Post Game Quotes: Tennessee 80, Memphis 85

Jan. 4, 2013

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(Opening statement)
"Nineteen-thousand plus fans. I thought it was a great atmosphere. I thought they really did a good job getting us back in the game when we made some shots, made some plays. They did a tremendous job.

"Memphis did a good job shooting the ball. They did a great job. Penetrating. Bringing the defense down. Finding guys. Those guys struggled at times but they made shots, made plays, and that's what good players do.

"I thought Jarnell (Stokes) and Kenny (Hall) played their best game together collectively on the floor, rebounding and playing hard and competing. I thought it was probably the best Jarnell has played as far as playing hard and attacking. Josh (Richardson) and Jordan (McRae) kept us scoring the basketball. I thought both those guys did a better job in the second half of attacking the basket, making plays and staying aggressive.

"We did a good job out-rebounding those guys. Jarnell and Kenny were attacking the glass and giving us extra plays, which was good.

"We made some big shots, but they came up with big plays. Joe Jackson, (Geron) Johnson, and Adonis (Thomas) stepped up when they needed to make big plays and made them."

(On another big performance by the bench, if he is re-evaluating lineup)
"We always do ... Sometimes, we might change the lineup, not necessarily because someone is playing bad, but you've got to play hard. You've got to play hard and compete, whatever the outcome. You can't get in a hole because of lack of effort and then all of a sudden put yourself in a tough situation that you have to fight your way out of. You've got to play hard and compete."

(On Golden playing 23 minutes, if he was affected by shoulder injury)
"When you step on the floor, it's time to play basketball. I don't think it was a factor because he wanted to go back in the game."

(On if he anticipated Memphis driving into the lane to be such a big factor in the game)
"You've got to accept challenges. You've got to compete. You're on a stage like that and going up against a big opponent, you got to except the challenge. I thought Brandon Lopez went in there and battled."

(More on defense, if he considered having Richardson guard Jackson)
"I thought Brandon Lopez did a good job of defending, stopping and putting pressure and forcing him to make plays. They had good wing guys. I put Josh on one of those wing guys, and Josh did a good job of defending. You have to take pride in what you do and keeping guys in front of you."

(On the up-tempo scoring style of the game)
"I'm fine with it. We can play this style. If you want to go up and down with it, that's fine. We did a poor job in the first half with our transition defense. I think first and foremost, with Joe Jackson, you have a one true point guard bringing it up the floor, even though they have multiple guys who can bring it. When your assignment is to stop him and keep him in front of you, that's what you've got to do. You've got to identify him and keep him in front of you. You can't allow him to break the seams. All of a sudden, you put four other guys in difficult situations." (On if scoring in the 80s was OK)
"Well, if it's in the 80s and we win, that's fine. I think for us in the first half, we did a poor job of stopping the transition. I think we did a better job in our transition defense in the second half."

(On what he takes away from this game in comeback coming short)
"Our guys are upset. In the locker room, We had three or four guys with tears in their eyes because they competed and they battled. I think what you take away is Jordan did a great job scoring the ball. Josh did a great job attacking. Kenny and Jarnell played their best basketball together. Brandon Lopez came in the game and gave everything he had. I don't think Yemi Makanjuola played a bad game. I just think with the way the game was going, we needed scoring so he didn't get a lot of minutes.

(On Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson stepping up)

"Those guys have the ability to slash and be aggressive. But, it can't be a situation when we get down by 20 that we start getting aggressive. They have to play hard and be consistent, because they both have it in them."

(On Tennessee's scoring in the second half)
"That has to become who we are on a daily basis - being aggressive, scoring the basketball, attacking the rim. Joe Jackson did a great job getting in the seams and finding guys. We have to have someone get in the seams and find guys."

"I thought that McRae and Richardson were aggressive in finding guys. When we struggle getting production, we have to get that ball in the lane and I think our guys did that in the second half."

(On Derek Reese not playing)
"Derek sprained his ankle yesterday in practice. It was one of those deals where I let the trainer tell me if he could go or not. The trainer calls it and that's what it is."

"He has a tough sprain and swelling in his ankle, so it is legit. I just assumed that we would be without him. I'm not sure if he will miss the next game, the trainer has to make a call on that. He is obviously walking around. There is a chance that he could play. I wouldn't rule it out, but it's tough to say right now."

(On the possibilities of Jordan McRae starting)
"We talk about it all the time. I have talked about it the last two or three games. But, he's not one of those guys that has to start to be successful. He brings production off of the bench, and he has the mentality to score."

"He's not a guy who says `Coach, put me in the starting lineup.' He's not built like that. He just want to win ballgames."

"We competed. We did a bad job in transition defense. We dug ourselves a hole, but we did a good job battling back."

(On Jeronne Maymon playing in the SEC opener)
"We will have a decision for you guys no later than Monday. One way or another, he will either be on the floor or not no further than Monday."

(On Josh Richardson's missed dunk)
"That's in the wind. Josh competes. When a guy gives it all that he has, there's nothing to talk about - it's like a missed jump shot. We didn't even discuss it. He knows."

(On Richardson bouncing back)
"He's growing as a basketball player. I thought that was good, because he stayed aggressive. You just have to be aggressive, because we have the ability to make plays. We can improve our ball handling, going left and right."

