Ole Miss vs. Auburn Postgame Quotes
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

March 2, 2011

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Auburn Locker Room

Head Coach Tony Barbee

On this being the biggest comeback he's been a part of...
"No, I'd have to reach back, but I'm sure we've had some somewhere along the line. It was an outstanding effort from this game, even though we were down by 20. We've been down 20 before. We've been up 20 before. This team has shown fight. This team has gotten better. It's not even the same team from the first game of the year. It's not even the same team from the first game of the conference season. This is a totally different team. What I told the guys was with our record over the last 10 games of the year, we shouldn't have had 500 fans in here. If they didn't show up, I wouldn't be mad at them for our record. What this goes to show is that, yes, they want you to win, but more than that, it's not about alley-oop dunks, it's not about 3-pointers. It's about if you give everything you have, every second you're on the floor, these fans appreciate it. They made a huge difference in the game tonight with how loud they were. It was kind of a tale of two halves."

On Rob Chubb and Kenny Gabriel...
"Chubb was big. As their big guys got into foul trouble, we had an advantage. We ran some stuff to Chubb when it was nip and tuck, and he came through. He made some big shots and made some big free throws. Kenny, I don't know that we've seen a game like this from him since the first exhibition game. How long ago was that? He has to believe in himself. I can tell him how good he is, but you have to have a belief in what you are by what you put into this game. Kenny is good, he just has to believe he can do it every second of the game, every game. Whether he shoots it like that is another thing, but playing that aggressive, we've been looking for that for a long time."

On the aggressiveness on offense...
"We kept attacking whether it was off the post-ups or off the drives. We got some calls and we got to the line. How about Chris Denson down the stretch? He made a bonehead freshman play, but he didn't fold and he didn't collapse. He bounced back, he got that ball, and he got fouled and sunk two big free throws. You can't worry about mistakes. You have to play on and play through it and make plays to win, and we did."

On the importance of cutting Ole Miss's lead to under 10 at the start of the second half...
"It was. We talked about the first four minutes of the second half being huge. If we can crack into this a little more, and obviously, Kenny's two 3s to come out of the second half were big to get it back to 10 immediately. It gave us momentum, and it got our crowd involved and got them into the game. They made a big difference."

On having guys play with four fouls late in the game and frequently subbing...
"We had to do it. Kenny (Gabriel) and E.J. (Earnest Ross) got their fourth fouls with a lot of time left on that clock. We had to do our best to go offense and defense. Even when we couldn't sub those guys in for offense, Josh Langford did a great job and made some big plays and got some offensive rebounds and a couple of put-backs. I was just proud of the guys and the way they fought, because every one of them helped us. I thought Tony Neysmith played a great game. Josh (Wallace) was struggling a bit and had a couple of turnovers, and I just had to get him out to get his composure back. Tony made some great plays and had some big passes. He played really good defense, I thought, on (Chris) Warren. I'm proud of the guys. They deserve it because of how hard they've been working."

On defending Chris Warren...
"We didn't let him get loose. He's such a great player, and you have to play him no-help, no-catch when he gives it up. You want to make every shot he takes, a tough contested shot. You can't bail him out by fouling him, and we only put him to the line five times. Probably bigger than that was the job we did on (Zach) Graham, who had 30 on us in Oxford, but only had seven or eight on us tonight."

On this game contributing to a fun season regardless of the struggles...
"I appreciate the guys. They have given me everything they have. They have given this university everything they have. The wins and losses can beat you down as a player. These guys have not let it. They could have very easily folded up tent, but it speaks to their character. It also speaks to the character of this staff that we kept driving them and pushing them to bigger and better things, and that's why you've seen this team get better over the course of the season."

On thanking the students after the game...
"I wanted to show my appreciation again. The students were closest, so I couldn't get to the people up top. They had every reason to not show up all season long because of the record, but I think they see what we were trying to do this year with establishing how we're going to play, the intensity, the desire, the heart and all of those things. Those are the things that basketball fans respond to. If we're going to continue to build and grow this program and the wins come, I want to make sure in tough times I show my appreciation, as they show their appreciation by showing up. This being the last home game of the year, it was my last chance to thank them up close and personal."

#33 Earnest Ross, G, Sophomore

On coming off back-to-back tough losses with a win...
"It feels good coming out in front of our home crowd in the last home game to prove to the fans that they can look forward to next year. It was big game for us going into our next game in the SEC Tournament. Hopefully we can keep up the momentum and keep on winning."

On coming back in the second half after falling behind...
"It is tough, but like coach says, we always have to stick together. We know we are going to have droughts like that, but we need to continue to fight through and make shots. We were not making shots in the first half, and it put us down by a lot. Then in the second half, we came out making plays and pressing and doing little things like that that help us score."

