Kentucky’s season was ended by Kansas State in the sweet 16 in Atlanta.

From UK Athletics

UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES

KENTUCKY vs. KANSAS STATE

NCAA TOURNAMENT | PHILIPS ARENA| ATLANTA

MARCH 22, 2018
ATTENDANCE: 15,616

Final Score: No. 9 Kansas State 61, No. 5 Kentucky 58

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky finished the season 26-11 overall. Kansas State is 25-11.
  • UK leads the series 9-1 and 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Tournament Notes

  • Kentucky made its national-record 57th NCAA Tournament, extending the NCAA record for most tournament appearances.
  • UK owns a 126-51 record all-time in NCAA action.

o   UK has made 26 Sweet 16 appearances since 1975, when the NCAA officially started tallying Sweet 16 appearances.

  • Kentucky is 28-7 in NCAA Tournament games under John Calipari.
  • Kentucky is 6-1 in Sweet 16 games under Calipari.
  • UK had won eight straight in the round of 16.
  • Kentucky was a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time and first time since 2000.

o   UK is 3-2 as a No. 5 seed.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington and Nick Richards for the 17th time this season. UK was 11-6 with this lineup.
  • Kansas State started the game on a 7-0 run.

o   Kansas State led 13-1 at the 16:33 mark, forcing Calipari to take a timeout.

o   Kansas State was 3 of 4 from the 3-point-line at that mark, while UK started 0 of 4 from the field.

  • UK answered with a 9-0 run over 4:21.

o   Kansas State went 0 of 8 from the field between the 15:27 and 11:10 marks.

  • Kansas State led 26-19 at the under-four timeout with 3:17 to play.

o   At that point UK was on a 2:01 scoring drought and had missed eight straight field-goal attempts.

  • UK’s shot 26 percent (6 of 23) in the first half. It was its worst first-half shooting since the Feb. 3 Missouri game when UK shot 20 percent.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander, Knox and Gabriel, three of Kentucky’s top-four postseason scorers, were a combined 4 of 16 from the field in the first half, yet UK trailed by just four points at halftime.

In the Second Half

  • Kentucky scored the first four points to tie the game for the first time at 33-33 with 18:50 to play.
  • Quade Green hit a 3-pointer to give UK its first lead, 36-35, with 17:21 remaining.
  • Kansas State went on a 9-0 run over 1:25 to take 47-38 lead with 13:17 remaining.
  • Kentucky used a 10-2 run over 3:44 to take a 55-54 lead with 4:02 to play.
  • Kansas State closed the game on a 7-3 run.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky scored a season-low 58 points.

o   UK’s 16 made field goals were a season low.

o   UK’s 42 field-goal attempts tied its season low, with the other occasion being the SEC semifinal against Alabama.

o   Kansas State’s 61 points tied four other opponents for the fewest scored against UK this year.

  • UK’s six assists tied a season low, the other game being a March 3 loss at Florida.
  • Kentucky’s 37 free-throw attempts were its second most of the year.
  • Kansas State committed 30 fouls, three more than the next most by a UK opponent this year.
  • Kentucky limited Kansas State to 35.2 percent from the field.

o   UK is now 169-15 under Calipari when keeping the opponent under 40 percent from the field.

  • Kansas State’s Xavier Sneed made five 3-pointers. Six 3s is the most a UK opposing player has made in a NCAA Tournament game. It has occurred five times, last by John Axel Gudmundsson of Davidson in the NCAA Tournament first round last Thursday.

o   He fouled out with 1:14 to play.

Player Notes

  • PJ Washington scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
  • His 15 rebounds were a career high.
  • He tied his career-high with three steals.
  • It was his team leading third double-double of the season.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished five assists.
  • He scored 13 points in the first half, reaching double figures in the first 20 minutes for the sixth time in the last eight games.
  • He’s scored 10 or more in 10 first halves this season.
  • He made just 1 of 7 field goals in the first half, going 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.
  • He played a career-high 39 minutes for the sixth time.
  • He made 11 free throws, one shy of his career-high.
  • Kevin Knox scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. 

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has a 719-204 all-time on-court record.
  • Calipari is now 275-64 at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 53-18 in the NCAA Tournament games.
  • Calipari is 28-7 in NCAA Tournament games at UK.

Postgame presser transcript 

John Calipari, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and P.J. Washington

Kentucky Wildcats

Kansas State – 61, Kentucky – 58.

JOHN CALIPARI: Congratulations to Kansas State. They played well. They played the kind of game, a physical game, and did what they had to do. Shot 35 percent and won a basketball game. My hats off to them. I’m proud of my team. Had our chance to win, didn’t play particularly well for us, but still had a chance to win.

