Vanderbilt-Auburn quotes

Jan. 7, 2012

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Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening Comments:

“I’m proud of our second half defense. It might be our best overall defensive performance. We got some quick fouls on [Kenny] Gabriel and [Frankie] Sullivan and that changed the overall complexion of the game in the first half. I thought that was a big thing in this game. Other than not shooting free throws particularly well, I am pleased.”

On the Importance of Going After Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel and Frankie Sullivan:

“Both of them are capable of getting 25 points. Lance [Goulbourne] was really [effective]. The last three games, he has done a great job [defensively].”

On Vanderbilt’s Defensive Effort:

“It was all about making all of their shots hard… Our entire defense played well. When Festus [Ezeli] comes into the mix, it gives us three guys who we think are outstanding defenders, so we look better defensively.”

“We have just gotten a lot better, but there are a lot of areas we can improve in and I think we will. As we gel and continue to work with Festus [Ezeli], I think our team will continue to get a lot better.”

On Vanderbilt’s Free Throw Struggles:

“I’m not sure if it was because they were amped for the start of SEC play or what. It’s disappointing to have it go like that. It’s hard to fathom a situation where you could be shooting better from three than from the foul line, and that’s what happened to us in the first half. We had been shooting well [from the line] the last few games, but today we didn’t.”

On the Strong SEC Opener:

“I’m satisfied because we played hard throughout… Our team has a physical advantage on their team as it stands now… I’m pleased with our performance.”

On Vanderbilt’s Five-Game Winning Streak:

“You never want to make excuses, but we’ve had consistent practice time with our main guys, at least since Christmas ended. That makes a big difference. You have to fight through it until you come out of the tunnel on the other side. I think that we’ll keep improving.”

On Vanderbilt’s Injuries:

“We’ve had concussions, knees, and ankles. We’re just getting healthier. It’s not a case of playing through anything.”

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On the Loss to Vanderbilt:

“The bottom line is we did an awful job. Our talent level hasn’t changed much from last year. The difference is I got last year’s team to understand as a whole what they are collectively and individually and got them to play above what they were. On that note, I am doing an awful job with this team because I have to get them to understand that no matter if they are the most talented team in the country or the worst, the only thing that matters is how tough they play mentally and physically. This team is as soft as I have worked with, both collectively and individually.”

“Our team needs to realize if you aren’t the more talented team and you are soft as a team, you are going to get beat by 30 when you play a top 20 team with three or four NBA draft picks.”

“We got punched in the mouth tonight and we went away. If a team is mentally and physically tough, they get punched in the mouth and respond. We are not responding… [The players] are not buying what I am selling, and that is on me. I have to do a better job. I have to get them to fight better and tougher.”

On Auburn’s Play this Season:

“Toughness is in the chest. It’s not between the ears. We don’t have a lot of tough guys on our team. To equalize this, we’ve got to play meaner, nastier, and tougher on the floor. I don’t know what offense to design or draw up. We had guys with great looks and [they missed shots]. You don’t win shooting 27% from the floor. I don’t know what offense to draw up. We got good looks. We aren’t playing tough on the floor.”

“When you don’t have a lot of tough guys, things can turn bad quickly. We’ve got to look in the mirror and say, `This is who I am’ and then fight tougher.”

Vanderbilt Player Quotes

John Jenkins, Junior Guard #23:

On feeling like season starting to go how it was supposed to go:
“I would say so. We’re just going out there and playing real hard, working extremely hard in practice preparing for games, and it’s paying off right now.”

On emphasis Coach Stallings has put on offense:
“It’s every day but recently, I guess he hasn’t changed much but we as players have been rallying together and saying we want to be the best team we can be, and right now it’s working for us and we’re trying to keep it up.”

On whether they’re tried of hearing about offense:
“No, we want be great so we’re going to listen to everything. “

On offense improving:
“I think we’ve just go each other’s back, that’s been the key for us the past couple of games. Having each other’s back and knowing if someone’s getting beat that he needs help. Lance and Jeff did a great job out the gate on Sullivan.”

On first half 3FG shooting:
“I guess it was the breakfast we ate today I guess, I don’t know, we just couldn’t miss. We’re in the gym a lot, just a testament to our hard work.”

Brad Tinsley, Senior Guard #1:
On key to not relenting on scoring and on the early lead:

“I think our guys made plays for each other, we’re starting to get the whole driving in to make other guys better, we definitely got scorers on the perimeter and on the inside, we just took advantage of that, just getting inside and playing inside to out.”

On double-figures scoring last few games:
“It’s a mixture between guys setting screens and getting me open, ball screens have been effective, I’m just trying to let the game come to me and not get to overly worried about different stuff, just letting the game come to me and trying to make plays for my teammates.”

On conversation with Coach Stallings about playing passive:
“I would say it fired me up but it also put into perspective how Coach has got a lot of confidence in me. I know game in and game out I know I need to come out aggressive and try to never be passive. It’s not what’s good for our team.”

Auburn Player Quotes

Kenny Gabriel, Senior Forward #22

On Vanderbilt’s success:
“They were just making shots. They were getting wide open looks, and we really just weren’t playing defense. Whenever they got chances to make shots, they made them.”

On Vanderbilt’s defense:
“We had a lot of open looks, we just missed them all. We have to get back to practice and keep working on defense. We have to make shots when we get a chance to.”

On the feeling after this loss:
“It’s just disappointing, because we all know that we’re better than what we’re playing like right now. We just have to look in the mirror, realize we are where we are, and then just go out there and play every game tough.”

On the early foul trouble:
“It threw us off, because I know I have to be out on the court helping my team out. It is what it is.”

On how to move forward:
“We have to just look at the tape, see what we did wrong, and correct it. We need to not make the same mistakes over and over again.”