(On Joe Jackson's effectiveness in shooting tonight)
"Joe did a good job in transition and finding guys. What happens is when our bigs don't crash the glass, you assignment is to pick a guy up and stop the bleeding right there. If you create seams, it could be a long night for you."

"We made some adjustments in the second half, but you have to give those guys (Memphis)
credit. Obviously, they worked on their shots. Those threes, they knocked them down. For us, we take great pride in defending the three and containing the dribble."

"I wasn't so upset that they (Memphis)
made the threes, my concern was making sure that the ball didn't get in the orange (the paint)."

(On making a comeback in the second half)
"We lost the ballgame. We came in expecting to win and we lost. My biggest concern is that a couple of guys need to play better, and not necessarily in terms of production. We just have to play hard and compete. A couple of guys have to play harder."


Jordan McRae (On importance of making comeback)
"It was very important for us. Even though we lost we always show character and toughness. No matter what the score, we're always going to play hard. "

(On comfort in pace of game)
"I mean it was a fun game to be in. Up and down but at the end of the day, we have to stop Joe (Johnson)
in full court and we didn't do that."

(On meaning of game)
"Anytime we are playing at home, it's a must win for us. Our fans were definitely in it for us, and we let them down."

(On takeaways from game)
"Anytime you come out flat like that against a really good team like Memphis and get down twenty, it's really hard to come back. You can be proud of our team for making a game of it."

(On second half stretch)
"I mean, I felt like we needed someone on offense to step up. Things like that: one person does it then another follows, and I feel that happened for us."

(On having the feeling of being on)
"With the first shot no, but I figured if you make one, why not try two or three. That's kind of how that happened."

(On moving into SEC play)
"I mean we definitely cannot come out flat anymore, that's something we can't do. We got to come out with a lot of energy at the beginning of the game. Just like I said, you come out flat against any team in the SEC; it's going to cost you just like this one did."


(On why he played so much better in the second half than the first half)
"I don't really know. We just needed some scoring. Buckets weren't coming easy for us. I knew I was getting some good looks at the goal, I just wasn't taking them in the first half. Since buckets were coming so tough, I figured I might as well be the person to shoot it."

(On what happened with the missed dunk and if it was hard to come back from)
"I don't even know what happened. I don't want to blame it on fatigue or anything but I don't really know. I just went up and it rimmed out, but I knew I had to come back for us. I couldn't stay down, and my teammates did a good job of picking me back up after it happened and the crowd stayed in it, which I'm thankful for."

(On if it was surprising that Memphis was shooting so well against them when nobody has shot that well against them this season)
"Memphis is a tough team. They're used to playing up and down like that. They're used to shooting a lot of tough shots like that. They were just hitting a lot of tough shots on us and we weren't playing as well on defense as we normally do. We were playing a little bit timid, they capitalized and made us pay for it."

(On if it was bitter sweet because he set a career high in points, but the team lost)
"I really don't care about individual stats. I'm not that type of guy, I just want to win. I really just cared about the final score."

(On what was said in the huddle when they were down by 21 points)
"Coach talked to us and then I pulled the five of us together that were in the game and we said we have to stay in the game. There's a whole lot of time left. We've seen bigger comebacks. We didn't want to give up a loss on home court but they came in and beat us."

(On why Memphis saw more success penetrating the paint and getting to the rim like other teams haven't been able to do)
"I'm not exactly sure. Their guards are real quick, and we had a tough time staying in front of them so that's something we're going to have to work on."

(On if there are some guys on the team that need to elevate their effort)
"There will always be a couple guys that struggle, but I don't think that will be a problem for us in the future. After seeing the way we lost tonight, if that doesn't help us pick our effort up in the next game then there's something wrong with us."

(On what it will mean if they find out that Jeronne Maymon can't play for the rest of the year)
"It's definitely going to hurt us but we'd just have to come out and bounce back even tougher. We can't dwell on it or let it get us down."


(On importance winning SEC opener)
"Uh very important, at this point forward it's a whole new season. This is the second half of the season and SEC play is going to be a lot tougher. The level of basketball is going to continue to rise, so protecting this house and getting our first win in the SEC is very important."
(On advise to players new to SEC play)
"Just tell them exactly how I told you; it's going to be tough and a whole new season. The level is just going to rise and nothing I can pretty much tell them to prepare. It's just going to be an experience they're going to have to buckle up and be ready for."
(On this being best game played with Stokes)
"We don't do anything different. We're just playing hard basketball and it just so happened that things were going good for us at the same time. As far as our level of play, I didn't come in with a different mindset. I still had the mindset come in, play hard, defend, and rebound."



(Opening statement)
"There's no question that Tennessee is a really good team and they are going to be really good in the SEC. That was a very good win for us. It is not easy to score that many points against that good of a defensive team. They are an excellent defensive team."

"Some of our guys made some plays and your offense looks good when you make some shots. Tonight, some of our guys made shots."

(On progression of players throughout the year)
"We have improved and we have gotten better every day. Even from the Louisville game, when we were emotionally up, we have learned from that. We haven't been getting high or low, we have emotionally been at the same level."

"We said before the game that they were going to score some points. They are going to make some plays because they have some special player and they are well coached. We just have to stay even keeled and we did that tonight."





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