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March 9, 2006

Will Bynum

Shan Foster

Kevin Stallings

Julian Terrell


THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach if he'll begin with some opening remarks on the game and then we'll go to questions for the three student athletes. Coach.
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: It was a hard-fought game as we expected. I told our players today that if they expected anything less than a 40 minute battle, then they were going to be in for a surprise and that's what we got.
In the first half, Auburn really shot the basketball well from the perimeter. They made some tough ones. I thought we were there a couple times and they made shots on us but in the second half, I thought we did a little better job defensively and I thought we did a better job of rebounding the basketball in the second half.
I thought rebounding, we kind of got to where we were controlling the -- our defensive board and I thought that was a big key.
The biggest key to the game was probably Shan and Derrick coming out at the start of the second half and making those 3s. We hit I think might have been four in row right there to start the half and got our heads-up.
We got our confidence going, kind of got our flow going and that kind of gave us the lead and gave us some momentum. It was still a hard-fought game throughout the rest of the game but I thought that the way we started the second half was very, very important.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll take questions for just the student athletes at this time if you have one, raise your hand. Let's go ahead and start right here.
Q. Shan and Derrick for you guys, is this the best game -- obviously statistically it is but we talk about feel like this is the best game where you guys both had it clicking on the same night offensively.
SHAN FOSTER: Yes. Our teammates did a great job of getting us the ball in rhythm and find us when we were open. We were able to knock down shots. They had great confidence in us when -- and when your teammates have great confidence in you it makes it a lot easier to knock down shots.
DERRICK BYARS: Just what Shan said, it's just a credit to our teammates and how unselfish everybody played. Shan and I had open looks and we put the ball in the basket. But, yeah, to answer your question, I would say that's one of the best games that collectively we both played.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Who. Another question down here. Go ahead.
Q. Shan and Derrick, talk about that little flurry to start the second half where you guys did get in the rhythm and start knocking down 3s. How did that carryover the rest of the game?
DERRICK BYARS: Yeah, it felt good. You know, with him on the left wing and me on the right wing, just knocking them down. It felt good and like Coach said, it got us going as far as getting the rhythm and just elevated everyone's intensity as well.
SHAN FOSTER: I knew I was kind of non-existent in the first half. I knew my team needed me to come out and be more aggressive and start knocking down shots. They were able to find me when I was open and I was able to knock down shots. It felt great.
THE MODERATOR: Another question. Raise your hand. Okay. Let's go right back to the front.
Q. Julian, you guys have lost a lot of these this season in the last couple minutes. How did it feel tonight to pull one out like this?
JULIAN TERRELL: It felt great. You know, with them making their run, you know, right before the end of the game and us finally making a stop and getting the win out of there, it makes us feel real good inside of us.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions, raise your hand. Anything else? Okay. We'll excuse the three student athletes. You can return to your locker room. Thank you.
We'll continue on now with questions for Coach Stallings. Raise your hand. Okay. Let's go right down the aisle here.
Q. Kevin, this team I would think would drive you crazy over the length of the season by they never give you any breathing room it seems, they're inconsistent and we when they're hot, they're hot, when they're not, they're not.
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: Did you think that I lost my hair genetically? No, actually they're a fun group to coach because no matter how bad things have gotten for us this year, they continue to come and respond and play hard and play for each other and that sort of thing.
But, you know, Joe, we've just been in that situation to where we've been to inconsistent. Our guard play has been inconsistent all season long and our post play has been inconsistent all season long. We've had reasonably consistent wing play.
But as inconsistent as we've been, we've been in every game but one down the stretch and so, that is a credit to their effort and how hard they're willing to play and try to compete for each other.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Go ahead.
Q. Kevin, the inability to close games has hurt you guys more than once or twice even recently. What was the difference tonight to be able to close this one out in?
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: I thought we were more poised. We made better decisions. We had -- we had a good ball handling group in the game and we moved it to the open person and, you know, going back to last Saturday, our spacing was bad and when people are trying to keep you from getting the ball inbound you have good space.
