Vanderbilt-Stony Brook post game quotes

Nov. 19, 2015

Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening Statement:
“That was a heck of a game, and I knew it would be, and that was a heck of a team. They had good players, and that guy is one heck of a coach. Tonight is the first night I met him, but it didn’t take me long of watching film on them to see that that team is really well coached. Let me tell you how much we pointed to this game. In our first team meeting in August, I told them that we had a game the night before we left for Maui that they didn’t have any idea how difficult it was going to be. Well they found out. I told them in August, probably the 25th or 27th, or something like that. So I knew, but they didn’t. We were outplayed for the better part of 35 minutes. Fortunately, for the last 4 minutes, our guys dug in. We had some big shots, we had some big stops, and thank goodness Luke Kornet was able to play. His shooting numbers were abysmal, but he just does so much for our defense. I read the other day an article that said Jeff was our best defender, but Luke is our best defender and we were lucky to have him in the game. Wade really didn’t practice the last two days, he took a fall in the Gardner-Webb game. He was huge in terms of his contribution. Damien asserted himself there down the stretch, which we really needed. And we got a win. We have practiced close game situations virtually everyday of practice since the beginning of the season, we do it way more than most people. I felt like tonight it showed. We got the ball in the right spots, we got some things going there with Damien, and Luke made some really terrific plays. Luke got a huge play in the game, Damien misses the second of two free throws, Luke gets it and gets a three. That is really an outstanding team we played, and I can’t say enough them.”

On what changed in the last five minutes:
“I think that it was a combination of a few things. We hit a couple of shots, and the crowd was into it thank goodness and they helped us, we appreciate that very much. There was some ownership in the huddles from the team. Somebody said, “Damien you’re the best player on the floor, you need to start acting like it.” That wasn’t a coach, that was a player. We just kind of dug in. I don’t think that they were real fond of the idea of the bus leaving here at 4 in the morning and spending the entire day with me tomorrow travelling after a loss. I hope that helped a little bit. But I give them the credit, because I didn’t coach any harder or any less harder than I did in the first 35, they just started playing. We did a nice job at the foul line for the most part at the end; Wade made both, Matt made a couple, and Luke made one. We just dug in, guys had to play more minutes than I was hoping for, but that’s the way it goes.”

On the early foul trouble:
“I wouldn’t say that was a turning point necessarily. We were in way more foul trouble than they were throughout the game. That hampered us almost the entire game. Jeff and Damien got two fouls early in the first half, and literally at that point I didn’t know if Luke was going to be able to play. Luke ended up playing 29 minutes, and the trainer told me he thought I’d have him for 5-10 minutes. So good for Luke battling through that sprained ankle.”

On why Damien Jones and Jeff Roberson sat after their early fouls:
“I was still afraid at half-time that Luke’s ankle could tighten up. So I have to survive to the end of the game with Damien and Jeff available, I have to because if Luke comes down wrong on his ankle one time then he will be out for the game. So I can’t have either of those guys in foul trouble, so I had to play it more cautiously than I would have liked to have. If everyone was 100 percent tonight, I probably would have played both of them again because I wouldn’t have worried about Jeff getting a third foul, and maybe even Damien. I played Damien the other night and he got a third foul. The disappointing thing was that they kind of put me in a box. Literally before the game I told them, “You two have to play without fouling tonight.”

On why Luke and Wade started on the bench:
“Luke didn’t practice at all. Wade basically didn’t practice for two days. You have to walk a fine line as a coach. First of all, I didn’t know how bad his back was. Yesterday in practice, you would have thought somebody shot him. Like I said, today at the shoot around it looked like they had rubbed that game day ointment on him, so he looked a little better.”

On the team’s maturity:
“It is always better when the leadership is coming from them not from us. I tell them they are all leaders as far as I’m concerned. It is not up to the captains, it’s up to whoever has the right thing to say at the right time or the right thing to do at the right time. They’re all leaders. They all need to be followers and they all need to be leaders. Wade was the one who said it, Wade said, “Come on Damien.” And good for Wade. Damien turned it on then. That kid’s good that he’s playing against. That guy led the country in rebounding and led the country in double doubles. That kid’s a good player, a really good player. He’s a big, physical, strong, good player. And Damien finally asserted himself and it helped us win.”

Guard Wade Baldwin
On tomorrow’s trip if they lost today:
“There was tremendous pressure for us in our third game against a very good team. There have been too many upsets in college basketball right now, and we didn’t want to be the other upset. We had to give it our all, and they played a tremendous game against us.”

On the comeback:
“With Damian and Jeff in foul trouble, it was on me to step up and play a bigger role than I usually have to. We had to collectively, and through our coaches, change our defensive scheme to boost our win.”

