Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 82, LSU 72

Feb. 19, 2013

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(Opening remarks)
"Another really good win against one of those teams that's tough to defend when they have guards that can make shots, quick guards who can get to the rim and a big guy that demands a double-team on the block. So a very skilled and really aggressive team. They score the ball in transition, really fun to watch and fun to play against. I thought Jordan McRae did a great job of scoring the ball, taking good shots, making 3-point shots, 34 points - I think that's the second-most since Chris Loften so it's good company. Jarnell Stokes again, double-double. Played well, and battled well against two of the best big guys in the country in my opinion. We're doing a good job of scoring the ball, moving the ball, attacking the ball and you have to give a lot of the credit to Trae Golden for really being aggressive and attacking. When he's playing like that everything falls in-line for us. We're shooting the ball extremely well, but the guys are also putting the time into it and that's the result. Another good win for us."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"I thought he did a good job scoring the basketball, taking what the defense gave him, because the way they played him they space you out and they give you opportunities to make plays. One thing about LSU, when they get down 10 to 15, they're still in the ball game. The way they bring the pressure and get in the passing lanes, taking the pass away, pressing the ball - so we just try to put them on the backside. Swing, swing, swing, and get your shot. It was either Jordan McRae or Skylar McBee to get those shots and we felt like that was the opportunity for us to score on the backside against the press. We did a great job. We just made plays more than anything, but we took good shots."

(On Jarnell Stokes being aggressive)
"Well this is a team we felt we could beat offensively, but I think it really starts when Jarnell Stokes identifies himself as a go-to guy, not that he has to say it, but when he made his presence known - being aggressive and being assertive around the rim, looking for the ball and everything falls in-line, because our offense is built around big guys who can score on the post and make plays. Even though your guard might be the leading scorer on the team, but you have to go through Stokes in order for us to have success, and I think that's the main reason why we're doing what we're doing."

(On Jordan McRae)
"He's one of those guys that plays all the time. He doesn't have down practices, because he's always playing. He's one of those guys that could play here and then go to TRECS and play. He plays all the time. It's just a case of slowing down, allowing the offense to dictate where you get shots. With the offense and the spacing, the moving and the way Jarnell Stokes is playing, you'll have opportunities to score the basketball, and carrying out those assignments where we feel like there's opportunities to score the basketball. Pay attention to detail when they present themselves, but ultimately you have to make plays."

(On tonight's performance as a team compared to a month ago)
"This is a different team. This is the team I thought we'd be at the beginning of the season, but you go through things - guys have to learn, guys have to grow. I don't think Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes would have been the guys they were at the beginning of the season either. But they're playing the way they're built and advertised, and that's why you're getting those results. You have to go through it as a team; you have to learn from it. The thing I give these guys the most credit for is not giving up when the times got tough, you know, losing tough games, losing emotion games, but to stay the course and to continue to get better, that's a sign of a really good basketball team. When you get better late and continue to make progress, that's not an easy thing to do. One thing I told our guys against these guys is that they can score the ball; it's not going to be one of those 50-50 games. These guys force you to score the ball. You have to play, because that's the way they play. It's not a game where it's a possession game down-the-stretch. It's going to get into the 70's and 80's, and we accepted that challenge and came out alive."

(On how Trae Golden is helping Jordan McRae)
"I think it helps him off the ball. It is the same way with Josh Richardson, Armani Moore and those guys because what happens now when you catch the ball you have one, two, three dribbles to the rim. It takes a toll on you when guys pressure you up the court. If I am playing against Jordan McRae, and McRae is above the court one way I would try to defend him is pressure him and get him off balance and get the ball out of his hands and make problems, but now in a half court offense, the way our offense works, before he has the opportunity to score you know where the ball is coming from, you know where he is getting it from and you know when he is receiving the ball, now he knows he has the advantage because you have to make a decision at that point."

(On the teams 3-point success)
"Guys are spending time in practice shooting shots. The offense will dictate when you take shots. You go through Jarnell Stokes, then you have open looks. They might double team him, if not he scores the basket, if they want to double team then you have guys making shots. It is a lot easier to make shots when you know where your shots are coming from. Now in practice you have guys taking five shots from a spot, as opposed to having a hit or miss offense where you do not know where you can go to, and say lets see what works."

