THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Calipari and student‑athletes Julius Randle and James Young. We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
JOHN CALIPARI: Well, really, I can't tell you, even in that lost, I can't believe what these guys got done together. Talking about a bunch of young kids that just went out there and believed and believed in each other and just kept fighting.
I needed to do a better job for these kids today, because they needed more help in this. You could tell early on they were feeling the game. One of the things we tried some stuff, pick‑and‑roll, obviously it didn't work. We had to play zone. Tried to get their sweat to dry a little bit, make them less aggressive and it worked and these guys performed. They came back, Let's stay in the zone, coach.
But late in the game we went at James Young. We tried doing different things, but we didn't have enough answers for these guys to finish that team. Their guard play was outstanding.
But again we had our chances and that's all you can ask of your basketball team.
MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. To both you guys, obviously this is not the ending you wanted, but how will you remember sort of the magic you guys were able to put together and make this run and just how will you remember this season?
JAMES YOUNG: That we really fought, no matter what, no matter how much we were down. We just kept our heads up and just kept fighting for each other. And we had a couple chances that we had to bring it back and we just kept fighting.
JULIUS RANDLE: Yeah, this group of guys are special. We have been through a lot this season. How we kept fighting and we were able to make this run just says a lot about the guys. I just hate that it ended like this.
Q. Julius, were you hurt in the first half?
JULIUS RANDLE: No. I was fine.
Q. Was there any reason why you would come out of the game at certain points?
CALIPARI: He was tired.
Q. Julius, I'm curious what they did to limit your shots, you only took seven tonight. What did they do defensively to stop you?
JULIUS RANDLE: My shots didn't matter. When I was penetrating, guys were open on the wing and that's my job to get them shots if they suck in. So I don't care about shots.
MODERATOR: All right. We'll excuse you to the locker room and take questions for coach.
Q. John, what did Connecticut do on the boards? You guys had done a good job against everybody on the boards.
COACH CALIPARI: Every 50/50 ball they got. They just had more energy. The only thing that slowed them down is us going into a zone. And you know me well enough, I don't usually do that. I said we got no choice or we're going to be down 20.
We hung in there and gave ourselves a chance and make the baskets coming out at half. I thought we were going to win the game.
I come back to, as it wound down and it was a three‑point game, they needed more from me. And you're talking all freshmen out there. They needed more from me. So I wish I had a couple more answers to create something easier for them.
Late you could say why not foul? Because they didn't miss any free throws. They weren't going to miss a free throw. We had three possessions left we were okay, but we were going to have to score and every possession. Those were the dice I rolled. I said that's what we're going to try.
Q. I hate to even ask you this in this setting, but we feel like we have to. There was a report that came out, Rex Chapman said before the game that you, it was a done deal that after this win or lose you were going to coach the Lakers. Is that ridiculous?
COACH CALIPARI: The Lakers have a basketball coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I got the best job in the country. I'm not going to even dignify that stuff.
Q. 13‑24 from the line. Did free throws cost you the game?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, you could say that, but the way we started the game probably cost us the game. Somebody said, Well, why do you think you started that way? They're all freshmen. They're scared to death again. We tried to settle them down and we were rattled early. Then we settled down and started playing.
But I have to give Connecticut credit now because the way they were aggressively picking up the ball, we told our guys, If you don't play with energy, they're going to.
We jogged the ball up the court instead of sprinted it. All that stuff played into them being aggressor and we were getting attacked. We did whatever we could to stay in the game.
I hate to tell you this is what we have done the whole tournament, but we made some shots, the other team missed some shots and we ended up winning those games. This is a similar game.
Boatright's big shot, huge shot, like they're dying and he makes like a step back and we miss an open shot, a couple free throws, we're not going to win then.
But, again, these kids really fought and tried and what they accomplished, I told them, this was the best group I've ever coached as far as really being coachable and wanting to learn. I've never coached a team this young. Never. Hope I don't ever again. I think all these kids are coming back, so we should be good.