Postgame Quotes: Vols 69, USC 57

Feb. 8, 2012

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(Opening statement:)
"Congrats to Cam Tatum, first off. A thousand points, a tremendous honor for him and his family. With the time he's put into it as a basketball player, It's a great thing and I'm really happy he got it done.

"We did a good job tonight really shooting the ball around the perimeter. Fifty percent from the field, 50 percent from three, 80 percent from the line . . . you've got a chance to win a lot of ball games when you play that way.

"I thought we did a good job defending. They ran some good plays and executed some shots and scored, especially when we had the four-guard lineup. I thought our four-guard lineup did a good job except they ran plays our guards weren't used to or not accustomed to defending. I thought for the most part they did a good job."

"I thought Kenny Hall played a tremendous game: 10 rebounds, 3 blocks. I thought he was special on the defensive side of the ball, executing, switching with guards. I thought he came ready to play. The last two or three days as a staff we felt like he was really making his stride, and he has to continue today that. I thought his preparation was at a high level. That was good to see.

"We did a good job of defending again, holding them to 33 percent from the field. We didn't do quite as good a job in certain areas defending the 3-point line, but I thought we got good stops when we needed to."

(On Jarnell Stokes' injury:)
"Jarnell got hurt in practice. Competitive practice. Guys getting after it. ... (He's) day-to-day right now."

(On Skylar McBee's game, if his defense is catching up to his offensive production:)
"I think he's been solid defensively. He's a guy who can make shots. You have to identify him when he's on the floor. That's the most important thing because he can stretch a defense and he can make shots. He's a threat.

"He's sound. He's not making a lot of turnovers. He'll make the right plays, consistent at what he does. And that's the thing about him; he's solid in everything he does. He makes free throws as well."

(On rotation size of seven players:)
"I think you play the guys you feel comfortable with. Those are the lineups. I thought Kenny Hall was great from start to finish. Jeronne (Maymon) is a guy you have to have on the floor, whether he's scoring or not because he does so many things for you on the floor. It was solid. Guys played well. Josh (Richardson) came in and gave us some big minutes, had a couple turnovers in the second half but he did a good job settling down offensively and making plays and taking what the defense gave him."

(On how Stokes' absence affected team and sluggish start:)
"I think the sluggish part was just getting adjusted to the matchup. You haven't seen a lot of that. We told our guys just pass and cut through. I think once Trae (Golden) really started cutting through from the top, you could really start reading and seeing what was going on. The thing about a matchup zone is that they come down differently every time. Sometimes a guy might cut through with Trae; sometimes he stays up top. Just getting a feel for it. Once we really started cutting through and settling down and making plays and making the extra pass -- I thought this was one of our better games all season making the extra pass and finding the open guys. That's the one thing with the matchup. You have to get the guys moving. It can't be one or two passes. It's got to be four, five or six passes, go inside or make the extra pass to the wing or the corner. I thought we did a good job of that."

(On if facing the matchup zone allowed McBee to take more open shots:)
"Really with a lot of matchup zones, they can bog you down mentally. It's almost like going against a Princeton-style offense because it's tough to defend. You don't see it every day. It's not a traditional 2-3 zone or 3-2 zone. Guys are constantly moving. A big guy might be up on the perimeter, guarding the ball screen. It's ever changing, so for us, in the Missouri Valley we saw it quite a bit. Really passing, cutting through, overloading sides, making those guys defend. Now you pull the big guy out to the corner. Now you can go inside. We don't run a lot of set plays. It's more movement than anything."

(On if McBee was more of a "shooter" or "basketball player":)
"He's a good ball player. I just mean he's a guy who makes shots. He's good shooting the ball. He's a good basketball player. I think other guys make shots, but he's built to shoot the ball. That's his role from that standpoint. He's continuing to work on the one- or two-dribble pullup."

(On whether he was in "the zone" late in the first half:)
"Of course when you hit one or two your confidence boosts up a little bit and you just let them fly, don't even think about them, and I think that's what happened."

(On whether his second career start was easier than the first:)
"Little bit of the nerves were gone, but, like I said, it's not about starting or finishing, it's about our five guys working as a unit when we're out there, no matter whether those minutes come early or late."

(On his overall performance:)
"It was one of those where you hit one and build up the confidence a little bit, then fire up another one and hit it, then you're really not even thinking about it, when you get open space you fire it up. I thought we did a good job moving the ball around. On that last one, Jeronne (Maymon) set me a really good flare screen and we did a good job working the zone and getting some good looks."

(On his second half performance after a slow start:)

"I saw that we needed a little boost in the second half, so I just tried to be aggressive and get up a couple of shots, and luckily they fell for me. That's a role I have one the team, seeing when we need a spark or when I need to be aggressive. I just try to pick my spots and give us points when they're needed and be aggressive in that way."

On South Carolina's Comeback in the second half:)
"We relaxed, took too many quick shots and allowed them to get to the line, get easy buckets, things like that. That's something we're going to continue to get better at, we have to understand that when we have a lead, we have to continue to do what got us there. Things like that are going to help us in the long run."

(On the three point shooting:)
It was good to knock those shots down, good to see Skylar (McBee)hit those threes, Cam (Tatum) got off to a good start, Jordan (McRae) came in and played well, all of that was good, and it was great to see shots fall for us."

(On his play tonight)
"I have been playing hard in practices and have been having good practices. So, this was a chance for me to have a good game. I was focused and concentrating on defending and rebounding. I think I did a good job with that tonight. I wanted to go as hard as I could and do what can do for the team."

(On his thoughts when South Carolina cut the lead to 3)
"We needed to get a stop, keep getting stops and defend our basket. We wanted to finish the game out. I locked up on defense and had some key blocks and rebounds."

(On the teams 10 assists on 11 buckets in the first half)
"I was hoping that our guards would come out early, put pressure on their defense and find the open man. I thought we did a really good job with that. We had 10 assists in the first half, and we have not done in a long time."

(On junior guard Skylar McBee's 11 points in the final 2:54 of the first half)
"He shot the ball real well. We made sure we kept getting him the ball and get him open looks. It gave us a real good boost. It put us in a good place, a good mind set to come out and keep it rolling in the second half."


(Opening statement)
"Our guys came out really ready to play and did a good job of executing offensively. In terms of taking care of the basketball, scoring and defensively, for about 16 minutes we were in great shape. But then we gave up the barrage of threes at the end of the half and it completely changed the game for us.

"It was a good fight to get back in it. Our pressure bothered them and our guys continued to play, but again we got down double-figures on the road and in this league that's hard to deal with.

"I saw some positive things in terms of 12 assists on 19 baskets. We took care of the ball against one of the top two or three defensive teams in our league statistically - only seven turnovers. We did a good job on the offensive glass in the second half.

"Those numbers are good but the bottom line is we just didn't finish the half defensively and then down the stretch there were a few too many easy ones to be able to overcome it."

(On what happened defensively during Tennessee's first-half 3-point streak)
"It was a couple of things but mostly a lack of communication. We had one switch we were supposed to have but didn't switch. We had one where a guy was supposed to stay with someone and they left them open.

"One doesn't kill you, but if you give up three like that it's a major challenge."

(On tonight's defensive strategy)
"We wanted to do a good job of trying to eliminate threes, if possible, because they've been a different team when they've made them. Like us, they are a little offensively challenged in terms of their points per game.

"Watching the tape and looking at the numbers, they've been much better when they make it from three. We just had too many breakdowns that led to some easy ones and got them going. They were really struggling early and the threes at the end of the half were a killer for us."





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