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Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 54, Alabama 53



Jan. 26, 2013

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TENNESSEE QUOTES

HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin

(On today's game)
"Tremendous crowd; thought they did a good job really staying after it. Very impressive. I think that's one of the things that got us over the hump. I think that speaks volumes about the University of Tennessee fans, fans across the state. When you have a team that's up and down, struggling, competing finding ways to win games. Bad weather, ice on the ground, whatever the case may be, you have fans that still show up. Very impressive, much appreciated. I think up until this point, we're one and five going into the half this season, finding ways to win, finding a way to win against a very talented team, a team with really good guards. When you have good guards, they can control the tempo of the game. Tough, tough team we played, a team you hate to play, but you love to play as a competitor. Their guards do such a tremendous job of controlling the tempo. They can make free throws and make plays. We outrebounded by 15."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"Very impressed with Jarnell and Kenny Hall. That's the Jarnell, I think he can be a special player. He rebounds, he's physical. You couldn't take him off the floor. It was fun to see that, how he competes. I thought up until this point, even back when we played Alabama at their place, I thought he was very aggressive, just didn't get the ball as much, some fouls didn't go his way, but I thought he was aggressive and it's good to see him have a game like this week. It's good for him. I'm happy for him. It's been a struggle. I think more mentally than anything. He's been in games but he's such a competitive player. You want to be successful. You have all of the accolades from a statistical standpoint. You finally feel like you're playing the way you're capable of playing. It's good to see. I'm so happy for him."

(On Armani Moore)
"Armani competed. Tough, tough young guy, all over the place, accepts challenges. Our guards stepped up. Jordan made plays, proved to be the scorer he's capable of being, making plays when he needs to, make big shots. Very impressive, so great win for everyone involved."

(On team confidence)
"That's a good question. I think the biggest thing, like I told our guys, I really applaud the fact that they come back after a tough loss with that hard hat on and continue to practice. It's so tough when you continue to lose the same way, too many different things and to find a way to win against a very talented team, I think they were up six or seven with four minutes left in the game, something like that, and to buckle down and get stops, really compete, and to win. And also, with Trae Golden, a guy that's been up and down, to be in the game down the stretch and defend the way he defended, which is not an easy thing to do, I was happy to see that as well.

(On final seconds)
"Great call. I just said, you have to sit down and this is what we do. We've been here before guys, we have to pull one out. I thought everyone was doing a good job of switching on them, forcing them to drive the ball in, made a good stop, keep your hands up high, and I thought we did a good job. We figured they would call that play, because I think the previous time, one or two times they ran it, Trevor Lacey hit a three-pointer, so we just felt like switching. I trust Jarnell with defense and he did a great job."

(On final play)
"He did a great job. We figured they would run that play. Late in games, even though Trevor Releford is great with the ball, Trevor Lacey is the guy they're going to down the stretch if they need a basket. We felt like that would be a play that they would run. They isolate. With the ball screen, coming off, we felt like we could switch this thing with Jarnell Stokes. The way Jarnell played, normally in a case like that, we'd probably go five guards and switch everything, but I thought Jarnell had such a tremendous game, let's just keep him out there and it was just fitting that he was the guy to get that stop."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"I think so. If he's allowed to play. Once again, a foul is a foul, whoever it is on. Just because he's a big, physical guy, a foul can't be different for him than it is a guy that's five feet six inches. A foul is a foul. If he's allowed to be aggressive to do the things he needs to do, he's a special talent."

(On friction with officials and calls)
"I've never had a problem with an official. I don't think any official goes into a game thinking "I'm going to make this call against this team." These men have families, and this is a part of their job. Nobody's perfect; I make mistakes. My thing is just be fair, whether we're at home or on the road, let's just be fair. When I watch certain things with Jarnell Stokes, when he gets hit, because he has such a strong frame, he's not moving like most guys, and it's probably not seen as a foul, but a foul's a foul. Whether it's our guys or anybody, just call it. Whether it's a guy built like Jarnell or if it's a guy who's 5'6'', just call it. I don't mean any disrespect, I don't aim to get a technical - if it happens, it happens, but my job is to protect my players. Never in my career have I called up a commissioner until tonight. It just wasn't looking right and I wanted it looked at and balanced out."

(On Jordan McRae's performance tonight)
"I think what happens is that he positions himself to be a scorer. Sometimes the other team is especially physical and makes it hard to get catches; that's part of it. But a scorer makes the necessary adjustments to find the seams and he did that, especially in the 2nd half. The one thing about it is that he's going to shoot the ball. It's going to happen. He's aggressive, he was in attack-mode. Shots flowing; he made a three-pointer if I'm not mistaken..He has to do that. Scorers miss shots; keep shooting. You can have rough first halves, but you gotta keep trying in the second half. You just have to be ready to score the ball."

