March 9, 2007

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Bruce Pearl: When you get to March and it's tournament time, you've got to be special and we didn't have it tonight. A lot of guys have to step up, coach has got to step up and take advantage of what you've done all season long, and we just weren't able to do that tonight.

We feel really badly for lots of reasons. But one of them is we're trying to add to the history of Tennessee basketball. We can't control what has happened in the past, that is Tennessee going home early. We've only had influence on the last couple of years. Dane's had it for four years, and Chris for three. And we're certainly real disappointed and real tired of leaving this tournament. Our fans travel down, and you know, got to stick around and root for everybody else.

We feel just terrible about it, because we appreciate the support. Glen Davis was a load in the second half, nine offensive rebounds. When he gets an offensive rebound that close, it's a basket or a free throw. He got 17 foul shots. When we play pretty good defense we couldn't keep him off the offensive boards. We turned it over 23 times, but we didn't score enough on those turnovers ourselves. We didn't execute very well, and we weren't sure. And you're just not going to beat a team as talented as LSU.

Q. For Chris, did you feel like at the five minute mark, I think you hit the three, put yourself up about five, did you feel pretty secure with the game at that point? You're like 37 and 2 under Bruce with leading with five minutes left.

Chris Lofton: I didn't really feel secure, but I think we played in our hands. You know, tournament time, you never quit playing until the buzzer sounds.

Q. Coach, what was the difference in Davis' first half, second half? First half you seemed to have him under wraps pretty good. Was it just a matter of him applying himself, or did they do something different?

Bruce Pearl: I think he got more touches in the second half. When you defend the post, it's got to be a team defense, and we left our five men down there a little bit too much, one on one. Ball pressure wasn't as good, and a lot of his free throws had to do he got nine offensive rebounds. When he gets those, he's standing underneath the basket.

Q. Bruce, a curfew violation for Ramar, to start both halves, was that recent, was that last night?

Bruce Pearl: It was just last night. It's not happened before, it won't happen again. My policy is, when you've got a starter that violates a rule like that, he just comes off the bench. The guy that's on the bench, he maybe misses a rotation. You do it in an exhibition game, you do it in a tournament game. These are just the rules, he was just late.

Q. Coach, any thoughts on where this leaves you for the tournament, and what position you're in now?

Bruce Pearl: You'd have to ask Joel and Artie. I don't have as many answers as those bracketologists. You know, a lot's going to depend on how the rest of this thing plays out. I think we had a strength of schedule about three or four, and our RPI was seven or eight, something like that. I would say you know maybe a five or a six seed, something like that, maybe a seven. I don't know.

Q. Bruce, I'm wondering, that call right at the end of regulation where they called the charge and wiped away the basket. John Brady talked about that and his team's resiliency in overcoming that. I'm wondering, does a call like that have an effect on your team as well going into OT?

Bruce Pearl: No.

Q. For the record, I said you're going to be a 5. Just thought I'd tell you. But truthfully, the way the game played out, it seemed they were able to get deflections and blocks that sort of equaled the turnovers you created. Have you been in a game this year where as many of those things happened, deflections and blocks started the opposition on a fast break.

Bruce Pearl: Not as many this year. And the game last year at LSU, we turned over 19 times in the first half and they blocked 14 shots, and like eight or nine of them were lay ups. Of course they had the big kid, Tyrese Thomas. We got some pretty good looks. It's like we're right there. And they block some and they change some. And I don't think we executed really well.

At the end of the year, your playbook is about as big as it's ever going to get. What we try to do is have some variations of things that we normally do. To take advantage of what we anticipate the defense doing. As a result, we just didn't execute as well as, like, if the playbook was shorter and it's very, very basic.

So I don't think I did a good job communicating the adjustments, and the kids didn't execute them really well. And you've got to step up at tournament time. We had several players that struggled today. And you're not going to beat teams as talented as LSU when that's the case.

Q. Bruce, is that as good as you've had one player play against you this year, what he did tonight?

Bruce Pearl: He was a dominant factor. I think Durant, probably was a dominating player. I think probably because if he's not out there rebounding those misses, I think our chances of winning go up.

Yeah, it was probably right there as dominating a performance. It's certainly a tremendous effect on the outcome, and the fact that he went to the foul line and converted so well.

Q. Bruce, very physical in the paint, it looked like they got advantage in there. How concerned are you as you go forward about that aspect?

Bruce Pearl: We're going to face that. They're bigger than us in every position, but we're used to that. That's why we try to turn people over more. But you know, we didn't shoot it real well. We had some guys I tell you what, our bench did really well. For our bench to have 34 points and a number of the guys really stepped up coming off the bench. You really can't it would be more like 24 with Ramar, because he's normally a starter. I was glad to see some of those guys play well off the bench. But it's March, and we did not take advantage of the position we put ourselves in through the grueling regular season.

