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Postgame Quotes: Vols 77, Oakland 50

Nov. 26, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

(Opening statement)
"It was a good win for our guys to hold a team like that, the way they score the ball, to 50 points. They trailed Pitt by 18 but lost in overtime. They had a four-point game against Michigan State in East Lansing with five minutes to go. That offense is unique, with the dribble drive, and our guys did a tremendous job with a week of prep time to be able to execute defensively what they were trying to do. I thought the big guys ran and got some easy baskets inside, they were 10 of 12 in the first half on paint touches, post feeds, capitalizing in those areas, which was great for our guys. We held them to 15 percent shooting in the first half, probably one of our better efforts since I've been here from top to bottom.

"I thought Trae Golden did a good job of accepting the challenge. A pretty point guard, a transfer from Providence, does a really good job backing down to the post position and the point guard spot to spot up and make plays, and I think Trae Golden did a good job accepting the challenge.

"I thought Kenny (Hall) had a really good game. Nine points, 11 rebounds. Needs to bend those knees on the three-point shot. He's been spending time on it.

"Trae with 18, 7 of 9 from the field, 7 assists, 1 turnover. Great performance by Trae from start to finish. He was ready to go.

"I thought Jarnell (Stokes) did a good job scoring the ball from the block. We've got to get him a little better defensively. I thought he did a good job establishing post position and making plays, just really creating a presence down there and that set the tone for us in the second half when he came out on defense.

"15-2 on fast-break points. For us, we get fast breaks when we defend well and get out and run. Twenty points off the bench is good against a good team."

(On Jarnell Stokes getting down the court)
"I think that's the biggest key for him. He the mold where as big a physical presence as he is, it's tough for guys. It doesn't matter which big it is ... especially when you're running a motion offense. I thought he did a good job out-running his guy because that big guy, (Corey) Petros, was playing so many minutes that you really had to run him and make him run. Jarnell landed a body on him, and Yemi (Makanjuola) got a body on him, and that really can take a toll on you. You're trying to run and get easy baskets, and when your perimeter guys are making shots and making plays, it's easy for our big guys to get easy looks. Now some nights it won't be that easy, but when they run like that, we've got to make good passes."

(On the eight-day layoff, when he expected)
"I normally like to get four or five days just to get back to the basics. I don't think we played that well in Puerto Rico. I thought we did a good job of competing against UMass, but those first two games, I don't think we played well at all. We're accustomed to see guys competing on both ends of the floor from start to finish."

(On starting out strong)
"It's just maturity as a team. Only four games into the season with a key player key player out -- I don't mean to keep bringing Jeronne (Maymon) up -- but I don't know many teams able to play guns blazing and on all cylinders without a guy you count on for production. Plus, Jeronne also brings that hard-nosed mentality and brings all those things to the table. When you lose that caliber of a talent, with a guy who scores the ball, shoots the ball, and the way he plays, it's not easy to make a quick adjustment because those guys lean on him. So you don't have that guy who's talking to you, communicating with you. It's not an easy thing, but our guys are getting into it and taking one game at a time to get better."

(On playing Oakland after a rest, vs. playing him without a break on the road last year)
"There's no comparison. If we make it back to Maui, we'll definitely take seven days off (afterward) before we play anyone, and hopefully, we're at home. It's just a tough thing to bounce back for us. That's no excuse. You have to give credit when credit's due, and they won the ball game. We watched the film. It was ugly to watch, but we watched it. Puerto Rico wasn't as bad, as opposed to taking a trip Maui."

(On if players had an added motivation, having lost to Oakland last two years)
"Not really. Not really. I just think guys came out and played well. I thought we practiced well all week. We defended well in practice. It was physical. I don't know if guys nowadays who hold grudges like that are really very competitive from that standpoint. I just think nowadays the young guys just brush it off and get ready for the next game as opposed to me. I hold onto it for three weeks."

(On what he thought of the teams effort)
"I thought it was great. I thought our guys did a good job on both ends of the floor. It's hard to find anything wrong outside of them getting too many offensive rebounds in the first half. I thought we played hard, I thought we defended, we probably had the most dives on the floor all season,we attempted to take some charges. That's all you can ask for. When you're competing like that, whatever happens happens, but if you compete like that you give yourself a chance to win games."

(On if he'd prefer his players to hold more of a grudge against teams they've lost to in the past)
"I think that's just who they are. I think that's just society. I talk to other coaches around the country. I think that's what it is. These guys play AAU ball all the time, and when you're talking about AAU tournaments, you're talking about playing six or seven games in two games, and if you lose four, guys are still hanging out and still have a good time. I think that's the nature of it. It doesn't take away from their talent level. It's just that everybody knows everybody. Those guys in Oakland play against Michigan State guys all summer so it's just a ball game to them. Nobody is afraid of anybody anymore."

(On getting players to stay focused for upcoming opponents from smaller schools)
"That's really the mental toughness part of it. Staying in games and being in tuned from start to finish. I think with Kennesaw State, and you get those big leads and you have a mental let down, and that's part of human nature, but it's also, for us, having to mature as a team to stay in tuned and try to finish ball games. But also, early in the year you're trying to play other guys too, and give guys an opportunity to play and you don't have a real rotation so sometimes teams can get their heads up."

(On if he prepares differently for games like this as opposed to more difficult games on the schedule)
"Not really, because what happens is I stick to my guns when I say anybody can beat you and I truly believe that. That's a talented team. What happens is you tell the guys they have to be ready for the mid-major teams, so to speak, because if they think that means a BCS team will come in and beat you, but really I think it's all the same. Your prep work and you approach every game the same because any team can come in and beat you on any night. You look around the country and you have those mid-major teams,so to speak, winning ball games. Cal-Poly won a game last night against UCLA. So I try to make our guys understand that we have to have a level of mental, physical toughness every night, regardless of the opponent."

