Vanderbilt - Miss. State Postgame Quotes

Feb. 1, 2014

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Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening Comments:

“I’m very proud of my team. I thought we looked a little tired. I’m a little cautious in saying that, but it didn’t look like we had the legs to shoot [well]… Our team has toughness, gumption… I’m proud of their energy and effort.”

On Giving Vanderbilt Forward Rod Odom a Break in the First Half:

“He looked fatigued and I thought he could use a few minutes. I wished I could have taken out Kyle [Fuller] in the second half, but we got caught up in other things… It’s a balancing act. They play hard in practice, so if they have a look of fatigue, I know it’s real. I’m very proud of the fortitude they show game after game.”

On Vanderbilt’s Three-Point Shooting:

“We shot the ball from three a lot better on Wednesday night [at Georgia] than we did today, but I attribute that to Mississippi State’s defense.”

On Mississippi State Guard Fred Thomas:

“We figured he’d have a bounce-back game. [He didn’t have a good game against Florida], so we thought he’d come back strong.”

On Vanderbilt’s Zone Defense:

“It was good for us. We needed the zone because, for the first time, fatigue was a factor. That’s not to say our guys haven’t gotten tired in other games, but the fatigue was affecting our offense. Our zone preserved us… All of the games we are going to win will look like this. Our defense is keeping us in games when we don’t play well offensively.”

On Vanderbilt Guard Kyle Fuller:

“Kyle [Fuller] had five turnovers in the first half and one in the second half tonight. That’s what we need him to do. He needs to make the easy play. Today, I think he felt he had to do more because our offense wasn’t generating as much. [His turnovers] might have been due to some of the decisions he made.”

On Vanderbilt Notching Three Straight Wins:

“It’s a good feeling after you start off 1-4 in the SEC… [Our guys] are doing exactly what we need them to do.”

Vanderbilt F Rod Odom

On the role of defense, rather than offense, in winning this game:

“I think that’s the case in most of our games. We are a team that really finds our strength in defense and get our energy off defense. That’s going to be a constant staple for us.”

On comfort with playing more zone defense this year:

“We’re comfortable in the zone, but it really depends on who we’re playing and how they deal with it. We take it game by game.”

On winning games ugly:

“We had a lot of close games early. Like I said earlier in the season, it kind of prepared us for later in the season. We had some wins that maybe shouldn’t have been close, but were close. I think that prepared us for the games that we’re playing right now.”

On whether he surprised when he was subbed out:

“Yeah, I was a little surprised. But I guess Coach felt like I need a blow and I’m not going to complain for getting a break. It was good for me.”

On whether he sees himself as a streaky shooter:

“No, I don’t think I’m streaky. I just think that they did a good job of getting to me. The kid that was guarding me was really long. He was good at contesting threes, so they did a good job of getting to me and not helping. Playing 40 minutes, opportunities are going to come so you’ve just got to be patient. When I see the one I like I just shoot it.”

Vanderbilt G Kyle Fuller

On winning games ugly:

“I just feel like we all bought in to everything that Coach [Kevin Stallings] has told us and everything that he has coached us on. He tells us how to play defense and exactly what they’re going to do. They do a great job of scouting different teams and we just have to follow the plan.”

On whether it’s important to .500 in conference play:

“Most definitely. We won two hard road games. We just saw Mississippi State play on Thursday, so I feel like they did a great job of scouting us and getting ready for this game. I’m just happy that we came away with a win.”

On handling fatigue:

“It definitely gets tiring. I’m not going to lie to you. I probably was a little fatigued, but it’s just a matter of pushing through. I want that win way more than I’m tired. It’s just a fact that you’ve got to keep fighting, keep fighting. And thankfully we came away with a win.”

On whether what type of pace they’d prefer to play against Mississippi State:

“Definitely, slow it down. If your playing so many minutes, you’ve just got to pick and choose your times to run.”

On importance of their defensive effort:

“It’s great. It’s just something that we need. Coach has been on us about defense; second half defense, especially. I just feel like all of our teammates bought in; James [Siakam], Damian [Jones]. Dai-Jon [Parker] is our best defender, in my opinion. I just feel like we all bought in to what Coach says.”

On the challenges executing good possessions while trying to work the shot clock:

“It’s tough because you have to see exactly what the defense gives you. It’s just a matter of completing the play and getting exactly the shot that we want and that’s best for us.

On forward James Siakam’s late offensive rebounds:

“James is one of our key players, most definitely. He does everything that we need him to do. Rebounding. He can score, too. He can dive for the ball. James does everything for us that you wouldn’t see me doing. It’s just that people underestimate James, but James continually goes out there every day and plays as hard as he can. We’re not going to win any of these games without James.”

Mississippi State F Colin Borchert

On the large amount of turnovers by his team:

“Before the game, Coach told us that this would boil down to the dumb moves and throwing the ball away. It was just unforced errors that we did, and we’ve got to overcome it.”

Mississippi State G Fred Thomas

On his hot start in the game:

“Today, I just wanted to come out aggressive for my team and come out scoring and playing defense.”

On the large amount of turnovers by his team:

“We had a lot of unforced turnovers. We would get so wrapped up in our offense. Stuff was going separate ways, and we got to thinking about a lot of stuff. I think that’s how we turned the ball over a lot.”

On the strategy to wear Vanderbilt’s 7 players down:

“I think they handled it pretty well. Our game plan was to come out pushing and try and get them tired, but I guess that didn’t work. We just did all we could. They played a zone the whole time. It was like they were resting on defense in that 2-3 zone.”