Post-Game Quotes: Illinois 81, Auburn 62

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Dec. 8, 2013

Auburn Basketball vs. Illinois
December 8, 2013
Philips Arena

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On tonight's game...
"Our shooting in general wasn't very good. We couldn't make layups. We couldn't make jump shots. We couldn't make anything. Give them credit, they made shots, but when you put any pressure on the opposing team, by being anemic as we were on offense in the first half, then there is no pressure on them. We put them in their comfort zone. There was no pressure and that is what I talked about to our team in the locker room. We let our offense become their offense. I don't think we took bad shots, but you have to make some. You can't miss them all. You look at the second half, and the game is never over in my mind, but with a 24-point lead, or deficit in our case, with 20 minutes to go, the game is never over. You always have an opportunity. Subconsciously, in the second half, the pressure came off of us because we were down by so much. So now that there is no pressure on you, you shoot 51 percent in the second half and make six threes. We have to be gamers when it matters, when it is in the balance. You have to be able to play."

On Illinois scoring late in the shot clock...
"Give them credit. They made shots. They did a good job creating for each other with 19 assists on 32 shots, which is a high rate. I thought we did a good job of creating for each other, but you don't make assists if you don't make the shots."

On what to take away in the second half...
"We learned that it is there. We just have to do it when it matters, or you aren't going to beat anybody. Give them credit, they made the shots. We gave up 61 percent shooting from the field."

On shaking up the starting lineup...
"We weren't getting any production out of the four and five spots. It was glaring again today. We are just looking for two guys in those positions that can produce. Right now, our starters were not producing in that position. I have to look back at the tape and see what Jordon (Granger) and Benas (Griciunas) did, but looking at the box score it wasn't much."

On Tahj Shamsid-Deen's performance...
"In the second half he played well. He has the capabilities to do it from the start. In the first half, I don't think he scored. He has to be one of those guys that gets into double figures for us on a consistent basis in both halves."

Auburn Guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen
On the first half struggles...
"I think we just came out flat and not with enough energy. In the second half, we played with more sense of urgency. We have worked on it practice, but I guess we just have to keep working on it."

On the pressure coming off in the second half...
"I don't think that is the case. We just couldn't make shots in the first half. We were getting a few stops, but when we were going back down, we couldn't hit shots. The lead kept growing. We only scored 17 points in the first half, so we need to work on our offensive execution."

On how to fix the slow starts...
"I think we just need to come out with better sense of urgency and come out with our feet on fire like maniacs. We have to be aggressive and be tough with everyone playing as one like we did in the second half. But it was way too late for that. We shouldn't have started the game like that."

Illinois Head Coach John Groce
On tonight's game...
"I thought the thing I learned the most was the response that our guys had from our loss Tuesday night to Georgia Tech. I thought we were ready to go. The leadership deserves a lot of credit for that. The captains were under the weather. They could've used every excuse in the book, but they wouldn't tell you. They are tough kids. They really willed themselves as well as the team. I thought Joe (Bertrand), Jon (Ekey) and Ray (Rice) really battled and had everyone ready. I thought we really got off to a good start, maybe got off to the best start that we have had on both ends. I think at times our defense and rebounding has been really good. Today, for the first 20 minutes, both the offense and defense were an `A'. I thought we thought we really had it going. I thought that was the best 20 minutes we have played all year. In the second half, we may have not finished like we wanted to, but we will take a look at that, but I am not going to take that away from them today. We will watch the tape tomorrow. I thought our response was terrific. I thought we really shared the ball. I thought our defense was really good. I thought we dug out loose balls. I thought our hands were active."

On the space available to the shooters...
"I thought it was the best ball movement we have had. I thought our execution was good. I thought we screened well. We got what we were trying to get, especially in the first half. The guys shared the ball. They put balls on time, on target. I thought that was a lot of it. Obviously, their defensive scheme to cut off penetration, our guys saw that and kicked it out and made the extra pass. We were unselfish and fortunately, we made shots."

On limiting Chris Denson...
"A big part of our game was to limit him from getting to the free throw line. He is a terrific talent. He is a guy that shot double digit free throws in the United Center last year. He averaged 11 free throw attempts a game coming into this game. He was eighth in America individually. Part of his 21 points per game was getting to the free throw line. He is a great talent. He has a knack for drawing fouls. We tried to do the best we could without fouling, and I thought we did that."

Illinois Forward Jon Ekey
On tonight's game...
"We could move the ball. We were executing plays that coach wanted us to. We were able to do the things he was emphasizing the past couple of days."

On how they played differently than Tuesday...
"I felt that we were more intense and loose out there. That is the way we like to play, a little loose. We go out there, and try to flow with each other and move the ball around. We were happy with the amount of assists to baskets we had. It was good for us."

Illinois Guard Rayvonte Rice
On tonight's game...
"We just came out and threw the first punch. That is something that Coach (Groce) emphasizes, is throwing the first punch. I think that is something our team did. We were definitely mad about the loss to Georgia Tech. We came out and got the win."

On the team having 19 assists...
"We were just sharing the ball. We finished the half with 15 field goals and 10 assists, so we were sharing the ball. My teammates did a great job of finding me in the second half."