Post-Game Quotes: Auburn 92, Mississippi State 82

Feb. 15, 2014

Auburn vs. Mississippi State
Feb. 15, 2014 | Auburn Arena
Auburn, Ala.

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On Mississippi State fouling often in the final minutes...
"He was trying to win a basketball game. I would have done the same thing. I'm proud of our guys stepping up and making 90 percent from the foul line. I'm proud of Malcolm [Canada]. He stepped in the game and they fouled him like he's not a good foul shooter and Malcolm's a really good foul shooter. He went 6-6 down the line."

On Chris Denson and KT Harrell combining for over 50 points...
"That's their jobs on this team. But like I said, this has got to be a team that's more than just Chris Denson and KT Harrell. It's good to have four guys in double figures, but there's some other guys who we've got to get playing better too. It's good to see those guys step up. Malcolm had a good game offensively, got to get better with the ball. I thought Alex [Thompson] played well and I thought Matt [Atewe] got off to a slow start but he came out and played well in the second half rebounding the basketball."

On getting into a rhythm...
"I thought we were settling too much for jump shots, early in this game and early in the second half. I just told those guys to attack the basket and don't settle. They got aggressive and that's why they got to the foul line so much."

On defense forcing turnovers...
"We try to play solid defensively and we don't try to force a lot of turnovers. We want the byproduct of how we guard to be deflections which will lead to turnovers, which could lead to steals. When you take steals, you get a little bit out of position and you foul. I thought we were aggressive with our press which might have caused them to play a little faster than they might have wanted to play. We could have been even more solid defensively, letting them shoot 48 percent. I'm a little disappointed in our defensive effort late in the game when we had a chance to put them away."

On difference in the last 4 minutes...
"I told the guys to be a little more aggressive in the passing lanes. With what they are doing offensively, the multiple passes they are trying to make, I wanted our guys to be aggressive and get in the passing lanes and they were able to do that."

On building momentum...
"I haven't even thought about that. It's a big win because it is the next game on our schedule."

Senior guard Chris Denson

On everyone feeding off of KT Harrell's energy and getting back in the rhythm after the loss against Kentucky...
"KT is probably not going to admit it but I sent him a text after our last game. I told him not to worry about it and that we need him next game. KT was big for us today."

On what KT Harrell said in the locker room after the last game against Kentucky...
"It's not all on him. It's a team effort. He did take it hard, and he promised he would never play like that again. We just didn't blame it all on KT. A lot of that game was lost in the paint. We just lost the rebounds and the balance between us."

On Auburn trying to make a better effort to improve rebounding...
"Like the last game against Kentucky, I was in the passing lanes. We definitely played too conservative sometimes, especially when we don't want to get out of position by going over the passing lanes. We definitely did that tonight. We got a lot of turnovers. We got a lot of points off turnovers and transitions. We have to play like that all the time."

On the improvement with Chris Denson's foul shooting...
"I work on it before, after practice, and I even work on it before the game a lot because I'm at the free-throw line so many times. I get tired of going to the free-throw line I shoot there so many times. Coach Ryan Miller has been working with me and my different forms. I didn't take a dribble when I went to the free-throw line today. I just shot it. It's a mind thing. I've been working on those shots every day."

Junior guard KT Harrell

On how it felt to get back in the game after the game against Kentucky...
"It felt good. I'm a really confident person. I know I had a bad game but it's not about one game defining you. It's about how you bounce back that defines you. I came in focused and ready to play."

On recently not making the 3 pointers...
"I'm a shooter. Shooters go through slumps sometimes. The important thing is to stay confident and keep shooting. That's what this team needs me to do. I definitely understand I have to make shots. I also have to put in extra work and find my rhythm."

On getting the first shot coming off a tough loss...
"It definitely felt good to get that shot. As a player and as a scorer, you can't really think about it if you miss a shot. You have to move on to the next one. So that's what I did, and I was able to knock down some shots."

Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray
On team's first half performance...
"I've been in tough situations where so many guys have two fouls in the first half. I'm proud of how our guys played and came back. We just didn't have enough depth there in the first half with everyone in foul trouble, and that's what really hurt us in the first half. We had a lot bad combinations out on the floor. We just couldn't find a way to score."

On having bench players in foul trouble...
"I have to make sure if we're in a situation like that again to keep one of our main guys on the floor. It's almost like a sacrificial lamb. They may get three fouls, but they have to be out there and keep running the offense. Hopefully, we won't be in that situation again."

On fouls called in the game...
"I thought it was a very high number of fouls for a conference game, but I guess that's just with officiating. To me, the game boils down to turnovers and point off of those turnovers. We fouled a lot trying to catch up with them. I think that was a big difference in our success from the first and second half. We took care of the basketball."

On Trivante Bloodman...
"He did a great job of getting to the free throw line. I know Auburn didn't want to foul because they're up, so they start playing cautious. I thought he did a great job of attacking."

On second half comeback...
"I thought we were scoring well, but we weren't making enough stops. That's where you need some separation. We just didn't get any stops in that first four minutes of the second half. We needed to make up points there. I thought we did well offensively though."

Mississippi State junior guard Trivante Bloodman
On performance in today's game...
"It was a very intense game. We had a lot of players that were in foul trouble, so I had to get the ball and attack."

On Auburn's early offensive run...
"We weren't making any baskets at the time. Defensively we kept making a lot of fouls, and Auburn was getting a lot of points at the free throw line. That was what killed us in the first half."

On team's second half turnaround...
"We kept attacking and attacking. Coach told us to keep attacking, make smart plays and try to get points at the free throw line. That's what we did."

On team's ability to cut the lead in the second-half...
"We can play physical. Everybody's got to be in it, so once we all play physical, we can come back in tough games like this."