(On concerns of playing flat after performing well against Kentucky)
"You have concerns about it. It is human nature. For us we do not spend a lot of time talking about it. You talk about the things that help you win in a basketball game. When I played in college it was the same way, you have to find a way to give yourself the best chance to win this game. It might be ugly but no matter the outcome lets just find a way to win and get out of here. That is what it came down to. We have been doing a good job of scoring the ball and sharing the ball."

(On LSU potentially being a trap game)
"If I had to pick certain teams in this league that were major threats this would be one of them. Even before the game, when you watch them on film, because any time you have a guy with the rock who demands a double team he can score, he can make shots, he can make free throws, and you have perimeter guys who can make plays and shoot the basketball, that is a tough team to go against. They space you out, they pressure you, and their guards make tough shots, big shots, off-balance shots, and keep the pressure on you. I like these kinds of games. I think the fans like the up and down style games. I am not a guy who wants to keep the game at 50 (points), I want to score the ball and have some fun with it."

(On Stokes and Moore's play against LSU's bigs)
"I thought it was great for him. I thought he did a good job excepting the challenge. We started Armani Moore, I thought he did a good job battling. He is a guy who can score the ball and for us you have to give up some to get some. You see how it goes, you try to keep the ball out of his hands. I think we did a poor job of keeping him off the glass, he got some tips and I think that is where we broke down fundamentally. He did a good job with the initial post move and on that second or third tip we did a poor job."

(On offensively handling the press)
"We are always handing the press, taking care of the ball, being aggressive. You can run 50 different schemes against the press but you have to want the ball. Bottom line. You have to go get the ball. I think that solves a lot with the press."

(On whether he believes the team is peaking)
"I think we are just playing good basketball. These guys are a good team. Still have plenty of work to do, there is still progress to be made. We have the tools to be successful. We will see. Our bench was not strong tonight in my opinion. We have to get that corrected. It will change, there will always be something new and something different. Hopefully we continue to score the ball and our players continue to compete."


(On how different it is not having to bring the ball up the court)
"Oh man, it's big. You know, Trae's really the floor general on our team. He'll make plays for everybody else. When Trae's playing like that, and Jarnell is playing how he is, I'll be getting a couple shots out there."

(On if it's difficult not to over think on a wide open shot)
"I mean, those are the hardest ones to hit, when you're wide open and you've been rollin'. But seeing those go in, the wide open ones, is a sign of a good night."

(On finally starting to getting the 3 point shot back)
"I think I really started to struggle shooting threes when I was trying to create my own shot off the dribble, but now that Trae (Golden) is playing how he is, penetrating and getting open shots that gets me open."

(On being able to score this much while pulling out a victory)
"It means a lot. If all three of us (Jarnell Stokes, Trae Golden and I) are playing well with Josh (Richardson) and the other guys doing what they do then we are a hard team to stop."

(On the feeling of having to keep scoring even with the lead)
"Those two LSU guards were really tough to guard. I think we did a good job but that was a hard team to match up."


(On Jordan McRae)
"I told him in the first half that he was going to 30 tonight just the way he was shooting the ball. I just kept feeding him getting my assists up and his buckets."

(On opposing teams having a hard time planning against Jarnell Stoke or Jordan McRae)
"I think so just because if you are going to double down on him (Jarnell Stokes) then Jordan and I are going to make plays. I just think it is all coming together at the right time and it is good for us."

(On doubts of playing as well or coming out with a win after the huge success of the Kentucky game)
"No I didn't just because our team knows how it feels for no one to think we are good. I know even last year or this year the main thing we tell each other don't forget when we were 3-6 or 1-4 in the SEC. If we keep working hard then I think everything we work out for us."

(On the team's toughness)
"Coach Martin has done a lot with us. I think our team rallies around each other. We understand when we have the lead to keep it up. LSU is a good team so we have to make sure that we just keep our leads and try to get the victory."

