Auburn vs. Mississippi State Quotes

Feb. 18, 2012

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Quoting Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee

On tonight's win...
"The week off came at a great time for us. We were struggling mentally and physically. Being able to give these guys three and a half days off served us in a big way, because we got our legs back. Everybody got refreshed, and it showed. We still had some breakdowns all over the floor, but what I have been talking about with this team is continuing to fight. Every team this time of year is worn down mentally. Every team is worn down physically, no matter if you are a ranked team, on a winning streak, or on a losing streak. Everybody has issues. No matter what takes place, you have to keep fighting. That is a great lesson served, because our team fought tonight. They made a run and we weren't making shots, but we continued to fight. It doesn't guarantee a win, but if you don't fight, it is probably going to guarantee you that you lose.

On having toughness down the stretch...
"We have been working on it. A lot of that had to do with the freshness of the legs and the mind, because of the rest. We worked on it too. We worked on it this week. We still weren't as crisp as we needed to be offensively down the stretch. We had some silly turnovers that could have cost us. The one thing I always talk about, no matter if you are efficient offensively, is that you have to get stops. We got the stops down the stretch that we needed to get."

On Mississippi State struggling from 3-point...
"They got some good looks that they made in Starkville. We did some things differently defensively to take a couple of their shooters away. We were good in spots, but we were also bad in spots and they happened to miss some that they normally make."

On Mississippi State struggling with the 2-3 zone...
"We are a man and a zone team. We do both. They really affected us with their zone offense in Starkville. We made some adjustments to take away some of the things that they were doing to hurt us. I thought we were doing really well keeping them off balance switching from man to zone. We changed some things defensively in our zone to take away where they try to attack you."

On Allen Payne's performance...
"Allen made some big plays like the offensive rebound on the free throw late in the game. He made some free throws late in the game that were huge. I thought he played really solid defense too. Allen was good. Kenny (Gabriel) was good too. He had 15 (points) and nine (rebounds). Varez (Ward) didn't have his best performance but he had 10 points and nine assists with one turnover. The fact that we took care of the ball was big. We only had 10 turnovers, and we had a good shot every time we came down.

On Frankie Sullivan's game tonight...
"I thought we could take advantage of ball screens against them. We tried to put Frankie in as many of them as we could. He took advantage of them, and made things happen."

On Rob Chubb's three-point play near the end of the game...
"It was huge. We were down by three, so it was a big and one. He didn't have his great game, but we have to keep fighting no matter our record or the situation in the game. It is a life lesson, because things aren't always going to go your way, but you have to continue to fight. I thought Rob did that when he didn't have his greatest game."

On Renardo Sidney not playing...
"He is a talented player and he makes a difference in the game. He is hard to guard down on the blocks. You have to pay so much attention to him that they could turn loose their shooters. I thought Arnett (Moultrie) did a good job tonight, but you didn't have the other guy down there to balance him on the other block."

Auburn Player Quotes

Kenny Gabriel, Sr., Forward.

On the missed three...
"He called a play, and I had a wide open shot. When it left my hands I thought it was going in, and then it hit off the rim. I saw Chubb get the rebound and he was looking for someone to pass to, so when he passed to me I was aggressive and tried to get the foul. I got an and-one. It got us rolling because the last couple of games we have been in the last three minutes have really cost us games. We sat in the huddle, and when we got out of the huddle we had another huddle on the court with the five of us. We just said that we weren't going to lose this game because we have lost too many games in the last three minutes. I made the free throw, and we were real confident with the stops and fouls, and we did it."

On beating a ranked team...
"It just means that we can play with anybody if we play that hard, physical and tough. That's what coach has been trying to get us to do the last couple of games. He's been telling us that we've been playing that way for the first 35 minutes of the game, but then the last five minutes of the game we've been breaking down. Tonight, we showed that if we play for a full 40 minute game that we can play with anybody."

Varez Ward, So., Guard.

On their confidence...
"Coming down the stretch we had players step up. Last game I was interviewed saying that we had to step-up as in myself, Kenny, Frankie and Chubb. Down the stretch this game we stepped up and made plays. That really helped us at the end."