I should have called that time-out late with 19 seconds to go, but we had worked on something, and I thought we could catch them off guard. Veteran team, should have called a time-out. Can’t put that on these guys. That’s right on my shoulders. Proud of our kids, though. Proud of their effort.

Q. PJ, you had a tough time making free throws tonight, but you still had 15 rebounds and 18 points. How would you assess how you played today?
P.J. WASHINGTON: We lost. I didn’t play good at all. As you saw, I went 8 for 20 from the line. I feel like if I would have made at least half of those, we would have won the game, so I didn’t play really good.

Q. Shai, what was the plan on the last possession of the game, and how did you feel about the look you got to tie it?
SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: It was a pin at the free-throw line for Wenyen, but it took a little too long to progress. And then I had to take a tough shot, and obviously I missed, and I’m disappointed with the result.

Q. When you get that 7-0 deficit, when you get that 13-1 deficit, what’s going through your head at that point?
KEVIN KNOX: We just wanted to keep fighting at that point. We was down 12 early, but we knew we still had a lot of game left. We made our runs, they made their runs. We wanted to make sure that we just get back close in the game going into halftime and come out in the second half and fight, but we didn’t get the results that we wanted.

Q. Yesterday you were talking a lot about your team drinking the poison. Do you think they drank it at all?
JOHN CALIPARI: No, I think the game was physical. You know, there was the freedom of motion to cut and do it. It was a physical game. And it kind of got us a little out of rhythm, and it wears you down. I mean, I thought Shai got worn down. We were doing some things late. We had some turnovers that — we have a lead now, and we turn it over a little bit. And there was a foul called on a free throw, and we have a one-point lead at that time, and playing like we did, which was amazing. We had our chances.

But I come back to the big play for us was down 2. We were going to run a play to go weak side corner for a three, and we end up not having it, throwing it to Quade, I was trying to get a time-out at that point. But that’s on me, that’s not on these kids. That was a choice I made.

The last play was a curl. We were trying to pop Wenyen, and it kind of got messed up. But look, you can’t — these kids fought. They were down 13-1. I mean, I called them in and just said, hey, guys, there’s a whole game left. By the halftime, I said we won the rest of that half by seven. Just keep playing. There were plays in the game that we just didn’t make. But you’ve got to give Kansas State credit. They played in a way that they had to play to win the game, and they did.

Q. I was talking to a couple Kansas State players who were upset. They said your players left the court before they could shake their hands. I wonder what you saw with that, what happened there?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, I went down to shake their hands, too, and they were turned and celebrating so that I walked off. I had no disrespect for anything, just that they were celebrating and I was happy for them. I walked off, too. But I went down, I shook all the coaches’ hands, I went down to shake their hands — which I understood. They’re in an Elite 8 game now, a chance to go to the Final Four. My team is not like that, neither is our program. There’s no disrespect in any way. They beat us. They deserved to win the game.

Q. Obviously there were a lot of fouls on both sides. Do you really feel like a game that moves at a snail’s pace like that really drains the energy from the crowd?
JOHN CALIPARI: I don’t know. You know, you just have to — again, it’s a hard game to play. But if it’s allowed to be that way where there’s a lot of physical contact and stuff, then you’ve just got to play. However it’s being officiated, you’ve got to play.

Q. You’ve called this your most rewarding season. Now that it’s over, do you feel like you got the most out of this team?
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, again, both individually and collectively, this was a rewarding year for me. I wish it could have ended in another week, but you know, for me to see how individual players got better, for me to see how this team came together, for me to see Jarred in, Jarred out, all the stuff that went on with injuries, and they hung in there and played a bunch of freshmen. I thought they really performed.

Q. Do you expect to get the bulk of this team back, more players than usual, and do you think all the things that it’s gone through this season will pay off next year?
JOHN CALIPARI: I don’t know yet until I sit down with all the guys, sit down and talk and see where they are with things and where their families are. I have no idea. We haven’t discussed it.

Q. Just to follow up, Tai Wynyard hasn’t been making any trips in the postseason. Do you expect him to be back next season?
JOHN CALIPARI: I don’t know that yet until we get back on campus and we get with all the players.

Box score

Season stats


Kansas State transcript 

Bruce Weber, Barry Brown, Jr.,Xavier Sneed

Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State – 61, Kentucky – 58

BRUCE WEBER: You know, it just shows our resilience, our character of our guys. We’ve been through a lot this season, and we’ve been able to keep fighting and battling and making the plays when it matters. They made runs. We got 30 fouls, seemed like everybody on our team was fouled out. We were playing with 6’4″ and under, and they’re one of the biggest teams in the country. But we got big rebounds down the stretch, big stops. And obviously Barry’s baskets was huge. Xavier rolls up and played his special — we needed somebody to be special. I said before, a Mike McGuirl moment, and Xavier had his moment.