Q. Coach, can you just talk about the final possession. I think you got the ball with six seconds left, didn't get much of a shot. What was called there?

Bruce Pearl: We were calling a flat screen, but a flat screen much higher than we normally run it. And we didn't execute it well at all. My fault for not getting us a better look. It wasn't at all what we called.

I think part of it, too, was having the ball in Ramar's hands. I really wanted Ramar to make the play and go to the basket. He was supposed to get a flat screen, it went from Wayne, the screen never came. Ramar never took it to the rim, and we got a pitiful look.

Q. Coach, I just wondered, did you think pace of play, especially the first half, affected your guys' play at all?

Bruce Pearl: I think the faster it went, the better off we were. You know, LSU was patient. You know, they only got 49 shots off. They got 11 offensive rebounds, and I'll bet you several of those led to shots. They did a good job of being patient.

You know, we didn't score enough ourselves to be able to get the press up often enough to be able to pick the pace of the game up.



THE MODERATOR: All right, we'll get going with LSU coach, would you begin.

JOHN BRADY: First of all, I want to say this, I think Dane Bradshaw is a wonderful young person. And for anybody that writes or implicates that I say anything different or believe anything different, is not true, and unfair to create something that's not even there. I don't know who wrote that, Nashville paper or somebody. I don't even know if they're here. But that was a cheap shot, and it was untrue, unfounded, and it was out of line. Now about the game.

I was proud of our team. I thought our team played well the whole game. I thought we defended well. I thought we, particularly the second half, got on the offensive boards. That's one thing we talked about at halftime, we needed more offensive rebounds. We didn't get the three the first half, or two. But I was really proud of our team for overcoming the adversity it faced at the end of the game. And then to be able to win the game in overtime.

It was great for our guys to be able to do. I've said this until I'm blue in the face, a good season or significant season, it's all the difference in the winning of close games. For whatever reason, blame the coach, we haven't won our share of close games as we did a year ago. Tonight, we were able to do that. We were able to win it. We executed, we made plays at the right time, we made some critical free throws down the stretch. Last year, our margin of victory, and our 14 SEC wins was 6.3. Our 11 defeats this year, the margin of defeat is 6.7, so it's almost a flip. It's all about close games. We haven't been able to do it this year enough, but we did it tonight at the right time.

And I'm so proud of our team. Our team is facing some adversity with some things that have gone on. We've lost Glen for three or four games. We're finally getting him back healthy. And it was good for us to be able to do. I'm so proud of our team that's hung together, fought through some close defeats, kept playing hard, tried to improve. And we were fortunate to win the game tonight. But I also think we deserved to win the game tonight by how hard we played throughout the game.

Q. Glen, pretty early in the second half it looked like you were getting tired, then it looked like you were getting stronger as the game went along. Could you tell us how much energy you seemed to have in the latter part of that game.

GLEN DAVIS: You know what, winning on your mind, it gives you a lot of energy. I don't care if you're in the desert. I don't care, if you want to win, you know, determination to get the job done, that's what it's all about. There is no such thing as tired. And that's what you've got to think in your head, it's all mental. So, you know, you got to bring the beast out. So, you know, that's what I did. I envisioned a win, and I just turned into some just animal. (Laughter).

And now, we play tomorrow. That's what it's all about, we want to win tomorrow. So see the beast again.

Q. Garrett, could you just talk about your game, guarding Lofton, some of the things you went through, and the play there at the end of regulation.

GARETT TEMPLE: Yeah, you know, Chris Lofton is a great player, he's a great scorer. When he hit that first three against me, that first play of the game, I was as close to him as I've been anybody, and he knocked it down. As I said, he's a great shooter. But it was a team defensive effort. When I was out there, we did a great job on him. Then the last play in regulation, I thought the guy was running with me. I heard Coach from the bench say, "Get it to the right, because we only have seven seconds left," so I tried to get the ball up, was able to score, but the referee said I dipped my shoulder. Another referee told me it wasn't a charge, so you know, hopefully I wish next time he'd be calling that play.

Q. For you, Garett, when you have as many blocks as you did tonight, a lot of them were almost back doors, where it appeared you were beaten. I'm curious, do you allow the space sometimes? Do you want the space sometimes so you can get the block?

GARETT TEMPLE: You know, when I came to college I used to do that in high school, but Coach Brady used to get on me to get the back door. People are more athletic. So I don't try to, but sometimes on fast breaks I might get my steps right, and you know what I'm saying, I have pretty good timing.

