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March 10, 2016

Kevin Stallings

Matthew Fisher-Davis

Damian Jones

Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee - 67, Vanderbilt - 65

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Vanderbilt. We'll ask Coach Stallings for opening thoughts on the game.

COACH STALLINGS: Yeah, I thought Tennessee really was aggressive in the first half, and I thought we played a little tentative early on, missed some shots that we're accustomed to making. These guys are very intelligent. They know that there's a lot on the line, and there's been a lot on the line for us for the last several weeks. I just thought maybe we played a little bit tight.

We played hard. We just were a little tight at the beginning. I thought we loosened up in the second half and played much better. But Tennessee, they played well, and we congratulate them.

Q. For both players, Matt and Damian, this is looking ahead a little bit, but you guys know the NCAA Tournament is out there. How do you guys approach the next few days? Do you feel like you're still in?
MATTHEW FISHER-DAVIS: I don't know. I guess we just got to wait and see what happens on Sunday.

DAMIAN JONES: Time will tell. We'll see what happens.

Q. During the review, what were you guys talking about? What was going through your minds?
DAMIAN JONES: What's the review? What did you say? I mean, we were getting ready to go into overtime. We thought the shot was good, so we were just preparing, getting everything set just to keep going.

MATTHEW FISHER-DAVIS: Yeah, we were just trying to get back and locked in to play five more minutes.

Q. Matt, do you feel like some of -- that you guys have been on a hot streak the last month or so. Do you feel like some of the issues you had at midseason were back tonight, or was it just a bad night?
MATTHEW FISHER-DAVIS: I don't know. I just felt like first half we came out pressing, like Coach said. We missed a lot of shots we normally make. We made great adjustments the second half. We just came up short.

Q. Kevin, just kind of a combination of what I asked the guys. You get a long time until Sunday now. A lot of things could hash out. Are you going to look at that? Or are you going to address the NCAA Tournament with the guys?
COACH STALLINGS: Well, I don't know what you mean by address. I don't know that -- I mean, we'll address some things, sure, and we'll have to go back and put our heads together as a staff and figure out what the next few days hold and then be prepared for whatever happens on Sunday.

Q. Kevin, the zone, the 2-1-2 press, all those things, was that kind of to break their rhythm at that point? Because I know that's not what you like to play.
COACH STALLINGS: Our zone honestly has not been very effective for most of this year, but it got them slowed down and got us going. So I thought the press in front of it was good because it took some time. Just kind of scattered the game a little bit, which is what we needed at that point. They were in a rhythm and feeling good about themselves, so the zone helped us.

But it was -- it was effective. It was. It was effective today.

Q. Kevin, given the height advantage that you had, how disappointed are you that Damian only took eight shots and only got two rebounds?
COACH STALLINGS: Well, it wasn't his best day, and I don't want to -- I don't want to say too much because he was working hard in there. So they built a crowd around him or sat on his lap or whatever.

At one point, the official came over and told me, hey, listen, we're going to start calling the fouls with them backing up into him and holding him. I mean, he walked over unsolicited and said that to me. They never did, but he said they were going to. So at least they noticed.

Q. Kevin, you said earlier the guys played a little tight in the first half. Is there a concern that, in a game this big, that the guys within themselves couldn't be ready to play necessarily?
COACH STALLINGS: It wasn't a case of not being ready to play. It's a case of wanting to play well, almost wanting to play well too badly. It wasn't a case of not being ready to play or not playing hard. We got open shots and didn't make them. I think you see this a lot. I think you see a lot of times the second day of a tournament, the team that played the night before comes out and gets off to a good start, and the team that hasn't played yet has to find some rhythm.

So there's 20 minutes of warmup time before the game. The first game lasted a little bit long. So our guys didn't have their normal time to prepare, warm up, and so you're kind of out there, and the game's going. And you have to make adjustments. You have to be able to adjust to all of that.

But we just had a hard time getting loose and getting in a rhythm at the beginning of the game. And then, again, Tennessee felt good about themselves and played well in the first half.

Q. The two teams that played the first game were a little slow in starting, and you guys go 0 for 9 on your first nine threes, which is kind of uncharacteristic. Is it maybe harder for shooters to get used to the background as deep as it is in most places?
COACH STALLINGS: I don't think it's the background. We came out here and shot yesterday. I don't think the background should have anything to do with it. I think it's -- you come out and you play the -- it's tournament play, and like you said, the first two teams struggled at the beginning, and they didn't play yesterday.

I just think you often find that that team that's played the night before can come out and get into a rhythm and lock into the game a little bit more quickly. I actually addressed that with my team.

We played hard. We tried hard. And we just -- again, it took us until the second half really to hit any kind of a stride.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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