Jan. 11, 2014
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin(Opening Statement)
Tough one. First, I'd like to thank the fans. I thought they were tremendous. Great student section. I thought they brought great energy to the game. Give A&M credit. They made a big shot down the stretch to win the ball game. Tough shot. Big shot. I thought our guys competed, just didn't do a good job in the second half on both ends of the floor. We got stagnant offensively and didn't get the stops we needed defensively. We came up short.
(On his thought at halftime)
For us, it was staying aggressive - being in attack mode and continuing to have space on offense and to be ready for your shot if it presents itself. But the thing we talked about was to be ready to defend in the second half. Guys putting their heads down - you have to be careful for that. I thought Jones stepped up and made some big shots, made some big plays. Caruso did a good job facilitating and attacking when an opportunity presents itself, and getting fouled.
(On if he was surprised at A&M's ability to penetrate in the 2nd half)
I was. I thought a couple times, our big guys should have been off and in. I thought our big guys should have been in, but more than anything, containing him and keeping him in front of you and not allowing him to get you on his hip - because when he's 6'5 or 6'6, it's hard and it puts pressure on your big guys.
(On why Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae couldn't get going)
I think more than anything, the foul troubles in the first half. Now in the second half, it was getting in a rhythm and getting in the flow of the game. I thought A&M did a good job taking these guys out of the game and force other guys to make plays. I think in their case, just not getting a rhythm and flow probably due to the first half.
(On Antwan Space)
We knew he was a transfer from Connecticut. We knew there was a possible chance he could make one. I think he made the first and we changed the schemes, then the last one, I think a guy was in front of him - I'll have to watch the film to be exact on how far out it was. But he just stepped shooting the shot, knowing they win or lose.
(On if he considered taking a timeout after Space's 3-pointer)
We just wanted to push the ball. I'd rather Antonio get the ball and push it up, get his shoes, and get going, but guys were probably stunned more than anything. They wanted to get the ball to Antonio and push the wings run.
(On moving screen fouls)
"That is the first time all year we have been called for that many offensive fouls. I thought it was strange, but I have to go back and watch film to be exact. I thought it was a little uncharacteristic because our guys are usually solid in setting screens. We spend time doing that."
(On rebounding from this game)
"I told those guys that this is a tough loss. It will burn a little bit, but we are off tomorrow. We have to bounce back from it and be ready to go Monday. As a coach, it is hard to say anything in a situation like that because it is painful enough. We will just get back and be ready to go on Monday. We will try and get a home win."
(On difficulty in predicting how this team will play)
"It is tough, especially with the way we played in the first half with Jordan and Jarnell on the bench for most of it. I thought our guys did a good job. Armani, D'Montre, A.J., and Derek came in and gave us good minutes. We just couldn't get it going in the second half."
(On avoiding stagnant play)
"I think what we didn't get was scoring from the interior position, our bigs. Jeronne did an exceptional job with 35 minutes of play, but I don't think we got our back to the basket for low post scoring to open things up on the perimeter. I think go hand in hand, making shots and scoring around the rim.
(On how Maymon took the loss)
"It was tough for all of those guys. I don't put the pressure on the guy missing free throws for why you lose a game. We have to defend better. You have to get stops to get the win. It is tough enough. He will work on it tomorrow. He takes pride in it."
"You have to take care of the ball. We've had 32 turnovers in the last two games. We take pride in that. We can't be careless with it. We had four or five offensive fouls. We have to do a better job taking care of that basketball."
(On how to avoid offensive screen fouls)
"It is tough because you are obviously not going to change what you do at the last minute. You just have to go to a different option or different set. We have to be aggressive on setting your cuts. That is the biggest thing; you have to set your cuts. You can't be passive. You have to stay aggressive."
Tennessee Junior G Josh Richardson(On if the team came out flat in the second half because of their good performance in the first half)
"I don't think we thought it was over, we weren't just playing. We just came out flat and we didn't play as well as we could have."
(On how much this loss hurts for the veteran players)
"It just hurts. We just have to come out and play well. We have to put this behind us, that is the biggest thing."