Much like a quarterback, if you're taking the ball out of bounds you have to know what your reads are and kinds of make your progression. We did that much better tonight and it's a mystery as to why you do it some days and some days you don't and -- but I really like the fact that we stepped up and made our free throws. That was the thing that has kept us with some breathing room at the end of game when they were fouling. Dan made his and Julian made his. That was obviously very big.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Question over here.
Q. Kevin, would you talk about your match-up with LSU and what effect you think Tyrus Thomas not playing might have?
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: Are you sure he's not playing? Okay. Well, I can tell you what effect it had when he did play. He blocked a lot of shots. He changed a lot more and he got a whole bunch of offensive rebounds but I think that LSU is very deep at his spot and I mean I voted for Tyrus Thomas as the freshman of the year in our league.
I also voted for him as defensive player of the year in our league. He obviously has made a great impact on their program but I think LSU has an outstanding basketball and a team that is capable of winning the tournament without him.
So, like I said to Brady before our game, how good is your team when you can afford to redshirt that guy which they did last year. That's what I want to know. How good -- I mean the guy is going to be a top 10 NBA draft pick and Brady has got the luxury of redshirting him. Give me a break.
John has done a great job with their team. They handled us at our place, it was competitive but it was a game that they controlled the vast majority of it and Glen Davis is a great player, Darrel Mitchell is a great player. The other guys are really good players.
Again, going back to your question, Lazare, Rolle, those guys are very, very good players and so LSU is not going feel Tyrus Thomas' absence as much as some other teams in our league would feel a similar type player not being able to play.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions. Raise your hand.
Q. Kevin, Jeff Lebow said that they kind of sat back in zone the most of the night hoping you guys were going to shoot somewhere in the 30 percent range. With the wing guys you got, do you guys welcome it when team will sit back in the zone and kind of hope for the best?
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: Jeff is -- Jeff does some interesting things from a defensive standpoint. Every time we play them it's always something a little bit different and he's very creative. I give him a lot of credit. He's very creative. But I think that hopefully you welcome it when they play man and when they play zone. You want to be good against both and I think typically speaking, people are generally concerned about playing us in zone because we do shoot the 3 pretty well and -- but I think the key thing for us tonight was that we were able to get the ball to Julian enough time and get it into DeMarre and Metcalfe got a couple offensive rebounds and get us inside baskets.
I think that if you just stand out there and shoot 3s all night against the zone, the zone usually wins. The ball has to get to the paint.
It has to get into the lane, whether it's via the dribble or the pass. Now, the 3-point shot has become a lot easy are. I thought in the stretches where we were doing a good job of executing zone offense we were getting the ball inside and coming back out.
THE MODERATOR: Question in the back.
Q. Coach, would you comment on your post defense tonight and whether especially the dribble penetration and whether that effort will be good enough if it's repeated tomorrow?
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: I was fine with our post defense tonight. Your post defense, it's never going to be the same when big baby walks in so the guys we were guarding tonight with all due respect to them, they weren't elected player of the year and he was so we'll -- you have to try to control penetration.
I think Auburn depends on penetration a little bit more than LSU does. LSU wants to throw the ball down there where Glen can get it and do good things with it and so our defense will be challenged in every respect tomorrow night and they're a very difficult team to guard.
THE MODERATOR: Other questions? Let's come back down to the front.
Q. Kevin, the second half there in timeout you challenged Byars to step up and be accountable. Did that light a spark under him?
COACH KEVIN STALLINGS: I thought that was in the first half, Joe. It was in the first half. I got after him as hard as I've gotten after anybody in several months.
As we were walking from the locker room into here, he and I laughed and I said, "Gosh, you and I have made a lot of progress" and he looked at me somewhat quizzically and, "What do you mean?"
"I chewed your ass" and you continued to play well and not only that, but now you and I are laughing about it. And that's a lot of progress for Derrick because if you looked at Derrick wrong when he first got here, he might not talk to you for three days. So Derrick and I are making some progress.
He knows that when I get on him, I still love him. And the best thing is I chewed him really good and then he went right back out and made that big 3 right before the end of the half. And Derrick was the only reason we were in the game in the first half. If it hadn't been for him, we would have been down 10 or 12 or more, but Derrick Byars played a very good game. He's been our best defender all season long.
You grade him defensively and he's got an outstanding defensive score even if you don't think he played well. He was outstanding tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Got time for one or two more. Anybody? Okay. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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