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March 10, 2011

Chris Barnes

Mark Fox

Jeremy Price


Georgia – 69
Auburn - 51

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Georgia and an opening statement from Coach Fox.
COACH FOX: It's good to start the tournament with a win, with us playing the first game. We did not want to be the first team to go home. So I was proud of how we were able to defend and play from really in front most of the game and get the win.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll take your questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Could you both just talk about the difference in the team in the offense when Trey is hitting the way he's hitting like he did today.
CHRIS BARNES: Trey, he's a very good offensive player. When he is scoring, it really helps us a lot. He can really pull up some points. With him scoring inside, it really opens it up for our guards, like Dustin and Travis and Gerald to really hit that outside shot.
And also that gives us like a lot of confidence on the team, and it also gives himself a lot of confidence. Because when he's not scoring, he really get down on himself and he's a big part of our offensive game.
JEREMY PRICE: Trey's a great offensive player. When he's rolling like that, it opens up a lot of other players' games. He can score inside and outside and he forces the other team when he plays the way he plays today, and that allows everybody else to open their game up and kind of get going scoring just like Trey is.

Q. Guys, how much do you pay attention to people talking about where Georgia sits in terms of making the NCAA tournament and being on the bubble or not, and how much were you aware of obviously this being a critical game based on your chances of securing your spot in the tournament.
CHRIS BARNES: We don't. We try not to look at that. We just try to take it one game at a time. Every game is critical. We got to come out and play every game the same, no matter who the opponent is. And that's how we go into every game. We just got to come out and just play hard.
A lot of people been saying stuff about the NCAA, but us as team, are not looking at that right now. We're just looking forward to the next game. We can't look to the future right now.
JEREMY PRICE: We try to take it one game at a time. We don't really look into the NCAA tournament seed or where we're going to be. We just try to take it one game at a time. We still have more games to win in our conference tournament, so we're just trying to take care of business here and whatever happens after that happens.

Q. Chris, talk about getting another crack at Alabama having played them just this past Saturday.
CHRIS BARNES: Alabama, they're a great team. They gave us a good beating at their house. It's going to be hard playing them. They play great D, they got some very outstanding inside post players with Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green. It's going to be a hard game. That's all. It's just going to be a very hard game playing against them.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll take questions now for Coach Fox.

Q. Obviously Trey Thompkins was very active today. Was this his best game this year?
COACH FOX: Wow, that's a good question. It's his best game in a long time. I think he had 25 against Kentucky, maybe. But he really played well. It's the best he's played in a long time. Whether or not it's his best game of the year, I don't know. But he did play very well.

Q. Did you see that coming from Trey? Did you expect that, that he was in position to play his best game?
COACH FOX: I felt like on Monday he was moving around pretty good, but I really felt Tuesday was probably the first time in practice I thought, Wow, he's looking healthy.
And I felt like he had a chance to play well. I think he has some confidence because he felt better. I really think that was a big part of it. That he felt like, Hey, my body feels a little better right now.
And I think that gave him a confident feeling.

Q. When Trey is playing well, how does that impact the other guys on the team, giving them opportunities and so on or confidence.
COACH FOX: Well, usually with Trey, we have been able to build around him. With as much as he's been through this year, that hasn't always been the case. Auburn has a good defensive team and we beat a hard-nosed team today. But when he's scoring as well as he is, we didn't have to go too many other places. We didn't shoot the ball great today. But we had some open shots because Trey was playing well.

Q. It's no secret that this was probably a play-your-way-into-the-NCAA-tournament game, and despite these guys saying one game at a time, and by the way congratulations on coaching them on that, I'm just wondering if that's something that you embraced or is that something that you even think about?
COACH FOX: Well, let me tell you, I didn't coach them on anything. What we have done this entire year is play it one game at a time. And we begin talking about the NCAA tournament and resume games and those types of things back in November. This week we haven't talked about it one time. So they looked at it that way. We never looked at it that way.
Today was a chance to play in the SEC tournament and a day to try and advance. And that's all we have talked about all week. And I haven't allowed them to talk about anything else.

Q. You guys played Alabama last weekend. What do you think you need to do better tomorrow that you didn't do last time?
COACH FOX: They have a good team. We have to play better in a lot of areas. We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't rebound it very well, we didn't defend well. They caused a great deal of that, because they have a very good team.
But they're a team that I think Anthony's done a terrific job with. And so we'll have to go back tonight and get geared up in a lot of areas.

