Post-Game Quotes: Auburn 66, Clemson 64

Dec. 19, 2013

Auburn Basketball 2013-14
Clemson at Auburn
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013

Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On the defense making stops late...
"We kept fighting. We were no where near a perfect game. We made a lot of mistakes. That is what the game is. You have to keep fighting. That has to be our identity. We had I don't even know how many hard days of practice since our last game. It is 10 or more. The guys responded. They fought for each other. I am happy for the guys, because they went out and executed. That has to be our identity and they got rewarded for it. Fighting doesn't guarantee you anything. It does guarantee that you will give yourself a chance in every ball game. That is what I saw tonight. I know this team has it in them. That is what proud of with these guys."

On the bench play...
"Our bench was great. We got everything off the bench. We got offense off the bench. We got rebounding off the bench. We got toughness off the bench. How about Matthew (Atewe)? He is still out there playing on half of a leg as he is getting better. He is a fighter. He is a tough kid. He did great things defensively. That was a big offensive rebound and the free throw. He is a kid that believes in himself. His teammates believe in him, and I believe in him too. Everybody played their role in helping us get this win."

On the defensive stop with 30 seconds left...
"We just talked about it in the locker room. Asauhn (Dixon-Tatum) didn't have his best stuff tonight, but the team stayed on Asauhn. I stayed on Asauhn about keep fighting and then make the play when it matters. That is what he does well is block shots. He is so long. For him to leave his man and come over and block that shot was big time. Same thing with Allen Payne and the charge he took. We really locked in defensively, but that is what we have been working on in the last 10 days. I am glad it paid off for the guys so they could see all the success from their hard work."

Senior guard Chris Denson
On defense at end...
"That is one thing we worked on. I don't think it was defense that killed us in the last two games I think we didn't have any fight. We fought tonight and that was apparent. That translated on defense and that was the main thing that happened. It wasn't the defense it was the fight that we had. They had that run, when we were down. Last two games in our mind the game was over. We fought and we got back and came back with the W."

On bench...
"That is definitely what we need. Coach Barbee always says that KT Harrell and I can't do the bulk of the scoring it needs to come from everybody. Matt Atewe was big tonight, after coming off an injury and him barely knowing what to do on offense and defense. Plus Asauhn Dixon-Tatum making that big block. We just need contributions from everybody every night."

On game...
"We did a lot of looking in the mirror especially the last two games. I guess we thought it was going come easy but winning is hard. That is one thing that we reiterated in practice all week. It was a big win. My heart is still pumping. We locked down defensively we made the right plays. Not like last game where we were stagnant on offense and only had 17 points in the first half. If we play like that every night we can play anybody."

Junior guard KT Harrell
On slapping the floor at the end on defense...
"It is an energy builder. When you see your teammates doing that and the bench doing it, it gives you a lot of energy. It allowed us to get a lot of big stops."

On charger play...
"It was a design play. Coach told to be aggressive and try to get to the rim. If not swing it to Chris Denson and allow him to attack."

On what changed...
"We executed way better. I don't know what it was in Phillips Arena vs. Illinois. We were just stagnant. We were disgusted with ourselves. Myself included. We did a lot of looking in the mirror. We had a great week of practice, and it translated on the court tonight.

On Matthew Atewe's 3-point play...
"I was more impressed with his reaction. I expect that from Matt. He is one of those guys who is extremely confident. I didn't think he thought that he was going to make it. But you could tell by his reaction, he felt like he could make. It was a big time play and we really needed it."

Senior Center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum
On block...
"That block was needed. I wasn't having my best game, but I felt like I had to do something for the team. At least make one good play to help us win. So when I got that block I said yes. It felt amazing."

On keeping head in game...
"My teammates help. Whenever I am not having the best game, I have every single one of my teammates come and say `hey man it's okay next play'. And that is how I keep my head in the game."

Clemson's Head Coach Brad Brownell
On tonight's loss...
"We didn't get off to a good start. We fought back and play reasonably well throughout the second half and late first half. We felt like we lost the game when we lost our seven point lead. We just didn't execute in key parts of the game. We turned it into a back and forth possession game, and they made one more basket."

On factors on loss...
"When you look at our start, our start was awful. I don't really know why. We were ready to play. Our guys had pretty good practices. They were focused. I don't think we were aggressive enough in our plan initially. That was probably not as good as we wanted to do. We need to help our guys better with that defensively as a coaching staff. Credit Auburn. They have two really big wings that make good plays. Chris Denson is so fast. We played a couple possessions of zone, and we weren't very good at it. In hind sight, I would have liked to do a little more of that maybe. At the end of the game, it was just back and forth both teams playing. I was a little disappointed. Obviously, there were a lot of free throws I would have liked to see the kids have a better chance to make plays on both ends to settle the game."

On Landry Nnoko's shot in the final seconds ...
"Obviously, I didn't want to do it. Auburn did a good job. They knew we needed a 3-point shot, and they put almost everyone outside the 3-point line. They started inside, but then they switched and just guarded the 3-point line. I would have liked to see Landry turn and try to throw it to somebody for a 3-point shot. He's not ready to do that yet. We had three different actions going, and they guarded them all, but that's obviously not why we lost."

Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels
On lack of scoring in the final minutes...
"They obviously double-teamed me. I should have tried harder to get open. Credit to Auburn, they played great defense. It was a tough loss."

On disappoint with outcome...
"Coming back home and with my mom's birthday, I really wanted to win. It's kind of heartbreaking, but it's alright. We'll come back with the right mindset and come back punching, punching hard."

On slow start...
"The crowd was amazing. That crowd helped Auburn out a lot. Their confidence kept rising. We had to fight through some things and try to maintain. The crowd helped the out a lot, and they play with a lot of confidence. They did a great job tonight."

Clemson guard Jordan Roper
On three-point play in the final seconds...
"I felt I was in the act of shooting. That was what I was trying to do. I caught it and was going up. I wasn't trying to dribble or pass. That was what the play was: catch and shoot. I knew they were going to foul us. I was trying to catch it and get into an upward motion as best as I could, but they called it on the ground. It's just the way it goes."

On the game...
"Everyone in the locker room believed we could win, and we came out. We weren't playing to their physicality. I think that hurt us early in the game. We got up a pretty good margin, but we just didn't bury them. It came back to haunt us. When you get into a one possession game on the road, things don't normally go your way."

On trouble down the stretch...
"More importantly, we struggled to get stops. We just watched them score from the free-throw line through that long stretch at the end of the game. I don't think that should discourage us. We're a good team. We believed we could do it. It's just one of those things."