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Auburn vs. Alabama Quotes

Feb. 7, 2012

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Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On if the multiple technical fouls got the team out of rhythm ... "No. It is what it is. Guys have to protect themselves when their legs are out from under them so the referees made the right calls. It had nothing to do with the officiating. We just did not play well. We have to give Alabama credit. They came in here and played with a high level of confidence. At the end of the day the game came down to toughness, and we got out-toughed."

On if Alabama changed things up after a hot Auburn start ... "No. They just kept their pressure up. We got a little fatigued and got sloppy with the ball. It led to 20 turnovers that led to 26 points for them, and that's the game."

On momentum shift after a hot start ... "We got off to a great start, and we had a lot of momentum on our side. Then it came to a stop. It came down to toughness, and that is why we lost our momentum. It had nothing to do with the technical fouls."

Quoting Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening statement... "I thought today, it was a great atmosphere in the building. Obviously, anytime you put our two teams together there's going to be a lot of excitement. Our guys understood the challenge that we had, and I thought we came out with great energy. We weathered the storm early. Auburn came out with a lot of emotion early. Just really proud of the way our guys responded. We felt like from a style of play standpoint, we wanted to get the game up and down. I thought we were able to do that. I thought we were able to create some transition opportunities. We handled the changing defenses well tonight, and just overall, I think everybody that stepped on the floor tonight for us gave a great effort, and it was just a great win. Proud of our guys."

On the defensive performance and the excitement it created in the second half... "I think, if I remember correctly, I think we got a defensive stop and forced a turnover there. The energy and emotion and passion our guys played with tonight, that was a lot of fun to watch. They were really into what we needed to do to win the game. Like I said at the beginning, give Auburn a lot of credit. I thought they had a great crowd. They came out with a lot of energy. Just really proud of the way our guys responded. There was a lot of emotion all throughout the game on our bench tonight."

On Rodney Cooper's performance... "He was terrific. I think he scored eight points in the second half, but in the first half, I thought he was terrific. He came out with great energy. Did a great job defensively rebounding the ball for us. Was very active. That's what we need out of him. That's what we need out of all of our guys to play with that type of energy and effort. It's great to see for him, for him to see the ball go in. We work extremely hard, and we know he's a very talented player, so it's great for him. He had been struggling offensively, but tonight he was due, and it's good to see that happen for him."

On pressuring Auburn to get the game up and down... "That was the plan. We wanted to get the game going at a pace that was favorable to us, and we felt like we did a good job with it. I think overall we forced 20 turnovers. We turned it over ourselves 17 times. But because of the pace of the game, I think we were able to make up for that. We got 11 steals in those 20 turnovers that we forced. We were able to get some transition opportunities. Yeah that's basically what we tried to do."

On Charles Hankerson making three 3-pointers in the first half... "They were huge. They were huge. Obviously for us, we've had our struggles from the perimeter so for Hank to come in, be able to knock those down when they were in zone, obviously really helped us out a lot, but I thought his teammates did a great job of making the extra pass and finding him and looking for him. That opens things up for us when we have guys out there that do that. I thought those were certainly big shots."

On Carl Engstrom... "Carl was huge. We felt like Carl has worked extremely hard every day in practice, and obviously he's played the game three years now, so he's new to the game, but every day in practice he comes to work and tries to get better every day. So he's got the right approach, the right attitude, and we felt like today he would have an opportunity to impact the game, and he did that. So just really, really happy for him."

On doing anything different defensively on Rob Chubb after he made his first four baskets... "We didn't do anything different. Obviously he came out and made, I think he made eight of their first 10. The guys on the court were just saying, `Hey stay the course. Stay the course.' That's what we talked about coming out of the first media timeout. Stay the course. We'll be fine. We know it's a 40-minute game. We talk about that all the time. The game is not over in the first five, 10 minutes. It's a 40-minute game, whether it's going good for you or bad for you, you have to play for 40 minutes."

On several players playing well without Tony Mitchell's presence on the floor... "I wouldn't say without anybody. I'm just proud of the guys that played tonight for us did a great job. It's a great team win."

On performing well on the offensive glass... "We were able to create some second shot opportunities. Rebounding was going to be a big key in the game. They got eight offensive rebounds. That was huge for us. They're a great offensive rebounding team. They do a great job on the offensive glass, and one of the things that we talked about before the game was the need to win the backboard, so I think our guys did a great job of that tonight."

On Trevor Releford being able to convert on the technical foul free throws... "I don't remember the situation, to be honest with you, what the score was at the time of the technical, so I really can't tell you what impact that had. I don't remember."

Quoting Auburn players

Varez Ward, So., G.

On the loss of momentum in the first half... "We got some tough calls that went against us in the first half. We got a couple of technical fouls and things just went down from there. I was looking at the stats from the game, and we had 20-plus turnovers. It's hard to beat a team when you turn the ball over like that. I take part of the blame for most of those turnovers, because I had six myself. I just have to play better."

On playing tough... "The way Coach Barbee coaches is he expects us to play tough. If offense isn't going and if defense isn't going, then that's one thing he coaches, toughness. We didn't go out there and do that tonight."

On regressing from offensive progress previously made... "I credit Alabama. They played pretty good defense, but most of it was my fault, honestly. I got past my defender a couple of times and I just lost the ball. That where some of my turnovers came from. That's what happened."

Frankie Sullivan, Jr., G.

On the improvement of offense in the second half... "They just got to the 50/50 balls. They out hustled us and I think that came down to the game. There were a couple of times we got them to turn the ball over and we were tipping and tipping instead of going and grabbing the ball. When we got down to 11, Kenny (Gabriel) threw the ball back out and two of our players were standing at the top of the key and Alabama ended up coming up with it, so I think the 50/50 ball really killed us tonight."

On Alabama's shooting ability... "The guys that hit the shots, we knew they could hit them. (Charles) Hankerson did it in the last game against Ole Miss. He had some big shots for them, so we knew he could at least knock down some big shots. That didn't surprise me at all. It is what it is."

On taking a step back... "It's embarrassing. Everyone knows it's a big rivalry, and to come out and not play to our potential or give the fans what they came here to see tonight is embarrassing."

Quoting Alabama Players

JaMychal Green, Sr., F

On depth... "We really try not to think about that. I know a couple players had to step up and I think everybody did a great job. Everybody came off the bench with a lot of energy. Cooper, Hankerson, everybody, everybody did a great job making their shots. Overall, it was a team effort."

On Auburn losing momentum... "We saw there was a momentum change so we tried our best to take advantage of that and I think we did a great job."

On the team hitting three's... "It opens up the inside for me. If I get double-teamed I know I can kick out and knock down a three. Just like I said, it was a team effort and we were out there having fun, so that's all it is about."

On hitting his first three in a while... "It felt great. It felt good leaving my hand."

On what Engstrom gave the team... "I think he is the one that brought the energy to the team, because he came out there and did a great job. He was on the boys and he scored four points and that was huge for us."

Trevor Releford, So., G

On teammates coming off the bench... "I think they brought a great energy to the game. They stepped up when we needed them to and that's all we can ask for."

On momentum after the technical... "That is a big intensity change for their team, and I think I just had to step up and make those free throws and put our team in a better position to win."

On if the team is back on track... "I think I would say that. I think we got our confidence back. We are a young team and we needed those wins. We have just got to keep it up and just go from here"



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