Jan. 12, 2012
HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin
(On the loss)
"The guys did a good job of competing. I think we had an eight-minute stretch where (Mississippi State) got a field goal. It was a great job for our guys. I thought, more impressively, were Kenny Hall and Jeronne and those guys playing through tough foul situations but staying aggressive and continuing to attack."
(On the physicality of the game)
"It was a fun game to be a part of, very physical and very aggressive. I thought there were a couple of times that we weren't aggressive enough or didn't get the calls, but it's part of the game. That's the way we want to play. We want it physical. We want to be very assertive. We want to get up in you and make you work for everything."
(On the play of UT's big men and foul trouble)
"It is, but I guess that's part of the game. We have to make the necessary adjustments, but I don't want our guys to change the way they play. I want them to stay aggressive. I'd rather be more aggressive than passive because when you're passive, you'll crumble eventually. I thought our guys were very assertive and very physical. Those are two talented big guys on those blocked. They run, they jump, they can shoot the ball and they can score it on the blocks. If the guards get in the lane, they throw the ball to the rim and those guys are tough. I thought Jeronne did a tremendous job of holding Arnett Moultrie to one offensive rebound."
(On Kenny Hall)
"He did a tremendous job of keeping his composure, making plays, jumping over those guys and going to get rebounds. I thought he made a big play with about a minute left in the game to just keep the ball alive."
(On the development of the Vols/Renaldo's three down the stretch)
"That's the one thing that's exciting for me as a coach when you see your guys make the necessary strides to be successful and continue to improve. They put the time in and they understand what they're trying to do, but they work extremely hard in practice. Renaldo and Trae (Golden) run that pick-and-pop play to a `T' and Renaldo knocked it down."
(On the plan for Tennessee's final play)
"The thing we were doing there was a flat set-up, where you have your two guards Josh and Skylar flat, Kenny under the rim and Renaldo sprinting into a ball screen. Trae can decide depending on the guy was defending. He turns the ball screen down and attacks the rim, gets to the free throw line or dump it off to Kenny or one of your shooters. He can come off Renaldo, he picks and pops and if they switch it, Trae has a big guy to put at the rim."
(On Tennessee gelling defensively)
"I think the last two games are really a sign of how our program is built to defend. It takes time for our guys to understand the level they have to defend at. I guess it took 14 or 15 games to understand this is how we need to defend consistently all the time to play hard and compete at a high level. Our guys are really starting to show that. With a team like this (Mississippi State) and so many talented players, I think when it's all said and done they'll have three of four guys that will play in the NBA at some point on this team. It's a very talented team. It's hard to identify one or two guys. I thought Kenny and Jeronne did a tremendous job trying to keep those guys off the glass."
(On Josh Richardson's defense)
"Josh is a guy that knows how to defend. He has length. He's a very intelligent young man. He knows what's going on out there. I thought when he got in some foul trouble, we took a step back because Trae had to guard the ball some and he had to score the ball. If we can consistently have Josh guard the ball at that level, then Trae can roll and play offense at the level that he needs to."
(On Dee Bost)
"(Dee) Bost is a good player. He knows how to get to the rim and he knows how to get fouled. He finds those big guys. He makes threes. You saw he made a big one late in the game. He's a very talented young man."
(On his plans for the Vols on Friday)
"We won't do anything outside of walkthrough. It won't be anything physical. It won't be anything up and down the court. This time of the year, it's just basketball. Our guys understand the principles of what we're trying to do and the level we're trying to play at. From a physical standpoint, it will be all walkthrough, going over their offensive personnel and things they like to do."
(On facing Kentucky on Saturday)
"We don't get consumed with how talented a team is. We have to play hard. We have to execute what we're trying to do. We have to compete at a high level. We have to make those guys work for baskets and also, make those guys work defensively. They have very talented guys. Anthony Davis is probably one of the guys that can control the game on the defensive side."
(On whether he's encouraged by Tennessee's play)
"As long as it's consistent, I'm encouraged. This is Tennessee basketball right here - playing hard, playing very competitive and being very physical. Now we have to do a better job of executing a couple of situations to get the win on the road."
