Feb. 25, 2012
HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin
"First, I would like to thank our fans that showed up. I thought they did a tremendous job supporting. It was great to see, it gave us great energy, it gave our guys enthusiasm, it was good to feed off of. That was great for us and our program. I thought we did a good job, we got out of the gate shooting the ball well, did a good job handling the press and there was maybe five or six minutes there where we struggled with the press. We got complacent with our passes, very hesitant, took some quick shots, didn't get the ball inside like we needed to. Then we made the adjustments in the second half. I looked at our 21 turnovers, that's one of the few games I have ever been around with 20-plus turnovers. I thought we played well, outside of being fatigued on some of those passes, but for the most part I thought we did a really good job in the second half of defending against shots when we needed to."
(On tonight's win)
"We did a great job. Once again, you have to do a good job of taking care of the basketball. I just think this night, we did a lot of things good enough on the defensive side of the ball, making shots and making plays to win the game."
(On South Carolina's press)
"You have to have multiple guys that can handle the pressure. What we tried to do tonight is take Jeronne from the backside and put him in the front court so that he didn't have to exert so much energy bringing the ball up the floor. Our guards have to do a better job accepting the pressure, embracing it and doing a good job handling the ball."
(On UT's perimeter players rebounding)
"That has to be our program. It's not a case of whether Jeronne or Jarnell have to rebound. We need a collective effort. Our guards have to do a better job. We spend so much time in that area. Our guards have just as much right to get 10 rebounds as anybody else."
(On Jarnell Stokes' development)
"I want him to look to score the ball, but he has to be confident doing what he's doing. I don't have a microphone in his ear. I want him to be comfortable. I'll never forget when I was a player, Coach (Gene) Keady wanted me to shoot the ball from the perimeter. I wasn't confident in shooting it. Jarnell has confidence. It's just a matter of him feeling good doing what he's doing. I want him to stay aggressive."
(On adversity that Jarnell Stokes is facing)
"He's going against different schemes, different guys and different shot blockers. It might be a more physical guy. A guy might be quicker. There are so many things he's going against on a consistent basis. It's never changing. He didn't have the luxury of a preseason or off-season workouts to make those adjustments."
(On Tennessee's upcoming road game at LSU)
"For us, it's one game at a time. We're playing with a (high) level of confidence. I think the biggest key is just taking care of the ball. They're a team that doesn't press a lot so that should help us out. Not that we're afraid of a press, it's just really taking care of the ball. We have to keep doing the things we're doing. We have to keep defending at a high level and moving the ball on offense. When we're able to run our motion offense, we're very effective."
(On Tennessee playing its best basketball of the season)
"As a coach, that's what you want to hear when your team gets better. Not only have we gotten better as a team, we've gotten better individually and that's a great sign. Jordan McRae has made great strides, playing the way we thought he could play from day one. Trae stepped up big. Jeronne is Jeronne. Jarnell is getting better. Skylar is Skylar. Cam played well on the road and did a great job of really facilitating the whole game. It's always great to see your guys getting better late."
SOPHOMORE FORWARD Jordan McRae
(On South Carolina's press defense)
"We knew they were going to do it. What surprised us more was how small they went out there. IT kind of had our lineup messed up. When they were small, it was kind of hard for us."
(On having a big man that is able to handle the ball well)
"It helped a lot. Jeronne is a four but he can also handle the ball well. We're not afraid to throw it to him in the trap."
(On his eight-rebound effort)
"I didn't realize I had that many rebounds the way Coach Martin was yelling at us to rebound more."
(On being more aggressive)
"I definitely am. I knew I had to do more for us to win."
(On Tennessee's shot selection)
"Coach martin always tells us if you have a shot, shoot it. He wants us to shoot more shots in the flow of the game rather than forcing anything up. I think we're doing a good job making the extra pass and getting our bigs involved."
(On Tennessee's defense)
"We know they like to drive in. They have some great shooters out there. Everybody took some individual pride in guarding their man tonight."
(On Tennessee's road win)
"These two wins couldn't have come at a better time during the year. We're trying to get a third (at LSU)."
(On his game and Tennessee evolving)
"He tells us that we all have to grow up and start to take more pride in defense and in playing. I think we're doing that. We're playing fine now."
South Carolina Head Coach Darin Horn
"We did not get off to a good start tonight in terms of turning the ball over, and giving them some easy baskets. I thought we did a really good job of picking up our defensive pressure and intensity and extending it and being aggressive offensively and getting back in it at the half. The run they had at the start of the second half I think really hurt us. We never really got over the hump with that. Every time we seemed like we were chipping away and getting close, it seemed like they hit a timely shot or got something at the end of the break. It didn't help us any that Damontre Harris plays 11 minutes and fouling out and then really produces nothing, except for one rebound. Some positives in terms of the game, I thought Anthony Gill's play was good and Malik (Cooke) continued to battle and Bruce (Ellington) was very aggressive again at distributing the ball as well as scoring it. Brenton Williams was a spark and efficient off of the bench. We have talked about before we need a collective performance and we didn't get that tonight. I thought that Carlton Geathers came in and did some really good things given the circumstances."
(On shots not dropping)
"Keep attacking and make a layup. We got 22 more shots than they did, I don't know what the number is I will have to go back and look at the film but it was well into double digits, of not really tough finishes, just shots that when you get to the rim you have got to make them. We kind of felt like Wednesday we tried to do that, but maybe not aggressively enough. Only getting four free throws, we really wanted to concentrate on attacking the offensive glass and attacking the basket off of the dribble and I do think that we did a good job of that. We got to the foul line, shot a good percentage. The ones we missed were crucial at a time when it would help trim the lead away. We shot 74 percent as a team, but we have just got to finish it is really that simple."
(On the team's struggles to get stops)
"I don't know from a comparison standpoint there have been games where, we were outstanding Wednesday against a terrific offensive team, who put up 70 something today. There were stretches tonight where we should have been going to the foul line or just let some body get loose that leads to it. We didn't guard the dribble a couple of times well also. Again at the end of the day, especially when you are pressing more like we did, teams may shoot a higher percentage. We got 22 more shots than they did, we have got to do a better job of finishing the ones we get."