Jan. 19, 2002
On the ballgame…
“We had a tough battle against a very good basketball team. If you would have told me that we would hold (Tayshaun) Prince to nine points, I would have figured we would have a chance right at the end to win it, and we did. I felt we played very well today. I felt Chris Thomas was fabulous and Matt Carroll. But I am proud of what we did today giving ourselves a chance to win. A couple put-backs and offensive rebounds by them really hurt us at the end. But it certainly was a great atmosphere in here. Our fans gave us every opportunity and we need that on Monday as we step back in to league play.”
On Notre Dame’s effort…
“At halftime we were shooting fifty percent and we had 11 assists and approximately six turnovers and we were down six. I thought we needed to get it to Chris Thomas. Chris Thomas was great with it taking care of the basketball with a lot of ball pressure on him all day. Ryan Humphrey had a great defensive effort. Offensively we ran everything through him today. I thought he had 10 assists today.”
On Matt Carroll…
“Matt is kind of back in the groove. As we said before, he missed some of the pre-season with an injury and I think we he came back in November and December he was a little shaky. One thing he has been struggling with is his three point shot, which looked a lot better today.”
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Notre Dame junior guard Matt
On his attitude towards the game…
“I was excited about this game. I didn’t think about the past, the past is the past. I came in here today with a clear head and with the goal to shoot the ball.”
On the toughness of the team this season compared to last season…
“No question we are a tougher team. We’ve grown from last year and we are all more experienced. We are a lot more mature and have played with each other long enough to know one another well. This team is a mentally tough team and we are going to keep going at it .”
Notre Dame senior forward David
On the importance of this game and the impact of the loss…
“This is a hard loss to take. Obviously they proved today why they are a winning program. You have to tip your hat to them, they played real well. I thought today they played as well as they have all year out on the perimeter. We had some tough shots that didn’t fall. There is not much else to say. Unfortunately, we just came up a little short today.”
Notre Dame freshman guard Chris
On his confidence level and recent play…
“It has been tougher for me since BIG EAST play started. It really doesn’t matter, though, about my personal game. We just need to slowly develop our team chemistry and get back to playing the way we did as a team those first seven games. I have confidence that my shots are going to fall in due time. I know one of the other guys will step up and hit the big shots when we need them.”
Coach Tubby Smith Quotes
On playing Notre Dame…
“I thought it was a pretty well-played college basketball game today. Notre Dame is a class-organization, Mike Brey has done a fantastic job with the team. Both teams competed extremely hard with good sportsmanship and a lot of toughness.”
On play of junior guard Keith Bogans…
“We are happy to see Keith Bogans play well today. He’s been struggling, but he stepped up and played big for us. We are happy to see Keith respond the way he did. I can tell he was very patient and under control. He got some good looks early.”
On game’s significance…
“It was an important game for us. When you step outside conference play against one of the best teams in the BIG EAST, that won the BIG EAST (West Division) last year, we knew we would be coming in for a fight.”
On defending the Irish…
“I thought we did a good job of keeping them off-balance defensively, but even at that they shot the lights out from three point range. But we shot it fairly well also.”
On play of sophomore guard Cliff Hawkins…
“I thought Cliff Hawkins really controlled the tempo. We were able to give him the type of breaks and type of looks that he needed.”
On defending junior guard Matt Carroll following his first-half surge…
“We were really thin today in the back court. Obviously it is tough with a guy like Matt Carroll to defend him because he was playing well. We wanted to do a better job on him. We put certain guys in the game and were changing the matchups. I think we got caught up on switches where we didn’t recognize who the shooters were. I thought we made more of a conscious effort to keep the ball off him (in the second half).”
On the difference in game…
“We had good balance today. I thought we moved the ball better. It is important that everybody step up at this point in time and make shots at clutch time. We’ve had people step up without Keith Bogans playing well. When he is able to shoot the ball well it creates other opportunities for people on the court.”
Kentucky Player Quotes
Junior guard Keith Bogans
On his performance . . .
“It feels good. I came out today and just played the same way I played all the time, but the shots fell down. I got a lot of three-point shots today, but I just tried to take what the defense gave me. I didn’t try to make too much happen.”
On what he has done lately in practice . . .
“I have been working a lot harder at practice because if I’m not playing well, I feel that I’m not working hard enough. I just kept working hard, never gave up and stayed after it.”
On hitting shots to stop Notre Dame’s runs . . .
“That feels good. You know teams are going to make runs, but when you can counter those runs by making big shots, that helps your team a lot and takes the momentum away from the other team.”
Senior forward Tayshaun Prince
On the importance of the win . . .
“It was a big game for us, stepping out of SEC play. It was another big road game.”
On the play of Keith Bogans . . .
“Any time they made a run today, Keith made a big-time shot for us to break their run. For him to step up today was big, especially when I didn’t shoot well. It was great to see us get the win without me shooting well.”
On his 3-of-12 shooting from the field . . .
“In the first half, I didn’t get off well, but the shots were feeling comfortable. Even though they were missing, they felt right there. In the second half, I shot a little short on some shots, but those kind of days happen.”
Junior forward Marquis Estill
On defending Ryan Humphrey . . .
“Ryan Humphrey is a tough, strong post player. I was just trying to make him shoot the ball over me because it seemed like he had a bit of a tough time doing that. I also wanted to keep him off the offensive boards because he gets a lot of easy baskets from offensive rebounds. I just tried to make sure I hit him every time a shot went up.”