It was huge, not only the points, but nine rebounds and battling bigger guys inside. And then you’ve got to give Dean some credit. Without playing basketball for two weeks, got in there, got four points, busted his butt for us.

We said we had to fight it out, grind it out, and we did, and now we have a chance to go to the Final Four.

But it will not be easy because Loyola is a very, very good team. We got to have fun for about 15 minutes tonight, but then we’ve got to get refocused and ready for a chance of a lifetime.

Q. X, as Coach mentioned, they finished that game with Mike McGuirl, Barry Brown against one of the most athletic teams in the country. How proud were you of those guys the way the finished that game against that group?
XAVIER SNEED: Just proud of my guys. Proud of them all year. They’ve been fighting all year and just to tough it out and get that W is big for us.

Q. Barry, can you just talk about that last basket and also the emotion that made you go jump into the stands the way you did and what you guys are feeling right now after pulling that out?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: We kind of just played on our principles a little bit, and they would space the floor and I was able to get in there. We knew they were trying to block the shot. Just with their length, they’ve been blocking the shots all game. Once I got past my man, I just wanted to get the ball away from the people that was going to block my shot, and I was able to make the lay-up.

Q. (Indiscernible).
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Coach Weber, I wasn’t going to go, but he pointed to the stands, told me to go to the stands. So just wanted to celebrate with the fans that came all this way just to be with us.

Q. X, could you speak to getting out to the 13-1 lead and what that did for your confidence, yours in particular, the way you were shooting and the team’s confidence?
XAVIER SNEED: Jumping out to a lead on anybody builds confidence for the whole team, especially on a great program like Kentucky. Just to show them that we can play with those guys. And I feel like it was a great energy boost for the whole game, and I feel like that’s what it did.

Q. What does it say, four guys fouled out and Dean can’t play. You’re basically down to five guys. Could you describe the intensity it takes to pull through there? What kind of stuff did you have to reach back for?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I mean, like Coach said, Dean, he went in there and fought his butt off just for us for those eight minutes. We needed him. He had four points, which was great. But we ultimately knew he wasn’t going to play 30, 20, 15 minutes. But just to have him in there, it was big time. But we had some guys step up, X stepped up, and we were able to make the plays down the stretch and win the game.

XAVIER SNEED: Just Coach put us in a position to win ballgames. He did a great job of that all year, especially in practice, making it tougher for moments like this, to make it easier out there on the court for us, and Coach does a great job of that and helping us.

Q. Barry and X, both of you, did you guys coming into this game feel disrespected? Nobody was respecting you and just kind of looking past you guys?
XAVIER SNEED: You know, we’ve been picked eighth in the Big 12, finished fourth, and we saw the new seedings come out, 16th in the Sweet 16. So we felt disrespected all year, and we just came out here and proved people wrong, and we’re going to do that game by game.

Q. Xavier, I saw you were pretty emotional when you got that fifth foul. Can you tell us what was going through your head?
XAVIER SNEED: Of course, me not feeling like it was a foul, but just not being on the court with those guys. But I knew they was going to finish off the game, and that’s what they did, and it was a big win for us. I’m an emotional type of player, so I like to get hyped for anything.

Q. Barry, you guys have not been a good three-point shooting team. Where did that come from tonight? Was it just necessity, you had to hit those?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Just came from us staying confident, staying poised. We may not have made shots in the past few games, but we know we can make shots with any team. So I think this game, we just moved the ball a bit more, got some better looks instead of just heaving it up from three. So I think our shots were able to fall just because they were good, open, uncontested looks.

Q. X, also about the threes, you had been struggling a little bit coming into this game shooting the three. You go 5 of 8 tonight. You hit one in the second half where you left your pose up in the air after you made it. How good did your stroke feel tonight?
XAVIER SNEED: Felt pretty good all night long, and warmups — had a pretty good warmup. And also yesterday got a good shootaround, got a good feel for the rims, and I felt like I had a pretty good game.

Q. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had been playing very well up to this point. What did you do defensively to stop him tonight?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: We kind of just crowded him a little bit, kind of played our principles, kind of watched him a lot, just to know what he did. In the first half, he was killing us just drawing fouls and getting to the line, 11 of 12 from the free-throw line. I don’t know what he had at halftime. I think it was 14 or something like that, 13 or something.

For him to finish with 15 just shows that we got it together. Can’t say we stopped fouling, but we stopped fouling him, and we was able to keep him off the line.

