Jan. 4, 2014
HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin(Opening Statement)
"Good win to finish our non-conference schedule. Obviously, now we have to get ready to go to Louisiana against a very talented team on Tuesday night. I thought our guys did a good job moving the ball and for the most part taking care of the ball, probably until about the last about five or six minutes. Good team win, got an opportunity to play a lot of guys. D'Montre and Derek Reese, that was a case of guys continuing to work on their games and continuing to get better, both played well but a good all-around effort.
(On Josh Richardson not starting today)
"Josh was late, we have a certain time guys have to get to the game and Josh was late. L-A-T-E. So that is why he didn't start."
(On Robert Hubbs III's injury)
"Just his shoulder. He hadn't practiced. I don't think he is done for the season so obviously don't quote me on that one. But it was just more of it is still sore. He hadn't done any contact since the injury so just one of those deals. Train and rehab, docs check him out, rebating and making sure he is ready to go."
(On if Hubbs will play at LSU)
"I don't know about LSU, I am not sure. It is just what the doctors say. I stay completely away from that, whatever they tell me, that is what goes."
(On what type of shoulder injury Hubbs has)
"I don't, just a shoulder injury. Sore, whenever he gets banged. I am not sure. Like I said, I couldn't tell you, I just know it is his shoulder. It is his left shoulder."
(On D'Montre Edwards)
"Yes. The one thing we talk about and I tell our guys, it doesn't matter the opponent, it is not a case of well these guys are Division II team, we are playing an opponent, we are trying to compete and win a basketball game. He earned these minutes in practice. So the game plan was to play him in this game. Even in the last Virginia game, but Josh played well and we had guys going so we didn't get him in that game. But he has earned the minutes. Just like Derek, both of those guys have done a good job earning those minutes, now they have to keep those minutes. That is the biggest key to get in the rotation. Those guys can make shots but what they are doing is they are rebounding the basketball, they are rebounding and defending. For me, the shots are bonus to be totally honest. But they have to rebound, defend and play hard."
(On the team's offensive performance)
"I do. When you are making shots. I think our last three games we have done a good job with our space and moving and cutting even against the zone. They played the zone for the most par probably the last 25 minutes of the game, I thought our guys did a good job of getting shots, getting opportunities and staying aggressive. But when you are making shots, and we are capable of making shots, we are a different team."
(On moving forward to league play)
"I don't even know if they pay attention to it. When you go into league play, it is one game at a time. I was never frustrated as a coach, I knew what we had to do, I knew the adjustments we had to make, you have to make the adjustments and move forward."
(On Darius Thompson's nine assists)
"He had nine assists, he got lucky on two of them in my opinion. But he has opportunities. I think there was a turnover where he had the opportunity to get a layup but he was trying to make some fancy pass. You have to take care of the ball. You have to take what the defense gives him. Nine assists is nine assists. But you have to take care. When opportunities to score present themselves you have to take advantage."
(On the offense's improvement)
"Spacing, movement, of course you have to make shots, but guys are putting time into it. But the spacing, the dribble penetration, the pass fakes against the zone, the confidence to knock shots down. Just to be consistent with it, I think that is the biggest key. You also have two big guys in Jeronne and Jarnell who are good passers when they receive double teams, even against the zone, those are probably two of our better passers and at making decisions. It is just the spacing of it and making shots."
(On looking at LSU)
"As soon as I am done with my radio I will go upstairs and start watching them. Obviously, I have been watching their games but taking notes, no."
(On other players scoring helping the team)
"I think it helps our team because obviously he will receive double teams and guys will run at him in league play. You have other guys making shots now they are hesitant to really double him at the level they would like to. I think it helps across the board. We have talented guys that score on the perimeter, we have guys that score around the basket, we have the ability to do both. We have to take what the defense gives us. It is not a case of going into the game saying we have to shoot 18 threes, if it is 18 threes that night and then the next night it is six then that is what it is. We obviously have to get the ball inside to those too guys and let those guys work."
(On the team's mentality)
"I didn't think so because the guys have been practicing hard. But really in the last three game it started in practice and it carried over into games because the guys are competing and getting after it, the focus level has been there. The guys are playing hard. I don't think we played great defensively, I think we were good enough, but I don't think we were great defensively."
(On game against LSU in Baton Rouge two years ago)
"I do remember we were down I think 15 with 6 or 7 minutes left in the game, maybe less and we found a way to win the game. I knew their big guys made shots. Johnny O'Bryant is still there, their guards are still there and they have added two talented freshman big guys. We will get our moneys worth and I look forward to it."
(On D'Montre Edwards earning minutes)
"Whether Hubbs was injured or not, D'Montre is fighting for those minutes and be on the floor. He has done a good job in the past couple weeks in really preparing himself to get on the floor. It is just a case of you looking at other guys and they have to earn them in practice. But he was in position to get some of those minutes whether it is Rob or whatever. You can go four guards but he worked himself into those minutes."
(On D'Montre Edwards)
"The things we talk about in building character and building men, there are things that will go on in your life ten years down the road where you have to make decisions, tough things take place and you have to learn from them. It is part of it, D'Montre has kept his head in there, he has stayed focused, that is why he played well tonight."
(On Robert Hubbs' frustration not playing)
"I don't think he is frustrated, I just think he is down about not playing, I wouldn't necessarily say it is frustrated. I don't see that look on his face."
SENIOR GUARD D'Montre Edwards(On his performance today)
"It felt good. I wanted to start by just defending and playing hard. When I got an open shot to take it and make it. It felt pretty good."