SOPHOMORE GUARD Trae Golden
(On the loss)
"It was definitely a physical game for us. Mississippi State played very well. We just came up short at the end."
(On his matchup with Dee Bost)
"He's a great point guard. I think I heard he's one of the top-20 point guards in the country. He's very fast and he's very good with the ball. I think that team goes as he goes and he made a lot of big shots."
(On what Tennessee did defensively)
"Our guards try to pressure the ball and try to make it hard for them to get the ball inside. I think our posts do a great job of - when they do get the ball inside - playing great defense, boxing out and rebounding."
(On his teammates struggling to shoot)
"We're going to have those nights, coming to an away game with a great crowd, it can be hard to shoot sometimes. I have a lot of confidence in those guys. They'll be ready to play Saturday."
(On Tennessee's last play trailing 60-58)
"I got the ball. I was sizing it up, about to attack and make the play and I slipped. My left foot slipped from under me, lost the ball and (we) lost the game."
(On whether he was thinking about MSU's foul to give)
"I wasn't even thinking about any of that, a foul to give. I was about to attack, do our gameplan and execute it. My left foot came up under me, I lost the ball and unfortunately we lost the game. It was an unfortunate thing for us."
(On Mississippi State's big men)
"Going into the lane, they have very athletic big guys. It was something they're really good at. You have to give the ball up or give them a pump fake, but they have really good big men down low."
(On Jeronne Maymon being in foul trouble)
"That was tough for us when he got in foul trouble. Any time Jeronne gets in foul trouble, he's our anchor in a lot of ways. That was really tough for us. Those 18 minutes were very productive. He came in and every single one of those minutes was really big for us. He started off the game with the first six points. He's always big for us."
(On Tennessee's home game against Kentucky on Saturday)
"Kentucky is a great team, a team that we have to be ready to play and be ready to face. It's going to be a good test for us. I can't wait for that game Saturday to redeem myself and get a win."
Junior Forward Kenny Hall
(On taking good things against Florida, on the road)
"I thought we came off strong. I thought we fought hard until the end. Unfortunately, we did not fi nish. I think we slipped up a little, and they took advantage of that."
(On adjusting play to Mississippi State's size)
"They are big and athletic so that happens, especially with smaller guards driving into the paint. We were aggressive taking it to the net, but that is basketball. It happens like that."
Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Stansbury
"I want to give Tennessee credit for keeping their poise and fighting back. I thought Trae Golden was a guy who helped them come back by hitting some three pointers; I also thought Jeronne Maymon was a load on the inside to guard for us. In the first half we were very efficient offensively; I thought Deville Smith came off the bench and added to our first half offense a lot. In the second half we were not nearly as efficient as we were in the second half and it kept Tennessee in the ball game. We stepped up and made the plays when we had to, and got to the foul line where we knocked down our shots."
(On Dee Bost's game-clinching dunk)
"Dee has been struggling on offense lately but you can never fault his effort. I think late in the game his effort made a huge play for us."
(On improved defensive effort)
"Our defense didn't make the trip across the Mississippi river for the Arkansas game. No team had scored more than 75 points on us all year long, so I didn't panic coming into this game. Tonight's effort was better."
"Alabama will get up into you, and will pressure you on offense. They will get up into you in the half-court defense and they will also mix it up with their zone defense. Alabama is a very good defensive team and they will be very physical."
Senior Guard Dee Bost
(On the final seconds)
"I was trying to put as much pressure as I could in those final seconds. I knew he was going to take the shot. I was able to make the play. It was frustrating in those final seconds, but I can carry it over to the next game and stay positive."
(On Deville Smith)
"He played well tonight. We needed that from him. Deville is going to play hard. We really needed that boost from him we got tonight. We need him to play tough every game."
Junior Forward Arnett Moultrie
(On physical play in the post)
"We were able to match them inside. Maymom was a grown man. We needed Wendell tonight and he stepped up at all the right times tongith. We knew Tennessee was a physical team so we expected them to play tough tonight."
(On the game overall)
"I wanted to get myself going and my rhythm. Tonight we shared the ball well and it showed on the score board. I was glad we were able to stop their momentum tonight."