(On the offense's success)
"We hope so. With guys on offense, my job as a coach is to put them into position with certain things we practice to help guys get better. Outside of practice guys come in three days a week for about a half an hour to work on offensive skill. But offense is a feel, you have to feel good. I will never forget when I was in college I couldn't really shoot the perimeter shot that coach wanted me to shoot because I wasn't confidently shooting it. So I tell the guys, whatever you feel, you are the ones out there. I am not out there on the floor. So as a coach I have to put them in position, they have to make plays."

(On Travis Bader)
"It was Skylar, Jordan, and Josh the whole night. Those guys were just taking turns. When you have guys run off screens like that, it is tough to guard. He can shoot. He is one of the best shooters in the country. You can't leave that guy open because he makes shots, makes them deep, and he is constantly moving. He is on the floor all the time. It is just tough. I think he got one three in the corner by their bench, outside of that he was getting to the free throw line and shooting pull-ups to the lane. That means we did our job. He had to make shots. His percentage is like 20% when he puts the ball on the floor to make plays. especially when he goes with his right hand. We did a decent job from a scout report standpoint.

(On improving this season)
"I think we are making progress. We don't lack talent. For us it is finding the right rotations, the right flow to get guys in the game. So guys are consistant with their minutes. They know when they are going in and out of the game. We have to get Armani Moore in a little more to give Trae some minutes to relax. We are heading in the right direction but we aren't there yet."

Tennessee Senior Forward Kenny Hall

(On game meaning after losing two years in a row)

"Uh, that's always in the back of our minds. I can speak for myself in this being an important win for me just for the fact they did beat us two years in a row. I think it was an important win for us."

(On defending home court)

"It's important for us to defend our home court no matter who we play. It can be Austin Peay or Kentucky, it doesn't matter."

(On overlooking Oakland)

"No, I mean they are a good team. Like you guys said, they've beat us the past two years. It's not like we were taking them lightly or anything. We got out there to a good start and maintained our focus."

(On chemistry with Jarnell Stokes)

"It's just practicing and playing with each other for so long, that you chemistry is going to start to build. Just practicing all summer, pre-season, and since the season began. You know he's a quick learner and I'm a quick learner, so it pretty much goes hand-in-hand."

(On defense in first 15 minutes)

"Just hard-nose defense, you know that's Tennessee basketball. There's pretty much nothing to say, just playing as competitive as we can be."

(On coming together to start season despite traveling)

"Uh, really it's just focus. We have all year and it's not like we have an all new team. We pretty much have the same team from last year, so we know what we are capable or and what to expect from each other. So it's just a matter of going out there and continuing to play hard."

(On first half defense)

"Yeah, we locked down. We stayed focused on the scouting and got one or two shot clocks, almost more than that. You know it's really about focus and buckling down to guard your man."

(On Oakland coach's postgame comments)

"I mean that's respect. After playing the way we played, I mean as you can see he respected us for that and I appreciate that. We have to go out and do Georgetown the same way."

Tennessee Sophomore Forward Jarnell Stokes

(On tonight's defensive game)
"I think this is one of our best defensive performance as far as me being here as a player. I really think it is a great thing to have a great defensive performance going into the environment we are going into on Friday. I think we can touch up on a lot of things, me personally I could have got rebounds better. Overall we held them and did a great job reading the scouting report."

(On preparation of defensive game)
"We had a good four practices. Coach really stressed defense. We used the weight vests again. The first half of practice was all defense and most of the scouting reports. Coach prepared us for it and the energy was there from the get go."

(On having a week off between games)
"I am not really the type of guy who thinks taking days off is good. As a team we were ready to play. We were tired of practicing and it showed that we were ready to play again. We are looking forward to the game on Friday. We have to work hard as a team in practice for the next three days like we have done the past week."

(On traveling to Georgetown on Friday)
"It is a great environment to travel up to Washington D.C. to play a good team. I hear that they got some good big guys. I am looking forward to the match up. I don't want to get outside of myself as far as doing things I am not used to doing. I just want to win and play for my state. I am not trying to get carried away into the match up."

(On getting the first points of the game)
"Trae (Golden) gave me a lot of great advice on how to shoot the ball as far as the free throw line. He is one of the best SEC free throw shooters. I want to credit him. I feel like I have been doing a better job. It is really a mental thing and to calm down when I am at the line."

Tennessee junior guard Trae Golden

(On having an edge on the game knowing the opponents)
"I can't speak for every guy on our team but I know for me I remember going to Oakland last year. Reggie Hamilton put up like 33 points. (Travis) Bader is a great player so I remember that. We just wanted to come out and make sure we played as hard as we can. We got them back from last year."

(On noticing the score in the first half)
"We don't notice. We just try to stay locked in. I try to huddle up and tell the guys to keep pushing. We keep the intensity up and that really helps us."

(On Oakland making a come back in the second half)
"I know Coach Martin came in at half time and said that this is the easiest time for a team to get back into the game. When I saw they cut it under 20 points I told the guys we have to push it. I think we kind of went away from getting the ball on the inside. Skylar (McBee) and I shot a couple of three, so we made sure we got in it. Jarnell (Stokes) got going and we just rolled through the second half."

Oakland Head Basketball Coach Greg Kampe

"I thought this was an embarrassment to our team and the university. We got beat in every phase of the game. We got out-coached, we got out-played, we got out-hustled. We didn't show who we are or nearly what we want to be about. It's displeasing to me. It's upsetting to me, and we're either going to correct it or have casualties. That's it."

 

 

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