down the other bench, and there’s a Naismith Hall of Fame coach. It’s just the mecca. Our guys, there’s no question we have confidence from this. Even in getting beat 43 points.”

Centre Student-athlete

#3, Jarod Griffin, Guard

On the best thing about the week leading up to it…

I would say just the excitement around the college. It’s such a great opportunity for Centre College as a whole. The whole campus kind of rallied around us this game. It was a really awesome experience for all of us. It’s a great opportunity to play against one of the best programs in college basketball. We were really excited to do this – and obviously the length and athleticism really got to us in the end – but we thought we got better and we hope we helped them get better as a team too.”

#10, Tucker Sine, junior, Guard

On the best thing about this week…

Yeah, the competition was pretty high tonight and I think we rose to the challenge. So we’re just thankful for Kentucky having us here, and what better way to play than in Rupp Arena? So, there’s a lot of history behind this arena and we’re really thankful to be able to play here.”

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