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March 11, 2020
St. Louis, Missouri
Georgia 81, Ole Miss 63
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Georgia.
We'll ask Coach Crean for some general comments on the game.
TOM CREAN: Proud of the way we competed. I'm proud of the way we really understood the game plan that needed to work against Ole Miss. We knew it was only a matter of time before they went to the zone. Our guys did a real good job of adjusting, figuring out how we wanted to attack it, whether in the middle or in the corner.
While we were figuring out how to attack it in the middle of the game, the ball kept moving. The ball moved, our cutting was very good, got on the offensive glass early. These two here played excellent from start to finish. A lot of it's because they were ready to roll. They were ready to play against a team that we have had trouble with, that we have a lot of respect for because of how tough and physical they are, what they're capable of with Breein Tyree and Shuler in the back court. Proud of the way they kept going.
There was no doubt, no panic, no anything but continuing to work to execute, judged by the 19 assists, and continue to figure out ways to get stops. Proud of how they played.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Rayshaun, when you talked yesterday you spoke about the team wanting to have fun. Kind of address that. Also they cut it to 9 points, you guys did not lose your composure.
RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS: We just stayed together, stayed composed, had faith in each other. Coach Crean telling us every time we come to the huddle, We got it. Me and Jordan told the team, We've been here before a lot of times. We just stay focused the whole time.
Q. Obviously it was an off night for Ant. Did you feel like you needed to have the type of night you ended up having because that was going on or the scoring and the shots coming to you naturally?
RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS: Team played well. Everybody looking for each other. We just tried to stay together. It don't matter who is scoring on our team, we're just trying to win, stay with each other the whole time. That's the main focus.
JORDAN HARRIS: Ole Miss did a great job of defending. They did a real good job. You look at the stat sheet, plus 18 with him on the court. I think he still played great. He just didn't hit a lot of shots. He still played great, was a great teammate. He still made a lot of good plays down the stretch.
Q. Aside from this game that y'all just played, news just broke there won't be any fans allowed in the arena for the rest of the week. What does that mean for you?
TOM CREAN: We're just learning that. No fans?
TOM CREAN: We didn't know that. They're probably not in a position to answer that unless you want to. We're just finding that out.
Q. The fans have always brought the atmosphere a lot of the season. Do you have initial reactions on what that might mean with no fans in the building?
JORDAN HARRIS: We got to bring it.
TOM CREAN: Who is allowed in?
Q. Limited access, some friends and family, credentialed members of the media.
TOM CREAN: I'll answer for him. We'll adjust. Same for the other team. We'll do everything we have to do to adjust. In this world now, it's the new normal. The new normal that's come quickly, right? We'll be some of the first to figure it out.
Q. Jordan, if I'm not mistaken, last year's SEC tournament you had 26 points. What is it about your comfort level playing here?
JORDAN HARRIS: Just experience, man. Obviously I know what to expect. But my teammates just put me in a lot of great positions, my coaches put me in a lot of good positions to be successful.
I just went out there and just gave it everything I got. Everything was just falling in place. But I feel like I needed to play like this for us to win.
Q. Can you talk about getting another shot at Florida. Obviously a team you played really well against and couldn't hold on against them.
RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS: We just got to prepare and stay focused. Just be ready for the game.
JORDAN HARRIS: Florida, they're a great team. It will be our third time playing them. We excited. We're looking forward to the matchup.
Q. Rayshaun, putting it together like that, your sixth double-double. When did you know it was going to be your night? Feel it in warmups?
RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS: No, my teammates put me in a great position to score. Just playing hard. I was just keeping my motor up the whole game. My teammates encouraging me every time. I did the same thing for them. That was the main focus.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse the student-athletes.
We'll continue with questions for Coach.
Q. The quick start really kind of got you all going. How much did you try to keep that intensity up, really making sure guys like Rayshaun got the shots to take?
TOM CREAN: It's a tough situation because you're trying to keep the intensity up, you're trying to keep the aggressiveness up, you're trying to keep the pace up. At the same time we're not subbing very much tonight.
As I tried to tell the team after the game, tomorrow is a whole new deal. We'll be back here. We could spend the night, it would probably be better than driving back to the hotel (smiling). Bottom line is we're going to play at 2:00 tomorrow. We may need some of those guys that didn't play as much tonight to be at a high level tomorrow.
