Feb. 25, 2012
Quoting Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On if Ward and Denson's absence had an effect on the game... "It didn't matter. You have to have guys set up. I thought some guys played well for about 20 minutes, and about the last 20 minutes, we didn't have much in the tank."
On shutting down Arkansas' BJ Young... "We didn't do anything. He missed some shots he normally makes."
On Arkansas' comeback... "They shot 58 percent in the second half. I though our defense was pretty poor."
On Allen Payne playing with more confidence offensively... "He did, but he tweaked his ankle that has been bothering him. He wasn't as effective in the second half and that kind of hurt us."
On Arkansas' Brandon Mitchell... "He played well. He outplayed the man that was guarding him, Kenny Gabriel."
On what he told the team after the game... "That will stay in the locker room."
On if this was one of the toughest losses of the season... "With everything we have on the line, absolutely. We are still playing for post season. When we show as little fight, heart, and desire as we did in the last 20 minutes, it is embarrassing."
On what it says about Arkansas to come back down 17 points... "I think it says that we gave them a lot of confidence. We had them on the ropes. We just don't have the team here yet to put that kind of team away. We gave them confidence based on how we performed when we got up 17."
On Arkansas' Ricky Scott... "He played well."
On the short bench causing a lot of fatigue... "There was definitely a lot of fatigue out there, but there isn't much I can go to on the bench either."
On if the guys have to get better or wait for new players... "It is both. They have to get better, and we have to keep recruiting."
Quoting Auburn Players
Kenny Gabriel, Sr., F.
On losing the lead... "We just stopped playing defense. That sums everything up. We had a lot of turnovers. We were knocking down shots at the beginning, but at the end we started taking "hero" shots, and then we just stopped playing defense."
On the loss being difficult... "It's very tough, because we know that we could have won that game easily. All we had to do was take care of the ball and make the simple plays and play defense how we were playing it. Obviously you could tell that we stopped playing defense, and they were hot from the 3. They were making shots and being more aggressive than we were."
On fatigue being a factor in the loss... "No, I don't think it was. I'm surprised we just stopped playing defense. It had nothing to do with fatigue, because we should have each other's back and tonight we didn't. We just let people drive right by us and we weren't there to help each other. We all weren't on the same page."
On thoughts during the 17-point lead... "We just got complacent. Being up as a home team, you have to just keep pouncing on them. We started to let up and gave them hope, and they came out with a win."
Allen Payne, So., F.
On losing the lead... "We broke down at the end of the game, especially myself. I had a big turnover against the zone. I broke down twice on BJ Young. We have to be tougher mentally. I take that one. We were there. Those three plays stick out to me the most. I just broke down on BJ twice and threw the ball directly to the other team. We have to finish those games out if we're ever up that much."
On Arkansas... "They fought. You have to hand that to them, but that's one that we definitely have to have, especially playing as well as we did in the first half. You have to take your hat off to them. They fought and they never gave up throughout the entire game."
On the switch to the zone... "We've played pretty well in zone. We have all year. We just tried to make an adjustment and they did as well, so we had breakdowns. Then we went back to man and still had breakdowns, so we just need to be mentally tougher."
On the absence of Varez Ward and Chris Denson... "I miss them a lot. We lost a lot of production, but it's an opportunity for a lot of guys to step up, like Tony (Neysmith) and myself. It's a part of the game. People go out, for whatever reason, and everybody has to step up. Everybody on this team is capable of helping us win."
Quoting Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson
Opening statement... "First, my hat's off to Auburn. I tell you what, they came out and threw a mighty punch at us early on. They were making shots from all over the place. I think they were like 5-of-6 from 3-point land. I mean, contested shots. We were down early, but the thing I like about our team, they wouldn't go away. I thought in the first half, I thought Rickey (Scott) was the guy that carried us for the most part. He was making some tough plays, making free throws, and that allowed us to get the lead down to seven, which is kind of manageable. Second half, they went up again, and I thought then we had some other guys really kick into gear. I thought Brandon (Mitchell) probably played the best game he's played thus far. The thing I like about our team was, Auburn's a very physical basketball team, and we matched their physicalness, and I think that enabled us to really hang in there and just hang around and be in position to have a chance to win the game. Obviously, the things we haven't been doing on the road down the stretch, you have to make plays whether it be offensively or defensively. I thought today we did those things. Like making free throws. We made free throws at critical times. We got stops at critical times. We rebounded the basketball at critical times, and that's what you have to do in order to win on the road."
