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November 24, 2010

Brandon Rozzell

Jamie Skeen

Shaka Smart


VCU – 72

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players?

Q. Guys, you came in shooting 49%. Obviously you were hovering in the 20 for much of the game. Can you talk about what Tennessee did for you defensively taking you out of your shot selection?
JAMIE SKEEN: They switched everything so they made it hard for us to catch it. So when we would run our plays, we had places we wanted to be at. They took us out of where we wanted to be. They made it a little bit hard on us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players, please?

Q. Coach, what happened to Rodriguez in the first half? Was that anything to do with an older injury or a new injury?
SHAKA SMART: He reinjured an ankle that he had turned a couple of weeks ago. So it's a little bit of old and a little bit of new. It certainly hampered him. It took a way from his explosiveness. He did such a great job all year getting by his man and creating shots for his teammates. I think the injury affected him. Tennessee did a good job guarding him.
THE MODERATOR: Do we have questions for the players?

Q. Can you talk about the experience of being the first VCU team to play here at the Garden? It's obviously not like playing in Hofstra when you come to New York.
JAMIE SKEEN: It's much different. Bigger atmosphere, I can tell you that. I just wish we had better results.

Q. Does it say anything about the majors in general that you were able to hang with a team like Tennessee even though you weren't shooting the ball well?
BRANDON ROZZELL: I think every team comes in trying to compete. That's what we did. We wanted to go out there and compete and we did a good job versus a good team. We showed the nation we can play.
THE MODERATOR: Coach is going to make an opening statement and then take some questions.
SHAKA SMART: I thought our guys battled and I really can't fault their effort. Really fought until the very end of the game. And I'm proud of the way they did that. I did think that we didn't play as smart as we typically do. I don't know if that had to do with some nerves or being the first time in Madison Square Garden, playing on national TV. But we made some mistakes particularly on the defensive end and even executing on offense that are unlike us. I thought the way we shot the ball for the first 30 minutes of the game obviously made it tough. But we're a good shooting team. And I knew it was going to turn. It took a while. And at the end it turned, we made some shots late. Obviously didn't get enough stops to get it done.

Q. How healthy was Joey even before he got hurt towards the end of the first half? And how much did that affect him throughout the game?
SHAKA SMART: He's been banged up for the last two or three weeks. Really hasn't been able to practice at full strength and it hasn't hurt him so far in our games. He's been phenomenal in our games averaging 18 and 10 coming into this game. It certainly was -- he was less than 100% coming in. And then after turning the ankle, you saw. He just had a hard time getting by his man. Probably at 60 or 70% of where he normally is.

Q. Would you rest him completely tomorrow? I realize you have the holiday now in between tonight and Friday, but was there any practice time planned in between just the same?
SHAKA SMART: We're going to practice tomorrow. Joey probably won't practice. We'll evaluate his ankle and see how he's feeling. I would guess he won't practice. But we're going to practice tomorrow.
We have a lot of stuff to look at on tape. And some things to go over, some things to work on.

Q. Rozzell, 1 for 6 in the first half. He finished 7 for 15. Keeping you guys in the game in the second half. Anything execution-wise that you guys overcame in the second half or was it a matter of missing shots in the first half?
SHAKA SMART: No, I thought we got a lot of good shots in the first half that we didn't knock down. And Brandon made those same shots and even tougher shots in the second half. He's a guy that can get hot like that.
So I thought he did a great job of that. But, again, even though he shot the ball subpar for us, I thought if we would been able to bear down and get more defensive stops when we needed them most, we would have been able to win the game.
SHAKA SMART: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts

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