March 3, 2012
Quoting Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee
On ending the season with a win for the seniors... "More than anything, I am proud of these seniors. It is just one of those things for guys like Kenny (Gabriel) and Adrian (Forbes) and Jake (Drum) that when you are on the front-end of a new coach taking over, and there have been some lean years before the new coach got here, I am more than thankful that those guys gave me a chance to coach them. They helped me in the first two years establish a foundation of how hard, tough, and how much fight that we are going show despite our record. Like kids who stay like that, they typically don't get to reap the rewards when we get this thing turned, and we are at the top of this league. I am proud of these guys, and I am proud of the way they fought. I am proud that they went out with a win on their Senior Day and showed this crowd that they are winners."
On LSU's 10-1 run... "I just kept telling these guys to stay persistent. More than anything, LSU went on the run, but it was part of our drought. We are going to have droughts, because we aren't that offensive team. We let down defensively when we get up by 10 or 12. We got lax and gave up two threes in transition and a layup that contributed to their run. I used a couple of timeouts and told those guys we have to get back to being persistent and guard, regardless if we make shots or not. I am proud that these guys made their free throws down the stretch. "
On Auburn's free throw shooting... "We have shot free throws pretty well since we have gotten into conference play. We work on them all the time, and especially at home, you are going to be more confident. Guys stepped up and made them, so I am proud of them."
On the run that started the second half...
"I just told the guys to be aggressive. When you have that kind of lead, you want to come out and establish a separation in those first four or five minutes. We were able to do that. I told Frankie (Sullivan) and those seniors to be aggressive in those first four or five minutes. LSU is a good defensive team, so you got to go, what I call hooping, and Frankie went out there and hooped for the first five minutes. He made basketball plays off of the plays we were running. "
On Frankie sitting before halftime... "He had two fouls. I would rather have him out there for all 40 minutes, but he was in foul trouble. I was trying to do as much offense and defense with him at the end of the second half."
On the defense shutting down LSU after their run... "I got aggressive there after the timeout. We had to get back to guarding and the guys did that. I am proud of the way they responded."
On possible first-round SEC opponents... "We talk about the season being three phases, and we just finished the second one. You have the non-conference play which is the first phase followed by conference play which is phase two, and now in phase three, no matter what you did all year long or no matter the type of team you were, records are thrown out the window. Crazier things have happened, and we have seen them in other leagues, and we have seen them in this league as recently as Georgia. What I know about my team is that we are going to go into New Orleans with a lot of confidence with a little bit of momentum. We have always talked about getting that win to get ourselves going in and what this team has proven all along, is that in this league we haven't gotten over the hump and beaten people, but we have played well against everybody in this league. We are going to into the conference tournament, no matter what the matchup, thinking we are going to go in and win the whole thing."
On the importance of winning a fifth SEC game... "It is more so for the fans to let them know things are moving in a positive direction. We eclipsed last season's win total and last season's conference win total. Nobody is going to be disappointed or frustrated than I am because I want to win every game. I am impatient just like all coaches are. At the same time, there is a patience and a perspective that we all have to have, including me and the fans. Knowing where I started with this program, there is a lot of growth that has to take place. When you are trying to grow, there are growing pains and that is what you see happening. With a team like ours, you can't sustain the type of injuries that we have had all year to potential starts. You look on the bench today, and we had three potential starters in street clothes. We are not there yet where we have the depth or overall talent level to overcome injuries to three potential starters. We are going to keep growing. There are no quick fixes or overnight remedies. We are in the middle of it. Everybody enjoys that destination but you better enjoy the journey. The best thing about it is that I have done this before at UTEP and understand that. I might be a little bit more patient then some other guys."
Quoting LSU Head Coach Trent Johnson
On Auburn's run in the second half... "Well, I thought they were the aggressor and I thought they were the better team from start to finish. Their energy was good and Kenny (Gabriel) got them off to a great start hitting some deep threes. There are some times where we try to do it individually by ourselves. They were the better team. They played harder and were very physical."
On the lack of momentum... "Their energy was great and they played extremely well, I just thought for the first time all year, our three post guys had opportunities and didn't make plays. What's uncharacteristic was that we shot pretty good from the perimeter. Offensively and defensively we have to execute on all cylinders for us to beat and compete with a lot of people."
On the SEC Tournament... "I told them when we took a timeout with about 45 seconds to go that we have to get through this last 45 seconds, keep your head up and make sure you congratulate them, because they beat you start to finish. Bottom line, we lost three games in a row and we have to put that behind us and get back home and get ready for a new season. That's what tournaments are. They're a new season and a fresh start."
Quoting Auburn Players
Frankie Sullivan, Jr., G.
On getting rest before halftime... "I was just being aggressive. Coaches told us to come out in the second half and just hoop, so that the seniors can go out on a good note. That's what I tried to do. I got hot for a second, and they kept coming to me so I was just trying to knock down shots."
On winning on senior day... "There's nothing like it. I think that with us winning this game, and going to the SEC tournament, will give us a little motivation. We can play with anybody. We've been doing it all year. We just need to do it for 40 minutes. Anything can happen in the SEC tournament, as you can see from a couple years back win Georgia did it. Anybody can win the SEC Tournament, you just have to go out and play the game."
Kenny Gabriel, Sr., F.
On waving goodbye to the crowd... "It was tough, because I like playing in front of this crowd. They've been behind us for the last three years that I've been here. I couldn't hold back the tears, because I'm going to miss this place. I'm going to miss my teammates, and it was just a real emotional moment for me, but I'm better now."
On seeing his brother play... "I saw a couple minutes of it, at around 11:20 a.m. I want to say. He got the ball at the top of the key, and I said he better not pass the ball, but he shot it, and missed the three. I always scream at the TV. There's never really a chance where I can sit down and watch my brother play. The times that I can I just scream at the TV, and tell him to not pass the ball. He had senior night last Saturday, and my parents went to his game, and not my game. I think they had a good year though, so he's not too down about his season."
Chris Denson, So., G.
On returning after his absence... "I mean it's all about stepping up. My absence, Allen Payne, Josh Langford and Varez really affected us scoring. Coach always says to step up. Noel stepped up. When I got back that was the main goal. Adrian was big. I was big."
On Barbee saying they just need to hoop... "For instance, coach called a play for Frankie, and it didn't go through, and we just sometimes out there we look lost, and coach doesn't like that. Coaches just said to go hoop, because if the play is for Frankie and he doesn't get it, and I get the ball coach says you just have to hoop. He has trust in us, and all our seniors, and all out players. Every time we say hoop it just means do what you can. Get buckets as we say."
Quoting LSU Players
Ralston Turner, So., G
On the outcome of the game... "I think this time playing Auburn we didn't do a good job of guarding them. Last time they made it tough on us, so we knew it was going to be a tough game. We give credit to them, but we had a few break downs that cost us, and we could never get back in it."
On being back in Alabama... "It was good for me. I'm from Alabama and I grew up loving the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. At the same time, I came here with my team, and it's all about basketball."
On the SEC Tournament... "We have to go back and regroup for this week. It's a big week. Hopefully we can make a push in the tournament."