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  • Providence Friars - November 30, 2014 - Rupp Arena - 2:00 PM EST - ESPN2

Cats try to pick up pieces following last-second loss

John Calipari

On finishing down the stretch …
“An out-of-bounds play, side out-of-bounds play. Now I don’t know if he got pushed in the back and shoved across half court, I don’t know, but even if he didn’t or did, why would you throw it on that side of half court? And one of the players didn’t go where he was supposed to go, just went his own way. So you get in that position – we’ve done that over and over this year. Should have had Dominique (Hawkins) in instead of Jarrod (Polson) late in the game. That’s my mistake. Dominique would have came up with that ball on the floor. That was a basket. Dominique would have wiped the whole team out and three officials and would have got that ball. That’s not Jarrod’s fault; that’s my fault. It should have been (Hawkins) in the game. But let’s give Arkansas credit. They didn’t go away either. They had a chance to fold when we kept playing it down. They played well. I’m proud of my team that they didn’t quit, they kept playing. We executed that gives us a chance when we went down three. Stuff that we worked on we did and we go the shot we wanted. We’re just, the last shot, the kid watched. My guy watched and the guy ran by him and dunked it. He’s a freshman. That’s’ what freshmen do. And the same thing on the side out-of-bounds (play), that’s what freshmen do, throw right it before half court.”

On James Young and Andrew Harrison making big shots …
“Yeah, make shots and Julius played. Julius, it’s why he gets cramps because he gets whacked so much. It’s hard. He’s sumo wrestling and running. It’s hard. It’s a new sport. He’d be a gold medalist in that sport. So he, you know, I thought, again, Alex Poythress was great today again. Another great game. He made the effort play that saved the ball that got us the 3 at the end and tied up the game. That was Alex. That wasn’t anybody else. And then we had another play where one of our players and one of their players in front of their bench, it’s our ball but my guy doesn’t go after it. Their guy races after it and our guys fouls him. It’s two points. Those kind of plays cost us the game.”

On how he leaves this game feeling …
“I hate losing, but I’m fine. You know what? Those kids did not quit. We had a couple kids that didn’t play well. Willie (Cauley-Stein) didn’t give us much. I mean, he was a non-factor in the game. Alex was great. I thought Julius did some good stuff. He’s still holding the ball too much, so he turned it over. Anytime he held it he turned it over; when he passed it he made plays. We had a bunch of turnovers early. I thought we cut it back a little bit as the game went on, but we had a bunch in the first half that, you know — but I thought offensively we basically got what we wanted and they made the plays and rebounded. I didn’t see the (final statistics), but, you know, that’s the first team we’ve played that’s taken more free throws than us. Usually we take 20 more than the other team, so you got to give them credit.”

On how the way the game was being called affected the rhythm …
“We were beating the crap out of each other. It was hand-to-hand combat, hands up, chest a guy, try to knock him over with your chest. That’s how the game was played, so we both played that way.

On whether he was surprised Arkansas didn’t foul at the end of regulation …
“Well, we did it without calling a timeout so they’d have had to do without the timeout call and I’ve been in those situations and nine out of 10 you don’t call it. I don’t.  The second thing that can happen — I’ll give you all the bad that can happen. They foul and maybe my guy, we teach our guy if they go to foul you just shoot it from wherever you are, which we did against Mississippi State a few years ago. So then you all would have gone crazy and said, ‘Oh my god, they fouled and he shooting from half court.’ Second thing happens is he makes one, misses the second, we go Julius because we’re a big, strong rebounding team and Julius gets fouled and we come in here and you say, ‘Why would he ever foul?’ Like I said, it’s a half dozen of one and just the way it is. Like I said, this was a great win for them. When it went to overtime, they had to have the dregs of Florida. We get the first basket, it looks like we’re in good shape and they just keep fighting. So you got to give them credit. Good win for them. Tough loss for us.

On how his players were in the locker room …
“It shook ‘em, but it should.”

James Young

On the final dunk …
“It was just my fault. I stopped playing at the last second. I thought it was just going to bounce off, the time was going to run out. I just stopped playing at the last second.”

On it being his man …
“Yeah, it’s my fault.”

On whether he saw him coming …
“Honestly, I didn’t. I really didn’t—” (Julius Randle cuts him off to say it’s a team loss).

On what he thought of the final play …
“He’s a great guy. He’s very athletic. We should have just boxed out a little more.”

On the sting of this loss …
“It hurts a lot. As everybody can see we’re getting better as a team and that’s what matters. We’re getting closer. We’re communicating a lot more and that’s what I think helped us get into the overtime. We just got better as the game went on.”

On how difficult it was to establish a rhythm with the way the game was called …
“It was very difficult. We didn’t get a lot of calls our way and it was hard to find a rhythm. But we just had to keep focus. I think that was a big part of us losing. We kept losing focus.”

On the two shots near the end of overtime …
“The first time I felt my shoulders go back a little bit. The second time I knew I just had to square up and just take the shot and not think about it.”

On the turnovers …
“I think it was just pressure. They pressured us a lot and I think that’s what made us turn the ball over. We just got to take better care of the ball.”

On whether they felt like they had momentum going into overtime …
“Yeah, definitely. We tried feeding off each other’s energy and that’s what kept us in the game.”

On whether he was supposed to take the shot at the end of regulation …
“It was set up for me, yes. Luckily I just hit the second one (in overtime).”

On his impressions of the atmosphere …
“They told us it was going to be a hostile environment. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad, but we just got to learn from what he did and learn from our mistakes.”

Julius Randle

On the last play …
(Cutting off James Young’s earlier quote.) “It’s my fault. It’s a team effort. That play is not what won the game. I saw the whole thing and I could have rebounded out of position too. If one person messes up, we’ve got to have each other’s back. That’s what we got to get to.”

On what he thought of the final play …
“It was a good dunk.”

On what he takes from this game …
“Just a hostile environment. Certain things weren’t going our way but we’re not making any excuses. We’ve just got to keep getting better as a team. We’re young but we’ve got to learn how to finish off games and just little things down the stretch we’ve got to get better at and can’t let affect us.”

On how he avoided cramping this game …
“Just kind of like my mom and my family. They’ve been seeing what I’ve been eating, so I think my diet had a lot to do with it this week.”

On the atmosphere …
“We knew it was going to be a hostile environment. That’s no excuse. I think we did a good job of talking to each other on the court, but just got to learn how to finish down the stretch in environments like that.”