Kentucky Men’s Basketball, Asbury at Kentucky
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky., Nov. 6, 2016
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 156, Asbury 63
• This was the second of Kentucky’s two exhibition games this season.
• Kentucky is 57-4 all-time in exhibition contests, including 16-0 under Coach John Calipari, and has won 28 in a row.
• This was Kentucky’s first exhibition vs. Asbury.
• Kentucky returns to the court with the season opener on Friday, as the Wildcats play host to Stephen F. Austin. The game is at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.
• Asbury is already 2-0 in regular-season action. The Eagles host Johnson University on Friday.
• Kentucky’s starting lineup featured De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Derek Willis and Bam Adebayo.
• Asbury got the first basket on a layup by Tyler Smith. Kentucky scored the next eight points and led the rest of the way.
• Ahead 26-14, UK had a 12-0 run to make it 38-14.
• Leading 38-18, UK closed the half with a 50-7 run, bringing the intermission tally to 88-25.
• Kentucky eclipsed the century mark with 17:23 remaining when Sacha Killeya-Jones tallied a short jumper in the lane to make it 101-27.
• UK broke its record for most points in an exhibition game at the 11:31 mark when a Monk dunk made it 128-32. The previous record came on May 30, 1974 when UK defeated the Gibbsland All-Stars 127-74.
• The Wildcat scoring record for an official game is 143 points vs. Georgia (in Louisville) on Feb. 27, 1956. UK surpassed that plateau tonight at the 5:13 mark when Wenyen Gabriel’s layup gave UK its 144th point.
• All 14 Wildcats scored, with eight tallying double figures.
• Had this been an official game, UK would have set single-game records for points (156), field goals made (66) and blocked shots (19).
• Fifty-five of UK’s 66 baskets were at the rim, including 29 dunks and 26 layups.
• Freshman guard De’Aaron Fox led the Wildcats with 25 points.
• Senior guard Mychal Mulder had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
• Additional double-figure scorers were Wenyen Gabriel (16 points), Malik Monk (15), Derek Willis (14), Sacha Killeya-Jones (13), Isaiah Briscoe (11 plus a game-high seven assists) and Tai Wynyard (10).
• Isaac Humphries had four points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
• Clarien Washington led Asbury with 14 points, spiced with four 3-pointers.
Q. What did you want your team to get out of this kind of game and what did you think you did get?
JOHN CALIPARI: We wanted to guard threes, make them take tougher twos or really contested threes. And then the other thing is, I didn’t know if they would play the whole game the way they played. But it ended up, I told them you’re not going to be able to run offense because they will just run and trap you, so you’ve got to attack and that’s what led us to playing that fast. That doesn’t happen that often. We have had one team do that to us in my time here and that was Indiana in the (2012) NCAA Tournament and I think we won by 10 or 12 or 14 whatever it was. (Indiana) said we’re speeding them up the whole game, see if they can stay with us.
So this is like the second team that said just keep playing that way and I don’t blame Coach (Shouse) because this is how they play. They were 2-0. This is what they do. They shoot threes, they scramble the game up, they don’t let you run offense, they make you play basketball, and they believe they’re in better shape than the teams they’re playing. So he didn’t want to change for this game, and I don’t blame him. On the other side, that’s why we scored so many points.
Q. This was the second straight game where you had a lot of players in double figures, a lot of assists, is that more a function of game flow or does that reflect the unselfishness of this team?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, every one of these guys could try to get 30 (points). You’ve got every one of them that have that kind of ability, and they know they have to do it together. The one thing we’re not doing right now is we’ve got to post the ball, and you saw later in the game I just forced them to throw the ball inside. You cannot play winning basketball unless you have a post presence.
How about Bam’s energy? Was that crazy? Like, his motor? Well, if he plays with that kind of motor, and he can do it for a long time in the game, you better play that way or I can’t take his minutes and give them to you, whoever you are. I mean, and then he’s going to play every minute he can play.
And so, okay, he missed a free throw, he missed a jumper, it doesn’t matter. That motor is how you win ball games. I tried to do some stuff with Wenyen because I told Derek, ‘I know who you are, I need to keep learning about this kid, which is why I played him more.’
De’Aaron Fox showed his speed. Just, why are you jogging it up? Well, you know, to play that way more than four or five minutes is really hard. But we got winded. I told them, it showed that we’ve got to be in better shape or you’ve got to play less minutes, one of the two.
Q. Do you have an idea of how many guys you would feel comfortable with in a rotation right now?
JOHN CALIPARI: I would say eight or nine and that all depends on how many minutes guys can play. We’re playing to win. If you looked at this, you would have to say Bam stood out.
If you’re playing those three guards, then sometimes you’ve got three guards, sometimes you have two with Dom and Mychal fighting for that other spot. I would say those bigs, again, do you play all nine or do you cut it to eight? That’s going to be when they get in, if they deserve to play, they will get more time. This game was hard for those guys. They were playing guards. They had to move your feet and play a guy that’s not quite as big as you are.
Q. After two big wins like this in the exhibition games, how difficult is it to keep the guys grounded, knowing it’s going to get more difficult?
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, I think they know, but I just told them, I said, we’re going to practice – we have off (Monday), we’re practicing Tuesday and Wednesday and we’re really going to get after it because Thursday I’ve got to back up because we play three games in five days, including travel.
So, there are things we’ve got to get done, and I think they know it. The things we’re doing in practice are bringing out that will to win. But everybody’s going to have to understand, you’re responsible for you and how you play.
