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Postgame Quotes: Vols 74, USC Upstate 65

Nov. 16, 2013

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

(Opening Statement)
"Tough, tough game. I really applaud Upstate. They competed. I must be a fool as a coach to play at Xavier first game and then first home game against Upstate. Talented team, very talented. I watched those guys on film and thought, "What am I thinking?"

"The way they move without the ball, the way they cut, the way they screen. They did a tremendous job of playing off their two best scorers. They have two guys that could play anywhere. Just a really talented team. Our guys fought to get this win. This was a tough, tough fight for our guys. It wasn't easy. Unfortunately, on the surface, we should have beat that team. It took everything in us to get that win. We had to have our key guys on the floor tonight just to get that win. Those guys played really. They move well without the basketball, they set screens, they drive the basketball, they make big shots. I thought Jarnell and Jeronne did a good job rebounding. First time they both had a double-double in the same game. They did a great job crashing the glass. Jeronne did a good job playing through fatigue, battling, just having the will to win. I think Jarnelle accepted the challenge in the second half. I thought he got dominated in the first half. Really got out and played and really stepped up in the second half and I'm proud of them for that. We didn't shoot the ball well. Antonio did a good job of scoring in the second half, being aggressive and assertive. Also we did a better job down the stretch at the free throw line. It's amazing how many we shoot a day - and then just 20-30 minutes of missed free throws and they finally fell for us. It was a great night against a quality opponent."

(On the difference in the second half defensively)
"Just taking pride in defending. What happens when you try to simulate teams, you know I guess somewhere down in the loss at Xavier we didn't play well then you have your home opener against a very talented team. But I don't think our guys took it for granted at all because when you watch film, you know these guys can play. When you watch them in the win over VT, you know these guys are pretty good. They lose on the road at Winthrop, played pretty well down the stretch. The way they move without the ball, the constant cuts, I don't think Greene ever stopped moving. Those guys are constantly moving. They can make shots and they can make plays. Their big guys did a great job screening. I think at the half, our guys realized that these guys are pretty good and also realized that they're very physical. They (Upstate) banged on them and they accepted the challenge against Jarnell and Jeronne. Our guys understood that this was a ball game."

(On finishing around the rim)
"I guess we have to continue to work on layups - it's just that simple. I think there were a couple times that Jeronne just missed some. We've got to make those shots. I thought we kept trying to go over the rim and put it in as opposed to using the glass. That's all right, you've got big bodies and shot blocks and you guys are bangin' - that's part of the game."

(On Stokes)
"I didn't think he played well in the first half. I thought he was very aggressive, very assertive. I thought he was putting the ball on the floor too much in the first half as opposed to just going up with his head and getting position. But I thought in the second half he played the way he was capable of playing."

(On Antonio)
"He's just one of those guys that plays, that competes. He's still learning plays right now. There's only certain ones we can call right now because he hasn't been out there. But he's the guy that plays in that kind of atmosphere, that environment. He understands, he has a feel for it. He has a toughness to be out there. He made a big shot, lost the ball down the stretch. He's probably about 85-90% with that knee but he made some drives and made some plays."

(On free throw shooting tonight and at Xavier)
"I think more than anything, it was that environment, the first road game. It was something we've never done. I think the majority was foul trouble and we were stagnant as a team. When you're not getting consistent shots, your free throws are off. Like Jarnell, when he started to get the ball tonight, he really got a pace to his game and he was able to make those free throws. When you're out there against some of those guys at Xavier, when you're not in a rhythm as much you don't get as many looks. So when you get to the free throw line on the road in a tremendous atmosphere, all of a sudden, things start to spiral and everything's missing. Hopefully we don't see that again."

(On rotation of the bench)
"If it is six, it is six. If it is seven, it is seven. I think for us our veteran guys had to being us home. Any other way I don't think we would have gotten that W tonight. We have to have our veteran guys. Jeronne (Maymon) played 31 minutes and Jarnell (Stokes) played 36 minutes. That is a lot of minutes for those guys, but we had to ride on those guys down the stretch. Again we have to be stronger in the bench area."

(On Jordan McRae playing 37 minutes both games)
"Not really (okay with that work load) I don't think he defended as hard. He accept the challenge in the second half against Torrey Craig. Craig is a talented player. I don't think he plays as hard or defends as hard when we plays that many minutes, but he is one of those guys who doesn't get tired. He plays 37 minutes and it isn't that big of a deal for me. Now with Jeronne (Maymon) and Jarnell (Stokes) that is a lot of minutes, but Jordan can play that many minutes. He is a competitor."

(On knowing ahead of time when scheduling games how the opponent will be)
"When I was in college you could schedule 13 home games and win them all by 20 or 30 points, but with the RPI, strength of schedules, conference ranking and those sort of things you have to have quality opponents. I told our guys this team is picked to finish 3rd in their league with Mercer first to kind of give you a gage of their talent of that league for the guys to feel and understand it. I have been at that level and I know the hunger for those guys then you have Ty Greene who comes home, ready to compete and play a tremendous game. I think it is good for us from an RPI stand point. They are a quality opponent and they will fight to win their league."

(On Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon)
"Those guys rebound and that is what they do. We have to get our guards doing a better job at getting those long rebounds. They are battling and putting bodies on them. That team (Upstate) had big bodies as well. Our guards have to do a better job at rebounding. Sometimes they watch too much because of the way Jeronne and Jarnell rebound the basketball."

(On the match up for other teams with Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes both in)
"There are some teams that can match them size for size. We have to get better at making lay-ups. We have to stress it because we are missing them. Those guys will battle. As Jeronne conditions he gets better. They play well together. Again Jeronne always compete and Jarnell accept the challenge in the second half and competed at the level he is capable of."

(On the quick turn around for Mondays game)
"I think the guys like it, less practice and just play ball. Tomorrow we will ice tub, watch film, free throws, walk through and we play Monday. It won't be a practice as far as banging up and down just more of a walk through."

(On what improvements looking for going into the game on Monday)
"For us the strength coming from the bench. I will stay here tonight at watch The Citadel film. Earlier I was consumed with Upstate. Coach Webster started watching film on those guys (Citadel) and now I will tonight. Again I don't want to see Jeronne (Maymon) and Jarnell (Stokes) with that many minutes unless we have to. We have to get stronger on our bench and get better in some areas. It is a great two tests for us out the gate. We can learn a lot from both of these games. In the next game, again I don't think we competed as hard in the first half but I thought we did in the second."

(On being too focused on the new hand check rule)
"No I don't think so. Those guys (Upstate) made plays and I won't let our guys off the hook like that. They way the game is officiated around the rim there is a lot of banging which again I am fine with. As of right now I haven't seen any change in the rules to be honest with you. I think the guys are doing a good job of officiating the game. It is a physical game and that doesn't change. I don't care what anyone says that is not changing. Around the rim those guys are banging down low and will foul every night maybe a possession every now and then but you can call a foul if you wanted to. That is the way the game is played. You have to be aggressive and assertive. Again the rule says what it says and any hand check is a foul."

Tennessee Senior F Jeronne Maymon

(On tonight's game)
"It was scary in the beginning, but luckily we pulled it together and finally made some shots to get it going."

(On flow of game with Stokes)
"Yeah, I think we both were just relentless on the boards. We were just cleaning up what the guards missed and what each other missed. It was tough down in the paint but we got the job done. They're a good team and we expected a good game coming out, but they came out and really shot the ball well the first half. In the second half we buckled down, but hats off to them."

(On mentality during the game)
"It's just all about what Coach said before the game having short term memory. You miss a shot, you can't get it back so go out and shoot it the same way hoping for a different result. That's what we were trying to do because we're going to miss shots; nobody's going to go out there and shoot 5-for-5, 10-for-10, or whatever the case may be. We're just trying to lessen our mistakes in a way."

(On playing big minutes)
"I guess you couldn't tell I was a little gassed out there; a couple of stretches I got gassed. I was going out there giving it my all and that's all I can do. Hopefully I'll get my game wind back and be fine. I'm just steady putting logs in the fire."

(On physical condition)
"My knees don't really get sore, it's more my hamstrings so I just have to make sure I get my stretches before and after and ice like I am now. My knees don't really get sore."

(On Antonio Barton)
"He has a lot more to bring to the table. This is really his first game getting in his groove, especially being on Tennessee's home floor. He's going to bring a lot to the table; we like his swagger and style he brings at the point position."

(On comfort with Barton taking big shots)
"He's a shot maker. Regardless of newcomer or old-timer if you're a shot maker, you're a shot maker by the way you are. He shoots those balls and we expect them to go in."

(On shooting tonight)
"Sometimes you don't shoot well from the line, perimeter, or paint and sometimes they just fall. We've been working on it because we shot poorly at Xavier from the line, but we got back in the gym and refocused. They fell for us tonight."

Senior G Antonio Barton

(On having a good sequence and hitting a big fade away)
"I'm very confident in my shot. Coach told me the whole game shoot the ball, I had good looks."

(On being the new comer of the team and coming in a doing what they need to do)
"Yeah, I feel real good when my teammates jump up and cheer me on. Jarnell (Stokes), Jeronne (Maymon), Jordon (McRae), Josh (Richardson), even our bench helped us through this game."

(On how Upstate surprised them with being up to par with their level of play)
"We had to bear down on defense, we knew what type of team they was coming into the game. We watched a lot of film, they just punched us coming into the first half. We didn't handle it well, we came out in the second half and capitalized on a lot of things."

(On being able to win a comeback game tonight vs the Xavier game)
"Just digging in a little harder, we have to stop trying to play from behind so much, we just need to start off way better. Both games we finished hard we just have to stay that way from the beginning."

(On having Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon down in the paint beating up on people)
"Yeah, they kept pounding it in there and kept battling. When their (Stokes, Maymon) playing like that guys have to double down, that leaves open shots for me, Jordon (McRae), and Josh (Richardson)."

(On if Upstate was hard to guard judging by the offense they ran)
"It seemed like they were using the entire shot clock, they used a lot of motion and screens and it's made to wear you down. They caught us slipping in the first half, but like I said, we came back in the second half."

(On if you could tell they were a good team from film)
"Yes, Of course, they have a player that is an NBA prospect in my eyes. They are well coached and put together, they do a lot of the little things."

Junior F Jarnell Stokes

(On if Stokes was surprised with how physical the USC Upstate post-players were)

"No I watched these guys on film. They are pretty good. They move without the ball. The big guys really move their bodies well. Sometimes they duck their shoulders into you a lot. That was probably one of the most physical games I've played in college. I was glad I was able to overcome in the second half."

(On the frustration of finishing around the rim)

"I'll just have to watch the film. I put in hours and hours of working on my left hand and right hand hooks, exploding through guys and working on my craft. Sometimes I get into games and I don't use it. So I'll just have to watch film and trust my game because it's very frustrating when I don't use it in the game."

(On coming off the Xavier game)

"Well my biggest thing I looked at film to watch what I did wrong and how I got all those fouls. When I get in foul trouble, sometimes I get a little hesitant. I really need to work on not using my elbows so much and use my feet. I think that will help me out a lot just learning how to play and adjust to the new rules."

(On teaming up with Jeronne Maymon)

"I definitely saw us wearing on the other team. We slowly started inching back and taking the lead. I think when Jeronne and I play like that we are cable of winning every game. Playing with Jeronne has really helped me out this year as far as rebounding. I feel like I let a couple of them go but that's part of it."

(On did the team take away from these first two games)

"It's definitely a learning experience. We have to come out and play harder the first three or four minutes. I feel like that is where the game can be won. We have to set the tone. Me, personally, I have to keep an eye on these early fouls and find a way to get to the line more. I did a good job of hitting my free throws but I still have to figure out how I'm not getting fouls that I expect to get."

USC Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne

(Opening Statement)
"All and all, I liked the game in terms of how the game was played. I don't think we played the last five minutes particularly well. I like the way Tennessee responded. They realized that we were a good team and they had to play. Then after the game, their kids made comments indicating that. I told our team, people now respect you, so you have to take it to another level. We've got to know how to manage the end of the game better than that. We're disappointed in the loss, bit our kids played hard."

(On the rebounding of Tennessee, particularly Jarnell Stokes)
"I tell you, I don't think it's because our kids didn't try. He's liable to be an edge rusher in the NFL one day, he's a load. Our kids tried to do it and I would encourage referees to watch how he does it, they may blow the whistle differently."

(On Tennessee cutting it to one before extending the lead back)
"You're on the road and playing a quality team, you know. When you get to that point, if you want to beat Tennessee, you have to play 40 minutes and finish the game. We didn't do that."

 

 

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