Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 78, Presbyterian 62

Dec. 18, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

(Opening statement)
"I thought we had one of our best halves in the first half on both ends of the floor. We did a good job attacking the zone and being aggressive and moving the ball. I thought Jordan (McRae) did a good job rebounding the first half especially, had seven on the defensive end and finished with eight, which tied a career high. I thought D'Montre (Edwards) came off the bench and gave us good minutes and gave us good shots, which is what he does well, catch and shoot, and he did a good job.

"I credit Presbyterian in the second half, playing hard and competing and really attacking the ball screens."

(On how Presbyterian drastically improved its offense in the second half)
"I think for us it was the ball screen breakdowns. That's what they went with, they went to attacking off the ball screen, and we didn't do a very good job of standing in front of the ball screen and hedging the ball screen. That was the biggest key. Twenty-four (Khalid Mutakabbir) got his head down and made a couple shots. We held him to zero the first half, and I think he may have ended with 18 points. He hit some shots and got aggressive. He's one of those guys who's a rhythm guy, and when he starts making plays, he's very assertive."

(On if more pleased with overall offense or disappointed in second-half defense)
"A little of both. The offense was fine, in second-half defense, I told our guys, 'Let's not let the end score of this game be 75-60.' The mental slippage, the lack of focus, making it the offensive shootout. That's the result."

(On solid three-point shooting night)
"Just get shots up. These guys are capable of making shots, but they had looks. I thought it was good for Skylar (McBee) to focus on a zone and practice against a zone, getting different looks within a zone. So I thought it was great for Skylar to throw shots up."

(On playing against the zone)
"We spend a lot of time on zone offense, penetrating and pitching. Not necessarily running set plays, like running a motion offense, cutting and moving, pitching and reading defenses."

(On Jarnell Stokes' performance)
"I thought he was solid. I thought there was one or two opportunities were he could have posted up. He might have gotten more shot opportunities if he posted more aggressively. But I thought he played well offensively."

(On the decision to start Jordan McRae over Yemi Makanjuola)
"Well then you would have two traditional bigs and they only play one big guy. They go four guards so I didn't want to do that and maybe put us in situations to be vulnerable defensively."

(On if this game allowed for a "teaching point")
"I think so. I thought our guys did a tremendous job in the first half of being in tune and carrying out assignments. I think in the second half it never fails that slippage. Just that mental maturity of taking the next step in the game and not taking it for granted. It's just the steps you have to take as a team. Once again, it's a valuable lesson.

"We have to be tough and hard-nosed all the time. We can't play a glamorous style game and all of a sudden expect to win ballgames. We have to be tough, hard-nosed and physical. We played loose in the second half and that was the result."

(On Stokes from the free throw line)
"If he's making free throws then we're tough across the board. When he makes his free throws I think he's more assertive and more aggressive offensively. We need to get him the ball and he goes into attack mode when he's making his free throws."

(On the team making shots)
"It's great for the guys... To make shots and make free throws so they can gain a little more confidence. I thought this would be a good game for Skylar. He got to play against the zone, get looks and I thought he did a great job of making shots."

(On Kenny Hall's injury [strained hamstring])
"I think he's fine. I think if we needed him in the worst way, I would have played him. It was probably best to keep him out and let the hamstring rest up."

(On Hall playing Friday)
"We'll see... I'm not sure yet. That's the trainers call. We'll see how Kenny is feeling. He's able to shoot the ball, but he's not mobile."

Junior G Trae Golden

(On their defensive performance tonight)
"We played tough, hard defense. We just played how we normally play. We had to keep tucking away. They got their heads up and started knocking down shots. It is something we definitely have to work on."

(On the mental slips in the second half)
"We had a lot of mental lapses out there. We can't have that happen. We have a lot of veteran guys. We made a lot of mistakes on the ball screens, things that are very fixable. We just have to buckled down. I think they saw the score and a lot of guys, including myself, let up on the gas but we can't do that. We have to make sure we are playing the entire forty minutes and that is something that we have to continue to work on and make sure we with conscious effort."

(On Jarnell Stokes' performance)
"I am definitely happy. I told him at half time that he is finally getting his swag back. That is good for him. That was our game plan, give him the ball. Whenever he gets going it is a good thing for us, getting to the foul line and being aggressive. I was really happy to see him get back on track."

(On the offensive spark)
"It is huge. We have guys who can knock down shots. Guys still aren't hitting shots at the rate everybody knows they can hit them, so we have to continue to work. Eventually they will fall as long as it isn't detrimental to us winning, we have to continue to keep knocking down shots."

(On Skylar and D'Montre hitting threes tonight)
"It is huge, I see it everyday in practice, so to see them get those shots. Skylar got his confidence up, D'Montre is shooting very well. I keep telling them, shoot the ball when you are open. It is good to see them knock those shots down. Skylar has a lot going on with his elbow, for him to knock down those shots it is huge. D'Montre, he comes off the bench and really gives us and extra boost. It is huge for us.

Junior G D'Montre Edwards

(On Presbyterian's second-half surge)
"They made a good run. I think we've just got to work on competing for 40 minutes. We did a tremendous job in the first half, but credit goes to them for making more shots."

(On if having a big lead affects how the team plays later in the game)
"I think it affects in a mental standpoint. I felt like we let up a little bit. We've just got to continue to compete hard and, once we've got them in a hole, just keep them there."

(On if Coach Martin asked him to be more assertive)
"Coach, he just preached to us to stay aggressive - hunt your shots and take what the defense gives you. So, I had some pretty good looks and my teammates did a pretty good job of finding me."

(On coming off the bench)
"It's something that I had to adjust to. I just want to continue to play hard and work on my defense in practice and continue to do what I can do out there."

(On if he feels that a game like this where the team is dominating puts pressure on him where "This is my time to shine.")
"Not really. I just want to play for my teammates and take what the defense gives me. If I hit some baskets, I hit some baskets. If not, I just want to rebound and defend."

(On Coach Martin's message after the game)
"He was just like, `Great first half.' But, like I said, he wants us to, when we have a team in the doghouse, keep them in the doghouse."


Presbyterian Head Coach Gregg Nibert

(On the game against Tennessee)
"I said, we aren't going to look up at the score. We are going to try and win this half and take it one possession at a time. I think we got the same shots the second half that we got the first half when we were 1 for 13. I thought we had good looks, and I said 'you guys will knock those shots down.' We missed a couple lay ups. Every time we missed though they got lay ups. I said our offense has got to help us and make some shots. The guys responded and made some shots. That gives you more confidence on defense. We scored 43 and did a much better job. I couldn't be prouder, to step up in this type of atmosphere, and we only had five turnovers, which against a very good defensive team is good. We did good the second, but the first half lost the game for us."

(On adjustments at halftime)
"What we did is, we were a little more aggressive and we made some shots we didn't make in the first half. When you don't make shots it just affects you. On misses they were going all the way to the rim. We were just a little more aggressive on offense and made some shots."

(On Tennessee's defense)
"They are tremendous. That is what they are noted for. They held us to 13 points. I thought we got some pretty good looks. When you get a good look against their man to man you better make it because you aren't going to get another one."





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