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March 9, 2012

Anthony Hickey

Trent Johnson

Andre Stringer

Storm Warren


Kentucky – 60
LSU – 51

CLAUDE FELTON:  We're joined by LSU head coach Trent Johnson and student‑athletes Storm Warren, Andre Stringer and Anthony Hickey.  We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH JOHNSON:  A tough, tough, tough loss.  I thought we competed as hard and as good as we have all year.  It's unfortunate for us that we had some shots that didn't go down for us.  I thought we were pretty effective in getting the ball deep in the post at times.
But let's give credit to them, that's not a good basketball team that beat us, that's a great basketball team.  And I think I know a little bit about that.  I've been around this thing for a while.
But I can't fault our effort.  I can't fault our execution.  And it's just unfortunate for us that we started playing really, really well here the last two games, but again, that's a tough.  It's a tough loss.
CLAUDE FELTON:  We'll take your questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Storm, just talk about this possibly being in your final game, talk about the emotions out there and trying to do everything you could.
STORM WARREN:  I didn't want my season to end and I just pretty much came out and laid it on the line.  The win fell in their favor.  So I tip my hat to those guys and wish them the best of luck.

Q.  What did you make of the crowd in this game?  When you walked out there, were you a little shocked to see so much blue and is that something that you guys maybe rally around a little bit?
STORM WARREN:  I'm a senior in this thing now and don't matter if it's a packed house or empty house, I come to play.  I got the experience under my belt.  And it doesn't matter who was in the stands, you got to come out ready to play and you can't have your ear in the stands.  And the only person I hear out on the court anyway is my coach and my point guard.  So it really doesn't affect me.

Q.  You guys were able to turn them over, especially in the first half quite a bit.  Talk about what the key to that was.
ANTHONY HICKEY:  The key was play the passing lanes and my teammates helping me out a little bit, putting defensive pressure on there.  And I was able to get in the pasting lane and have active hands.

Q.  Seems like their big guys and length inside altered some of your shots.  Can you talk about how much of a challenge it was going up against them?
ANDRE STRINGER:  It's definitely a challenge.  Obviously that's what they do, block shots and I didn't change my shot good enough to make shots, so they got their hands on a couple of them.  But that didn't stop me from going to the hole, and it wasn't going to stop me or any of our players from going to the hole.  We just tried to play to the best of our ability and it fell their way.

Q.  If you can just talk a little bit about what the biggest difference was from this game to last time you guys played and lost by 24 to this team.  I know you said you had to work on the things that you needed to work on from the video, but what was the biggest difference?  And I guess the follow‑up would be the confidence level that you guys showed today against the number one team in the country.
ANTHONY HICKEY:  The defensive end, we played great defense first half, we had great intensity.  And give credit to Kentucky, big players make big shots at the end, and I'm just glad that I was able to play with the seniors that's here.  And we're going to move on.

Q.  As the game wore on and you guys were still close, ahead sometimes, did that just give you confidence and make you believe that you all could actually knock them off?
ANDRE STRINGER:  Like I said yesterday, we look at this team as any other team.  Obviously they're a good team.  They're the number one team.  But they are in our league and we came in with all the confidence and that's how we approach every game.  The way we play, we play, we fought hard, and it showed tonight that we played with a lot of confidence and effort.

Q.  Being a senior, obviously there's nothing else y'all can do except wait potentially for a post‑season bid.  Can you state a case for why this team may be playing as good as it's played and if you should play in a post‑season tournament?
STORM WARREN:  Because if you ask me, hands down, I feel like we can compete with anybody that you put up against us.  Due to the fact that Kentucky brought their game, we brought our game, and the ball fell in their favor at the end of the game.  But if you ask me, we can compete with anybody.  But it's not my call to make, but I would love to continue to play.