(On what it felt like immediately after the game with a win and the team storming the court)
"A sense of relief, like a 15-pound weight off your shoulders, because you put the work in. But we had a turnover here, a missed free-throw there - and this time we missed a free-throw late from, in my opinion, one of the best free-throw shooters in the league, but we got the stop needed to win the game. The guys were excited; they were jumping around, and they should be, because like I said, we put the work in. This was a win that was earned against a very talented team."

(On his confidence in Trae Golden, especially at the end of the game)
"You're talking about a guy whose shooting percentage doesn't say enough..90% free-throw shooter but also the best ball-handler on the team. We want the ball in his hands. As I've said before, in order for us to be the best team we can be, we need Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes to be out there."

(On what it meant to you tonight to wear the tennis shoes for Coaches vs. Cancer)
"Truthfully, I try to forget it as much as I can, because that's one word that's extremely hard for me to say, but [cancer] is a part of life; you deal with it. It is a great cause, but for me not just today, I do it all year-round. My wife and I do so many different things. It's a part of life. You deal with it and keep moving forward."

(On the offensive approach against a zone defense like tonight).
"When you have Armani Moore and Josh Richardson on the floor -- now I thought Jarnell Stokes and Kenny Hall controlled the glass, they did a great job tonight -- but Josh and Armani are good offensive-rebounding guards. So now you have all those guys tipping balls, it makes it tough on the opponent. When you're playing against a zone, you have to identify where to cut to get the basketball, but thing about our guys tonight, if you don't get it, then you gotta get back, make a quick transition."

(On adjustments the team has focused on that surfaced tonight)
"Two things we spend a lot of time on: press offense and zone offense, and we've been improving in those areas. When we left the Ole Miss game, I was very surprised to see 21 turnovers, because I thought we did a good job against their press in that we didn't have turnovers, but we had travel calls and charge calls that turned the ball over, and I was surprised by that. As for tonight, I thought for the most part we did a good job because we've been working on those two areas."

(On going ahead from here)
"I expect them to continue doing what they're doing. We capitalized on a few minor things here and there. Mental prep continues..but they've been putting the work in, and when you start seeing results it pushes you on. You play tough games, but tonight it bounced our way."

(On the plan for this week with a short turn-around)
"We'll have a walk through and a shoot-around to get ready."

(On the way the game ended)
"[As a defensive guy] If it was me, I'd prefer to get a stop [laughs], but at the end of the game if you can get a basket, that's great too. With a win you give the fans what they want. At the end of the day, this is entertainment. These are amateur athletes; they put a lot of work and time into what they do."

SOPHOMORE F Jarnell Stokes

(On how he played tonight)
"I played good. It is very hard at Tennessee right now, just as far as the ways we have lost, we gave up a lot of games. A lot of calls didn't go our way. We went into every game expecting to win."

(On his 18 rebounds)
"I wanted to be more aggressive going towards the boards. If I didn't get the ball I was going to have to steal and make my impact on the board. I think that is something I haven't been doing this year as far as making an impact on the board."

(On the last play of the game and Lacey taking the last shot)
"Coach definitely called it. He knew exactly what play they were going to run. They ran it two times and he scored both times. I just want to thank coach for giving me confidence to switch on that."

(On the defense on the last play of the game)
"I definitely thought they would call a foul. I knew I didn't jump but a lot of those calls go in guards favor."

(On if he thought it was a foul)
"It wasn't a foul, I didn't move my feet."

(On the possibility of a foul at the end of the game)
"I feel like a lot of calls went against us and I just knew they would call a foul. Thankfully they didn't."

(On what exactly happened at the end)
"I didn't even know what happened. I just put my hands up. And just prayed in my head."

(On pulling quick fouls)
"It is definitely hard when you go into a game mentally prepped and ready to win and ready to lead your time on and then you get two quick fouls. It throws off your rhythm. I have been struggling with that a lot this year. Today I feel like they officiated well."

(On Martin contacting the SEC recently regarding officiating)
"That definitely gave me a lot of confidence to have my coach have my back."

(On having fun during this game)
"I definitely had fun. I knew they would double team me, I think every team has double teamed me. But I just wanted to have an impact"

JUNIOR G Trae Golden

(On what this win meant to the team)
"We finally pulled out a win. I think that is just what we needed in our season right now. After this we will keep moving forward and things will go up for us."

(On not being in the starting lineup)
"I definitely feel like I am starter, but it is not my decision. I just roll with the punches. I know coach has confidence in me and that my time will come. I think everything will work itself out."

(On Jarnell Stokes's impact to the game)
"He played like a monster. The biggest thing for him is doing that every night. He played a really good game and that is one of the best games I have seen him play."

(On the mental game of Jarnell Stokes)
"You would have to ask Jarnell. Every player goes through different things. When we have personal conversations I tell him that one thing has a player that you can never really wavier is your game. I think he is one of the best big men in the country, so that is something he has to play like it."

