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Following are Coach Joe B. Hall's comments following the Wildcats' 66-56 loss to Purdue last Saturday in West Lafayette:
We didn't have good offensive continuity against their good half-court pressure, man-to-man. It's true what they say about their guards, if they get open they can certainly burn the long jumper. We didn't let them loose too many times, but when we did, why, they hit. They were very good at it. The turning point in the game was at the start of the second half. We came out and they just took the game away from us offensively and they just did a fine job. Our execution offensively, was destroyed by their good defense.
Question What did you think of the early officiating?
Coach Hall - I have no comment.
Question Did you think they would full court press you so early in the game?
Coach Hall - You always work for that, but we didn't know that they would full-court pressure us. That was one of the reasons we had worked on it. They were very good at it. I thought they pressed very, very well.
Question What did you think of Purdue's defense of Kenny Walker?
Coach Hall - It was very good. They sagged well on Kenny and kept the
ball out and forced several turnovers and that certainly helped them.
Question - Did you see any progress at all from the Toledo game to this one?
Coach Hall - I saw a little better effort, but not much better execution offensively and that's partly due to Purdue's good defense and I don't want to take that away from Purdue. Their defense was excellent.
Question - Is this young team going to take a lot of time to jell?
Coach Hall- We got a lot of youth on our team. We've got squad players who haven't played much and are in starting roles and it is going to take a while.
Question - Do you figure by the start of the SEC season that you'll have things pretty much under control?
Coach Hall- I would hope so. Normally, freshmen take to the middle of January before they relax and play and it may take that long. Bennett getting back in shape will really help us. It's really surprising that he got 24 minutes in today because we really had planned to get him in only ten minutes. He's a great kid, gave tremendous effort. He's only had about three days practice since he hurt his knee in October.
The Opening Tipoff
Blackmon Showing Concentration
(On the physical play in the game) The
officials said before the game that they were going to call the hand-checking and that they weVe going to call the fouls on big people inside and they called it close. I wouldn't say it was too close because they told us what was going to happen before the game and I passed the word on to the rest of my teammates.
(On Purdue's defense) They played a real great defense there at the beginning of the second half. I think that was the turning point of the game. They came out and got a lot of pressure on the guy who had the ball.
(On Kentucky's inability to get the ball inside) Every time I tried to post in the second half, they basically had two or three guys around me. Sometimes I thought our guards tried to force the ball inside where they should have taken the outside shot, but they (Purdue) did play real good defense as far as packing it in.
(His feelings on this team) We're real green right now. We've got a whole lot of freshmen playing major roles on our ball club. I know what they're going through right now. It's a difficult time for them. They're doing a lot of thinking and trying to do the best they can. The best thing we can do right now is to keep a good, positive attitude and work hard.
(On his 24 minutes off the bench) That was my main objective, to get in and make a quick contribution while I'm in there and play as hard as I can. Hopefully, with that little bit of a push, it will get me back into shape.
(His advice to freshmen after game) Our main concern is if we were to lose like we did was to tell them to keep confidence in themselves and hopefully, the whole team will come together and find that right chemistry where we can play together as a team
without everybody losing confidence in each other.
(On his first road trip) It is kind of intimidating, but you really can't let that mess with your head. You just have to keep coming out and playing hard.
(His learning on the road) I learned you have to play three times as hard in order to win because, since we're the University of Kentucky, everyone is going to try and beat us and they're going to come out and give 125 percent. So we have to come out and give 150 percent for us to win.
(On playing in Big 10) Going against the Big 10 and knowing it would be a physical game, we thought they were going to let us play early. We tried to play physical and we just got off to a bad start on fouls.
(Does close officiating intimidate the play?) We came out thinking the game would be very physical. We tried to bang-bang with them on the boards and we got all the cheap fouls called early and got in foul trouble. It threw our play off and that was tough.
(Difference in playing on road) It is
different. I really wasn't affected by the adverse crowd. I didn't notice the crowd except when they got real loud. Then it kinda broke my concentration some, something I didn't really appreciate them doing.
(On the physical play) Coach Hall has been wanting me to play more physical because I got pushed around a lot in the Toledo game. I went out there today in a frame of mind that I wasn't going to get pushed around and that I was going to hold my ground. I guess the refs really didn't want that and that's why I fouled out, I suppose.