Game Quotes

March 4, 2017

Recap | Box Score | Notes | USATSI Photo Gallery media_icon_photogallery.gif | Russell’s Photos media_icon_photogallery.gif

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bryce Drew

Opening Comments:

“Obviously things did not look good at the 12-minute mark. [Florida] did a great job of going small against us and we had a hard time guarding them. They did a tremendous job of guarding us on the perimeter with their bigger guys… We didn’t shoot the ball well from three, but we were able to manufacture some post-ups for Luke [Kornet] and were able to drive and finish. [Florida] had some uncharacteristic things happen like two 90 percent free throw shooters missing two in a row.”

On struggling from three:

“If you had said we’d go 5-for-22 in a game, we probably don’t win those games too often. I thought that Luke did a good job of establishing himself down low in the second half and scoring. He had some really good passes out of the post and he was able to get to the free throw line. It wasn’t like we scored in bunches; we chipped away that lead over the course of seven to 10 minutes. It was a great sign for our guys to be able to win.”

On Vanderbilt guard Riley LaChance driving to the basket:
“How both teams were playing, there was a lot of space out there and the lane was open to make
drives… Riley made some good reads on different angles – when to drive and when to pass – and his driving layups were a huge part of our win today.”

On Vanderbilt seniors Luke Kornet and Nolan Cressler:

On Senior Night, with seniors, it can go either way: feast or famine. Those guys have been focused and scored half our points tonight. I thought they were tremendous… Awesome crowd, awesome setting. To go out like that, what a memory these two will always have.”

“We can only control what we can control. To have these last 10, 11, 12 games, we’ve played almost as well as anyone in the country. Even in the loss at Kentucky, we led for 35 straight minutes. Now we can enjoy the conference tournament.”

On Vanderbilt’s NCAA Tournament hopes:

“We’re definitely playing our best basketball right now, which is when you want to be playing your best… I’m biased. I think we should be in. We’ve won nine of our last 12, and five of those wins are against teams that are going to be in [the NCAA Tournament]. There are a lot of things hopefully going our way.”

On Florida guard KeVaughn Allen’s missed layups down the stretch:

“He’s a great player… With Luke’s presence – he blocked a couple of shots – having his presence around the rim, as a guard driving, you might think of that. In his case, you sometimes just miss layups. He’s one of the hottest players in the league. He’s an excellent player. He probably doesn’t miss those very often.”

Vanderbilt Forward Luke Kornet

On not having that many three’s but moving in the paint really well and what that means for post season:

It was just a great stretch in the second half. This conference level has been about the same for the past couple of weeks and we’ve been playing good basketball and been spreading people out. We’ve opened up driving lanes for everybody and people hop off and we get it to them. We had a lot of flow. In the first half, we didn’t have much offense against Florida but I feel like these games we’ve been having have developed our resolve. Every single game we have headed into has been a completely different mind set from what it was in the beginning of the season. We’re prepared to beat any team we play and it’s took some time, but the feeling of our team going into every game is excited to go out there and prove ourselves every single night.

On going inside and blocking more:

It’s a possession by possession thing. It depends on what plays coach is calling and when they’re switching off. We were able to put me inside and get some more looks there. I was pretty bad with it in the first half. I wasn’t being patient and not attacking. But I think even if I wasn’t posting, I was helping by opening up the space and creating driving lanes for us.

On last season’s experience being a bubble team and how that has helped the team this season:

I think the biggest thing is last year when we were playing, there were times when we felt like we deserved to be in it and we were kind of playing like more to not loose than to win sometimes. I think especially with how rough it was in the beginning of the season this year, we decided to put everything down and bond together as a team and just go win games. I think that describes our focus on going down the stretch, we are just excited to go out there and win this one game and it had nothing to deal with the tournament or anything else, it just has to deal with going out and beating that team on that day. I think that has been the biggest thing, the bond that we have right now, the focus we have going into every game. We are not thinking about the tournament or anything, we are just thinking about going out there and showing we are a good team. And I think it’s more that than showing we are good for the tournament.

