Feb. 29, 2012
HEAD COACH Cuonzo Martin
(On Tennessee's comeback win over LSU)
"I thought the guys did a really good job of competing, playing hard and not giving up. I didn't see that in their mindsets or their eyes at all. I thought the guys were hungry and ready to get a win. We got out of the gates slow. Give those guys credit for the way they played in the first half. We didn't get a free throw or an offensive rebound, but in the second half we stepped up big. The guys came in; the subs gave us some minute and bought us some time. We were down 11 at the half but I felt pretty good about where we were because Jeronne (Maymon) didn't play a lot. Our big guys did a poor job of defending in the first half. We stepped up in the second half."
(On his message at halftime)
"I just more or less told the big guys that their big guys were outplaying us. Our big guys hadn't stepped up. We hadn't played well so we had to do something about it. Our big guys, in the second half, made the adjustments and did what we needed to do to win the game."
(On Jordan McRae's performance)
"Jordan is a good player. He's a scorer. He understands. Jordan has a good feel and good IQ for the game. You can use Jordan in a lot of different ways. He made a big three, got to the rim and made a floater. If he's doing that, we're tough to guard offensively."
(On Jarnell Stokes stepping up)
"He played really well. He scored the ball. He was aggressive and physical. It was probably the best job he's done all year posting up. He also wanted the ball. It was one of those deals where he wanted the ball and we were running plays for him. He stepped up big for us. I also thought Josh (Richardson) and Cam (Tatum) did a good job when we put them at the four position banging with their bigger guys. That's not an easy thing to do because they have big, physical guys."
(On Cameron Tatum in overtime)
"Those were big-time baskets and I'm happy to see him play well in his last conference road game. It's great for him. He got some big rebounds and he stepped up. It's good for him."
(On Trae Golden)
"He did a good job of running the team. That's why we played well in the second half. Trae did a good job of controlling tempo and getting to the free-throw line, but also penetrating to find the shooters. When he's doing that at that level, we're tough to defend as a team because you have so many moving parts and it's hard to identify one or two guys."
(On Golden dealing with smaller guards)
"I just think it's really him getting comfortable and dealing with pressure on a consistent basis. He sees it all the time in practice. I just think it's him having a comfort level to be able to take the pressure. He did a really good job of getting fouled out here on the perimeter on getting to the free-throw line. Once he eased the pressure off and got to the free throw line, the defense kind of relaxed a little bit."
(On Saturday's Senior Day)
"Cam and Renaldo have done a great job since I've been here. They're class-acts and quality young men. It's always an emotional time, even though I've only been here for a year. It's been a fun time. They have high character. Obviously, they were raised well. They understand right from wrong. They're just good guys."
(On the value of Tennessee's seniors)
"In great programs, your seniors kind of set the tone and everybody follows suit. Those guys were acceptable of us as a staff. They embraced us and they were willing to accept what we were asking those guys to do. I think when those guys did that, everybody kind of followed their lead. It's good to have that. They didn't have to do that, but they did."
(On Tennessee's regular-season finale vs. Vanderbilt on Saturday)
"They're all tough. They're a talented team. They played well at their place against us. I think our guys will be ready to go and it should be a tremendous atmosphere."
FRESHMAN Jarnell Stokes
(On the win)
"I can't do it without God. I want thank God. I also want to thank my teammates. If Trae (Golden) didn't hit those free throws, and if Cam (Tatum) didn't hit that 3 (point field goal) from the corner, we wouldn't have done it."
(On coming back from a tough first half)
"The first half, I don't Asst.know what was up, we were playing bad. At halftime, coach basically called us out and told us what we were playing like. In the second half, we delivered."
(On shooting lots of free throws in second half)
"That's big. It's hard to hit free throws like that on the road."
(On the start of the game)
"They did not surprise us. It's the SEC, it was a loud environment and (their) Senior night. We knew those guys were going to come out and play their hardest. They are a good team. But, we were able to persevere in the second half and that's what mattered."
"They played with a lot of energy. They knew the situation. They were telling me, I heard them say, 'I'm not going to let a high schooler do this.' "
(On being aggressive on offense)
"I definitely looked for my shot. I sort of let it come to me. In the first half, I was playing lackadaisical and it showed. In the second half, I wanted to come out and get it done. Coach Martin was getting on us."
(On getting his hook shot going) "I realized, that. This was the first team that didn't scout the hook."