Q. There were (a lot) of dunks tonight. Which one was your favorite?
JOHN CALIPARI: I wasn’t watching. I couldn’t even tell you who dunked. I think I saw Malik do something crazy and I saw Wenyen on the break go through guys and dunk, just long arms. And Bam had a couple. Sacha had a couple. But if you stretch us out, I don’t care who you are, if the court is stretched against us, whether you’re trying to slow us down, a stretched court speeds us up. They were speeding us up even more by trapping. Just leaving. And then we got it and just went and now we’re looking at dunks or layups. And so I think, again, we need to – this team’s got to post the ball, we’ve got to be a better defensive team. That’s what we’re going to be, like everybody. We still don’t trust each other, because we’re so young. You’ve got to play team defense, you can’t just play your man, even though you’ve got to guard your guy. And then I think the other thing is that I like the fact we share the ball for two games, we have had 30 assists. And again, I understand they’re exhibition games and we should win both those games by 30, 40, whatever it was but to win real games, to win against Division I teams, you’ve got to execute, you’ve got to post the ball. Defensively, you’ve got to be a team that rotates and at times appears to have six guys on the floor.
#0, De’Aaron Fox, Freshman, G
On how much fun he had tonight …
“I had a lot of fun. In high school, I actually played a lot of teams that would press and get up and down the floor. Everyone always says I’m really fast on the court, so of course I had fun.”
On Cal having a harder practice on Tuesday and Wednesday …
“Honestly, most of our practices are harder than the game. I mean not just this game, but a lot of games this year our practices will be harder because of the competition and the intensity.”
On how he switched his speed up this game …
“When teams press and try to pick me up full court with multiple defenders, I attack. Some people say to pass through the press, but Cal always told us our best press attack is our speed. Sometimes you don’t have to pass, sometimes you dribble through it and throw a lob or get a lay-up. That’s what we did.”
On what Coach Cal says about being up by 50 at half time …
“He told us to keep doing what we’re doing. If they keep pressing, we keep attacking. We didn’t really change anything. He told us to start throwing it to the post because in a game like this it is hard to get them the ball. He really had an emphasis on getting the ball down low.”
#11, Mychal Mulder, Senior , G/F
On if he feels like a different player than last year…
“I just feel more confident, more comfortable on the court, after that year of experience under my belt. I feel more calm and poise. I know what my role is for the team.”
On how hard is it to hit 3-pointers consistently …
“On this team you just have to know your role. I know that I am expected to make open shots, be a finisher, rebound the ball, and to play like a big guard. It is important to hit shots but it’s probably more important to play defense, rebound the ball, fight, battle and understand the game.”
On how much these games help earn playing time …
“It’s not really just about me. We knew they would pressure us. We knew they would send double teams. We had to make good decisions. We really used this game to get better in that aspect. The guards used it to practice against that, make the right decision and pass. The bigs helped a lot with getting out of double teams, so we really used the game for that type of experience.”
#14, Tai Wynyard, Freshman (RS), F
On tonight’s game…
“We played pretty well. We were pushing the ball up the court and we just didn’t stop fighting. Coach was just telling us to keep going. Respect the team and respect them by playing hard.”
On his approach to the playing time competition right now…
“Right now I’m just trying to get better. We’re playing against a lot of good big men right now on our team. Bam, Sasha, Isaac and all of them. We have really long, tall guards and everything like that with Derek and Wenyen. I’m just pushing myself as high as I can go. We’re all fighting for each others’ spots, so it’s a lot of battling going on there. If you’re watching the training it’s fighting the whole time. We’re all just working hard to get better. That’s why we come to Kentucky, is to get better.”
On playing with the facemask…
“It’s annoying. It’s like playing with a big brick in your face. You can’t even see anything. Imagine trying to play basketball like that. You can’t really see, but it’s all good. I think this is my last game wearing the mask.”
Asbury Head Coach Will Shouse
Opening statement …
“Well, I’m glad it wasn’t 100 points. It was fun, the experience we had, being a Kentucky fan. There are some things you can’t simulate in practice. The big bodies flying around, the lobs and protecting that. The system we play, that was a product of the system. I refuse to (play out of our system). It’s my fault. Could I play for us to lose by 50 or 60? Yeah, I probably could have manipulated that, maybe. I don’t know, they may have had their way with us anyway. I kept pressing, trapping and staying aggressive. I think that has to be the mindset to win the conference in our league. I’m still a fan. I’ll be back. I don’t know if I’ll have as good of a seat, but it was fun.”
On what he told his team after the game …
“That no heads should be down. We just went (against) a very good team and a team that we’ll be watching on TV for years to come, being in the NBA. We keep it simple and say we enjoyed the moment, and we have a big opening weekend tournament at our place this weekend and we’re getting ready for teams. I think it’s safe to say that we won’t see anyone like that in our league.”
On what surprised him from Kentucky …
“We play a couple other D1 schools, they’re mid-majors, and it’s always bigger, stronger, faster. This is like biggest, strongest, fastest. I thought (Mychal) Mulder shot the ball really well. He put the ball in the basket well tonight, and I know that had kind of been a question mark for them last year. I thought he looked good. Before the game, I said we’re going to put as many trap situations as possible. I thought they spilt us up. Granted, it’s us, it’s Asbury, but I wanted to put them in situations where they had to think a little bit.”
On how his team competed during the game …
“The big thing was I didn’t want them looking at the scoreboard. I just wanted them to play as hard as possible and I think they did that. They were still diving for loose balls and they were still going to rim, even though they were getting blocked and still shooting the 3. My goal was to shoot 50 3s and we shot 49. Gosh, we could have squeezed one more off, they could have given us that. In the system we run, we try and shoot 90 shots and we shot 97. I know that sounds a little silly, squeezing off shots, but that’s the way we want to play. That’s two of the five goals we want to meet and how we play. Now we’d like to make some more, but we did that. We were able to squeeze off that many shots.”