(On his defense keeping him out of the lineup)
"Just really playing defense consistently has been what's keeping me out. Just being able to play at a high level on a consistent basis will help the team and help me."
(On this game helping his confidence)
"It did a lot. Just being able to see the ball go in the basket because I don't know the last time I scored, but at the same time I'm just glad we got the win."
(On his career high in points this game)
"Someone actually told me when I did the play of the game interview so I was kind of excited about it, but at the same time we have a tough one coming up so I'm just trying to focus on that."
(On Robert Hubbs III being out)
"When a player goes down on your team somebody always has to step up and we're going to need him back at 100 percent. We're going to need him for the conference."
(On Hubbs' possible frustration)
"I don't think he's frustrated. Of course he wants to be out there playing, but he understands the situation. He has to rehab and get better because we need him 100% in order to be out there."
(On a win before the SEC schedule)
"Just being able to see the ball go in the basket, make some shots, get some rebounds, get out in transition and run."
SENIOR GUARD Antonio Barton(On focus despite playing a Division II team)
"We didn't come into the game look at them as being a Division II team. We just looked at them as another obstacle in the road that we have to get over. We came in and prepared as if they were the number one team in the country."
(On D'Montre Edwards)
"Like Coach (Cuonzo Martin) said, D'Montre has had a tremendous practice this whole week. We know what he is capable of. A lot of people don't know because he hasn't played yet, but he challenges us every day in practice. Against the starting 5, he goes against Jordan (McRae) a lot. Offensively he makes him defend him, and he also defends well. So him coming in and playing well is something we all expected."
(On liking where they are going into SEC play)
"Yes, I like where we are. We have some things to work on, but right now I think we are going at a good pace. We are playing together, we are sharing the ball well, we are rebounding, and we are defending well.'
(On team shooting well the last three games)
"We're just coming in and getting extra shots. Then guys coming in on their own in the morning and after practice, and just getting as many shots as they can."
(On being more aggressive offensively)
"Yes, once again, it's just our big men opening it up for us. They're so much of a threat down low that they have to get doubled. So when they get doubled, they can kick it out and find us for the threes."
(On D'Montre Edwards seeing limited minutes)
"It's very tough. He is a very strong minded person. You have to be a strong person to come every day and compete, knowing that you haven't been playing in the games. But he came in the game as if he had been playing all year. He came in confident, defended well, rebounded, and knocked down shots. That's what he can do."
(On playing well against a Division II team)
"Yes, like I said, we prepared for them in practice like they were another SEC team. We didn't want to overlook them at all, because when you overlook teams like that, that is when it comes back to bite you. They could have possibly won. We didn't let our guard down. We had two hard days of practice, and we came in and got the job done."
FRESHMAN GUARD DARIUS THOMPSON(On what he's excited for in SEC play)
"Everything about SEC play I'm excited about. I'm really excited about that, going to different places."
(On how confident the team is going into conference play)
"Yeah I'm confident. I feel like we're getting better and better after each and every game so I feel like that's going to help us a lot going into SEC play."
(On Robert Hubbs III)
"I wouldn't say he's frustrated. I think he's just resting so just in case he came out there and hurt his shoulder. He just needs time to rest so it will heal all the way."
(On the recent change in their playing)
"The difference I feel like is we just all sat down and talked. Just decided what we needed to do and what would be best for the team. We're just getting into how we play. We're practicing a lot better than we have and how we practice we're just getting it into the game how we play."
(On why they're practicing better)
"I feel like after we lost we just decided that we can't do that anymore. We hate that feeling coming into the locker room after a loss. We just didn't want to do that anymore so we just started practicing better habits."
(On improvement in team flow)
"It a lot better and that's one of the things we've been working on a lot in practice. Just dribbling in, kicking out, and making easier plays for people to have easier shots."
RS SENIOR Jeronne Maymon(On remaining focused against Tusculum)
"We wanted to go out there and just make sure we executed. Division II team or not, they still were a team in our way. They were still a team coming in here trying to steal a win from us. We went out there and played like it was any other game."
(On the offense starting to click)
"When you're playing well, you're going to come into the next game with more confidence. We need that going into SEC play. We excited for Tuesday (against LSU)."
(On the emerging offensive success as a relief)
"We work hard on our game. Everybody does. It's just a matter of time before those shots start falling."
(On how Maymon feels where the team is at this point)
"I feel pretty good. I think we are in a good place, defensively and offensively. I think we are ready to roll. I think we are going to go out there and take it one game at a time to start SEC play."
(On staying alert when playing with Darius Thompson due to his quick passes)
"Well we practice with Darius all the time so we know he throws a lot of spectacular passes. That's just who he is. When we sprint the lane, we as bigs expect the ball. So when we don't get it, we sort of look at him sideways. He's a really good passer."
TUSCULUM COLLEGE QUOTES
HEAD COACH MICHAEL JONES(Opening Statement)
"Obviously, we're very thankful and appreciative to Tennessee for giving us the opportunity, it's a lot of fun. We've got several Tennessee natives on his team and it's a dream for them to be able to play here. We're very thankful and appreciative.
"I thought, by and large, we had a pretty good effort. We got to to 19 there in the second half and then we went through a bad series and I thought UT really turned it up and widened that spread. We're showing the type of improvements...there was a time that we would have come here and it could have gotten really ugly. This is a great basketball team. It's scary how many weapons they have on the floor."
(On shooting struggles)
"We have some guys right now that just aren't making very good shots, aren't making shots like they're capable of. We're a team that relies a lot on our ability to shoot it and when you come up here with a team like this with their length and size, it's a different look for us."