On Kenny Gabriel's two 3-point shots early in the second half...
"They were big. I told everyone at halftime that we needed to come out and make plays, and he came through and connected with two big 3-pointers. That is what we needed. It got us moving, and it got the crowd moving."

On the difference between the team at the start of the season and now...
"I think we have grown a lot more since the beginning of the season. Practicing every day, competing with each other and just playing in the SEC alone makes you a lot better. For a lot of guys on the team, this is their first go and to continue to plays these teams back-to-back really makes us grow. Going into the SEC tournament, we know we will have to keep playing well and hopefully come up with some wins."

On what changed after the first half...
"We came out dead, and we came out flat in the first half. Some of us were not ready, too. Once we come out and get into the flow of things, Coach (Barbee) will give us his speech at the half, and then we come out ready to play the second half. It is something that we are getting used to, but Coach does not want us to. He says we should start the game the way we finish the game, and that is what we are going to have to do."

#22 Kenny Gabriel, Forward, Junior

On his performance tonight...
"That has to be my best game at Auburn. I wish I could play like this more, but through the course of the season, your body wears down a bit. I am happy we got this win."

On his two 3-pointers early in the second half...
"Since the beginning of the year, everyone has said that they feed off of my energy, so I am happy that I knocked them down and got everybody in the gym rowdy and ready to play."

On the difference in the team in the first half and the second half...
"In the first half we were a step behind on defense, and we could not put the ball in the hole on offense. In the second half we came out together, as a team. We told each other that we could win this game, and that is what we did."

On beating a team you lost to early in the season...
"We get satisfaction because we know we can play with any team in the country. All we have to do is put our minds to it and rebound and score. Whenever you get a chance to make a play, you have to make it."

On the difference between the team at the beginning of the season and now...
"We have grown a lot. You can tell on the defensive side and the offensive side. Then tonight you can go to the free throw section, and we made 31-of-40 free throws. I think we have grown as a team, and we know we can count on each other."

On gaining confidence from playing well late in the season ...
"It gives us a lot of confidence. We know that if we stick together as one, we can play with anybody, and we can go in and fight like dogs and put ourselves in a position to win every game."

#41 Rob Chubb, C, Sophomore

On the team's intensity in the second half ...
"We were going after it. We were just not going to lose. We wanted to get out there and get at them."

On coming back late...
"We have made it a habit of going down early and then coming back. We are getting better at coming back, and it is going to be a problem for other teams. If we are playing well and then go on some of the runs that we do, it is definitely going to be a problem for other teams."

On his performance late in the game ...
"In the first half my head was elsewhere, and then I told myself it was winning time. I came out and started making strong moves and trying to go through them and get something."

On when the momentum changed...
"In the first 10 minutes of the second half they were not hitting their shots. They came out in the second half and were dry. We were taking advantage of what they were giving us and making smart plays and finally penetrating and getting down low. It worked out for the best."

On big plays giving the team energy...
"Any energy plays in general are huge. It unites the team and makes them want to go at them that much harder. If I see an opportunity to make one of those plays, I am going to and if someone else has a chance, it's their job to make it. It gets the crowd going and the team honed in."


Ole Miss Locker Room

Head Coach Andy Kennedy

Opening statement...
"We couldn't get it done. In the end, we needed a body in there because they kept throwing it close, and we couldn't get a stop. We had a big steal, but we just couldn't make a play."

On Auburn's intensity in the second half...
"Well, we started the half allowing Kenny Gabriel to shoot back-to-back threes. It gave them life and energized their crowd, and then we were in a war from that point forward. We shot 56 percent in the first half and 26 percent in the second. Auburn shot 23 percent the first half and 56 percent in the second half. It's like the whole game swun, and we were never able to get it back under control."

On the front line...
"We were out of position and playing behind, as opposed to fighting to the top side. It seems like we were slow reacting to the ball. The zone bothered them early, and once you get into a little bit of a rhythm those shots become easier. We lost Earnest Ross a couple of times and allowed the guys that are the percentage shooters for them to step up and make some shots."

#5 Dundrecous Nelson, G, So.

On his performance in tonight's game...
"I felt really confident tonight. Especially when we started shooting around, I felt good shooting the ball."

On what went wrong in the second half...
"It goes back to us letting up and not playing hard. We came out as if we already had the game over with at the half because we had the big lead. We just came out flat and, whether we are coming out flat in the first half or in the second half, we have to stay consistent."

On why the team wasn't able to put together a complete game...
"To be honest, I really can't answer that question. I don't know what is going on inside of other players' heads and whatnot, I just know that as a team we are not playing hard. We just have to do what we have to do, and if we want to make a place in the tournament, then we just have to play hard."

#1 Terrance Henry, F, Jr.

On how the team broke down in the second half...
"We just came out relaxed in the second half and they went on a good run to win the game."