- Kentucky is now 9-0 on the season. UConn falls to 6-2.
- UK is 1-1 against the Huskies.
- Kentucky is 164-70 against the Big East.
- The Wildcats are 10-3 all-time in Madison Square Garden.
- UK is 39-16 in the New York metro area.
- UK’s 9-0 start is its best start since opening the 1993 season 11-0.
- Kentucky returns to action on Saturday in its first true road game, traveling to Blooming, Ind. to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Tip-off is scheduled for noon with the game being televised on CBS.
Team game notes
- The Wildcats used the starting combination of Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and John Wall for the fifth straight game. Kentucky is 8-0 with that starting five.
- Kentucky played it is road blue uniforms for the first time this season.
- UK won the opening tip. The Wildcats have on the opening tip eight times this season.
- Ramon Harris was the first sub off the bench for Kentucky. It was his fourth time this season to be the first Wildcat off the bench.
- Kentucky opened the game on a 12-0 run.
- The Wildcats didn’t allow UConn a point until the 15:42 mark of the first half.
- UK trailed 29-23 at the half. It was the third time this season the Wildcats have trailed at halftime. UK is 3-0 when trailing at the half.
- UK extended its string of 720 consecutive games making a three-pointer.
- This was the first time Kentucky had two players foul out this season.
- The win was number 1,997 for UK, the winningest team in college basketball.
Individual game notes
#11 John Wall
- Scored in double-digits for the eighth straight game
- Tied career high with six steals
- Six steals ties for third most by a UK freshman.
- Has 15 steals in last three games
- Recorded his fourth 20-point game this season
#15 DeMarcus Cousins
- After tallying no points and three rebounds in the first half, recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in the second half to finish with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the game and his fourth double-double, tying Patrick Patterson for most on the team and most in the SEC.
#24 Eric Bledsoe
- Fouled out for the first time this season.
#33 Daniel Orton
- Fouled out for the second time this season
#54 Patrick Patterson
- Moved to 42 nd on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,166 points
- Scored in double-digits in four straight games and eight of nine games this season.
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
On tonight’s game:
“I said after the game, I am going to look like Dick Vitale by the time the season is over or I am going to be solid grey and look like Bobby Cremins. We just do stuff, you are like, `What are you doing?’ We drank the poison in the first half. We listened to all of the hype about John Wall and all this so we don’t pass the ball to each other. We didn’t make three passes in the first half. We go up 12 (points) and they are celebrating like we just won the national title. I am just trying to calm them down. All of a sudden, Connecticut makes a run like you know a well coached team will do. They are a good team. They block shots, they are aggressive, and they are tough and they are well coached. We were just fortunate to run out on them. We rode John Wall till the end of the game. We were broken on offense, we just gave it to him and said make some baskets.”
On John Wall in crunch time:
“I don’t know because people that have watched him over the years, that wasn’t just my question, that was everyone’s question. There is no harder worker on the team. He doesn’t miss a class, he doesn’t miss a tutorial. He workers harder than anyone on the team in the weight room. He works harder than anyone in practice. I think he is building his own self esteem, his own confidence.”
On the team:
“We are 4-5 (official record is 9-0), that is what we are. I know we have a nice will to win and we are doing some good stuff. I told them in there that we need to stop drinking the poison and do better in practice.”
On his halftime speech:
“You all drank the poison. You want to come out in this half and play, let’s play. No one will care how you played in the first half. They will only watch what you do in this half. Then I just said, `Let’s play to win. Second half, let’s go.’ I wasn’t mean or mad. They are just young guys. They haven’t played on this level.”
On the interior defense:
“It was okay. What I did late in the game, I told DeMarcus Cousins, `You are a rebounder and a defender, we are not throwing you the ball anymore.’ What DeMarcus has to learn is that you have to bend over to be a good defender. He wants to do it with the upper body which means he ends up getting sloppy and ends up throwing balls at the rim. This is all new, believe me, this is all new. ”
On John Wall compared to Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose:
“It is really early. He is farther ahead than some of them. I screwed up Tyreke, if you think about it. I had the Rookie of the Year at the wrong position for nine games. That is how smart I am. When I put him at the right position, then he went crazy, so who knows what good he would have done if I started him at point guard. Derrick Rose, early on, was turning the ball (over) and I remember our good friend Dickie V (Dick Vitale) saying `Bad shots. The kid takes bad shots.” We played here against Southern Cal and he just said he is throwing balls and John did some of that in the first half. He did some freshmen things.”
