(Photo courtesy of NBCSports.com)Providence head coach Ed Cooley's opening statement:
"These late games are tough. There's a lot of different ways you can start, I thought there was a tale of two halves, I thought Kentucky played really well in the second half, I thought our shot selection was very poor in the second half. We had some turnovers that led to easy runouts, didn't adhere to our transition defense principles. I thought we made a lot of mistakes in the second half, that probably was due to; I think, a lot of things, like the increased ball pressure, our depth was an issue, especially at the guard position. Credit Kentucky, they got on the glass. Our big thing was to limit their offensive rebounding and try to get to the free throw line. We had some timely turnovers that led to easy runouts and gave them some energy points. I like their team, that team is young, they're going to be very, very good at the end of the day. You can see where they're growing every game, and right now, we've got to shoot a better percentage offensively, because we have not shot the ball well. Our efficiency offensively in our last five or six games has just not been very good. We've got to do a better job with that, but Kentucky's a great team, we'll move on from here, we're excited to play our next game. We've got to get some rest, we've played a lot of games, we've played nine games in 20-some-odd days, 22 days, or 21 days, so I think our guys are a little tired right now."
On Kentucky getting to the free throw line more frequently in the second half:
"Their strength is their length, their length around the basket, and they probably had about eight or nine blocks. They get to the free throw line, they drive the ball to get fouled, they have some very good interior guys, (Julius) Randle is a load to try to guard around the rim. They get to the free throw line and they get second shots, and a big key for us was to limit their transition baskets, their second shot opportunities, and try to keep them off the free throw line."
On Kentucky's size:
"I would say more the size than the skill, you've got a lot of length out there. It was more the length at the rim than it was the skill. It doesn't take a lot of skill if you're seven feet to go up and get a ball, but me and you wouldn't know that, though."
On his vision at Providence and how to move forward:
"Any time you're trying to build a program, you need to give them your philosophy and your culture. We want to play competitive nonconference games, we want to make sure that come Selection Sunday, we've positioned ourselves to play a tough nonconference game...games, I should say, and you know, we're fortunate enough to play Kentucky in a neutral setting that allows us a chance to play with those lights; and by saying so, I feel we've built a team, unfortunately, not having Kris Dunn today really hurt us, not having our two freshmen (Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock, both of whom are suspended indefinitely) really hurt our skill positions. It's easy to see we were really missing that, and their depth at those positions really hurt us."
On Carson Desrosiers and Kadeem Batts attacking Kentucky in the paint:
"Those kids are really good players, and what we were trying to do was play inside out, and I thought our guys got a little frustrated trying to shoot over their length, and that's as long of a Kentucky team; or any team, that we've played, maybe Syracuse that level at the rim, but I don't know if they had the same quality of depth at the rim as Kentucky now has. When those kids mature, they can be scary, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY scary. I mean, they're in their seventh, eighth game, so they should be exciting to watch as the year goes on."
On whether Bryce Cotton may be playing out of position:
"I don't know how much you've followed our program over the years, but we've had so many injuries to where he's not out of position at the point guard spot, and I like to have guards that are dual threats, that can pass and shoot it, can drive it, and he's developed into that role. Right now, we've got to give him a little bit more help because he's putting a little too much pressure on himself trying to score the ball, run the team, guard everybody."
On whether or not he can win in the Big East with his current roster:
"I'm going to coach the guys that are on my bus. If we've got five guys, those are the guys we're going to go with, and (Kris) Dunn is in a lot of pain. Dunn is really hurt. I don't expect him back anytime soon at all, and that is probably the biggest blow that we can have right now. The two freshmen, we're going to hold them accountable to make sure that they're responsible for their actions, and until we're ready to put them back on the floor, that'll be status quo until we feel that our young men appreciate the opportunity to be at Providence College, understand what it is to be a student-athlete, and what they represent. Until they're able to understand that, they will sit there and become cheerleaders. Can we win in the Big East? We're going to see, but I'm going to coach the team on my bus."