JOHN BRADY: Sometimes the player knows better than the coach. Maybe in this instance, he knows more than I do. So I surrender to him. Keep doing what you're doing, son. We can work with that. (Laughter).

Q. Garett, can you talk to us about the pressure that Tennessee was giving you there at the end of the game, and how you overcame it.

GARETT TEMPLE: They had pressure on us throughout the whole game, you know. And we were able to we had to get open. They were playing real tough on the perimeter and on the big men. I was hearing coach telling them to take off each pad, so we had to play physical, and I tried to get my man off me, and get that five second count off me, so I could get the ball to Terry, and Tas and Glen so they could score.

Q. Glen, can each of you talk about what this win can mean going forward.

GLEN DAVIS: Confidence, I think. I think we get a lot of confidence under our belt. You got to look at it, looking forward, you know, we've played Ole Miss, we beat them at our house, and like I said I threw the most stupidest pass. Well, not stupidest, the most, I don't know, stupid pass I've ever made in my entire life. As a team we know one thing right now, that we won, and we'll see tomorrow, and that's what it's all about. You know, this game, you know, we had them at their place, we didn't come through. It just builds up our self esteem, builds up our team chemistry now, just go straight through Ole Miss and try to win the game.

THE MODERATOR: Same for Terry.

TERRY MARTIN: It's just mostly confidence, knowing that we can get the roll going and just win big games and try to make it as far as we can. Because you lose, you're out. So we're just trying to take it game by game, and try to win as many as we can.


GARETT TEMPLE: Well, you know, this win shows that we can win close games. We haven't won the close games, like Coach said, and like Tim Brando says when he does our games. So we have confidence that we can close out games and we have the players that can play with anybody, you know. Tennessee was on that big streak. I think they won like 8 out of 9 or something like that. They're in the Top 25. We're going to play Ole Miss twice, and we almost won one of them, and won the other. So we have a chance.

Q. Glen, do you like the chance to make amends for that pass, having Ole Miss now that you're able to win tonight?

GLEN DAVIS: Oh, you know what, I can't even, you know, words can not express. You make a pass, and a guy juices right in your face, God is telling you something. And I just thank God that he gives me another chance to get out there and make the right pass.

GARETT TEMPLE: "Juices" means shoots and scores (laughter).

GLEN DAVIS: Yeah, so, it feels good, you know. It feels great to be out there and play again and just we've got to win, man. That's all we're worried about. Just win.

JOHN BRADY: I want to say one thing, I want to say this in front of you guys, we take a lot of pride in trying to defend: Tennessee's averaging 81 points a game, they scored 67. They shoot 34% for the game, 22% from the three. They go 1 for 9 in overtime, gentlemen, that's how you do it right there. I'm proud of you guys.

GLEN DAVIS: It's time to go to bed, to sleep. See you tomorrow. Same time.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we'll take questions for Coach Brady.

Q. John, at a point when you're having so much difficulty just inbounding the ball, you used your timeouts, I thought, a couple of times just to make sure that you were composed on offense, because each possession was so important. Talk to me a little about the way you coached your team offensively down the stretch in that close game where they were getting a lot of turnovers to stay in the game.

JOHN BRADY: Well, you know, our team, if you analyze our team, one of the strengths of our team isn't blinding speed at the guard position, we don't have Curly Neal with the ball. So we struggle from time to time. We don't outquick anybody in the front. We can't really set up and outmaneuver a guy and get the ball. We have to run sets and fake screens and split screens to try to get open. And I was just trying, we had five different ways we try to inbound the ball. I used to have no way to inbound the ball. I'd just let Darrel Mitchell get open and we'd make it work. But we have five different ways to try to inbound the ball. I was just trying to make sure we were doing something in moving of personnel to try to just get it in. Once you get it in and hit it out, the press is really not effective as you move down the floor. They try to steal it on the inbounds, double you once, and once you're out, it's done.

So that was our biggest concern. We probably should have thrown over the top a little bit more, but we used Glen up front to kind of post a guy up and throw it away, and throw it to his open hand.

It's just something we've worked on. The other key with Tennessee is we turn it over a few times where they laid it in, and I don't have the stat in front of me, but the thing that you need to do, you're going to turn it over particularly against our team, with someone relentless and pressing you don't want to turn it over and lay it in. You want to turn it over, and throw it out of bounds and make them attack a set defense. If you take over, they shot 34% for the game. If you take out the plays that we allow them to a turnover to lay it back in the basket, I bet you they probably had four, maybe six baskets at least that way. You take that out, they don't shoot 30% for the game. Our half court defense and transition defense of not giving up easy baskets in the transition was really outstanding against a team as explosive as Tennessee.