Q. Auburn had been down 15-plus points in the second half their last two regular season games and had won. Was anything to that effect said in the locker room at halftime, and what did y'all do? They didn't really make any kind of run in the second half. What did you do to keep them from doing that?
COACH FOX: We didn't talk about it at halftime. Auburn, I tell you, give them credit. Those kids have had some terrific runs this year. I think in SEC games, they have had some runs where they outscored people by nearly 30 points.
And we did talk about their explosiveness in our preparation, and said, Listen, if we get ahead, this is an explosive team, you can't quit playing, you can't quit doing the little things.
So we didn't talk about it necessarily at the half, but we did talk about just sustaining our efforts defensively and our poise on the offensive end.

Q. You mentioned throughout the game you guys didn't shoot particularly well, neither team really did shoot well. How much do you think can that be attributed to playing in the George Dome where it's not a conventional basketball arena, not the same aesthetics? So how much do you think can be attributed to that?
COACH FOX: We tried to practice outside so we could get used to it, but it rained on Monday (smiling). I'm just kidding.
A part of it probably a little bit is that. Another part of it probably is the first game of the tournament. Both teams, I thought we were a little bit up tight. I don't think either team was probably as relaxed to start the game. That may have had something to do with it.
But I think that we started relax a little bit. I think we made our first three, Dustin did, and then we just seemed a little bit tense.

Q. Some people have said that tomorrow sets up as play-in game or an elimination game for the tournament. Do you have any thoughts any reaction on that?
COACH FOX: No, we have played the entire season to create a tournament resume in which the committee will evaluate. And we have tried to do what the committee's asked us to do. Play a schedule that's arranged in the top 40 in the country, win enough games with their RPI's in the top 40, win more games than we lose in our league, have a winning record on road. We tried to do the things that the NCAA committee has traditionally asked for.
So that body of work hopefully will be evaluated as it always has been. Alabama's probably tried to do the same thing. I'm not sure where their RPI numbers and all that is. This is a great league. Everybody says, Well, the SEC's down. Well, the top sure isn't down. And there's a lot of leagues that across the country, the big leagues that the top's not down, but the middle and bottom are down.
Well, that's not true of this league. There's two good teams playing tomorrow, I have no idea where either one of us sit in the eyes of the committee, and we can't control that. So all we're going to worry about is trying to advance in this tournament.

Q. Some folks have said about your team it's been a good year, but you're yet to really play your best on a consistent basis that really shows everything that this team is capable of. Do you agree with that statement and do you get any kind of sense that this club may be ready to kind of start to flex their muscles a little bit and get into that kind of dominance that folks maybe think you guys could have had earlier?
COACH FOX: One thing that we have had, certainly with Trey's health, we have never probably had a game where everybody was on fire. But that's only one half of the floor. You got to defend also at the same time. Have we had some good performances? Yes. Have we had our best performance? I don't know. I do think that there's more good plays in this group, and hopefully they will happen at the same time.

Q. Ross scored 30 on you in the regular season in the overtime game. I think it was 2, I know it was something a whole lot less than 30 today. Is there anything different y'all were doing in how you drew up your defense toward him or was it just a difference in intensity effort, execution?
COACH FOX: He's a great player. And probably wasn't a lot of fun for our players to watch him score 30 against us on the game film. So today we had a much better approach. He's a very good player and we gave him a little special attention today, because he whooped us the first time. And I thought today that Travis did a much better job.

Q. You talked a little bit about it in the locker room, not having to over exert yourself energy-wise by holding on to a pretty steady lead throughout the second half. How much do you think that will help you going forward to Alabama and how nice was that to really not give up the lead?
COACH FOX: We still had some guys play 30 minutes. It just wasn't the wrestling match that sometimes games can be. Alabama didn't play today. So they will probably be a little bit fresher, but this is the time of year where you have got just overcome that. It shouldn't be a factor.

Q. You got to roll a lot of guys in and out of there. Do you think that Chris playing a lot for Jeremy today will help Jeremy at all tomorrow?
COACH FOX: Yeah, Jeremy was in some foul trouble, so it probably worked out good for us that he was in foul trouble, because he didn't have to play a ton of minutes, and I think he should be ready to go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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