On Bryce Drew’s comment about feast or famine for seniors on senior night:

Once the game got started, it wasn’t as much as an issue as I thought it was going to be. All the focus just turned to Florida. But it did have that feeling of it being a special game, a special night, and I think that contributed to the win a little bit. I thought of it more this morning and last night when we sat around and just looked back on everything. Once the game started, all of our focus was just on the game. i think you can kind of soak it in, but you are just wanting to win this game and that over shadowed everything else.

On how close he is to breaking the shot and block record for the school:

It would be an awesome thing to be able to accomplish but I’m not going to chase blocks or anything like that. I’m just going to try to play good defense and protect the rim like how I usually do. It would be a great thing to accomplish but we are way more concerned with getting into the tournament and finishing out the SEC tournament and hopefully be able to chase down the tournament championship. I think it’s something we are capable of doing so that is first on my mind.

Vanderbilt Guard Nolan Cressler

On the last home game feeling and getting a rally from the fans:

It was a high stakes game for us, we had a lot to play for coming into this game. Something that comes to mind is that right before the game we talked about leaving it all out there. I thought we really pulled it together and got a huge win for us.

On thoughts in the last eight minutes of the game:

Yeah, I think we were down by double digits again. We made runs, and they responded like they do, they are a great team. But there was a time when we really started moving. The fans gave us a lot of energy and it was a fun game to play.

On thinking whether or not they deserve to be in the tournament this year:

Yes. We are just wanting to make Joe and all of them proud.

Vanderbilt Guard Joe Toye

On how tough it was to guard Florida:

They are very tough to guard because not only are they fast, but they are also kind of small and they can get through those spaces. But we have faith in each other that we can gets stop, and we did.

On what it feels like to know Luke is there to back him up on defense:

It feels great. Because if he gets past, you don’t have to bailout and try to foul because there’s a good chance Luke can block it.

On whether there’s ever a time he lets a guy get away because he knows what’s coming (Luke):

I would never let anyone get around but if they happen to get past, I have faith that Luke will block it.

On the last drive with Hill:

I knew it was a big possession. He tried to go left and I just tried to get myself in between him and the basket. He had to make a tough move and he ended up missing it. I’m just happy to get the win for the seniors. I think there is a lot of good stuff happening in this program and a lot of that is due to these guys having a big impact on the team, the coaching staff, everybody. They bring a lot of energy in practice everyday and I really appreciate these guys.

Florida Coach Mike White

On Vanderbilt in this game:

“It was an emotional game, and it happened so quickly. I don’t remember it very vividly, but there were a couple of possessions that had some miscommunication. They’ve got the floor spread so well, of course, with five guys who can shoot it, pass it, dribble it, and make good decisions; they’re so difficult to defend. We had a couple of possessions there where you’ve got the guy getting all the way to the rim, and we didn’t switch, whether it be a hand-off or a ball screen. We’ve got two on the guy that doesn’t have the ball anymore, and we have no one on the guy who is laying it up. I thought we also made some unintelligent fouls, which we talked about leading into the game extensively. These guys rely on the free throw line just as much as anybody in our league. They understand how to get fouls, and they convert as well as anybody in our league at the foul line. So any unnecessary foul is just putting ourselves in peril; and we didn’t just have one, we had about seven. Vanderbilt was more poised, they were more solid offensively and defensively, they made better decisions. There were two veteran teams: they played like a veteran team, and we didn’t play enough like one. They were terrific.”

On the performance of his team:

“It was a tough match-up for everybody really. I thought we played really hard, and I’m not in the locker room hollering at these guys. They’re crushed because they played really hard, they’re flying around, giving up their bodies. 32 of the 40 minutes we really guarded at a high level, against a team that was really hungry coming into the game and very difficult to defend. We played it obviously a little bit differently than we usually play with this team tonight. It was a unique game, and we tried to match them offensively and defensively.”

On the missed free throws in the game:

“It was out of character for those guys. We didn’t help ourselves at the foul line.”

On Vanderbilt’s points off of turnovers:

“Their points off turnovers were huge. To me the that was the biggest factor in the game. We came here and we shot 47%, shot 33% from three, we talked about how we weren’t very good at the foul line of course, we defended them well enough. We defended them better than we did at home. But we had 13 turnovers against a team that is a positional defensive team. They’re so sound at what they do, and they funnel things to Luke Kornet, who in my opinion is the best defense player in the league. We just didn’t give ourselves a chance there.”