Q. Bruce, can you just speak to the intensity at the end of the game and the resourcefulness, trying to find a way to win that way? And as a follow-up, did you get to talk to Ernie Barrett in the locker room?
BRUCE WEBER: Actually Ernie came in. He did a hype video for us in only Ernie’s style. It was great when he came in. He hugged everybody, and when he hugs you, you might be hurt after he hugs you. It doesn’t matter, whatever he is, 80, whatever he is, that dude has some strength.

But it was great for him. I don’t know if he had tears, but it sure looked like it. Obviously, he didn’t get to play against Kentucky years ago, and he called me after we beat UMBC, and he said, Coach, you’ve got to get revenge for me. We had a chance to do that.

So it was great for that.

But we have great kids. You know, I’ve said since the beginning, we have a great group. They’re tough. We can yell at them. We can get after them. Barry is the leader. When you have a leader that you can get after, and he doesn’t back down, it helps with everybody. And they respond.

You know, they — probably a little bit disrespectful. They came out, but I think more than anything, they just wanted to win, and they knew they had an opportunity and rose up. We always talk about winning games with stops down the stretch, and we got some — we didn’t get many rebounds, but we got some key rebounds down the stretch.

Q. Coach, did you have a hard and fast time limit for Dean, or was it just kind of a halftime decision not to put him back in?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah, we talked about two-minute little windows. We were hoping to keep it at six or seven at halftime, but obviously we had a lot of foul trouble. Dean said he had some soreness at the foot, and our team doctor and trainer just said, if you can go without him and want him on Saturday, you might want to see if we can rest him. And our other guys rose up and made a lot of plays.

You know, so it was — but again, I’ve got to give Dean credit. He told you guys he was going to play. He told us he was going to play, and he gave it his all. And that’s without — he got four points without playing basketball in the last two weeks. I mean, that’s not an easy thing to do.

A lot of guys showed a lot of character and a lot of courage tonight.

Q. One of those kind of hustle plays was (inaudible) getting on the floor to get the rebound and call a time-out. Could you speak to that moment?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah, I told the guys, and I don’t know what our play hard was. One, I said we had to get a lot of steals. We had 13 the other night, and it was a K-State record, and I said, that’s got to be there. We’ve got to take charges. We took a charge. We had to get on the floor and get the loose balls because we weren’t going to get — we couldn’t out jump them.

We did early. I thought we were pretty good on the boards early, and as it went on, their length, their athleticism, our foul trouble just kind of took a toll on us, and they just kind of owned the paint.

But I used a couple different quotes. One was Vince Lombardi about playing to exhaustion and laying on the floor victorious, and I hope they took that to heart. But the other one was about doing all the little things added up. That’s how you get a victory. Not by one thing or this thing, but all the little things that add up.

You always hear Coach Knight talk about that, the discipline and the little things that make a difference. I think that kind of play is a difference maker for us because that allowed Barry to get the go-ahead basket.

Q. You chose not to foul up 3 late. I have to imagine it’s because you’re playing five guards against —
BRUCE WEBER: First we said, Barry, we missed the opportunity against TCU. Barry said, we’re going to foul, Coach. And then we all talked about it as a staff, and we just said, hey, we’re all guards, man up, make them take a tough shot. We didn’t want to give them a chance to get a rebound. I don’t know, how many offensive rebounds did they get on free throws? It seemed like every one. They missed a bunch, but they got offensive rebounds on those free throws.

We gave it a shot. I think we were running a squeeze and then trying to run Gabriel around. They kind of used Knox as a decoy. Our guys switched, switched, switched and Alexander was the one who shot at the end. He only had a tough shot at the end. I thought that was going in. I could have died if that would have happened. But we got the bounce and we made the shot at the end and made the plays that make a difference.

Q. Can you speak to the courage it took your team to overcome what they faced tonight?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah, I mean, it’s just — they’re a resilient group. You know, and again, the leadership Barry — and we just kept saying, grind, grind, grind, keep fighting. Don’t leave anything out on the court.

You know, one, we believed we could win going into it, and we had talked about winning that first five-minute media time-out. I didn’t know we were going to go up, whatever it was, 13-1 or whatever the score was. And we said we wanted to be pests like UMBC was to Virginia and they were to us, and I think we were. I’m not sure they were ready for it. We got after them and got a nice lead.

And then obviously the second half, the run where we got those steals where we didn’t finish one fast break against UMBC. Other than Xavier’s dunk, we made unbelievable plays and passes off those steals, Kam to Barry, and I think somebody to Mike McGuirl, maybe it was, and a lot of big plays that made a difference.

We really wanted to clog the lane and get a lot of deflections. I’ll be interested to see if we — I challenged them to get 40, but we’ll see if we were close to that because those things are the difference makers.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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