Auburn vs. South Carolina Quotes
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AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Jan. 21, 2012

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Quoting Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On coming out strong in the second half...

"Let me say this. I keep saying we're getting closer, and we are because it's finally starting to click that if you will guard with that sense of urgency, that sense of toughness on every possession, then no matter what you do offensively, you're going to give yourself a chance to win. We are what we are offensively. We're going to go through droughts, and we're going to struggle to score. We only have two guys in double figures. From two of our other starters, we got one point combined. We are what we are, but if we will defend and guard and scrap and hustle with that sense of urgency, you're going to give yourself a chance in every single game. Then, when we do get on a little bit of a run, you can go on those 8-9-0 runs, and then you can create a little space like we did at LSU. We just weren't able to put it over the top, but we were able to today. Great team win. We did a better job in the second half of taking care of the ball and finding the open guy getting to that third or fourth level of the offense. What I talked about coming into this game against their zone, getting to that third, fourth, fifth pass. That third, fourth or fifth drive, and then you'd find guys wide open behind the three, wide open in front of the rim, and that's exactly what happened."

On Josh Wallace's defensive effort...

"Your defense starts up front on that ball. Josh gives you that. When you have a smaller guard, they have to play a certain way to be successful. They do, and he does that. He pressured 94 feet. He pressured (Bruce) Ellington and harassed him for the majority of the game, and then Varez (Ward) was able to come in and feed off of that momentum and do the same thing. So Josh was a big key to what we did tonight."

On winning a conference game that didn't come down to the wire...

"I call them the Phil Jackson games. I always like the Phil Jackson games when I can sit there with my legs crossed and not have to get off the bench late in the game."

On Allen Payne giving the team a boost on defense...

"Everybody played well who played tonight. We had great energy. The guys are understanding their roles better, and unfortunately we weren't able to do this earlier. We were hurt. We were injured. Guys were suspended. Now we have the majority of our pieces, guys are starting to really understand what their roles are on this team. It was good to see Allen Payne play well because he was a guy who had the position early and let it go because of his performance, but he didn't sulk. He didn't pout. He kept battling. He kept fighting, and it's like I say, your opportunity is going to come, or it's going to come back around if it slipped away, and he's been ready for his opportunity. That's why he's back in the rotation."

On if he was pleased with the transition to open the second half...

"Well you can do that when you get stops. When you get stops, you can do that. The ball was getting a little stuck in our hands in the first half. We got stops in the first half, but we weren't getting the ball out quick enough and getting it up the floor quick enough, and that's probably the best way to beat that defense, their zone, is to not have to play against it. We talked about it. We worked on it before the game, and for some reason we didn't do it in the first half. In the second half, we talked about it at halftime. Let's play off of these stops. We're guarding our butts off. Let's just try to rebound a little bit better in the second half. We did. Then, we were able to get out off those rebounds into transition, and we got some easy layups, some easy jump shots."

On if the basketball lettermen feeling welcomed was a result of something Barbee wanted...

"No question. Your program is only as good as your former players. Like I said, I'm not here to build a team. I'm going to be able to do that. A very successful team. I'm here to build a program and sustain it over the long haul, and you can't do that if your former players are disconnected. I was out in (Los Angeles) recruiting recently, and I didn't get a chance to see Chuck (Person) because they had just started training camp, but I talked to Chuck Person while I was out there, and he'd been helping me with some things. (Charles) Barkley is a key, but all of them, even the guys that their names aren't up in the lights. Those guys, from the golf tournament I put on, to the Lettermen's Club thing that we do every year here during the season which was last night, and then having them back, you can't move forward as a program if you don't connect your present with your past."

Quoting Auburn players

Josh Wallace, Jr., G

On enjoying his expanded role...

"Yes sir. I mean, I still have the same role, being the defensive maniac and setting up guys. I was coming in for more minutes, so I'm embracing it and just doing what I have to do on the court."

On the challenges today against Bruce Ellington...

"It's tough. He's fast, but I believe I'm just as fast as him, so I stepped up to the challenge today, and I believe I did a great job."

On defense...

"It's very fun. When we get to playing like that, the crowd gets into it, and that's when it just goes to a whole new level. I believe we had a 10-0 run the second half, but when the crowd gets into it, it's just fun. I can't even explain it."

On their defensive game as a team...

"As I team, I believe we did pretty good."

On changing things up in the second half...

"We would get stops, and the four or five man would just hold it. When we got out and got to running, it was a whole different game, so I believe we fixed that in the second half."

On the crowd...

"I can't really explain it. When the crowd gets to rocking like that, and we're getting stops like we did, I can't even explain it. The crowd was a big help tonight."

On Allen Payne...

"It's great to see. Coach says, if you're not getting the minutes you want, just stay strong and stay tough. When your time comes back around not to pout and to just make the best of it, and I believe that's what he's done."

Frankie Sullivan, Jr., G.

On his progress the last few games...

"First, I would just like to thank God. I really got back into The Bible and getting my life right, and then hard work. Hard work has been paying off. Late nights and early mornings in the gym, before class, getting shots up and free throws with the coaches, watching film, and it really turns your game around once you go back to the basics. I like watching film, because you get a chance to see what you're doing wrong and having trouble with to get better."

On the changes made in the second half...

"Defense. Team defense. Everyone was in tune. I think that the players are coming around and see what Coach wants. He wants hard defense. That's what he wants every night, and I think we're showing that for him. It's showing on the scoreboard."

On enjoying the second half...

"It was fun, because the fans are really starting to get into it, and starting to support us more, and they see that we're trying to build a foundation here with basketball just like football. I thank the fans for coming out, and I think that once we have it Like this every night. It's going to be hard for teams to play here."

On momentum...

"Momentum is everything. When the crowd gets going, the energy just gets into you and it makes us want to play better defense, we want to lock up, and go hard. The crowd is doing a great job of giving us a lot of energy."

Kenny Gabriel, Sr., F.

On the second half....

"What we were doing well was just playing defense. We're not going to make shots every time we're down on the court, but if we just play defense as hard as we can. It will create opportunities for fast breaks and to get fouled."

On the game...

"It was fun. Playing like is rewarding. Making the other team use timeouts, we feed off of that."

Quoting South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn

Opening statement...

"I don't think that it is hard to figure out what the story of the game for us was turnovers. I have to give credit to Auburn. I think that they played aggressively on defense and that's why we were having problems turning the ball over. It is going to be hard to beat any team when you have the amount of turnovers that we did. I think that we defended really well in the first half and well enough in the second half, but we never could get into an offensive flow because of our turnover situation. It is hard to fight through situations like that and overcome the amount of turnovers that we had."

On the amount of turnovers in the game...

"We just have to be strong with the basketball and make good decisions. The thing that really hurt us was that many of our turnovers were transition turnovers. That does not have anything to do with Auburn's defense, that falls completely on us. Those are turnovers that not only take away potential points for us but often times it leads to baskets for them on the other end."

On offensive performance... "We never got into a flow offensively of being able to establish multiple possessions in a row. We had a couple stretches in the first half we had some really positive things happen, but when you turn over the ball the way we did, it makes it difficult to get things going on offense. Transition turnovers turned out to be big difference makers."

Quoting South Carolina Players

Malik Cooke, R-Sr., F.

On having offensive struggles with positioning and defense...

"I think it might have been a little mixture of both. We just had to get after it a little bit and that was pretty much it."

On remaining winless in the SEC...

"I am not going to say it is discouraging. It is a learning tool. We have just got to come back and get ready for tomorrow."

On if the team will lose confidence moving forward...

"No, not at all. We just have to keep on fighting and keep on pushing and I think we will do that."

On if the team is lacking a go-to player...

"I can't say that. We just have to play together and get through those lulls, as team."

On if the team has players that demand the ball...

"Yea, I think we have guys of that character that can do that. I think all of our players are capable of doing what they do well. We have just got to do it."

On mood in the locker room...

"We are just trying to stay focused and get ready for the next game. We just have to learn from our mistakes.