If they were worried at any point during the game:
“I felt confident that we were going to come back and win that game. Personally, I wasn’t going to allow that to go down, and I know Damian and the rest of the guys on the team were feeling that way, and so were our coaching staff. We were going to fight to the end regardless.”

On turning it around in the second half:
“I just trusted myself, and tried to make the plays for us. I came through today, and that was the turn around for me.”

On coming off the bench:
“I was feeling fine, my back was pretty bruised up for a couple of days, and coach Stallings didn’t feel too comfortable with me starting today and thought that was the best thing for our team. We still got the win.”

On taking charge in the huddle:
“I think it was effective because Damian is the most dominant player on the team. These first couple of games he’s been dealing with foul trouble. Getting him going, and getting him a little bit more aggressive, is the best version of him and the best thing for the team. He came out and made crucial buckets for us, got a lot stronger and was a key to our win.”

On their confidence going into Maui:
“Our confidence is the same. We hold ourselves to a high standard, take it one game at a time, so we’re going to try to go into the St. John’s game with the same intensity that we always do, and try to continue winning games.”

Center Damian Jones
On whether this prepared them well for Maui:
“From the start, from the first game, coming in, the competition has increased and has prepared us well.”

On the team communication in the huddle:
“You’ve just got to make the change and listen to your teammates.”

On Stony Brook Forward Jameel Warney:
“I guess he has some experience guarding different kinds of people, so he was walling up on us.”

Stony Brook Head Coach Steve Pikiell
Opening Statement:
“It is an honor to be here. It’s a great program, to play against a great coach, a lot of good players. We admire the program here. We appreciate them giving us an opportunity to come in. I thought it was a great game. I thought the crowd affected us too down the stretch with a couple of last second shot clock violations. But it was a good college basketball game, we came up a little bit short, and I certainly admire this program and think they have the chance to have a great year.”

How to take advantage of a team like Vanderbilt:
“It’s tough. We got to make three’s, and we didn’t do that tonight. You got to get to the free throw line in the second half and we didn’t do that. But we all rebounded, there were some good signs. We have some good players. Jameel certainly came ready to play. Their size is a big factor. I thought Baldwin came off the bench and just had an outstanding game, he opened up the floor and got some easy baskets off of our turnovers. You really have to play great for forty minutes and we played probably very good basketball for thirty-five minutes during the game. We can’t go on the road against a SEC team, against a team this good, and just play well for thirty-five minutes. You have to play the complete forty and we struggled a little bit to do that.”

Expectations coming into the game:
“We’re pretty confident. We’ve won a lot of games since Jameel arrived on campus as a freshman. We think we can play and today was certainly a huge test for us. We have some veteran players and we have been in these games before. I watched a ton of tape and I know how well coached they are and I know all the weapons they have. I like LaChance a lot, I like Baldwin a lot, I like all their players, the guys coming off the bench and I think they got a lot of shooters and a lot of weapons. But we’re pretty confident and we like our players too. We expected to play well today, we talked to our guys a lot about that, and they feel pretty confident going into games like this. We certainly have played enough of them.”

Deciding the game plan against Vanderbilt:
“Well, you know their size really was a factor and we really needed to do a good job not letting them get into those low post positions and I thought for the most part we did a good job down the stretch. Jones really carved out some pretty good space. It took most of the game to get that kind of space. We were really concerned with that. Then we didn’t want to give up any baskets in transition because they are really good in transition and I thought we did a good job with that until Wade came in and kind of got up and down the court. But we really wanted to rebound too, because we thought with their size advantage it could be a real problem for us. I thought our game plan was good. We played good defense generally. Staying out of foul trouble, especially in the first half helped us a great deal. The way the refs are playing the whistle now days, it’s a scary thing. Especially when we come into these games with only a few elite players in our roster. So the whistle is very important.”

On scheduling:
“I appreciate Coach Stallings. We reached out late in the year and scheduling has been a hard thing for us lately. But we reached late in the year and he was nice enough to invite us out here. We appreciate the opportunity anytime to play on television, to play a SEC opponent, to play a program like this. We are a young university, we are a growing university, it’s a great place, and these are great opportunities for us.”

Stony Brook forward Jameel Warney
On facing Damian Jones:
“He was really good. I played him to the best of my abilities and he got some easy shots due to the height difference, but he played a great game and I played a pretty good game. I thought it was a pretty even matchup.”

On defending with the height difference:
“Yeah–it’s pretty hard. Ray is a great defender and he was playing great defense on their 4-man tonight. It’s hard to be out there, just in that moment and survive and try to win.”