Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 64, Auburn 49

Jan. 28, 2012

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HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin

(Opening statement)
"The program's 1500th win, so that's a great one for all of the guys that paved the way, so to speak, that came before us and current players, so that's fun to be a part of."

"53 rebounds, season high for us, if I'm not mistaken, that's a lot of rebounds and Jeronne (Maymon) did a great job being aggressive around the basket. 49 points given up on the defensive side of the ball, I thought we did a good job of being assertive and being aggressive. Maybe we let up mentally the last minute, minute and a half, and that's something we talked about, finishing games." The next phase of the game for our guys in our program is to finish the games. It's the mental approach of completing the mission. I thought we did a good job of blocking shots. Jordan McRae was able to recover a couple of times when he got beat. I thought Kenny Hall did a good job in the zone offense, driving, flashing to the ball. He didn't really get the production from the points standpoint, but he made a lot of stuff happen on the backside. We've still got to be a better job of not turning the ball over, I think we had 16 turnovers and got careless late in the game."

(On the team's defensive effort)
"I think we're getting better. We had a poor showing in Nashville, but since SEC play has started, we've gotten better. I think we're at about 75% on defense, 25% to go to be a really good defensive team, but we're getting there. We're really good when we're not turning the ball over and giving teams transition baskets."

(On defense feeding the team on the offensive end)
"If you want to be a great team, you have to defend. Special teams play well on both ends of the floor. We've got to get better on the offensive side of the ball as well. We have open shots that we've got to knock down. We've got to continue getting in the gym. Like I told the guys, we shot under 40% from the field and won the game because we rebounded and defended, that's where you hang your hat on the defensive side of the ball. But good teams have to be better on both sides of the ball and that's what we've got to continue to work at."

(On Jeronne Maymon)
"I think he brings his hard hat on rebounds, but I think he still has a ways to go to be the best he can be. He's really pushing himself and continues to do that, continues to gain confidence. I think once he gets to (shooting) 70-75% from inside the free throw line, he'll be extremely tough to defend."

(On his 19 rebounds)
"I just try to go up there with two hands and control the ball. That's just what we work on. Coach Martin and the rest of the staff make sure we do that at practice a lot so it just comes natural. I just try to stick to the principles."

(On his role in breaking the press)
"Ever since AAU, I've been a facilitator. I like to pass the ball a lot."

(On handling double-teams down low)
"We just have to take our team. Sometimes, we forget to use our dribble. We can dribble it out and pass it around the court."

(On the Vols' defensive effort)
"We just tried to corral the ball every time it got in the paint. We tried to use our hands and create chaos."

(On having five players in double-figures)
"It definitely helps to have balanced scoring so no one player has to overexert himself. It really helped tonight."

(On Tennessee's road game Tuesday at Kentucky)
"We just have to make sure we bring our own energy. We know we're not going to get any type of love in that building. We just have to go up there and play hard."

(on his rebounds)
"The more missed shots, the more rebounds. If they were making a lot of shots you wouldn't get a lot of rebounds."

(on turning the corner from the Vanderbilt game)
"I mean we are still motivated. We didn't use that as a motivator, we just got back in the gym the day after that and put in some more work. We refocus for each new opponent in the same way, it's a new game."

(on Auburn)
"They're a pretty good team. We know that they struggle shooting the ball, so we wanted to pressure them. They have some really good players on their team that can get in the lane."

(on defending Frankie Sullivan)
"He has been playing really well I guess the last three to five games. I heard he was playing really well so we really wanted to key in on him and take him out of his game."

(on offensive rebounding opportunities)
"When you are in the zone, it is hard for the opposing team to box out. You want to make sure you hit them before they hit you so you have an advantage."

(on Auburn not blocking out)
"I just think I was at the right place at the right time and the ball was just coming my way. I was doing my work early, so it really helped."

(On Jordan McRae)
"Jordan is doing a great job of staying positive and came in tonight and was really big for us. He did a good job on defensive and had blocks and a lot of rebounds. That shows he's got the right mindset. He is going to come in and do the best job he can do."

(on the team putting time in the gym to be consistent shooters)
"I think we do. I think a lot of it is playing hard on defense. It takes a toll on you. Sometimes it is hard to come down in transition and shoot the ball. That is something we have to work on and get better at. The past couple of games have been that way but you never know, these next few games we may be shooting lights out."

(on five scoring in double figures)
"I think its good for us. We've had really good inside play. As the guards, we have to make shots. We didn't shoot the ball very well tonight but I think we are going to keep our heads up and keep working and take it to Kentucky."

(on if he keeps track of his stats) "Not during the game. I still don't know how many points I had, but I feel like I was in a good groove in the fist half."

(on the physicality of the Vanderbilt game)
"It was a very physical game. I took that I had to slow down and let my game come to me. Seven turnovers, there is no excuses for that. I think I did better this game."

(on the difference playing against a zone)
"A lot of high schools play zone on me, so I'm sort of used to playing the zone. I feel like I should have made a lot of shots I normally make when I'm working out. They just didn't fall in the game."

(on him learning)
"The more I play, the more I think my IQ will go up in playing the college game."

(on playing at home)
"I see the advantage at home. I didn't see it watching the games at home, but when you are out there on the court and get the adrenaline going and the crowd cheering for you."

(on him increasing his defensive level)
"I believe I was a horrible defender in high school. I was the type of guy who sat in the paint and blocked shots. That was probably my biggest adjustment and I'm still working on that defense. Offense will take care of itself."


(On tonight's offensive performance)
"We are what we are offensively, so that's not surprising. And I thought we defended well enough to be in the game, because they are not a very explosive offensive team either. But when you get out-rebounded by 23 rebounds, when you've got one player for them in (Jeronne) Maymon who has 19 rebounds by himself, and our three-man rotation in the post - (Adrian) Forbes, (Kenny) Gabriel and (Rob) Chubb - don't have 19 total, it's going to be hard to win that game."

On Maymon's rebounding strategy)
"He's just a physical presence, and he thinks every time the ball hits the rim it's his. Those are the kinds of big guys you want. We expect somebody else to get the rebound, when he thinks every rebound that hits the glass is his. That's how you've got to play as a big man.

"It's a toughness thing; rebounding is all about toughness."

(On tonight's defensive effort being a positive)
"Yeah, absolutely. We're playing hard, we're battling defensively - which, it's giving us a chance. And we've been a physical team all year long, but we got out-physicaled and out-toughed today. We played D, we guarded well, we held them to 34 percent shooting. But you're not going to win many games getting out-rebounded by 23 rebounds and shooting 34 percent. The 23 rebounds is more surprising than the 34 percent because we are what we are offensively."





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