(On giving the team a spark going forward)
"That was a great team (Alabama) and I think they will end up on the top of the league. For us to protect our home court it was huge for us. I definitely think that will be the spark on the floor."

(On what was said during time-outs)
"After the first couple of times like tonight coach told us to hold on for three more minutes. That was something we had to do. Jarnell (Stokes) played great defense in the end and it just ended up going our way. It was the break we needed to keep things moving forward."

JUNIOR G Jordan McRae

(On the atmosphere for the win)
"Any game here in Knoxville we try to win. Those are muscle games for us. I think we did a good job during the game."

(On being almost scoreless in the first half)
"I wasn't getting frustrated at all. I feel like our posts were getting good looks down there and that is our first look anyways to get the ball to Jarnell (Stokes). He gets fouled a lot and we just keep telling him to go up strong."

(On the difference of second half play)
"I was aggressive in the first half. I guess the difference was the shots were going in."

(On this win sparking the team for further victories)
"It can but we are just trying to take one game at a time. Before the game I was telling everybody that we are not trying to win five straight. We are just trying to win tonight. Then we will go on to next Tuesday and worry about that."

(On Jarnell Stokes improvement game-by-game)
"He has just been frustrated on how he gets fouled a lot and refs don't call it. At the end of the day we are just trying to keep Jarnell going up strong and finishing strong."

(On Jarnell Stokes game tonight)
"Jarnell played great tonight, it was obvious. He was getting every rebound on offense and defense."

(On the difference between being up at the end of the game compared to having to make defensive stops)
"It felt good to know that we didn't have to get a stop. Instead of feeling like we had to get a stop, score and then get another stop. That was a great feeling."

FRESHMAN G Armani Moore

(On ball security)
We didn't have as much turnovers. WE did some record checking and found out all the teams had less turnovers. Anybody that had under 12 turnovers won the game. This game we had like 11 and last game 18 or something. We did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball this game.

(On attacking the glass)
"I think a big chunk of that was Jarnell; he really crashed the boards today. You know he had 18 rebounds. I thought he did a tremendous job going to the basket tonight."

(On confidence impact of making first shot)
"Yeah, I really didn't notice what was going on in the stands. I saw the lane open, and just went in and took the shot. Luckily I made it."


"Yeah, we had a wonderful crowd out there tonight. I know they were supporting us. They support us when we lose and when we win, so the crowd was a really big plus tonight."

(On building confidence each game)
"Yeah I never did lose my confidence. That's one thing Coach Martin always tells me, basketball players are going to have some bad games and some good games. But in the end, I never lost my confidence. I basically go out and try to play hard, play my role, and see what happens.

(On starting today)
"It felt awesome. I had been working pretty hard."

(On relief of closing game)
"Yeah, I mean, I feel like coach trusts me enough to have me in the game when it's down to crunch time. I haven't really proven myself wrong; I felt like I been working hard and since he has the confidence in me, I have the confidence in myself."

(On last possession)
"I saw Jarnell going out there and I know that they are a good team at pump faking, especially when it comes down to crunch time. So I was happy that Jarnell stayed on his feet and just threw has hands up. He (Alabama's Trevor Lacey) of course tried to get a flop but the referees didn't call anything, and it was a pretty good feeling to hear the buzzer go off with no call."

(On going forward)
"We basically just been taking it one game at a time, and we got that one over with and behind us. Now we just got to focus on winning the next one."

ALABAMA QUOTES

Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

(Opening Statement)
"All credit goes to Tennessee, they made plays they had to make. We got hurt in the backcourt, got hurt at the free throw line and just didn't come up with enough plays to be able to win it."

(On the last play)
"I have to go back on film before I comment on that. I want to see it again."

(On Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes)
"18 rebounds in the game, 15 points, and he was able to stay out of foul trouble today. If he can do that for his team on a consistent basis, obviously this was a physical game today, he's a huge factor when he's able to do that. He had his handprints all over the game today."

(On Tennessee's Jordan McRae)
"He's a good player, he's an awfully good scorer for them. We knew that he was going to be aggressive in the first half, I think he was 1-6 in the first half and came out very aggressive in the second half and did a good job for his team. They made an adjustment and got a couple of threes off of the zone, they came out and set a ball screen and we didn't guard it as well as we needed too. He's a guy that, when he gets some rhythm, is going to be dangerous. Those guys did a good job for him."

(On the Tennessee rebounding edge)
"We knew coming in, last time we played them, they had 16 offensive rebounds. They're a big, strong, physical team. I thought that there were some things that, watching from the sideline, we could do better, I'll have to watch it again on film. We've got to be able to battle. We're not going to get any taller, we're not getting any heaver, in being able to withstand some of that, so give them credit, they did a really good job. They did a really good job of being aggressive going after rebounds, chasing balls, they did a good job. They came up with 15 offensive rebounds, you know, they did a good job."

 

 

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