You've got Chism goes 1 for 9, Bradshaw's 1 for 5. Smith, JaJuan Smith's 3 for 11, he's 0 for 7 from the three. You know, Ramar Smith is 2 for 10. You guard those guys like that, and Lofton is so good, he's going to get his. That corner shot he made in front of Tennessee's bench, we were all over him. That was just a great individual play. He's going to get some, even if you defend him as well as Gary did. But the other guys we really kind of took them out, and that was the difference in the game, in spite of us turning it over 23 times.

Q. John, is this vintage Glen Davis? Is this as well as he's played this year?

JOHN BRADY: Probably. You know, he played really well at Ole Miss, he had 27 or 28 and had 12 rebounds or so. And he just threw the ball away at the end of the game when we had the game won, and they hit one at the buzzer and Tigers lose. But considering what he's been through at this point for him to come back and play 40 minutes and get 25 and 15, and get to that foul line and make free throws, that's what he needs to do. And he didn't play well at Tennessee. He had five points and he thought it was the swing guard that night. If you watch the tape, it was nauseating to watch. I made him watch it. He wanted to do something tonight, I think, and show people that he is an excellent player. Maybe the best player in the league on any given night. He wanted to have some redemption tonight against Tennessee for the way he played in Knoxville.

I was proud of him. Really proud of him. And this is great for his confidence. The only issue we have to win again tomorrow, if we're fortunate enough to win and come back against Florida, provided they're there, you know, is just the depth of our team, and if we can sustain the effort and not get tired. That is the biggest issue we have to manage as a coaching staff to be able to come back. Ole Miss is fresh, they're ready to go. We're going to be up late, so we need some better bench play. I think Magnum played good tonight. I need a little bit more out of Dameon Mason, and Alex Farrer, and maybe even Ben from time to time. Maybe we can get that tomorrow night against Ole Miss and have the same type of defensive effort.

If your team scores 76, that's a Godsend, because we haven't been able to score 70 points our whole life this year, and we were able to do it tonight.

Q. John, how difficult was it to restrain yourself as much as you did on the call in regulation?


Q. Well, not completely, but it could have been a lot worse.

JOHN BRADY: I think I'm better than I used to be. I don't know, that's a frustrating place to be in. I didn't see the Trion, I heard everybody boo. So it's kind of like me against the mob. The mob was booing, so I thought maybe maybe there was something that went wrong there. And I haven't seen the tape, So I can't really make a definitive answer. But I really flashed in my brain, basket's good, we're going to free throw line, game's over, set, match. And all of a sudden, there's a charge and I just you know, being a coach you have no retaliation there. The guys that referee the game, they can call technical fouls and kick the coach out of the game. When there is a disputed call let's say just hypothetically there's an obvious blown call, there's no recourse for the coach. There's a hypothetical. There's no recourse for the coach in that situation. But if you get out of line, the referee can call a technical and even throw you out of the game, depending. So the best I could do, I was restrained as best I could, because I wanted the team to win so badly. I thought the game was over and all of a sudden it turned.

That's why I was so proud of our team for the resiliency it had, and the character it showed to come back over that adversity and regroup in the overtime and play that well. 12 3 in overtime, to hold that team to three points in overtime, regardless of whether they think they missed open shots or we guard them, whatever you want to write about. The fact of the matter is they scored three in five minutes. Therein lies the game is the way we defended for 45 minutes. I think that's the difference in the game.

Q. John, would you talk about how Garett Temple's just come along at point. He was critical tonight. He was able to beat the press, and even took a couple of critical shots, too.

JOHN BRADY: Garett Temple, this is Garett's what is Garett? He's a sophomore. A red shirt sophomore. He's going to graduate first semester summer school. He's going to have two more years to play, and he's going to have his degree this summer. I coached his brother. He's just a character guy that's athletic and talented, intelligent. Just wonderful to coach. He's gotten better, he's worked. He's never going to be the quickest guy on the floor. But certainly with his length and his intelligence and his ability to jump and run, he's not very good maybe laterally with the quickness of some, but his length and his ability to jump and run really help him defensively, and he's an intelligent basketball player, his IQ is good. If we can ever get him where he can be a consistent outside shooter and make a couple two or three threes a game, it will certainly enhance himself as a player and help our team. That's what we're going to work on this spring and summer with him.

We wouldn't be the same team without him. He's always positive. He always finds the best in difficult situations, but that's how he's been raised. He's just been wonderful to coach. And I'm going to be a better coach the next two years because he's going to be playing with us.

THE MODERATOR: We'll end on that note. Thank you.





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