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AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

March 20, 2009

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Auburn Head Coach Jeff Lebo
Opening statements...
"I'm proud of our team. Our defensive effort was outstanding, and to do it really without Korvotney Barber in the game much in the first half or in the second half. I thought (Brendon) Knox did an excellent job. Johnnie Lett defensively came in, you can still see he's dragging his foot. His ankle's still bothering him. I thought defensively we were outstanding. They were in a tough situation having to travel in one day and come all the way across and have one day to get ready and play. I'm just happy for our kids. We shot the ball pretty well from 3, and they're a team that leads the country in 3-point percentage defense and we shot 38 percent."

On defending Jerome Jordan without Korvotney Barber playing much...
"We did a good job on him. We would double him, and they're used it - they get it all the time. We wanted to double him for two reasons: One, he's good, he can score one on one; and two, to hopefully keep (Barber) out of foul trouble. You see what that got us. They work off of him and they want to get him a touch almost every time down the court before they look to score.

On Barber getting in early foul trouble...
"I'll have to look at them on tape. That was frustrating. I was prepared to play him with two (fouls) if we needed to, but we had a nice lead and got to the half and we were still up 11. He got two (more) quick ones, but he had nine points in 13 minutes - that's pretty good work. I told him after the game he didn't even need to shower. He could just go ahead home - he didn't even sweat."

On getting a lot of steals...
"Our quickness was evident out there - our speed and quickness. We got our hands on a lot of balls and turned them over a little bit. Eighteen turnovers is high for them."

On hustle plays sparking team...
"We've been doing a good job all year of getting to balls - 50/50 balls for the most part. With our quickness and our toughness going after those things we've come up with a lot of those balls and they're difference makers in games. We've got some quickness in a lot of different spots to go after those things. We just play like a bunch of junkyard dogs. That's what we do. That's kind of been what we look like out there. We have nobody that gets hardly any recognition, just a bunch of guys that play well together and play hard. Somebody different steps up every night. I thought Rasheem (Barrett) was good tonight. We just play tough. That's what we do, and defensively we were outstanding tonight."

On Rasheem Barrett...
"He was great. He shot the ball better than 50 percent for the most part. He took pretty good shots. Defensively he was solid tonight. I wish he was healthy all year. It was just frustrating not to have him healthy all year, but he's playing really well. One thing about him - coming down the stretch he's making some of the right plays offensively. His shot attempts are down but his shooting percentage is up. He's taking better shots and making better plays offensively which is nice to see."

On if being one win away from New York is motivation...
"Oh yeah. It would be a nice treat for them, but we've got some work to do yet."

On the crowds...
"The crowds have been great. Without the students here people have been down close and have been loud and energetic. It's been fun, actually. It certainly was loud out there. Those people that came were into the game and we all appreciate that I know."

Quantez Robertson
On playing without Barber...
"We have some pretty good big men that come off the bench and contribute. Brendon Knox has been playing pretty well down the stretch. He gave us some good minutes and some good effort out there on the floor. We did pretty well with him in there."

On the key to playing well defensively...
"Just trying to read the post players' eyes to see where they're going to throw the ball, and trying to tip the ball when they drive to the hole. We were able to do that. We were able to get some steals and go on fast breaks and get points off of that."

On if the officiating made it tough to get into a flow...
"Being that we're playing with new referees, you have to get used to how they're calling the game, and just go from there and try to play your game as much as possible. You don't look for the referees to call too much because you don't know exactly what they're going to call, so you just have to play through the physical play and play your game."

On knowing every game could be his last...
"It is very emotional to try to come out my last season with a championship, whether it's the SEC Championship, the NCAA or the NIT. I'm just trying to play every game like it's my last, and hold no regrets and just play as hard as I can night in and night out."

On continuing the team's good play down the stretch...
"It's been good. We ended the SEC with this type of streak and we've just been trying to keep it up the rest of the year and it's paid off for us."

On if he agrees with Jeff Lebo's assessment that the team is a bunch of junkyard dogs...
"I would say that too. In practice we do the exact same thing we did tonight on the court. We got out there pretty tough and just play as hard as we can and get to every loose ball, and if that means going through the crowd then we go through the crowd, or the cheerleaders or whatever."

Frankie Sullivan
On if he was feeling good offensively...
"Yeah I was. That's my job on the team. That's my role is when Tay (Waller) is down is taking a couple of shots and seeing how I'm feeling and hopefully lifting the team up and I did a great job of that tonight."

On the team defending Jerome Jordan...
"It was a big point for us all week once we found out we had to play them because he's a great scorer on the inside. We knew coach was going to want to double him and get some steals and that's what we were able to do. We had to watch the ball like 90 percent of the time. We try to watch the ball anyway, but we really had to watch it tonight and also get after the shooters."

Tulsa Coach Doug Wojcik
Opening Statement...
I tell you, Auburn is a quick team. Their quickness, we talked about it before the game. We talked about adjusting to the quickness before the game and we didn't do a good job with that. They [Auburn] did a great job. They turned us over 18 times and when you turn it over 18 times and shoot six of 12 from the free throw line, you're just not going to win games. Give them all the credit in the world. I thought we did a great job on getting [Korvotney] Barber in foul trouble and trying to control him a bit. We did a real nice job on [Tay] Waller for the most part in the game. Rasheem Barrett played his normal forward game and then of course Frankie Sullivan hurt us in the first half. Those four positions and the power forward position were really effective for them and we had a hard time guarding it. They were a very good team. Credit to them, but it just wasn't our night.

On coaching against Jeff Lebo...
I don't like him! I'm just kidding, he's fine. You know we talked about it a month or three weeks ago and said we'd probably end up meeting each other in the NIT and sure enough, it came true. I have no feelings one way or the other. If you're going to compete against somebody or go against somebody, I'd rather to compete against one of the good guys. He's one of the good guys. Certainly, I joined the Carolina family as an assistant and he's part of the Carolina family. He's treated me like a brother the whole time, so I have a lot to thank him for and certainly wish them well. I'm just so glad they had the year they had, got a little momentum and got that no building. It's pretty special down here.

On if playing a game so close to the last wore out on the team...
I'd like to think not, but how do you measure that quickness factor? I think that maybe it is a little bit apart of that. I thought Ben [Uzoh] played hard for the whole game. You're talking about 37 minutes versus that type of quickness. I understand the seven turnovers. I can't be too harsh on him when [DeWayne] Reed's playing 32. That's five minutes difference between the two of them. I don't think Jerome [Jordan] had a lot of pep in his step, but certainly they'll use that as an excuse. They [Auburn] played well and that's why they're a number one seed.