Postgame Quotes

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Feb. 11, 2009

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Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo

Opening statement...
"I am really proud of our team and thought the big difference in our game was our bench. Lucas Hargrove, Frankie Sullivan and Brendon Knox were the difference-makers, especially in the second half. I don't know if we had a basket off the bench against Tennessee, but in this game we had 26 points off the bench. That was big.

"Brendon Knox-- I wanted to play him more. I thought he showed signs of what he can do. Frankie was terrific and Lucas was big, especially the second half. The first half they made shots; we shot the ball very well, much like they did against Mississippi State. They had Mississippi State down 15 at the half by making shots. They did a much better job in the second half. Foul difficulty was a factor. (Michael) Washington didn't play much in the first half and Fortson being in foul trouble was very helpful to us."

On Brendon Knox's opportunities during Johnnie Lett's absence...
"It is huge for Knox. He has got a great opportunity with Johnnie out to play minutes for us. This is vital for his development. He is a junior college kid. This is his opportunity right now to get in there and get his feet wet and play some good solid minutes for us. I thought he was terrific during the time he was in tonight."

On Knox showing improvement in practice...
"He has been (improving). He has been up and down a little bit. He is athletic. He has got some size and can block some shots. He is learning the speed of the game. He is getting better in practice. I think the big thing is that he has been sick. His conditioning hasn't been great because of his sickness."

On getting closer to .500 in conference...
"Each one is important. Each one gets us a little bit closer. Again, it is jumbled up there in the middle. We have got a big one coming up here at home against Mississippi State. I like the way we did it tonight because it wasn't the so-called stars who helped us win the basketball game. You got to have some depth at this time of the year. I was proud of how they stepped up and played."

On a change in Arkansas' Rotnei Clarke's scoring from the first to second half...
"He got some in the first half in transition. At half court, he didn't get much against us. I thought Tay Waller did a great job on him and Frankie Sullivan, especially the second half, did a good job on him. With his constant movement, he doesn't need a lot of time or space. He got a couple early in the first half off the transition. In the second half, I thought we did a good job on him and did a good job on (Michael) Washington the majority of the game."

On Arkansas' Courtney Fortson's foul trouble...
"His foul problems are crucial. Both he and Washington were their two best players, one inside and one outside. When you get in foul trouble you mentally sometimes have to change the way you look at the game, especially for Fortson. He needs to play up tempo and a little out of control because that is what he is good at, but when he gets fouls, it takes that away from him a little bit."

Auburn player quotes

Lucas Hargrove, F

Thoughts on the win...
"It was real big. Brendon Knox played good, real good."

Thoughts on come back in the second half...
"It is college basketball, its intensity. One minute they might have the momentum and the next minute we may have the momentum. I think we got the momentum going, and you saw what happened."

Thoughts on Brendon Knox's performance...
"Over the last few years, we have been lacking a real big, inside presence. No knock on Vot (Korvotney Barber) because he is a McDonald's All-American, need I say more. When Knox plays, we can get it going and he is such a big body down in there. There's not much you can do with him when he plays as hard as he can. It is a big help to the team."

Tay Waller, G

Thoughts on Brendon Knox's play...
"The coaches are hard on him in practice because they know he can do it and tonight, he showed that he can do it. It made us better as a team, rebounds and everything. He took a lot of pressure off Vot."

Thoughts on contributing even when his shot isn't on...
"Like coach says on nights you're not hitting, you still have to find a way to play to make us win. Tonight I picked up defensively and my offense started to look good."

Brendon Knox, F

On his performance tonight...
"Since Johnnie (Lett) got hurt, I realized I had to step my game up. The first two games when he was out it was kind of rocky, but I realized they need me. They need me to go. I practiced hard and got ready and tonight it showed."

On contributing offensively...
"It felt good to help my team offensively. I just did what they needed me to do."

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey

Opening statements...
"Well, I want to congratulate Auburn on a big second half. I think that their basketball team has been playing very good. They made some big plays in the second half, they didn't commit many turnovers and they made it to the free throw line. They played some tight defense in a couple of types of zone. When they went to man defense, we started to have a difficult time scoring the ball and that's a tribute to their defense. I think that we were up nine and they made a couple quick runs, so we had to call a few timeouts to try to slow them up, but we couldn't get it done in the second half."

On changes to be made to play better in the second half...
"We just have to play better. We have to do the things that helped us to play well: taking care of the ball, player movement and ball movement. We have to guard better. They had 15 second chance points tonight and that is too many. I think that there are some fundamental things that we have to do for longer periods of time that aren't getting done right now."

On offensive performance in second half...
"We couldn't get the ball on the inside with some space to move around. I don't know if we got into the bonus in the second half until basically the game was over with. Normally, we run the offense well. We move it and pass it and get into the bonus pretty quick. That hurt us tonight. We didn't have many players under the basket tonight. We were missing some of our blocks. They had five or six star plays. That's a credit to them."

On switching the lineup...
"Jason (Henry) has had a tough time for the last couple of days with his knee. He wasn't really able to practice. It's difficult when you can't practice and get repetitions in and see time in games. I don't know how many shots he's been able to get up since he's constantly going back and doing some rehab. Obviously, he's missing some of the game plan. It's a tough environment to put him in, but we tried him and he got himself pumped up. It's difficult for him.

"I thought that Mike Sanchez got in there and competed well. Brandon (Moore) did some good things moving the basketball. Andre (Clark) did a good thing at the end of the half when we got the loose ball and found Rotnei (Clarke).

"I still believe in these guys. Maybe I'm crazy and maybe I'm the guy who needs to have his head checked, but I refuse to believe that we're the last place team in this league. When I see these guys come out and play like they did in the first half, I believe that these guys can do it. They have to get back and work harder and believe in that. We need to try to get better. I think that our biggest battle is that we're fighting on a six-inch playing field between our ears."

Arkansas Player Quotes

Courtney Fortson, G

On his technical foul...
"I don't even really remember what happened with the technical. I thought it was a questionable call, but they are referees for a reason. I said something to him and he just T'd me up. I was really asking for an explanation."

On playing in front of family and friends...
"Of course it was great, but we didn't get the victory so I haven't even thought about it."

On this game compared to the Mississippi State game...
"These two games seem similar. In both of the first halves we got our rebounds by a large margin, but we took a lot of bad shots. Well, I wouldn't say bad but a lot of early shots that didn't go in."

On play time due to fouls...
"Of course it's frustrating being on the bench most of the time because of fouls. The only word is frustration. That's the only thing I can think of right now."

On trying to break through the stretch...
"Basically, what Rotnei said is, 'We have to find a way to win. We have to rebound more.' That hurts us a lot. We need to play defense better because they are just jacking up and shot and getting the ball back and running the offense again. I think that tires our defense out which leads to good shots on their part."

Rotnei Clark, G

On this game compared to the Mississippi State game...
"It's tough, especially last game being up 15 points and then going in to halftime up again. It's just frustrating knowing that we can win these games. It's just a matter of us just sustaining play."

On first half points vs. second half points...
"I just didn't hit my shots. My teammates did a good job of finding me I just didn't hit any."

On talks in the locker room when in the lead...
"Going into the locker room this time we know we lost the game to Mississippi State and we knew we were going to overcome adversity again because we knew they were going to make their runs. They're at home so they are used to playing here, but the most frustrating thing is that these are games we can win. It's not about our talent. We have proven that we can play with really anybody. It's just sustaining play and finding ways to win in the stretch."