Dec. 23, 2011
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
"The crowd had great energy tonight. I thought it really helped us the last four minutes of the game. Our guys felt that great energy, great enthusiasm.
"I thought Kenny Hall was big in the second half, stepped up and made big rebounds and made some big plays. He did a good job rebounding and had four offensive rebounds.
"We shot 52 percent from the field. Didn't seem like it. Didn't feel like it. We probably didn't get a lot of shots up because of their zone. I think it was a good game for our guys. ... They found a way once again to win the game with a team that has a really good point guard who controls the game, does a great job of controlling the tempo, controlling the game and making plays. I'm very impressed with him.
"We didn't do a good job controlling the glass. They had 17 offensive rebounds, so we've got to do a better job of that. It seemed like we were a step slow as far as crashing the glass. Even times when we jumped, I thought we were a step slow.
"I thought Renaldo (Woolridge), Skylar (McBee) and even Wes (Washpun) -- I thought was the best out of the zone. He's got to improve his perimeter shot, but I thought he did a good job of attacking the zone, pass faking, jump stopping and finding those guys -- I thought those guys did a good job off the bench."
(On Trae Golden coming to life offensively in final minutes after an off shooting night)
"He stepped up big, and I think that'll be good for him. I think it was impressive. The shot wasn't falling, and he finally stepped up and made some big free throws, made some big plays. I think that was great for him, to go home with a level of confidence, not to say he lost it. But when you're shooting at a high percentage and your shots aren't falling, you start second-guessing and doubting yourself. It was good to see him step up big."
(On if Golden needed a few good minutes after struggling last two games)
"I think so. ... Any time you shoot the ball, you want to shoot with confidence. When the shots aren't falling, you doubt yourself and are hesitant, so it was good the shots fall."
(On Kenny Hall's improvement in practice and performance Friday)
"I just thought he made himself assertive when he got back in the game, crashing the glass. It's just one of those deals as you continue to get better as a team, you find ways to win games. We didn't have the luxury of going against a man team where we could cut more on offense. In a zone, you have to find the seams, you have to find the bodies, you have to go get the offensive rebounds. In more cases in zone, it's the guy who makes the hard cut, the hard dribble, the penetration who might not get get the rewards. The other guys get the shots. But that's the hard part: the guy makes the play for the other guy, and I thought Kenny Hall did a good job of making the play."
(Statement on Jarnell Stokes)
"We're excited about Jarnell. He's a talented young man, more importantly with substance of character. He's an elite player but he's not one of those guys who goes about his business like that. He's a worker. He's in the gym all night, all morning. He wants to be a really good basketball player. He puts time into it. He comes from a wonderful family.
"He's a good addition to our program. We're happy to have him."
(On early expectations of Stokes)
"It's just one day at a time. We've talked about this for a long time. As far as if he plays, when he plays, the timetable, it's just how his body is conditioned. Is he ready to go? The most important thing is him being healthy and ready to play because he knows as well as I do that he has to fit in with the team that says `Tennessee,' and Jarnell's a part of Tennessee's basketball program. So he has to fit in, understand what's going on. He's one of those guys who's willing to do it. He reached out and wanted every guy on the team's phone number, so he could call the guys and be a part of it. He understands it.
"For me as a coach, it's making sure he's healthy enough to play, more than anything. You're talking about a guy who hasn't played a lot of live ball since the debut tournament in August or July. Now all of a sudden, when you're playing at an elite level against this type of competition, what you expect to happen doesn't always happen like that."
Junior Forward Kenny Hall
(On his performance)
"I think my biggest part tonight was bringing energy, I think I did a good job of that, getting a couple of blocks, getting dunks, screaming, talking on defense, getting everybody up on the bench, get the blood flowing."
(On having a height advantage in the paint)
"They weren't really that small, one guy was 6'8, another guy was pretty big, and they were all strong, tough and physical down there. It wasn't a cakewalk in there, it was tough."
(On the team falling behind early)
"We've got to get off to a better start in the first half, I say that a lot and we've got to be a better job at that. We start off too slow and against better teams, that's where the came is going to be won."
Senior guard Cameron Tatum
On how the team won down the stretch)
"Fight. We've just got to keep fighting. A couple of weeks ago when we lost close games I said that these games would help us down the road, helping us learn what we did wrong, why we were losing those games. When we watch film, guys are paying attention and when we're put in those situations again, we're having flashbacks and saying 'I'm not going to do that again and cost the team.' I think guys are maturing and and we're getting better as a unit."
(On what the difference has been for him the last few games)
"Just staying ready, staying positive and having confidence that I can go out there and play basketball, not just play loose but just play without thinking so much."
Junior guard Skylar McBee
(On ETSU's zone defense)
It is tough and they do a good job with it. It is what they play all the time and they are super long. They really make the passes tough, they are quick, and they do a good job in the zone. We are able to knock down some shots and get the win.
(On falling behind by double digits twice in the first half)
It is frustrating but we did a good job of overcoming that. We did a good job of staying focused on chipping away at it and making sure we were close enough at the end of the game that we could find a way to win.
(On the addition of mid-term enrollee Jarnell Stokes)
He is a good player and we are happy to have him. He is definitely going to bring a lot to our team. He is just like us and wants to work every day to get better. He wants to do what he can to contribute to our team.
Sophomore guard Trae Golden
(On outscoring ETSU 15-4 over the final 5:36 of the game)
We are a resilient team. Coach Martin never panics, believes in us, we just keep pushing and play defense. We know there is still five minutes left and we are not going to quit. That is something we pride ourselves on.
On junior forward Kenny Hall's steal late in the second half)
I am glad Kenny put his hand in there. He is supposed to put his body in there but we got a lucky break. I got out on the break and finished it off.
On Tennessee hitting 4-of-4 free throws in the final 17 seconds ... two by him and two by sophomore guard Jordan McRae)
We have to be able to knock those down. Who knows what would have happened if we didn't. I am glad we knocked them down, got the win, and that is all that matters.
EAST TENNESSEE STATE HEAD COACH MURRY BARTOW
"It's disappointing, disappointing. I thought we did a lot of good things the first 34 minutes of the game, and the last five or six minutes we just didn't finish it. So we're really disappointed.
"I was pleased with the effort. I thought we competed hard, we fought hard and we did a lot of good things. But the last four, five or six minutes, obviously, we didn't finish the game like we would have liked. We weren't efficient enough offensively. Defensively, we couldn't get stops. We turned it over some, burned my timeouts - I would love to have had a timeout or two late that we didn't have.
"I'm proud of the effort and I thought we fought incredibly hard. We just didn't finish the game. It's disappointing."
(On Jarvis Jones' late 3-point attempt)
"I'm not sure I loved the shot but Jarvis has a lot of confidence. We're one down right there; he felt he had a shot and he took it. He's made some really big shots for us. In hindsight, that was probably a pretty difficult shot but he felt he had it. Obviously, if you make that you're up two and you've probably got a good chance to win.
"We just didn't finish the game. Again, I thought we fought incredibly hard. They've got some really good players and those guys made some plays late."
(On winning the game in several statistical categories)
"I thought it was critical to, No. 1, control the tempo of the game; No. 2, keep our turnovers low; and No. 3, to not let them crush us on the glass. We did those things but, again, we just didn't make the plays late that we needed to make."