(On the team's thought of how this is should they have been playing the whole season)
"We just have to continue to stay humble and to understand that just a week or two ago we were 3-6. We can't get too high. We must continue to work as a team if we continue to do that then we will be fine."


(On LSU having a one man scoring threat compared to UT's multiple scoring threats)
"I feel like one of the problems with LSU is that they are a one man threat and they fed off him a lot but with this team, I feel like we have about three or four guys that can score. That's hard to guard, you can't focus on one man."

(On McRae being on another level tonight)
"He's been playing like this for a while. He's not doing anything special. He's playing to expectations. I mean, he can shoot the ball. I feel like guys are shooting like they should have all season. So I mean it's nothing special, it's just expectations."

(On McRae being rewarded with a W after a high scoring game)
"Yeah, I mean he shot the ball very well. I feel like that's what we have been missing, three-point shooters. I feel like Skylar, Jordan, and Trae have been shooting the ball very well. I mean, they can shoot the ball, that's just what we expect them to do is make shots. They've been doing it."

(On when he knew McRae was "cookin" tonight)
"I thought Trae was going to be the one that would get off, but I mean Jordan just plays with extreme confidence. He can come up with games like this on any given night. His confidence is sky high."

(On if he's jealous of their open shots while he's going to war on the block)
"I don't get jealous of my teammates. I feel like those guys are making shots. It would be another thing if they were missing them, but as long as they are making shots I'm good with it."

(On if he was looking forward to the matchup with O'Bryant)
"Yeah, I mean that's a guy I've been watching since I've been growing up. Just through AAU, I always thought he was a good player. I mean it was like playing against myself. I mean he's a good player. Seems like they fed him the ball almost every play, so they really go through him. I mean rightfully so."

(On if he takes pride starting double-double streak back against O'Bryant)
"I wouldn't necessarily say it was against him. We weren't necessarily guarding each other, but I felt like I should've got it last game. I was so close, but I got a double-double and a win. I'll take that any day."


(Opening Statement)
"I thought we played extremely hard tonight. I'm proud of our guys because of the effort, intense tonight. Unfortunately for us, I thought Golden and McRae had a tremendous offensive basketball game tonight. In changing defense and personnel, I thought both did extremely well. They go 8-11 from the three point line between the two, and McRae going 6-6, they had a really balanced scoring attack. I think they both had 14 in the first half and ended up getting 54 points between the two. I thought they had a great job as far as the balance of their scoring. I thought we had great effort and they are probably playing as well as anyone in the league right now and they showed that again tonight."

(On the LSU defensive effort)
"I thought we tried just about everything that we possibly could, we ran at them, tried to double them, tried to run the ball out of their hand, but they did an excellent job up jumping up and hitting threes. We ran the press and forced them to take early shots and they had success knocking those shots down as well. They were just comfortable and got in a rhythm. We went zone and tried to make sure they had to take shots over the top and they hit those shots too. When we made our run they did a great job in terms of settling down and coming back and making big plays."

(On Jordan McRae)
"He made big plays, be it at the rim, ay the three-point line, he played extremely well. He looked great and we just didn't have an answer for him."

(On Jarnell Stokes)
"He's a big, physical, strong guy in there and you have to make sure that you at least have an eye on him to help down there defensively. But I thought those guys did a great job tonight of getting the ball to him and hitting some gaps, forcing a little help, then when we were trying to recover out, they were able to knock shots down and offensively they were just hitting on all cylinders."

(On his team's effort)
"We were patient. I thought overall we did a pretty good job of taking care of the basketball and being balanced, but they're long and have great range, they're extremely quick. They do a great job in terms of switching defensively, and they're capable of switching one through four because of their personnel out there on the floor and that allowed them to be really good defensively getting down and staying in front of you."

(On if fatigue was a factor after their recent schedule)
"Absolutely not, I think we were excited about getting in here to play. We knew the emotions were high with them coming off a huge win on Saturday. I thought we did a great job in terms of our practice schedule and getting rest when we could. It was a good little stretch for us, winning two of three of those. Give a great deal of credit to Tennessee coming off an emotional game and being able to bounce back after an emotional win."





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