Listen to Audio (9:24)
“I thought our defense forcing the turnovers was a key in the game early, and then after that, we more or less meandered around a little bit like we did against Penn, where it was 15 or 18 [point lead] or whatever it was, and it basically stayed that way most of the game. You look at the stats – we shoot 41 and they shoot 44. We did shoot it better from the three-point line. The free throws, they were even better than we are. The only stat that jumps out at you is the turnovers. For us to get 70 shots and them to get 45 is a huge margin. So if you had to pick a stat, that would probably be the most important stat of the game.
“But we’ve got to get better than we were. Danny Green did a great job taking the charge early in the game. He get hit in the mouth, and after that, he made one field goal the rest of the way. So you’ve got to be able to take a little blow and come back and still play basketball.
“I thought Deon was important to us. Ed [Davis], again, off the bench doing the job on the backboards was important to us. We finally got Wayne to make a couple of baskets late. We missed his last one, which was a very long shot anyway, but all in all, it was a great 10 or 12 minutes and then we meandered around after that.”
What do you think accounted for Kentucky’s 28 turnovers:
“Probably a little bit of both. I thought we were aggressive and got to where we wanted to be and put some pressure on them. Maybe their inexperience or maybe some casual play – you’d better talk to Billy to see what it was on their end – but I think it was probably a combination of their defense and some mistakes and bad choices that they made.”
On Zeller's wrist injury:
"Right now it's one of those things where you feel really good about the win, but at the same time you're concerned about Tyler Zeller. They're taking him up to the hospital right now and taking an X-ray and see what it is. Doesn't look good - doesn't give us a good feeling right now ...
"When I was over there with him, he really felt a lot of pain. It was right on his wrist - I think it was the outside, is what he was saying. He came down and that's the first thing to hit the floor."
On Tyler Hansbrough:
“I think that he probably could have already played. But why rush something like that? I’ve said from Day One of the whole deal that we were going to be extremely conservative and that’s what we’ve been.”
On the freshmen post players’ contributions:
“I think Tyler Zeller struggled a little bit tonight, but I think he’s going to be a very, very good player for us, just like I think Ed is. You have to always look for a silver lining somewhere, and without Tyler Hansbrough, those guys have gotten minutes in two good basketball games and hopefully it will help us down the line.”
Listen to Audio (4:16)
On what the team is learning about itself:
"How deep we really are and who's going to step up big for us. I think we're just going to take it one game at a time, going out to California and just see what's up with Tyler Zeller and go from there tomorrow at practice."
On stepping up in Hansbrough’s absence:
"I think I've just been doing the things that I've been doing over the summer. I guess I have just a little bit more of an opportunity with Tyler [Hansbrough] out of there and just taking advantage and not really trying to force anything. I think the way I've been scoring and getting rebounds has just been coming in the flow of our whole offense, just being in the right spot. So, I don't think I'm trying to force anything."
Listen to Audio (3:25)
On the strong start:
"We came out and we wanted to jump on them early. We came out with a lot of adrenaline, a lot of energy, and a lot of intensity. That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out, get in the passing lanes, pressure their guards, and play great help team defense. The result was we came out and jumped on them pretty big."
On feeding off the crowd:
"The crowd was involved and that's what we like. We had a lot of energy, we played with everything and we left everything out there and everyone was cheering."
Listen to Audio (1:43)
Have you tried to step up and be more assertive with Tyler Hansbrough out?
“I try to take advantage. I’m getting more opportunities now, so that’s a good thing.”
If Tyler Zeller is also not in the lineup moving forward, what will that require from this team?
“Everybody on the team is going to need to step up. Everybody. Because we’re down to two big men, so it’s going to hurt us.”
What was the strategy tonight to defend Patrick Patterson?
“We were just trying to front him. Scouting him, it works, so that’s what we were trying to do coming into the game.”
Listen to Audio (11:48)
On fighting back in the second half:
"I don’t think it had anything to do with energy, I think it had to do with execution and aggressiveness and those kind of things. But we're just making too many mental errors even though it's the second game of the season against a really good team and a really well-organized team and a really fine-executing team. You can't make the mistakes that we made like picking the dribble up, not being strong with the ball, getting destroyed on the offensive boards. Even though the numbers on rebounding don't look like we did, they had 18 offensive rebound put-backs. That was a key.
"Our transition defense had too many mistakes with guys who didn't communicate well enough. We creep back into the game, we're not in bad shape no matter how poorly we had played, and then we sub, and we don't guard the right guy or don't guard a guy and they make a three.
“But I did think we fought extremely hard, and when we got in the halfcourt our defense was extremely good, for the most part, against really good players and a really good team. They shot 41 percent and they're not going to shoot that percentage too many times. They're not going to score only 77 points. I know that's way too many, but you take away the points that we gave them… And I think we're going to be all right."