MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kentucky defeated UCLA 86-75 Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight where a rematch with North Carolina awaits.
Here’s what Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the game.
On the SEC’s run in the NCAA Tournament: “We’re supposed to be a bad league. That’s got to be all these other leagues, right?”
On De’Aaron Fox’s 39-point NCAA Tournament freshman scoring record: “He’s grown, but what he’s learned to do is play physical, not take a hit and fly, and throw a ball. He’s learned to play through bumps. He’s learned to work. He’s understood the grind now. It took him a while. They think, well, I’m just going to go play. He shot 15 percent for a while. Like, dude, you can’t miss every single shot. Now all of a sudden, if he’s open, that ball is down. Second thing is he goes to the rim, and I know if he gets hit, he can still make it. Well, early in the season, he wasn’t doing that. But I am so proud of him, and today all I did at halftime is say, guys, are you watching this game? They said, yeah, okay, good, then you know we’re playing through De’Aaron Fox. The rest of you take a backseat, play off of him, but everything we’re doing good is through him the whole half. And they were ecstatic. Good. Let’s do it.”
On former Kentucky guard Devin Booker scoring 70 points for Phoenix on Friday night: “Now, I have a feeling my young guys won’t be around next year, but I’ve got another crew coming in, and I’ve got to shout out to Devin Booker. Ms. Veronica, his mother hit me today, wishing me luck, and I said I’m so proud of your son, and he goes for 70 to night. How do you get 70? Like he showed up our team. We just have a great win and they’re going to be talking about Devin Booker all night now.”
On facing North Carolina for a second time: “You know, it helps both teams that we play because we’ll know each other pretty well. And let me say this: North Carolina is so good, and they’ve been so good all year. Guard play, size, rebounding, fly, being able to score, Jackson will get 40. He had 40 on us last game we played. Roy has done a great job with his team, and I’m looking forward to the game just because I like my team, and we’ve got a good group of kids, and I’m like jacked up. I’ll sleep tonight because I’m getting old and I’m tired, but I’m excited that we’re still doing this with this group of kids.”