It really is about reading the game, seeing how it's going, keeping your foot on the pedal as much as you can. You don't want to become reckless, careless or a settling shooting type of team when you get a lead like that.
There were a couple exceptions to everything that I just said. For the bottom line, not too many. I think that's why we were able to win, we were able to keep going.
Q. Tom, I think Anthony's plus-18 on the floor answered this. He played every minute. Obviously struggling offensively.
TOM CREAN: He was and he wasn't. We need to win the game, right? It's March. The timeouts are there. I'm watching him. There were probably five or six times I thought about taking him out, then I overruled myself.
Bottom line is he knew it was tough for him. But the four assists, the plus-18, not hunting, a couple tough ones. For the most part moving, looking for it there, not there, kicking it. We asked a lot of him. He had the Breein Tyree matchup. That's not an easy matchup. The whole plan was to have different people guard him so we could bring pressure to him because he's so good.
Anthony did a lot in the game that impacted the game and the win certainly. The offensive misses and those type of things, they're just part of it. There are so many positives that he had in the game, we don't win the game without him. I think the plus-18, that does bring that to life.
Q. You've been around college basketball a while. You've been part of a lot of NCAA tournaments. As a coach, what is your reaction to all that's happened today?
TOM CREAN: Well, it really doesn't matter in the sense of how disappointed you would be for people being able to see it, to travel. I cannot begin to describe what's going on in our world right now with this Coronavirus. There's a lot of people making decisions that can. That's what you have to do. You have to trust the people that have the knowledge and are getting all the information that they have.
I read a great story, a great interview, with Mr. Gottlieb today in the USA Today. I never met the man. I learned a lot just reading the story. There's so much information that we have to try to decipher as people out here in the public, and it's not even close to what the people behind closed doors have to be able to determine.
There's no way that you can do anything but trust the judgment of those people, participate the way they want you to participate, be thankful that you have a chance, and continue to trust that they know what's best. That's exactly how I look at it. That's exactly what I would say to my team. We just didn't know when we walked in here that they have stopped it for tomorrow.
Q. You have a really young team. You had to educate these guys. That's part of your job. What did you tell them as far as trying to put them at ease, trying to keep them comfortable amid --
TOM CREAN: With the Coronavirus?
TOM CREAN: Like coaching, you have to keep giving them reminders. You have to remind them about cleanliness, the hand wipes. We had all those things in our locker room long before this Coronavirus has jumped into where it's at. Now we try to intensify it even more.
I think it's just an educational process. You give them every bit of working knowledge that you can give them. You don't inundate them with things that aren't really going to register.
But the bottom line is, I think when the level of seriousness of this, you've got to have a maturity level in you that says, I better listen to everything that's being said because this obviously is for real. It's the new normal right now. We've got to be able to deal with it.
That's exactly what I will tell them again tonight, right? All we can do is keep taking care of ourselves and each other in the best possible way, trust what people are doing to make these decisions.
Q. You addressed this, but you played in Gainesville, crazy crowd. You play tomorrow almost no crowd.
TOM CREAN: Does my wife get to come (smiling)?
Q. Yes, she's allowed.
TOM CREAN: Families are going to have to bring it, right?
It is what it is. We're at a disadvantage because we haven't done a closed scrimmage since I've been at Georgia. We've been playing exhibitions either at UAB or at Charlotte. If Florida did a closed scrimmage, they'll have the advantage tomorrow. That's one of the coaches said today is, all it is is the closed scrimmage in the preseason.
But, no, this is such a serious situation, whatever gets canceled and whatever gets postponed, whatever gets put away, the people that are making these decisions, they know what they're doing. We just have to trust it. You take the hand that's dealt.
We'll come out here tomorrow, we're very thankful that we're playing. We're grateful we're in an environment like this. It's such a first-class operation, it's Bridgestone, the people here, certainly what Commissioner Sankey does with his entire staff, it's completely first class, completely.
That's the focus. We earned the win tonight. Let's go play Florida. Let's not focus on what's not there, let's focus on what we have to do because that's what we can control anyway.
Q. Are you familiar with Georgia's history in the 2008 tournament?
TOM CREAN: Yes, President Morehead reminded me of that just a little bit ago.
Q. It feels like that to me.
TOM CREAN: Feels like what? We have to win four games for that to happen right now, four more. We're going to worry about Florida. Jumping ahead is getting back into that film room right now, making sure they eat, understand some things about Florida before they go to bed. That's the extent of how far I'm looking ahead.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports