Postgame Quotes: #8 Memphis 99, Vols 97

Nov. 22, 2011

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Head coach Cuonzo Martin
Opening statement
"That was a great game--a great game for the fans. I thought both teams played hard. I thought we played really well in the second half. I don't think we defended well in the first half, but I thought in the second half we did a better job defending.

"I think part of it is me as a coach allowing our guys to play with freedom. We shoot the ball quick against these guys and now they're out in transition and we don't have a chance to outrebound them, we're unbalanced, we don't have anybody back to outrebound them because of the quick shot selection. So as a coach I just need to reel our guys to work the ball a little bit more and pound the ball inside. Then we can play from there."

On Jeronne Maymon's 32 points and 20 boards:
"Jeronne played a great game. He played hard and he plays well on both ends of the floor. He competes at a high level, plays with energy and he plays with passion. I think when you have those ingredients you have a chance to be successful."

On Kenny Hall's improvement:
"I think our big guys are making improvements. I think our team is making improvements. Unfortunately we came up short in two games. I thought Kenny Hall did a good job competing today, even though he fouled out. I thought he did a really good job of battling and competing--he was ready to go."

On Josh Richardson's performance today:
"Josh is a very intelligent young man. He's great in the classroom and has a great feel for the game. He plays well on both ends of the floor and he's a competitive guy. He's accepting the challenges on the defensive side of the ball and it's going to make him a much better basketball player."

On Jeronne Maymon's free-throw shooting:
"I think first and foremost--and I don't want to take any credit for this--it's just playing with a level of confidence. My whole thing with our guys is to play with confidence, play with passion and play for fun. And that's what he's doing. He's playing with a level of confidence, not looking over his shoulder to see if I'm going to pull him out--I'm not that kind of coach anyway as long as they're playing hard--so now he's able to relax as opposed to being pressured when he's in the game.

"For us as a coaching staff, we watch every guy's shot. When Jeronne relaxes, he makes his free throws. Everybody has a different style when they shoot free throws. Whatever your technique is, be consistent. That's our focus as a staff. We saw his percentages last year, but he makes them when he's relaxed. For me as a coach, I don't want to mess with him if he's knocking them down.

On putting Wes Washpun and Trae Golden on the court together:
"Wes is doing a good job. He missed the whole summer and the physical development and being around the team, but he's making the necessary adjustments and I think he'll be fine. He does a good job. We'll definitely see that lineup. Now Trae can play off the ball and score and run off screens. It's tough for Trae to shoot and score at a high level and also run the team."

On Trae Golden's poor shooting day:
"For me as a coach, when you go back and watch film, you look at the shots. Were they bad shots? Quick shots? That sort of thing. I mean... 19 shots--when you're in the flow of the game, shoot the ball. I don't really get consumed with how many shots you take. The coaching staff will go back and watch the shots and maybe say, `OK we could've got a better shot,' or `We could've fed the post,' in that situation.

On giving up 22 fast break points:
"We did a poor job of getting back on transition defense. But it was also quick shots on the offensive side of the ball. When you shoot them quick and the rebounders and the safety don't know a shot has gone up, that's the result. That's their strength and I thought we did a better job with it in the second half. But when you have quick shots, that's the result."

On end-game situations:
"Jeronne did a good job of establishing himself in the post, but he's also a good guy to face up and making moves off the dribble. Kenny was solid, our other bigs were solid and our shooters were ready to shoot the ball. That was pretty much our game plan down the stretch, to put the ball in his hands and allow him to attack the basket."

On not calling timeout at end of double overtime
"The guys already know we're running. Sometimes when you call a timeout you let the defense get set. They might want to run a certain kind of defense, they pressure you and now all of the sudden you can't get the ball in. But those situations we practice all the time. We signal from the sidelines and the guys know what we're running."

Jeronne Maymon, Jr., F
On making 16-of-17 free throws
"My confidence has changed. I'm taking my time. I practiced all summer. I just tried to slow down, I was thinking too much at the free-throw line. I was always thinking, `I've got to make these.' Now I'm just taking my time."

On team's defense in second half:
"Coach told everybody that we had to be able to guard our man. We have to be able to guard the ball, this is college, so if you can't guard the ball you're not going to be out there. So in the second half we tried to really lock down on our own man and play help defense."

On improved post play:
"We did a better job of feeding the post, especially in the second half. It was also on the bigs to get into better post positions so it's easier on the guards to throw the ball in there."

On what team takes from the game:
"I definitely want to give a shout out to all my teammates. We came out and played hard. I think we grew up and our skin got thicker today. It's going to be fun to see what happens down the road."

Postgame Press Conference Transcript

TENNESSEE COACH Cuonzo Martin Trae Golden

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.

COACH MARTIN: Once again, a well played game. A lot of points scored. I thought both teams played extremely hard, especially in the second half. And they just made just enough plays to win the ballgame.

Q. Just the way you guys battled down there, toward the stretch, you were just killing them inside and Maymon was giving you everything he had?

COACH MARTIN: I thought he played well. I think the key with his game is when he's making free throws, he's tough to defend. He can go off the dribble, he can score around the basket. And he's a solid defender. But when he's making his free throws, he's a tough guard.

Q. Was the game plan there, once you got their bigs out, just to keep going at them? I mean, you had such an advantage in there.

COACH MARTIN: Initially for us it was going inside. We like to go inside out of the gate, depending on the competition, just to get guys in foul trouble, get our big guys going.

They played with some confidence. They made some shots, got some offensive rebounds, we thought just to roll with them.

Q. Coach, can you just speak to the nature of this game and you guys, in state rivals, coming so far to play such a hard fought, excellent game overall?

COACH MARTIN: Well, you know, for us it's just playing an opponent. It just so happened to be Memphis tonight. And a great team. A lot of talent, a well coached team. And, once again, two teams that played really well.

I didn't really focus on the fact that they were from Tennessee, which was obvious. It was more just about trying to win a ballgame.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you'd like to start off with opening comments.

COACH PASTNER: Yes. Just a couple of things. First of all, I was extremely proud of our guys to be able to come back. It's not easy to do that.

We lost a tough game yesterday morning. Kind of our psyche was a little down. And so to be able to get back up to play a really, really good Tennessee team, who is extremely well coached, I mean, they play hard and they're well coached.

They've got good players, too. Anyone who thought Tennessee was going to be down was wrong on that. I have to give a shoutout to my man Coach Dave Odom over there. After the game he said, The most important thing is you gotta let this one go. Because as coaching, you sometimes get so attached to each game, and Coach understands that, and after a win or lose.

And he says, You've got to let that one go and get your troops ready for the next day. And he was right. And last night we watched the film of the Michigan game. And not anything negative, just for an instruction to allow us to get better in some different areas.

And then we focused on Tennessee. So really proud of the guys. We battled. We had the lead late in regulation. We didn't obviously finish it out in regulation. But that's basketball, which I believe is a game of energy. It's a game of runs.

We had some chances. Tennessee made some big shots. And then the first overtime momentum swung to them. We got down 4.

But, again, we battled. We fought through it. And we found ways to get back and tie the game and then go into the second overtime. Again, the same thing. We were down but we found a way to take the lead and made the plays we had to toward the end. Anytime you can win and get some lessons out of it about finishing the game. There was a couple of things, we had the one lane violation, and we also had, the last thing, where the officials made the right call.

I think we celebrated a tad bit early. And I'm pretty anal about covering everything in practice on late game situations, and that's something that I hadn't covered. So that will be something that we'll cover and we're able to get a win out of it. It's a good lesson.

Q. Coach, just talk about having the lead, the huge run. I think you go up 40-24 and it's looking like you may run off with it. What happened there, and what did Tennessee do right to get back in the game?

COACH PASTNER: What happened is Tennessee's a good team. It's not like we were playing our exhibition games where, hey, you're just about to blow them out and win by 30 or 40.

Tennessee is in the SEC. They've got really good players. I mean, I don't want to I'm really bad with names. So, I mean, the kid No. 34 is just a stud.

And he played really well. So they've got good players. So anytime you have a team with good players like I said, basketball is a game of energy, is a game of runs, that's going to happen.

That's normal. Teams are going to come back. And they did but we found ways to win it. Something for us to learn when we have a team down, we can't let them creep back in. But I thought even when they were making runs and we played well. I just thought Tennessee played well.

I thought both teams played well. I thought both teams were scoring. It was just I didn't feel we were playing bad at any time. I felt we were playing well and Tennessee was, like I said, they're a really good basketball team.

Q. Can you just talk about your defense on Trae Golden in particular? He carried the team from the perimeter, looked like you guys had a plan to shut down his penetration and find him.

COACH PASTNER: I thought we did a good job on the perimeter defensively, especially with all the perimeter guys. Again, they've got I keep saying this because I felt once Coach Pearl left, everyone felt, man, Tennessee wasn't going to be any good.

And anyone that listened to me, I was telling everyone they're a good team and they have good, good players left. They've got good players. And I know the success that Coach Martin had at Missouri State, and he can flat out coach.

I recognized they were going to be good. And they were going to be a tough team. There's no question about that. So we had to do a job on the perimeter because you couldn't just focus on one guy. I mean, they had multiple weapons, and we did a nice job perimeter wise defensively.

But, again, the biggest thing for us, I know it's off base, your question, just our rebounds, that's our biggest areas. We've got to be better on the glass. I mean, the three things we talked about going into this season is we gotta take care of the ball better, which last year we were 290th in the country. Our first two games, we had single digit turnovers. This game we had 12, which isn't bad, for 50 minutes.

We've done a great job of that. We've done a great job of taking away the 3 point shot. Yesterday, Michigan, we held them to 30 percent. Today we held Tennessee to 33.

But the third thing we've got to be better at, which we talked about, is rebounding, which we weren't good at last year, defensive rebounding, and that obviously we've got to be 100 times better than that.

And the guards, all the guards. It's not just the bigs, the guards had to stick their nose in there, we've gotta come up with those balls. The two guys next to me, Antonio and Adonis, they both played terrific and played hard and really stepped up and both guys were in attack mode and played at a high level.

Q. A little bit more about the two guys next to you. Really tough matchup for Adonis in there against those bigs when your bigs were in foul trouble. And A.B., just shot after shot, this guy gets it done for you.

COACH PASTNER: Yeah, Antonio really stepped up, hit big shots. Even the big shot, the great pass Stan had to him underneath, which was a big bucket.

Antonio hit the other big shot on the baseline after the post entry feed from Wesley, and obviously hit some big 3s. And Adonis was in attack mode. I told Adonis towards the end, that play where he spun, he could have just driven the ball and he spun back into the traffic.

And I want him to continue to be aggressive, to be on attack, because he's a hard matchup, whether it's a two man guarding him, three man guarding him, four man guard, he's a hard matchup because he's a multi dimensional guy.

Both these guys really stepped up. The other thing on Will Barton, I was proud of Will today, because we had a long talk last night.

And one of the things we talked about was, like versus Belmont, he was seven of eight from 2s. And he didn't settle for 3s. He shot four 3s, but he was one of four. Today he took 17 shots and only two of them were 3s. And he hit a big 3 at one point. But he didn't settle for 3s. He's a great type of player when he curls and gets into the paint. That's his best basketball.

Plus he had 11 rebounds tonight which is really, really good.

Q. Adonis, can you talk about the transition now from the man on a high school team to coming off the bench now from Memphis, and personally what that transition's been like for you?

ADONIS THOMAS: I wanted to come in and make an impact, whether I started or whether I came off the bench. I know Coach recruited me as coming in as a freshman to get things done. Whether I start or continue to come off the bench is just me coming in and playing hard and being tough when I get in.

Q. Can you talk about the way you played, and then the shot, I guess 1:07, 1:06 left in double overtime, what's the difference there?

ANTONIO BARTON: Just coming out like Adonis said, coming off the bench, is enough to bring the spot, because sometimes you're down, sometimes we gotta come in, bring things up. That's what we did today.

That shot, we practice that all the time in practice. And I just felt it that Wes was going to find me, and I was going to be a little separated from my man. So I just let it go and it went in.

Q. How are the legs?

COACH PASTNER: Again, it's kind of like the analogy: We had to play three games in the conference tournament last year. Able to win that. Played a late game, then a morning game. Also with I mean, these guys, the way I look at it sometimes as coaches we overanalyze all the stuff. These guys want to play. They want to hoop. They want to ball.

So I don't think we put too much emphasis on it. The main thing is they rest. They get plenty of fluids, as much as they can to hydrate. And other than that, once we get going tomorrow, they gotta be ready to produce and compete, because the team we play, Georgetown or Chaminade, they're going to go through the same thing.





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