More on John Wall:
“He is a little bit ahead in what we are running on offense. He is the greatest kid. Here is a kid that comes into my office and gives me a hug. He will come in, not say anything, walk up, hug me and leave. He is unique and special. The kid next to me is unique and special (Patrick Patterson). I had to say this yesterday, we stretched out before we left to come up here, and I asked if anybody has a problem with John Wall getting all of the press, and everything is going to John Wall. I asked, `Patrick do you have a problem, they are not talking about you, they are all talking about him and he is averaging 7 turnovers?’ Patrick said, `I don’t care’ and then someone else said, `you know Coach he is pretty good.’ We are in a good position now but we are just so young. It is just torture on the sidelines sometimes.”
On tonight’s game:
“We knew it was going to be a tough match-up. They have great guards. It is a learning experience. They are going to be the most aggressive guards we have played against.”
On the last basket:
“Like Coach says, he just wants me to make plays so I was just trying to make a basket.”
On Kemba Walker and Stanley Robinson guarding him:
“It is pretty tough. He (Kemba Walker) is small, quick and aggressive. You have to stay low because he is reaching in trying to steal the ball. So I had to adjust and shoot over the top of him. And with Stanley, you have to try to blow past him because he is like 6-10, has long arms so you can’t really shoot over him.”
On the second half:
“It was good. In the first half, I was just trying to run the offense. In the second half, I was trying to do what coach said, run the plays but when I have an opportunity to score that is what I was doing.”
On John Wall:
“He is one of the best basketball players out there. He has been doing this all year. Pretty much, (when) we need a basket we all knew who to get the ball to. John wanted the ball. We just run situations, flat or isolation, and take advantage of his offensive game. When we need a big basket we go to John.”
On the team:
“We are still young, we know that. We need to build on this. It is a learning experience, even for the returners. We have a long way to go. Hopefully we can be a top notch Kentucky team we want to be.”
On the excitement of the team:
“It is tough to calm everybody down, especially in Madison Square Garden. All of the fans are going crazy. All of our fans just screaming and yelling with the run we had, they were just getting into it, running and jumping around. It was pretty hard to calm everyone down but when they started making our run, we started getting back down to Earth.”
On the team’s start:
“I understand. We are happy right now. We are extremely excited, extremely happy. We understand, some games we should have lost whether it was UNC when they had that run in the second half and we pulled that out. (We pulled) this game out, against Stanford. There is a bunch of games we were able to pull out. Some of those games we should have loss, some of those games we were fortunate to win. We understand what Coach means when he says we should be 4-5, (but) we are glad we are 9-0 actually. It just shows we are a tough team.”
Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun
On tonight’s game:
“First thing, I want to congratulate Kentucky. They made big plays down the stretch and they made some foul shots. Quite frankly, they jumped out early in the game and then my kids… I’m proud to have coached my team tonight. There haven’t been many times this year that I’ve been happy… on occasion I’ve said we’re a 20-20 team, we play 20 good minutes and 20 not-so-good minutes. But tonight I thought we played 40 good minutes of basketball, tough basketball.”
On team’s makeup:
“We’re lacking in size right now and (are) trying to fit some pieces in as we go along. Hopefully we’ll get a little bit of help later, but that has nothing to do with tonight’s game. The way we played, we certainly could have won this basketball game, but Kentucky made enough big plays.”
On Kentucky freshman John Wall:
“Just like I said of John Wall when I saw him play in high school, I said he’s at least as good as Derek Rose… seeing him in person, we played Derek here a couple years ago when he was at Memphis… (Wall) is all of that. Whatever that is, he is all of that. He’s a tremendous player. The way things work out (can be) strange in games, but him getting in foul trouble was probably the best thing in the world because he had great, fresh legs. You could really notice it in the second half… (Stanley Robinson) did a great job on him at the end when we stopped him five straight times… He’s no freshman, he’s a great player. That’s what he is.”
On his team’s effort:
“I think both teams really went at it hard. We went at it exceptionally hard I know for sure… But we started off slow, had a lag of about five or six minutes in the second half, which cost us the lead. Otherwise we played very hard, gutty basketball; made big plays, made tough plays. They tried to press us; they tried to press Kemba (Walker)… It ended up being a war. I think missed foul shots by us (hurt us). We got the exact shot we wanted at the end, Kemba had a six-footer, Jerome was wide open for a three- and Stanley had rolled and he was standing at the elbow wide open. We had three shots at the end and thus was the game. But I’m proud of my team tonight. In defeat, I always say it was a loss, and it is, it’s a loss. It’s on our record. We’re 6-2 and not 7-1. But I was really proud to coach them tonight because I could coach them, I didn’t have to get them to play to a level they have to.”