On being down 17 points in the first half and being able to get their first road win of the season... "They didn't panic. I didn't think they panicked. Even though Auburn went up, obviously we had something to do with it, but I think Auburn had a lot to do with it. They were making some unbelievable shots, and I thought we were a little tentative. We had some turnovers that led to some easy opportunities for them, but I think once we settled down, I thought we had some guys that came in and gave us some good minutes off the bench. Once we settled down, I thought things started going the opposite direction. We did a good job of attacking them. They attacked us early. I thought we did a better job of attacking them, especially in transition and just creating opportunities where they couldn't set their defense up."
On Brandon Mitchell having a double-digit scoring game after joining the basketball team in January after finishing the football season... "I think the great thing about that is he's been playing basketball all his life. It's different when guys haven't been playing basketball. If you ask him, he'd probably say his first love is basketball. Football is what pays the bills right now, but I think he's one of these guys that will probably sneak into the rec. gym when he shouldn't be, and he's playing basketball. Coach (Bobby) Petrino probably shouldn't hear that right? But I just think he has a good basketball IQ, and you can just tell that as you listen to him. He has a good basketball understanding."
On getting his first SEC road win in his home state... "I'm so focused on our basketball team getting better, I think, more than anything else. I think we've had some opportunities to win some games. We didn't close them. We didn't finish. We didn't play for the full 40 minutes. We had some adversity take place, so for me more than anything else, to see our guys kind of follow through, to get over that hump, so to speak, that to me is more exciting. I'm not into the personal stuff. I'm more in for our guys because they worked extremely hard, and for them to actually finish off a game in the fashion that they did, I'm more proud of them. Hopefully it's a sign of more things to come for our basketball program. We grew up today."
On BJ Young starting slow, but contributing later in the game... "That's the thing about our basketball team. Our team is a team that we have to have a lot of pieces that are playing well. There can't just be one or two pieces, and so on every night, it could be any of these guys. BJ's had some big halves, but today, Rickey had a big half. In the second half, Brandon steps up for us. Mardracus (Wade) was pretty solid throughout. Julysses Nobles is just a big player. I thought BJ was great at orchestrating because he got a lot of attention. Then obviously going down the stretch, he made some big plays for us, and it wasn't just on offense. Again, I want our guys to not just to play a good game on offense. It has to be about our defense, and I thought our defense was the difference in the game. You wouldn't think that, but I thought our defense was the difference in the game. I think that's why, when you see (Auburn) going to the free throw line at the end, fatigue was a factor. Fatigue was a factor in this game."
On Auburn playing without suspended players, Varez Ward and Chris Denson, and the impact that had... "I can't speak to what took place. You wouldn't think the way they started off the game that those guys, they were playing awfully well. We're fortunate. We hung around, and we had an opportunity to finish the game, and we did. We went to the free throw line, and Mike Sanchez made some big free throws, a guy that's been out for quite a while. I thought just having him, the physical presence, along with a guy like Brandon. Then I think what happens is, your other guys have that same mindset. Second half, I think we may have outrebounded them. They took it to us in the first half, but I thought in the second half, we really challenged ourselves and really attacked the glass and made them shoot difficult shots."
Quoting Arkansas Players
Rickey Scott, So., G.
On what enabled them to have a big comeback... "Definitely there was no adversity. Nobody was fighting after the last road games. We all stayed as one."
On Brandon Mitchell's leadership role today... "He definitely stepped up. I was surprised myself when he was huddling us up like that, but he is used to it as well. He has done it once before. I don't think we really listened to him back then, but now I definitely am going to listen to him."
Brandon Mitchell, So., G.
On what enabled them to have a big comeback... "I think we came together as a team. We tried to huddle up every dead ball and just kept the communication going. We just wanted to be out there, one family, one heartbeat."
On being a leader on the floor today... "I think the biggest thing for us was just staying together like we said earlier. On the road you are going to face a lot more adversity. Everybody in the gym is against you, so you have to stay together and you have to be brothers out there. That is the one thing we wanted, to make sure we keep the communication open. We had to make sure we were rotating great on defense and also sharing the ball and making sure we were in the right sets at the right time."
On being more in basketball shape for this game... "I think I am in a lot better basketball shape. It is something we do a great job in practice, you know, running, and that is our style of basketball. I had to really get into basketball shape to be able to contribute to the team."
On what it feels like to have a win like this after his short time on the team...
"It feels great. It is something I have been telling the players. I don't care how many points I score, I just want to get in and do the nasty work and make sure we come out with a win, whatever it takes."