On getting over the hump...
"It's huge because we have Florida next, so we needed some momentum going into that game and confidence. I think we got that this game."

Frankie Sullivan, Jr., Guard.

On his floater...
"It was definitely a tough shot, because that was all luck. He fouled me all the way to the hoop, but it went in. I think it was time for us to get to this turning point, and to get this win."

On the difference between playing them this time...
"Our mental toughness, and we were communicating. We played them perfect tonight. The same play we broke down on last time we broke down on twice, but it was our mistake on that. The guys rebounding the ball, our big man Kenny and Chubb, got some big rebounds at the end. Also, Allen Payne played a great game for us, and that's what we need from our bench, to step up."

Quoting Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Stansbury

Opening statement...
"I thought our guys fought. You know you can chop it up all the ways when you're on the road against a fine margin. We got down that first half and had to fight back. When you're on the road sometimes it can come down to some simple things. You have to make some shots. We had a bunch of threes, wide open shots, that you just have to convert to give yourself a chance on the road. I don't want to make it sound that simple, but sometimes it's that simple. There's always plays you can point back to defensively that you have to have in that game to get stops. We got down, fought back and put ourselves in position to have opportunities and didn't make some plays when we had to. Timely plays."

On missed opportunities on offensive possessions...
"I don't remember it all, I just know we had some good looks. DeVille (Smith) missed that layup and then got in there and turned it over in that little stretch and that's part of the game. He didn't miss the shot on purpose, and he didn't turn it over on purpose. You just don't want those kinds of plays at that time in the game, and those get talked about more because of the time of the game, but they're all the same. A turnover early in the game counts just as much."

On Auburn's zone defense affecting Mississippi State in the first half...
"I thought it sped us up. I thought them making that run at us sped us up. We had about four or five bad possessions there. That let them spurt a little bit on us." On the game being physical and getting the technical foul... "No, I was asking him out to dinner after the game to see if he wanted to go out. He didn't want to go, so I got upset. The thing we did a much better job of this game, if you remember last time, they shot 32 free throws. Their two guards shot 16 last game. Tonight between them, I think they shot four between them. (Josh) Wallace got none. I think (Varez) Ward got four. That was a huge thing that helped us. All night long we kept them off that free throw line. We did a good job keeping that ball in that lane off that point guard."

On Auburn being able to get easy shots out of the half-court game...
"We had a big miss on a 3-point shot, they scored on an offensive rebound and got fouled. That's a big play that kind of gets talked about more too because it's late."

On Rodney Hood missing a lot of open looks...
"I'd line Rodney back up and let him shoot the same shots again. It wouldn't faze me again. He's shot the ball well all year long, and he had good looks tonight. I don't think there's one shot tonight that he took that I would say was a bad 3-point shot that I watched him take. He had good wide open looks. When they're doubled-down trying to keep this ball from the inside some off Arnett (Moultrie), it's going to open up some things on the perimeter. We had some good shots now. Especially when we played DeVille some extended minutes, he was able to create some things and get some open threes, too."

On not having Renardo Sidney tonight...
"It is what it is. We'll make no excuses not having anybody tonight. We'll make no excuses. We had a game to play. We had a team we lined up with. I feel good with what we lined up and fought with."

Quoting Mississippi State Players

Arnett Moultrie, Jr., F.

On getting momentum after his hook shot...
"I thought that we did. We came back around and ran the same play, but they doubled down on me. I was expecting Wendell Lewis to cut, so passed it to Wendell and over to Rodney Hood for that wide open three. It just didn't fall."

Dee Bost, Sr., G.

On Auburn getting some late easy shots on the half-court...
"They got off with a rebound and then they got a lay-up, but pretty much we kept them out of the lane. It is what it is."

On feeling like they have to get some wins...
"It is big crunch-time. I mean the ball didn't bounce our way these last three games, and it is up to us to change it. We have an opportunity Tuesday to change it."

On if he feels that they needed to improve on one thing specifically...
"I can't point to nothing. I feel like we played some good defense. They hit a lot of tough shots. The only thing I can say is tomorrow at practice to just get better and get ready for Tuesday."