(On what Coach Martin said in the locker room after the game)
"It hurts. We just have to play well the next game, that is the biggest thing I got out of it."
R-Senior F Jeronne Maymon(On how he felt about losing a 14 point half-time lead)
"I don't think we played a bad game, I just think we didn't get consecutive stops when we needed them. It was hard for us to score the ball when our offensive was out of sorts, and they just won the game."
(On the moving screen calls and if they need to take the ball screen out of the offense)
"I won't t say we have to take them out, we just have to be more cautious and adjust to how they are calling the game."
(On missing the last two free throws and how hard it is to take in)
"it's very hard, very upsetting, but I have to get back in they gym and work on it."
(On if they still felt in control of the game during the late minutes)
"Most defiantly, I never thought that it would come down to a last second shot like that. They just played a good game, hats off to them"
(On if they thought they had the game won at halftime)
"We wanted to dominate the second half, but like I said our offense was out of sorts. We couldn't get some of the things we normally get, they were hitting some shots in the second half that obviously opened it up and made it a different ball game."
(On how frustrating it was that they let them get down to the last shot)
"That is probably the worst thing about taking this loss. We had plenty of opportunities to keep them at arms distance, even though they were making shots. When stuff like that happens it's just frustrating."
(On how the team will handle this loss)
" Like I said, its only one game, we have plenty of basketball left to play. We will be back at it on Monday and get ready for Auburn"
(On how this loss compares to others)
" It pains you more, it's one of the harder ones to get over but you can't dwell on it. We got Auburn coming in here and i'm pretty sure they are going to watch film and think they can do the same thing. We have to come out here, refocus and get ready for it."
Senior G Antonio Barton
(On refs calling several offensive fouls)
"It was kind of frustrating but we've got to play through stuff like that. It's not all on the refs its, us too we made some minor mistakes that we don't do."
(On letting up in the second half)
"I feel as though we did, a lot. Going from the first to the second half we were a little bit too happy. We got settled and they took a shot and then they started making shots everywhere. We tried to fight at the end but it was too late."
(On seeing this coming)
"No, I didn't expect this to happen at all. I mean the first half we played good, we played Tennessee basketball and then the second half we just didn't put forth effort that we're suppose to every night, we just have to get better at that."
(On adjusting to a game that's called so differently than you're used to)
"You just have to stay poised, you stay poised on offense and defense. We let the kid Jamal, I believe that's his name, we let him drive through the whole too easy we have to do a better job defending him. He turned the whole momentum for his team and everybody just fed off of him."
(On tonight's game compared to the last few)
"It was a different game so you never know what to expect, but tonight our shots just weren't falling but we did a good job protecting the rim. It was just all on defense, we just did a poor job protecting."
(On the night and day defense between the first and second half)
"I feel like we just got in a daze and too comfortable. We were thinking that team was going to lay down and they aren't going to fight, but they did fight back."
(On Texas A & M's 3-point shot at the end of the game)
"I was shocked, I'd never had that happen to me ever in my life. Just seeing it go into the net didn't seem real."
Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy
"Really proud of our guys for hanging in and believing in each other,. I thought we did a tremendous job guarding defensively. We were blessed, Antwan made a big shot and they missed some free throws, we missed some free throws, but our guys stuck together and kept believing and didn't quit."
(On the turning point)
"We got Jamal (Jones) going. We took good shots, our shot selection was much better and we were able to run our offense. Tavario Miller came in and gave us some good minutes and then Antwan came in the second half and did some good things. I thought we did a good job dictating the game on the offensive end and controlling some tempo."
(If Tennessee did anything defensively to surprise them)
"No, our coaches did a great job preparing us for the game, we knew what they were going to do and they knew what we were going to do. I just thought we missed some layups and some easy shots in the first half that we thought we should have made. We were fortunate that McRae and Stokes were in foul trouble in the first half. I thought the second half they pressed a little bit because they didn't play much of the first half."
(On the difference in shooting percentage from the first half to the second)
"This was our first road game, we've got a young team. We stayed in the game, which was key, after the first half and then we just established some poise and tempo and stopped taking quick shots. We moved the ball side-to side and I thought that was a big key for us."