- Illinois State Redbirds - November 30, 2015 - Rupp Arena - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Tune in at approximately 11:20 p.m. as John Calipari delivers his postgame remarks, live from Rupp Arena.
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Q. What did you think of them playing steady down the stretch?
COACH CALIPARI: Played well. What they did, they’ve done, I’m guessing, ten games this year, where, with five minutes to go, four minutes to go, three minutes to go, it’s anybody’s ballgame. Then they just grinded better than the other team grinds it, like they did us. They were just a little too experienced for us down the stretch.
I thought Andrew (Harrison) played a terrific basketball game, but the last four minutes, Scottie (Wilbekin) just outplayed him. But up until that point, I thought Andrew held his own. But, again, that experience of how to finish off a game. We missed two rebounds. Really, we missed three rebounds. I think it was (Casey) Prather just went after the ball harder than us.
(Dorian Finney-)Smith ran one down and our guy stopped. There were, I think, three rebounds that I looked and they scored seven points on, offensive rebounds, where they just go get it. We fouled them or they come out and score. Again, that’s that will to win. We’re getting there. We did a lot of good stuff today, defended a really good offensive team.
You know, I wish we would have made a few more free throws, because I think it would have been a little more interesting, but the press transition defense, the press, it was all — we were good. We gave ourselves a chance.
Q. Cal, what happened on the technical? We couldn’t really see.
COACH CALIPARI: You have to ask him. I just told the guy — I was speaking softly. I don’t know what he heard me say with my back to him, so you have to ask him.
Q. You kind of alluded to it, but do you feel like your kids kind of reverted in that last four-minute stretch there?
COACH CALIPARI: No, they played an experienced team that’s really good. And they played better than we played down the stretch. We fought. We got a couple looks and missed it, a couple plays that could have been fouls called that weren’t, but we played.
Q. On how Scottie Wilbekin impacts the game.
COACH CALIPARI: Makes free throws. Most of the tapes that I’ve watched that they were in tight games, he got himself fouled. You know, at the end there when you’re fouling, they just stop the clock. It’s different. But he got them in shooting a jumpshot. We foul him — on two drives we foul him, or at least that’s what was called. I have to watch the tape to see how bad it really was, but…
Q. What did you think of your shot selection? I think you only had four field goals the last 11 minutes?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, we missed some shots I would hope would drop. You know, I’m going to have to watch the tape. We tried to go inside a little bit, especially to start the half, and they defended us better, but, again, we shoot 47%, they shoot 44. Their play was 60% in the second half, and most of that was down the stretch where (Patric) Young made three baskets in a row. He gets an and-one where we stood behind him and stopped playing and then fouled him. We made some errors, but they take advantage of any breakdown you make.
Q. On what he saw from tonight’s game.
COACH CALIPARI: We lost to a good team. I’m not happy. We lost to a good team. But we had our chances and we’re not ready to win that kind of game, and I told them that. So we’ve got to understand and listen and not blame each other. Take responsibility. If a guy outplayed you, admit it, the guy outplayed me.
Q. The points scored off that technical foul, it seemed to swing the game. Do you think it might have done that?
COACH CALIPARI: It could have. It could have.
Q. Can you talk about the last couple minutes and Andrew?
COACH CALIPARI: The only thing I wanted him to know is you saw what a veteran guy did down the stretch. That’s all you need to learn from this. You’re as good as anybody out there. Now watch what he did down the stretch, and he got the ball to the guys that needed it. He got fouled when he needed to get fouled. He controlled the game. He went fast when he wanted to. He pulled back when he wanted to. He played well. That’s just you learn from it.
Q. On Andrew Harrison.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, he made shots. He was 6 for 12.
Q. On Andrew Harrison starting 1 for 7 from the field.
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, 8 for 8 from the line, and he had four assists, so he did a lot of good things. Four rebounds for a point guard in that game, high-level game.
Q. Julius (Randle) had a pretty strong first half and they came really quick with the double. What were they doing differently and how did he react to it?
COACH CALIPARI: No, they were going to do — I told him quit spinning. You’re coming on the spin. Just get it to the rim or pass it. We worked all week on they’re going to double, dribble out of the double team, which Willie (Cauley-Stein) did, threw it to him and he dunked it. But it was hard to get the other guys to really accept it. Just two guys are on you, you’ve got to pass.
Q. Why do you think Alex (Poythress) struggled to make an impact?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, Alex didn’t get the minutes he had gotten, but I don’t know. I thought Willie did a couple of good things. You know, again, down the stretch we don’t talk and we give Scott a three. Just talk to each other. I got him, you got him. We back away and look at each other, and no one speaks and they make the three. That’s what an inexperienced team does down the stretch.
But I’m proud of the guys. I’m happy how they fought. High-level game, a lot of intensity to the game. Lot of hype to the game, and we performed. They put themselves in a position to win. Five minutes to go, if we make two free throws, we’re down two, you know, you’re right where you want to be.
But that’s a good team. Florida deserved to win the game. When they got all those rebounds late and the execution, it’s just an effort that I’m going to go get this ball. They got those three rebounds that cost us seven points. In a game like that, you can’t recover with that least amount of time left.
Q. On Billy Donovan’s team.
COACH CALIPARI: He’s had a bunch of good teams, but this is a veteran team that has a lot of things going for it, whether it be defensively, rebounding the ball. Again, we outrebound them and hold them to 44%. We shoot 47% and lose by 10. Think about that now.
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