Postgame Quotes: Tennessee 66 Western Carolina 52

Dec. 21, 2012

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Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

(Opening statement)
"Great game. Great crowd. I thought Kenny Hall finished the game strong. He started off a little slow, getting his legs up under him, but Kenny Hall bounced back well. Thirteen rebounds is a career high. He went and got those rebounds. Five-for-five from the free-throw line. I thought that was great. He tied his career-high with 12 points. He should have made those last free throws.

"Jordan (McRae) did a good job rebounding the basketball and also running the point as a backup. I thought we did a good job in the second half with the assists. We had nine assists in the second half, did a good job running and cutting and really finding Jarnell (Stokes) and allowing him to make plays and post up, finding him a little better, a little quicker.

"Fifteen offensive rebounds. We thought that was a key for us. They were giving up 13 a game and we thought we could take advantage in that department. I thought we did a good job late in the first half and the second half of making adjustments on offense and really sagging on the backside of Jarnell and guys making shots and making plays and utilizing their dribble to get in."

(On if the key to game was getting ball to Stokes)
"Well, the thing is, it's a two-way street. Jarnell was really posting deep and making quick moves. When you have to watch, you've got guys on the backside. We talk about the skip pass. Really from the wing as opposed to the corner the corner and just attacking. When they sag with that ball screen, you have to get to the rim and make plays."

(On leading at halftime with just three field goals)
"Were we leading at Georgetown. We might have had five field goals in that game. Sometimes it's like that. They did a good job of sagging, but I thought Kenny missed some easy ones. I thought in some cases Jarnell was drawing a lot of contact when he was going up. That's part of it. You make adjustments over the course of the game. They have a scouting report and they have a game plan. They figure the best way to beat Tennessee is try this. We didn't make some shots early, but we didn't settle for perimeter shots. We did a good job late in the first half and the second half of getting to the free throw line."

(On Josh Richardson's performance)
"I thought he was good but not at the level that we need them. I thought he was solid. He needs to do a better job defensively. His man scored 25 points. He's a good point guard, but he has to do a better job defending."

(On Richardson in the second half)
"Just get aggressive. I think the biggest key for Josh is to stay aggressive and to get in attack mode and cut, and cut hard and not settle for three-point shots. When you have a three-point shot and you have the ball and the shot clock is running down in that situation, you take it, but you don't make up your mind that you're going to shoot a 3-pointer. You have to stay aggressive and get to that lane."

(On low scoring first half and similarities to past games)
"We don't even talk about it. Those guys know. We don't talk that much about offense. You make shots. You practice hard. If they go, they go. If you spend time a lot of time and you consume yourself with it and tell your guy you've got to shoot the ball, you've got to make it, and all of a sudden, he starts second guessing. You don't spend a lot of time with it. You put yourself in position and give yourself opportunities, and if they go, they go."

(On run in the second half)
"We loosened up. We made some good shots, attacking off the dribble offensively and making plays. Jarnell was getting offensive rebounds and cutbacks. And defensively, we just got stops. We started getting those stops and cutting off passing lanes and forcing those guys to make one-on-one plays."

(On getting offense from the wings, players attacking the basket)
"I think the two things after the Georgetown and Virginia games -- I don't want to talk about those games for a long time -- but after those games, we spent a long time offensively getting our rhythm in transition, attacking the wings and scoring the ball. But also drive and penetrate and get to the lanes. That's everybody. Even Skylar McBee drove a couple of times. Getting in the lane, forcing officials to make calls. Make that defense go out and find the bodies and give it to shooters."

(On the play of Trae Golden)
"I thought he was fine. I just looked at his stats offensively, 1-for-9; I wouldn't have known that just watching the game. You've got a guy that's always a threat. They identified Trae on the floor. They knew where he was at all times. They made his shots tough and forced him to make plays. I thought he did a good job of attacking the rim. Some of them just didn't go, but I thought he was aggressive."

(On whether or not a backup point guard is a concern)
"Not at all. I think Jordan McRae can do it depending on the situation. I played on a team where we didn't have a true point, but we've got guys that are scoring points and I think that's just as vital. Remember, some people say Trae Golden is not a point guard. He can score the ball."

(On what Jordan McRae brings to the position)
"He has size and he has length. He has good vision for his size and can find guys on the ball-screens and makes good passes."

(On Jarnell Stokes establishing consistency)
"We're 10 games into it now so he might not have a choice. You have to play basketball. You have to make decisions and make plays. Since October, he hasn't practiced with Jeronne Maymon. I think he's doing a good job. I think for him it's really just making the adjustments and getting a feel for how each game is played. Most guys get double-teamed from the top, but they send the double-team on the bottom side for him sometimes. It's just different looks and is about making the adjustments. Biggest key for him is attacking quick and I thought in the second half of this game he posted deep and made quick moves."

(On where Josh Richardson needs to be)
"He has to be a defensive stopper. Right now he's a solid defender, he's not a stopper. He has to be a shut-down defender. We can count on him - for any perimeter guy - we know Josh has his job. Offensively, he has to continue to get better. Making moves off the bounce and getting to the basket more left and right. Or just pull up and make the plays."

