Kentucky basketball: What John Calipari said after win against Davidson

Kentucky pulled out a close 78-73 against Davidson in the 1st Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Boise. Here is what coach John Calipari had to say about the victory.

On certain struggles in game

We became undisciplined. There was a stretch where guys did what they wanted to do. Just tried to steal a guy and foul and it was like, Wait a minute, we don’t stand behind the post; we were standing dead behind the post. I don’t know if they were tired or so anxious the first 20 minutes, like tired them out. They have never been in this tournament. We start five freshmen.

And I think they were — I even thought we were tired to start the game. It looked that way. Then we got our legs and I took a couple of guys out, we played with more energy and we got going. But this is all new to these kids. And it’s an exciting thing.

On the talent of Davidson

I had friends of mine from within the league and told me, You know, they have guys that could play for you guys. And they do.

I also looked at their stats prior to the game within their league. They’re in the top 1, 2 or 3 in almost every category in their league. Bob has done a great job. They play a style that’s hard. One advantage we had, Rick Barnes and Bobby are really good friends, so a lot of stuff that Tennessee runs is similar to what we faced today. So we had an advantage.

What Kentucky did well

You have to defend and rebound in this thing. Again, we can’t go 0-for from the 3-point line. You have to make some shots. And I always say this: You don’t have to make them all. You just can’t miss them all. You can’t miss every one. And then you can’t miss them bad because they’re demoralizing. This is a good shooting team. But we only took six. If we took 6 more we’d have been 6-12.

On Kentucky’s defensive game plan

They drive baseline better than anything we play. We worked on a day and a half on just when they caught it on the wing, make them go middle. They go baseline, that’s how they create 3-point shots for themselves. They find areas to shoot.

The second thing was we wanted to be up, because our length we felt would bother them. But when Gudmundsson made four in a row, we were like, Guys, is anybody watching the game? And then — well, he was lucky. Lucky? He just made four in a row. He’s not lucky; get up and make him put it on the floor.

On message to team after game

I told them in this tournament you enjoy wins, but you still need to learn that if we played the way we played in the second half, it’s been a heck of a year, but you’re not advancing, doesn’t matter who you play. You’ve got to play 40 minutes and fight like heck and then go back to the hotel room and pass out. And then get a day in between. This is not a conference tournament where it’s game, game, game. You have a day in between to recover.

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