Q.  Is it hard to sit here and think about how well you guys played, and if you had played that well all season, maybe what position you would be in right now?
ANDRE STRINGER:  It's definitely hard just because like I said yesterday, Kentucky was our next opponent and we lost our next opponent.  That's just how we're wired.  We prepare for our next opponent and today we lost.  We played great throughout the season.  We had some tough losses and some great wins.  Over the season, we played pretty good, but today we brought it and we just sometimes it's not going to fall in your favor.  But we can only move on from there.
CLAUDE FELTON:  We'll excuse the student‑athletes and take questions for coach.

Q.  When you guys were up 35 to 30, went a little bit over five minutes without scoring, what did they do to you guys?  Was it you guys not being able to score or just their defense?
COACH JOHNSON:  It's a combination of them being really, really good and at that particular time, we had a timeout, they had a timeout, I told them, Here comes the run.  And again it's hard for people to understand, but that's not a good team, that's a great team.  They got great players.  So they're going to make a push.  And they made a push and they did a good job of taking us out of some of our stuff offensively and so be it.

Q.  About Johnny and his foul trouble today, did that kind of take him out of any kind of flow, the aggressive, energetic play from yesterday?
COACH JOHNSON:  No, without looking at the tape, I thought he was really engaged like everybody else.  It happens.  He got a couple tough calls and Ralston got a couple.  But, again, Storm came off the bench, played well.  Malcolm right before the half came off and gave us a lift.  Eddie came in for Ralston, did a good job.
So this is a team that all year long we have to rely on each other.  But Johnny's energy, his attention to detail, attention to what was going on the floor as opposed to him being worried about being in foul trouble was really, really good.

Q.  You feel like with your performance today that you guys solidified an NIT spot and also was wondering if you guys would be open to playing in one of the other tournaments if you don't get into the NIT?
COACH JOHNSON:  I feel like with our performance all year long that there's eight teams in this league that should be in the post season.  So that's how I feel.  I feel like this team that I'm fortunate enough to coach is worthy of NIT, without question.

Q.  You guys turned them over I think 18 times for the game?  What was the key to that?  What were you trying to do defensively to get them to turn the ball over?
COACH JOHNSON:  I thought our energy and I thought our intensity was really good.  And all year long, when we're playing well defensively, we're forcing, keeping the thing out of the middle.  I thought Anthony had a couple key steals and he's real familiar with Teague, they played with each other, so I thought whether it was Teague relaxing on his passes or not, I don't know.  But I thought for the most part, we did a good job of forcing them out of the middle and rotating them to the baseline.

Q.  How badly do you want to coach another game considering the team seems like it's playing a lot better late in the season?
COACH JOHNSON:  Is that a serious question?  That's a serious question?

Q.  Yeah.
COACH JOHNSON:  Wow.  I want to continue to coach because I want these guys to continue to play because they're very deserving.
But it's not about me coaching.  It's about what I feel and my staff feels this group deserves, an opportunity to continue to play basketball.  I don't know the exact numbers.  I probably should, but with a 68‑32, out of maybe a hundred?  I don't know.  I got a Boise State education, so I don't know the math, but I feel we're every bit as good as 90 of those teams across the country, so...
And not to mention the fact the way these kids conduct themselves, and the way they carry themselves socially, athletically, and academically, without question.

Q.  When they made their run there like you talked about, Jones really seemed to kind of step up his game.  Can you talk about the way he played.
COACH JOHNSON:  For whatever reason, he likes us.  And I feel the same way this afternoon.  I felt when they played us early in the year, if he's going to play like that, they might as well crown him now, because it's going to take a really, really good basketball team on a good day to beat this group.
But he's‑‑ think about it, he was a preseason Player of the Year by a lot of you guys.  I believe a lot of you guys voted on him.  And he was one of the best freshmen in the conference and the country last year, and he either made first or second team.  So that speaks volumes to the quality of the league and to the quality of the teams in our league, which speaks volumes to how I feel.  There's probably eight teams that should be worthy of post season.  That's not me being a politician.  That's just a hard‑core fact.

Q.  You've been complimentary of the fan base really all year, but were you a little disappointed not to have more support today considering you're 80 miles from home and you're playing the number one team?
COACH JOHNSON:  No.  No, not at all.  No, not at all.
CLAUDE FELTON:  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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