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March 10, 2016

Mark Fox

Charles Mann

Yante Maten

Nashville, Tennessee

Georgia - 79, Mississippi State - 69

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Georgia.

COACH FOX: Hard-fought game, certainly. Mississippi State planned to extend their season. I thought we did some things well in the first half. I thought we completely lost our concentration once we got a double figure lead, didn't handle that very well. But certainly good to win and live another day.

Q. For Charles and Yante, how tough in the last ten minutes, when they went to the press, how tough was it for you guys to break that, and what kind of troubles were they presenting?
CHARLES MANN: They gave great effort, and like Coach said, we didn't handle that well. That's one area in which we need to clean up for the next game. But they gave a pretty good -- a great effort.

YANTE MATEN: It was kind of hard getting the ball in. They had a lot of pressure on the guards trying to get open. They were fronting them. I wasn't making the best of decisions trying to get the ball and finding their open spot to pass it.

Q. That finishing stretch, how big was J.J.?
CHARLES MANN: Players stepped up and made plays in which we didn't play clean the last ten minutes. But just players just made plays at the right time, and we're fortunate to come up with the win. But we need to clean that area up and get ready for the next one.

Q. Yante, did you have any semblance in your mind when you started to get out there that they were going to double-team you on every possession you got?
YANTE MATEN: I didn't know it was going to be every possession, but I did have an idea that they would probably double-team me considering the previous game when we played against them, I had a pretty good performance. So I kind of figured they'd be a little more attention on me. So I was ready to pass the ball if I got double-teamed or whatnot.

Q. Charles, you guys had Weatherspoon, I think, score. He didn't make any threes. How big was that for you guys, and was there any additional attention you guys paid him in the scouting report?
CHARLES MANN: He's a real good player. He's going to have a bright future. We just wanted to find him and not let him get height and go off. We did a pretty okay job at it, but he's a great player, and it was a team effort.

Q. Yante, I know it was a pretty physical night. You and Ware kind of going at it back and forth tonight. Only scored, what, a couple of points? You had ten rebounds, but the job you guys did defending him, holding him in check tonight.
YANTE MATEN: It was definitely a physical game. I knew it was because he's just a physical person, so I was expecting him to try to punch him first and not let him get to his spot because that's pretty much the biggest thing for bigs is, if you let them get to the spot, you can't really do anything because you can't push him because that's a foul. So just trying to get down the court and beat him to the spot.

Q. You guys started 1 of 7 from the field, another slow start, but then you guys picked it back up. 11 of your next 17 went in. What changed going forward?
CHARLES MANN: We just came in kind of excited, too excited, and we wasn't taking the best of shots. We just missed some easy ones. I mean, we had to just get calmed down, get in a rhythm. And later in the game, like you said, we found those shots, and we were just able to play basketball.

Q. That finishing stretch there at the end of the game after they had cut it to a four-point lead, I think they missed their last eight shots. What did you see from your team there in that final four minutes of the game?
COACH FOX: Well, I didn't think we handled the double figure lead very well. You knew that a team that could end their season in the game would come storming back, especially with the seniors that they have. So we talked at the time-out about, let's just recompose ourselves here and get back to playing with some stability. And we were able to do that defensively and certainly kind of slow their finish.

Q. Going back to their press, from your vantage point, was that something that you had seen on film that they like to do?
COACH FOX: We were just as bad against the press as we were in practice on Tuesday. We lost our minds. We just made the most simple mistakes of all time and just lost our minds. Thankfully, we had a lead because, with the limited time-outs this year, you know, I was going to let us struggle for a minute before I burned all my time-outs.

But very disappointed in -- but really, I thought we lost total composure once we got a big lead with 11 or 12 minutes to go. I thought we were terrible at both ends there for a minute.

Q. Mark, in that final stretch, the interior defense, Yante alternating shots, but also Kenny Paul Geno with his rebounding, is it just kind of as simple as those two guys, what they were doing there?
COACH FOX: One of the keys for us is Ware has been playing so well, we wanted to make sure that we limited what he did, and then we thought if we could control Ware and then cover the three-point line, that we'd put ourselves in position to win.

Kenny Paul Geno came in and played a lot at the power forward, and we played small there for a big chunk of minutes, and certainly he and Yante's ability to rebound the ball and move and get to balls was important for us.

Q. Coach, your team shot 24 from 28 from the free-throw line. Was there any extra emphasis going into this game on that category?
COACH FOX: No, because I think you should always make them all. I think you should shoot -- really, I tell those guys, a lot of times I'll shoot free-throws while they stretch, and I'm either 8 out of 10 or 9 out of 10. So I said, if I can do that, why can't you?

So we didn't emphasize it any more. We just shot it well tonight, and we have been shooting them better. We got a little rhythm there, a little confidence. I think the two misses were from a freshman in the first half. So it's an important part of the game, especially this time of year.

Q. As far as tomorrow night's game goes, you beat South Carolina twice. Does that give your team confidence? Or is that a, yo, it's tough to beat a team three times in a year kind of come into play here?
COACH FOX: It's tough to beat South Carolina any time. As I told Coach Martin this morning, they're a tournament team. He's comfortably in the field. He's had a great year. They have a terrific team, and it's hard to beat them any time, not to mention trying to do it a third time. But that's the challenge we're going to have to face tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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