Postgame Quotes — Arkansas 75, Vols 65

RICK BARNES

(Opening statement)
“In the second half, we looked like a team that was trying to hold on as opposed to a team that was really trying to win a game. Our defense wasn’t very good. When you look down and someone shoots 59 percent in the second half, nothing else really needs to be said. We had a couple opportunities where we turned the ball over and where guys weren’t ready to catch the ball and do something with it. We knew today that we were going to have to get a lot from (Devon) Baulkman, (Detrick) Mostella, (Shembari) Phillips, and even (Brad Woodson), and they didn’t have a great day shooting the ball. I thought Armani Moore played as well as he’s played all year for what we asked him to do. He had so much on his shoulders to try to do, but he really tried to run the team. He made some terrific passes where guys weren’t able to convert them. We needed to have some guys knock down some threes. We started the game with exactly what we said we didn’t want to do, not finding our shooters in transition. We fought back, but we didn’t play as hard as we have to play in the second half to win a game.”

(On scouting report for Arkansas)
“I think it goes back to basketball IQ and transition defense. I’ve said before that bad offense could lead to bad defense and sometimes the post player has to step out and pick up a guard. I know early on that was a situation and a couple of guys were losing. I think it’s a matter of mental toughness because everyone knows that we’ve shown it to them enough. It’s a matter of getting back to the sense of urgency and knowing that is something that they’re looking for. We gave up a three early when we didn’t have our hands up and that was Armani (Moore). What can you say, he played and he was unbelievable at what he had to do but he needed more help from his teammates.”

(On the absence of Robert Hubbs III)
“He said something was wrong with his knee. I didn’t expect him to play by looking at the way he walks around. I’ve learned not to have any great expectations there.”

(On his analysis of tonight’s game)
“We’ve got guys that played enough minutes. You can look at (Devon) Baulkman’s 2-for-9 (field goals) and 1-for-6 (3-point field goals), (Detrick) Mostella’s 1-for-8 (field goals) and 1-for-6 (3-point field goals), or Shembari’s (Phillips) 6-for-14 (field goals) and 1-for-2 (3-point field goals). Shembari’s 14 shots, some of them weren’t very good shots. (SID Tom Satkowiak) just told me that it is the first time in a long time that Tennessee has started three freshmen. They got 55 percent of the points but we need those other guys. Detrick had a shot block and turned it over and I actually took Shembari out of the game because he wouldn’t shoot the ball. You’ve got to take open shots and we’ve done that all year. Our second-half defense is what hurt us today. They started driving the ball back at us and we didn’t respond very well.”

(On how the he will keep the team morale up after a couple losses in a row)
“We’ll rely a lot on Armani Moore. Armani has too much pride to let his teammates quit. You feel for him as much as anybody, I’ve said it before, you know what you’re going to get from Armani. He made some passes tonight that should’ve been easy plays and guys weren’t paying attention. But he’ll help us, and Kevin Punter will do his job. But we can’t put everything on Armani or even on our freshmen. We need right now Baulkman, we need Mostella, we need Shembari, we need Brad (Woodson), we need those guys to do more. We need them to do more on the defensive end.”

(On Admiral Schofield’s bounce back performance in the second half)
“He did play well, and we keep telling him to go at people. We knew that (Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley) was a guy they were going to throw the ball to a lot and we wanted to make him play defense. I think they came into the game surprised we even threw it inside. And we have to keep throwing the ball inside. But I say that, and Armani threw it in to Kyle (Alexander) and he wasn’t ready. We need Kyle to take the next step. We can’t continue to play with four offensive players on the floor. We need Derek Reese also, he had some shots tonight and he kept dribbling the ball out of there. We have to make those plays, we can’t just keep playing inside out. We need to get to the free throw line more than we’ve been getting there.”

(On Kevin Punter Jr.’s injury status)
“If he could play today, he would play. He doesn’t have a full range of motion to play. But I can tell you, he’s one kid, that if he could help the team, he would. But we’re not going to let him do something that’s going to hurt him moving forward, and we’re not going to put him in a situation where he won’t be successful. But he would play on one foot if we let him.”