(On resting key players)
"Five, six or seven - I think it's tough to take our stars out for that long. Like I said, we've got a core six that I think we can count on every night. Then two or three guys - depending on the flow of the game - then we make adjustments. Last year, we had a solid seven. It's part of the game. You look around the country and some of the best teams. Not many teams have a 10 or 11-man rotation. The thing for us is to be conditioned. To play these minutes you've got to do what you've got to do. There's no time to turn back."

(On if the six guys are set)
"That's solid. Those six guys are solid. With Derek Reese getting into the fold, that's a guy that's now a legitimate 4-man for us. Now you have a guy that can go in for Kenny Hall that understands that position and can give you a different dynamic. He's a big guy that can go off the bounce and make shots. He plays on the perimeter at 6-foot-8 and gives you more shooting on the wings of your offense."

(On where the team is at big picture)
"Got to get home and get a little relaxation in. We'll get back on the 26th, get to work and get ready for Xavier. They're a very talented team. We'll need a tremendous atmosphere for that one and then we'll take the next one as it comes. First and foremost, let's enjoy this holiday. Wish all the fans a Merry Christmas and we'll get back and ready to go for Xavier."

Sophomore Guard Josh Richardson

(On being aggressive on offense)
"Coach actually texted me today and said I had to stay aggressive on offense and remain a threat. Earlier in the season I would have probably stopped attacking. I just told myself I would keep going to the rim in the second half and it came."

(On bringing energy during the winter break)
"I don't know how we started that bad. Next time we just have to bring our own energy. We can't start like that. Last year we lost some games like that when we didn't come out on top. We know that can happen anytime."

(On the boost of energy in the second half)
"I don't know. I am glad it happened. Once the first two buckets started coming the energy picked up a lot. We were jumping around and congratulating people on buckets, on big stops."

Senior Center Kenny Hall

(On returning to play tonight)
"I felt pretty good out there. If felt good to be out there, I always hate sitting out during games. Once I got in the flow of the game things seemed pretty good."

(On the difference in the second half)
"I can't really say that anything was different. We just continued to play ball. That is what we have to do, keep going hard and being aggressive."

(On Western Carolina putting up a fight)
"That is what we expect from teams. We don't really expect teams just to lay down and bow down to us. We expect a team to put up a fight. That is what they did. They put up a good fight."

(On what was said in the locker room at half time)
"Just to continue, just stay focused on the game. With this being the last game before Christmas, I guess people weren't as focused, they may have been ready to go home. We were saying we still have a game to play, in the second half anything can happen. Just play hard."

(On the first half)
"We did do a good job of getting to the free throw line in the first half. Credit to that. We just went out there an fought."

(On being 5 for 5 at the line)
"It was just one of those games where everything was falling. We were getting plenty of reps at practice shooting free throws. Tonight we shoot a great free throw percentage."

Junior Guard Jordan McRae

(On poor shooting 1st half)
"I felt like we were attacking the basket hard just like we normally do. We just weren't getting them to fall in the 1st half, but that's part of it."

(On a sign of maturity by overcoming rough 1st half)
"Oh yeah, I think it is. Last year, we probably wouldn't have gotten through that. We would've stayed on the 3-point line and kept shooting 3's. I think we did a good job of forcing the referees to make calls."

(On things to work on over the holiday)
"There is a lot of room for improvement, but I think we are on the right track especially after losing two games in a row."

(On how he feels about playing point guard)
"(with a laugh) I play a lot of spots. I think at the point I can really use my length on defense and I can relieve Trae Golden at times."


Western Carolina Head Coach Larry Hunter

(Opening statement)
"Our guys didn't quit, that's the trademark of this team, they just kept hanging in there. I thought Trey Sumler was terrific. When we needed a basket, he was involved in the play, whether it was scoring himself or giving it to somebody. Our guys battled. I thought Torrion Brummitt was great off the bench and really gave us some quality minutes. Guys are getting their feet wet and getting a feel for it and they can keep their heads up, we just came up short."

(On holding Tennessee to three baskets in the first half and still trailing at halftime)
"I thought the whole ballgame we competed really well and we had a good run there offensively (in the first half), but the last 10 minutes they were scoring at the foul line and that was a big difference in the game on the stat sheet."

(On the Tennessee run in the second half that allowed the Vols to pull away)
"Their offensive rebounding in the second half came up big for them and we had some foul trouble and some young guys out there and they executed pretty well. They're really good defensively, give them a lot of credit, they make it really tough for you to score too."

(On his team not being intimidated by Tennessee's size on defense)
"I like my team. We've played some really good teams, two top-15 teams, four undefeated teams. I've got a nice team, we're going to be fine in our league. I was really proud of the way we competed."

(On guard Trey Sumler's 25-point performance)
"Trey Sumler is a player. I thought he controlled (Trae) Golden's penetration pretty well, he can play. He's one of the better players in our league."





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