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March 10, 2016

Rick Barnes

Armani Moore

Derek Reese

Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee - 67, Vanderbilt - 65

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to continue with Tennessee. We'll ask Coach Barnes for general thoughts on the game.

COACH BARNES: I'm just so excited for these guys, our seniors. They played their hearts out. Detrick Mostella, everyone who came in today did a great job for us. But I don't know what else you could ask from these guys here coming in.

We also have great respect for Vanderbilt, but we wanted to take care of the basketball. We thought that was the most important thing today, and really work hard on the defensive end. We knew they had to make a run in the second half, and I was just really pleased with the way we kept our poise when they did that.

Q. This is for Derek. Did you guys plan to have help defense come over on some of the big guys? When you were in there talking, I heard you mention about how you guys really try to have a team emphasis on defense, handling them.
DEREK REESE: Definitely, guarding their bigs. It's kind of tough being undersized. We try to close down the paint as much as we can, especially to get the ball inside because that's what they want to do. Most of the time, we really want to try not to get the ball. Try and deny it so they can get the ball inside.

Q. For Derek and Armani, after losing to Vanderbilt twice this year, did you feel like you just needed to play a more physical brand of basketball? If not physical, then inside today?
ARMANI MOORE: We just knew we had to come out and compete. We couldn't think about what happened earlier in the season. We just looked at it as 0-0. Coach told us in the locker room that it's going to come down to who just wants it the most. And I feel like our guys came out and showed that we wanted it.

DEREK REESE: Yeah, basically what Armani said. We took this as a new season. We looked at the film and mistakes that we made and stuff we did well against Vanderbilt the first two games. But like Coach said, it came down to who wanted to compete, who wanted it more.

Q. For both the players, could you talk about advancing and getting LSU tomorrow. You guys had a pretty good game against them there in Knoxville earlier in the year.
DEREK REESE: Yeah, definitely we played pretty well at home, but we can't sit here and just act like things are going to be easy tomorrow. It's still going to be a grind tomorrow. They're a very good team, a very good talented team. So we've still got to come ready to play.

ARMANI MOORE: I think the most important thing right now for our team is just to make sure that we replenish our bodies and get off our legs and make sure that we mentally lock in and come ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Armani, you said on TV that you thought the shot would count. What was the anxiety kind of going through your mind or going through the team's mind as you waited for the review?
ARMANI MOORE: I think -- when I was thinking about that, I just think about how many minutes that we had already played. It was one of those teams, we had to play in the play-in game, and we were just trying to get off our feet. I didn't know the shot didn't count at the time, but I was just thinking about it like, man, we got to play another five minutes, but I was just glad that it didn't count.

Q. Armani, that three with about a minute left in the game, I guess, how big was that? And how confident were you that that was going in?
ARMANI MOORE: I mean, it just comes down to being a senior, being a leader on this team. I was just pretty much saying, why not? I had a pretty good look at it. My teammates and my coaches have had confidence in me throughout the whole year. So I was able to take the shot, and thank God it went in.

Q. Rick, after that last layup at Vanderbilt and you came storming onto the court, what were you protesting about right there?
COACH BARNES: I knew it wasn't good. No. I really can't talk about it, but I really appreciate the officials. They handled me well and just told me to get back. You know, emotions sometimes can get the best of you, but the fact is it was a great win for our guys. It really was.

And the key stat, if you really look at it, is the fact that you look at points off turnovers, they only had five. You go back to the other games, they just had lit us up in that area. We only had seven turnovers before the game, and we knew at some point that they would press and go to some zone. We weren't great, but in a way, I thought that Armani would get a little bit more rest at that point in time.

Yet I'm just happy for our guys. They've worked hard. They've done everything we've asked. They get the chance to play again.

Q. Rick, you said you thought the shot wasn't good. I guess, how much did you talk about overtime in the huddle? It seemed like a lot of the guys were looking toward the win.
COACH BARNES: I didn't know if it was or wasn't good. Actually, as soon as I turned around, Coach Lanier said to me, he said, Coach, that shot wasn't good. I said really? We had talked about that we already had our lineup in the game that we were going to go back out with. What I was trying to do the first part of that time-out was I'm thinking we're going into overtime.

Detrick was down a little bit on himself, and Devon Baulkman was upset because those guys -- I don't know what happened. I thought we started celebrating too soon and gave a great shooter a wide open look because they got caught back and weren't on the edge. Armani had gotten on them earlier about, hey, guys, don't be celebrating. So I was just trying to get their heads back into the game and trying to tell our bench, hey, you guys have got to be ready. We've got five minutes to go here.

Then, obviously, I started looking at some of the fans behind the score table, and they were all saying it was no good. But until Coach Lanier said it to me, I didn't even think it was or it wasn't. That didn't cross my mind.

Q. Rick, talk about Damian Jones held to eight shots and two rebounds. How key was that stat?
COACH BARNES: Again, we knew we were switching everything. For the most part defensively, we did a pretty good job. We broke down a little bit more in the second half because I do think we got fatigued a little bit, and we were really trying to -- oftentimes, there was guards down there just trying to sit on top of him. We knew they were going to try to throw it over the top, and we just wanted to go get it. We said, if it's up in the air, it's a loose ball, let's go get it.

I really thought -- again, you go back to the last game, their perimeter guys did a great job of driving our post players, and that's where they kind of got back in the game again today. Our guards really fought hard down in the low post trying to do some things.

Derek Reese, that's something we've asked him to do all year, and they went to a couple possessions where they just went four around one kind and trying to just pound it in there. Reese was down in there, but he got great help side defense from the back. And we were trying to get more pressure on the ball so that if they did throw it, it was up in the air longer, and we could go get it.

Q. You talked a little bit about the fatigue factor. You know your team obviously better than I do. I don't know how fatigued they were. When was the decision made to only go with seven guys?
COACH BARNES: Well, again, I think -- you know, Shembari had a tough day again today, and matchups, we just felt that's what we needed to do. Just with matchups, and we felt those guys were really zeroed in.

Now, tomorrow we're going to have to have our bench. It's going to be tough for Armani -- I'll say that again. I think Armani is tough. Everybody makes a big deal about the fatigue factor. They're playing basketball. They've got to want to go out -- there's things a lot tougher in life to have to get up to do than come here tomorrow and play a 40-minute game.

Again, we'll need our bench ready, but it's just the way the flow of the game was. We just settled in with what we wanted to do. We didn't come into the game thinking that's what we were going to do. We were just going to wait and see how it played out.

Q. Rick, what's the feeling on the bench when Detrick misses both of those free-throws on the front end of the one and ones?
COACH BARNES: Well, again, I was trying to loosen him up and get him to laugh a little bit and just relax and do it. Again, I think we were more upset, people on the bench were more upset with the fact we gave them a wide open three. Those can be tough free-throws. And, again, he did what we expected him to do. When he missed, they were going to get it and drive it hard to the basket and put pressure on us to either stop and foul them, or if they can get it off -- I don't know if it can be much closer. I haven't seen it really.

The three is the one that we were upset about. I think that our team was.

Q. Hate to hit you with the scouting so quickly, but LSU will take the court without Hornsby tomorrow. Does that change the matchup at all for you?
COACH BARNES: Well, he didn't play very much in our game there. I think he came out -- I don't think he's played since that game, I don't think. I can't remember, but I haven't kept up with him that closely. In our game, if I remember right, I don't think he played ten minutes, if that, because that's when I think he was really starting to have problems with his back problem, I guess. So that part won't change.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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