(On winning the rebounding battle but losing the game)
“Well we lost the game because we couldn’t make out three-point shots. We were 4-for-21 at the three-point line. And some of those were good looks. We know we had to try to rebound the ball, but it goes back to transition defense in the first half hurting us and we didn’t get matched up. And if you look at their three guys that they count on a lot, two of them pretty much got their average, (Dusty) Hannahs and (Anthlon) Bell, but (Moses) Kingsley didn’t, and he’s the guy that hurt us up there (in the last game against Arkansas). But we just need to make some shots. And when you shoot 4-for-21 from three-point range you can’t win. And we had some good looks. We had plenty of looks and we just need to knock them down.”


 

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson
(Opening statement)
“First of all, I’m proud of our guys tonight. Our defense was excellent. Especially the second half. We wanted to disrupt what Tennessee wanted to do. (Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes) had those kids ready to play. I thought our energy was good from the beginning to the end. Our bench played really well; (Manuale) Watkins, Anton Beard really made some big plays for us in that game there. Trey Thompson continues to get better and better each and every game.”

(On Tennessee being short-handed with Kevin Punter Jr. out of the lineup)
“No, I didn’t know Punter got hurt until today, or (Tennessee wing) Robert Hubbs. I did not know. We prepare like everybody is going to play.”

(On getting into the zone in second half)
“They were doing a good job of attacking. We were getting a bunch of fouls called, a bunch of hand checking and all that, so I want our defense to be in attack and make them a jump-shooting team. They’re doing a good job of being there where they were. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. I thought our defense was effective. We want to be unpredictable. That’s who we are. Obviously, you like to press and go up-tempo, and I thought we ran out of that. It was working.”

(On his team’s effectiveness from beyond the arc)
“Well, we’re a small team by college standards, I think. We have a lot of guys who can knock shots down. If you got them, use them, and you have to make them. I thought our guys were off to a slow start in this particular game. I thought we pushed the ball in transition, but I always come back to our defense. We have to get stops. I thought that was the biggest difference in this game.”

(On the importance of this road win)
“It’s important in a lot of ways because of the next game on our schedule. We haven’t won since we’ve been down here. So this team is coming together and starting to see the potential, especially when they go on the road. Tennessee, to me, playing here other guys had to step up when people are hurt. I’m excited to see what our guys are doing right now. This time of year I get excited because my body tells me it’s getting postseason time. Our team is built for this time of the year—to get better. So, I’m glad to see it. Our depth is really paying off.”

(On if he would be interested in seeing men’s NCAA basketball games moving to four quarters)
“That is an odd question, isn’t it? I don’t think that’d beat me.”

(On if beating Tennessee is a big deal)
“Any win for us this time of year is big, isn’t it? Kudos to our guys. I thought they have the energy. They have the right mindset. They got better today. We got better.”


 

ARMANI MOORE

(On the Vols’ struggles to get defensive stops in the second half)
“It’s very tough. It’s bad when you see the offensive team scoring on you. You always have to take the ball out. It just drains your team defensively. We definitely have to get better from this, and work on paying attention to what our defensive assignments are.”

(On good shots not falling)
“I think our guys are just thinking about it too much. I was telling DB (Devon Baulkman) and Detrick (Mostella) that they have to just shoot the ball, they are known as shooters, and that’s what they do. Once they put the ball down and start play-making it kind of throws us out of offense, but for the most part those guys did a great job tonight taking some of the shots that they took, but we just have to be focused on the next game and making those shots.”

(On staying focused on the close of the regular season)
“It’s very tough. I don’t feel like we have anybody on this team that will lay down no matter who we play, and no matter what the adversity may be looking like right now. No matter what our record looks like I feel like we will always be playing for something.”

(On the freshman competing)
“Those guys are competitors. Like I said, there is no one on this team that is going to lay down. Shembari (Phillips) has been doing a great job lately, and showing what his talent has done for them. I think Admiral (Shofield) has been doing a good job, especially being undersized playing against bigger guys and figuring out where he needs to score. Both of those guys have been effective and have helped us this season.”

Grant Ramey covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/GrantRamey

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