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Winthrop coach, players grateful for chance to play in Rupp Arena

Jeff Houchin Photo

Winthrop Head Coach Pat Kelsey

Opening Statement …
“I want to thank Coach Cal for playing us. This is an honor to come into this building. Obviously, Rupp (Arena) is one of the most storied venues in American sports, so for our guys to have the opportunity to play here is an honor. Give a tip of the hat to Kentucky, the administration, just how they operate. It’s an unbelievable class organization and class act. That kind of stuff fires me up. I mean you change practice 30 minutes and you’re emailed back in two seconds with 94 people are copied on it. Everybody you run into, ‘Welcome to Rupp Arena.’ It’s an absolute class deal, and it was an honor to be here. Give them credit, and they did what they did, and that’s punch us in the mouth around the basket. We knew we couldn’t turn the ball over and get beat up on the backboard which is easier said than done to keep them from doing that because they’re one of the most physical, strongest, best offensive rebounding teams in the country. They beat us between the pipes, down in the trenches. At the other end, we needed to expose them with our space and our ability to shoot the three. We were 13-of-28, and the fact of the matter is we needed to shoot 48 (threes) to beat them. It’s easier said than done also because of their length and athleticism. You credit them. Very, very good, and very well coached.”

On playing at Rupp Arena …
“I told the guys yesterday at the shoot around. Real quick, my mentor Skip Prosser used to say when you go on the road no matter where you’re playing — if it’s Cameron Indoor Stadium or if it’s Rupp Arena — it’s not our eighth grade trip to our nation’s capital, he used to say. Our guys, our managers are walking in with their phones, taking pictures, and I said, ‘Fellas, put those things away. We’re here to play a game. This is business. We’re here to win.’ But then when they weren’t looking, I start recording stuff and taking pictures. I think come the second half we fought. Not that we didn’t fight in the first half but a lot of things that we hung our hat on in preparation. We did a better job in the second half start spraying, start finding open three-point shooters, start deflecting the ball more. I just think our overall intensity improved.”

13, Bjorn Broman, Sr., G
On playing in Rupp Arena …
“As a kid everyone thinks about playing at Kentucky, playing in an arena like this. Like Coach (Kelsey) said, everyone here has been great. Stepping on that court was an honor. We played hard and I’m proud of our team. We never gave up and kept fighting. It was a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.”

22, Austin Awad, Sr., F
On playing in Rupp Arena …
“A lot of teams would have been satisfied with just having fun and being in this venue. This amazing and legendary crowd. We came in and we wanted to win, and we came in physical. It was a lot of fun, but I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t get it done, of course. It was a great experience and I really love the arena.”

1 comment

  1. Very classy, indeed

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