Post-Game Quotes: Auburn 81, Florida A&M 50

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Jan. 4, 2014

Auburn vs. Florida A&M
Jan. 4, 2013 | Auburn Arena
Auburn, Ala.

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On how he feels about the team heading into conference play...
"I feel good. I think the guys are starting to get what our identity has to be. We have to play harder and tougher against every team we play, every single night out and we did that tonight. Florida A&M is a team where its record is not indicative of how good they are and how hard they play. They played really hard. Nobody has beat them like we beat them. Nobody has outrebounded them like we outrebounded them. Nobody has held them to the shooting percentage that we did. I thought, from start to finish, we played harder and tougher than them. That is all I have been harping on these guys for awhile now. They are starting to get what that means."

On the team's rebounding effort the past two games...
"It is the identity. I have been talking about it for a long time, but we didn't get what that picture looked like. We had to do some things in practice and drills that the only way you could win those drills is if you got more rebounds. I think it has paid off. Allen Payne really set the pace tonight. He was a monster tonight. He was on it defensively and offensively. He got it going early on. He got us two or three offensive rebounds in a row to set the tone. Not only did he have 16 points and 13 rebounds, he also had five assists and zero turnovers. That is what seniors are supposed to do."

On if he thinks the team is ready for conference play...
"It doesn't matter if I think we are or not, because it is here. I think we are. We have a challenge ahead. I think this team is prepared for the grind that is coming up."

On if this was a game that he expected from Allen Payne...
"I just told him in front of the team that he is capable of this every night. I didn't run a ton of plays for him, if any, tonight. This was all heart, desire, relentlessness and he played harder than anybody on the floor. When you have talent like he has, that is the end result. You can put up some pretty good numbers. I told him he is capable of doing this no matter who we play the rest of the way and we expect it, because it is contagious. I thought from the beginning of the game he was playing hard, but not everybody was playing at that level. When you have one guy playing like that, it becomes contagious and everyone caught up to him."

On getting more consistency out of the offense...
"I didn't think we were sharp on our execution offensively. I thought we attacked and got the ball inside and attacked the rim. We weren't sharp. It shows up in the 3-point percentage. We got some good looks, they just didn't go down because we weren't ready to shoot. We are a good free throw shooting team, it just didn't go in tonight. We have to be better at that end of the floor."

On Chris Denson's performance in the second half...
"He can put some points on the board. He is one of the guys that I didn't think was ready to play from the beginning. That shows when he gets two quick fouls. When you aren't ready to play that is what happens. I challenged him a little bit at halftime and he responded."

On having a 4-game winning streak heading into conference play...
"I think it is big, especially with the young guys we have on this team. I think they have confidence in themselves and they have confidence in a group. They have done this together. They have done it for each other. They have competed, played hard and battled every single possession. It is good for these guys to get the feeling of winning these games because we played hard, tough, with emotion and desire. It starts with our seniors. They have set the tone in these practices that have carried over into games. I think now that our older guys have confidence, it gives these younger guys confidence for what we are about to go through."

Senior forward Allen Payne

On the strong start...
"I just wanted to be more aggressive. We have all heard coach say that he's looking for guys to step up and produce. With me playing nearly thirty minutes a game, I definitely took on that challenge. I had a good week of practice leading up to this one and it just carried over."

On being able to step up every single game...
"Absolutely, I have the confidence I can play well against anybody. Especially since this will be my fourth year in it. So I'll know what to expect coming the next couple of months."

On improvement with rebounding the ball...
"It's just guys like me setting the tone. It's a toughness thing. It's a want to win. We're taking it on and doing it as a team. We had five guys with at least six rebounds. That was really good for us and we're just making a conscious collective effort to do that every night."

On the team's confidence going into SEC conference play...
"We're very confident. We were especially after those two ACC wins that we had and I think it's showed in the past two games. In past years, we may have struggled to play the competition of lower teams like that; but we've dominated these past two games. I think it's allowed us to have some good momentum going into the SEC."

On what the team has improved on the most...
"I think our mentality has been different. We've been scoring the ball well all year except for on the road, but I think our mentality is being conscious getting stops in the defense, rebounding the ball and the little things that we have to do to get wins in the SEC."

On KT Harrell's and Chris Denson's contribution...
"It's big. KT and Chris, they are really good guards. They're the best guards that we have in this league and that shows with their scoring. I think they're still at the top. I challenged Chris at half-time. I told him I need you to get yourself in gear and get your head right. We need you for this game and he responded. I knew that he would with 17 big points in the second half."