Post-Game Quotes: #7 Florida 68, Auburn 61

Jan. 18, 2014

Auburn vs. Florida
January 18, 201| Auburn Arena
Auburn, Ala.

Head coach Tony Barbee
On the game...
"Give Florida credit. They made the plays when they had to make them. It wasn't their first-shot offense that beat us. It was our inability to make that play. They made that play. It wasn't off of an action. They got a shot, and then they went and got a rebound two or three times. We guarded them, then all of a sudden the court was broken and then all of a sudden a guy goes and makes a play for them. So give Florida credit. They made the plays down the stretch and we didn't."

On the close game...
"What we have been working on is the poise, the focus and the confidence it takes in any game in this league. They all come down to this and they all have. Our poise, focus and confidence hasn't been there in those moments when we have got to make those plays and we question ourselves and you can't do that. Like I told our team, losing is not our destiny. We have got to change our destiny, and it's in our hands to change it."

On leadership during timeouts...
"We have got great leadership on this team. These veteran players are fighting tooth and nail because they want to change the direction of this season in conference play. Make no mistake about it, we just played the number seven team on our home court. We are not accepting losing, but they are a good team and they are well coached."

On playing Florida close...
"There are no moral victories. The team is talking about it, I'm talking about it, and there is no such thing as a moral victory. I am proud of this team, how hard we are playing and how hard we are fighting and how great the chemistry is on this team. The breakthrough is coming. I believe it. This team believes it. The breakthrough is coming."

On Florida's dominance in the paint...
"Patrick Young is hard to handle. They did a good job of getting the ball in the paint."

On Auburn's slow start...
"I thought we came out timid. I thought we came out a little in awe of Florida, and we realized we are capable of playing this team or any team in our league, we are pretty darn good."

Senior Guard Chris Denson
On the shot selection...
"They were good shots, but the next to last play was kind of stagnant. It was a miscommunication. When it all comes down to it, it is about making plays and we did not make them when we were down three. I think that was the one that really hurt us, and then we fouled coming down and that was the ball game right there."

On missing late shots in the recent conference games...
"It is just a part of the game. Also it was not just the offensive end. With two minutes left, they shot the ball and we did not get the 50-50 balls. We lost the 50-50 balls and that contributed to it. We had the chance, but we missed and would end up getting fouled on a bucket. We missed shots, but it all comes down to the trenches on the defensive rebounds and the 50-50 balls."

On the SEC losing streak...
"We practice situations like this in practice so that should not have happened today. It does not hang over our heads. Next time we practice is on Monday and we are not going to think about this game. We have the toughest first four games in the SEC. I do not think that last year our mentality would have been the same in these games. We have a good couple of games coming up. There is nothing we can do about the past four games, so we are just looking ahead and to Mississippi State on Wednesday."

On missing shots in the lane...
"Like Allen [Payne] said, Florida has the best defense I have ever seen. They did a good job of not blocking the jump shots and just coming up big. It did alter a lot of shots. I was the one in the first half that missed a lot of layups, but I think it was a little bit of nerves. Playing the number seven team in the country, and I was just anxious. We got the nerves out and then started getting in the groove offensively."

Allen Payne
On the timeout atmosphere in the final minutes...
"The majority of the time it is either me or Chris [Denson] stepping up. Not so much of give me the ball but we have to do this or we have to do that. We have to execute. Just trying to step up and be seniors because we have been here and have been in a lot of these situations before. Usually we are calm. We are not panicking. We are trying to draw what we need to do to win. Everybody has to be on the same page at all times on the floor and we have to execute down the stretch."

On recovering from hamstring injury...
"The hamstring is much better. I was not 100 percent in the Tennessee game, but with a couple more days of rest that I had, I feel a lot better now."

On feelings of an almost victory...
"We keep saying there is no such thing as moral victories. People are going to tell us that we played really hard and that we almost had them. We cannot be satisfied with that. We were not before and we cannot be now. We are at a point where we are desperate for a win right now. We battle, but at this point it is not good enough. We have to start closing these close games out."

On missing shots in the lane...
"We just have to be tough. They are one of the best teams in the country and you have to be able to make layups against them. I know I had a dunk blocked and I missed two layups late down the stretch that would have helped us, but it is all about being tough."

Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan
On Patric Young's block at the end of the game...
"He did a nice job there. It was a four-point game. It was a moment where there was 17 seconds left to go on the clock and really we were at the mercy of them. They are either going to take a three or drive it. KT Harrell and Chris Denson do a good job of getting fouled and getting to the free throw line. We were able to hold our ground there and make a play. We made some free throws and were able to pull away at the end."

On Scottie Wilbekin's confidence late in games...
"I thought he had an opportunity earlier in the possession to get down in the lane, and again he pulled the ball back out. I was happy he was able to put some pressure at the basket. What ends up happening is you ultimately force help when that happens at the basket. Then as long as the shot isn't blocked, you give yourself a chance to get the offensive rebound, but he made a tough shot in the lane that put us up by three. I thought (KT) Harrell had a pretty decent look at the top, he was just a little bit short. We rebounded it and were able to get it out. Scottie made a shot for us and that obviously helps."

On if he was happy with the defense...
"I really wasn't. I said this before the game, I think Tony (Barbee) does a great job in terms of where Denson and Harrell are going to get their shots from. Those players are smart, and Tony has done a great job coaching them. He puts them in positions to be effective, where they can drive and score. We did a very poor job, especially our bigs. We had situations in pick and roll coverages where the bigs would let them turn the corner and get down the line. We had situations in the middle of the floor where Denson and those guys just took us straight off the dribble right to the basket. We have to do a better job defensively. We gave up too high of a percentage on threes. Although they didn't make or take a lot of threes, the ways they did get off, they made and they shot a high percentage."

On Casey Prather's performance...
"I said yesterday I didn't know what to expect out of him. He looked just OK at best on Thursday. He didn't do any contact. For me to play him here today he had to show me he could take contact or show me he could play. The difficult thing about being a coach is when you have a guy who is cleared to play and you haven't seen him practice. You don't know what to expect. His teammates don't know what to expect, so yesterday, he looked pretty good. I told the team before the game that with him being back, we are not going to put pressure on him to perform at the level he was at a week or two ago. That all went out the window in the first half when he scored 16. He was clearly going to play more minutes since he played so well. We didn't play well in my opinion and Auburn had a lot to do with that."

On Auburn's 14-0 run in the first half...
"They started the game 3-for-3 from the 3-point line. They scored 16 points in the first 17 minutes of the half. That is a pretty good half defensively. They scored 16 points in the last 3:36 of the first half. It all started at the underneath out of bounds play. We guarded the initial action really well. Michael Frazier fell asleep on the baseline and Harrell came out to the corner in front of our bench and knocked down a three to cut it to 10. We had a couple of turnovers. We had a couple traveling violations, and we let them right back in the game. We had a chance to go into halftime with a significant lead, but we didn't handle the last 3:30 or so very well as a team. It is an opportunity for us to learn and get better from that. We had a one point game and started off the half pretty well, but we fouled a 3-point shooter. Harrell made a three. Denson made a three. Give them credit, because they gave themselves every opportunity. I think Tony put them in a position to keep them there until the end. They are a good team. They are a much improved team, and you can see that on film. I think their schedule has been difficult to start the SEC season with who they have had to play, but they are right there. The game at Ole Miss that could've gone either way. This is a game we could have very easily have lost. It was one of those games that was going to come down to the wire, and we just happen to make a few more plays than they did. The game could've gone either way."

Florida guard Scottie Wilbeken
On shot with under two minutes to go...
"We didn't really have anything going on that possession. My first drive I didn't have anything so I tried to give it to Casey Prather coming around behind me. His man denied him so I had to make another move and I just made it."

On his confidence...
"I have confidence that I can make plays and luckily they've been going down for me lately. I'll just keep trying to play the right way."

On the close game ...
"We kind of let our guard down and they did a great job capitalizing on our offense to finish out the first half. Then they did a great job knocking down three's when we left them open."

Florida center Patric Young
On last two minutes...
"We really did not want to lose, but more than anything we wanted to win. We knew that in this situation we had to come out being the aggressor and stop their two main scoring guys in Chris Denson and K.T. Harrell. In doing that we were able to come away with a victory."

On the close game...
"We would like to not put our team in those situations where we have to get a stop to win a game, but it came down to it. We will be ready and focused because each guy knows he's got four guys around him ready to do what it takes to win. "

On his block on Harrell...
"I was in there early enough and able to get to a position where I was in control and it wasn't a reaction of weakness it was a reaction of strength. I could get to him where I could not run him over, but be in a controlled position where what happened, happened. He just put the ball right in my hands, it was just like a volleyball block."