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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 15, 2013


Anthony Grant

Levi Randolph

Trevor Releford


NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

ALABAMA ¬Ė 58
TENNESSEE - 48


THE MODERATOR:  We're ready to continue on with Alabama.  We'll ask Coach Grant for some opening thoughts on the game.  Then we'll take your questions just for the two student athletes, excuse them and then finish with Coach Grant.
Coach Grant.
COACH GRANT:  Well, first of all, you know, you got to take your hat off to Tennessee.  I thought they came out and really, you know, they're playing great basketball right now as a team, and we knew we would have to come out and compete at a high level today and, I'm really proud of our guys for answering that bell.
You know, you look at -- we played two games against them back in January and they were both games down to the wire.  So, we understood what would be required today, and, you know, the thing we talked about as a team is, we've had so many experiences over the course of the year in games like this that we were prepared to go out and do the things that we needed to did and just really proud of our guys today for handling everything that came at them.  It was a highly contested game, physical game, a game of inches, you know, and we answered the bell and it's a good win.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take your questions for either of the student athletes.

Q.  Could you guys talk about the success you had in the zone defense today?
LEVI RANDOLPH:  We just tried to come out and be aggressive and do the things the coach asked to us do.  He asked us to go zone, and we tried to limit them to second chance points, so when the shot went up, we tried to block out and get the rebound.
THE MODERATOR:  Was that for both?
TREVOR RELEFORD:  I mean, I agree with what Levi said.  Coach told us at the beginning we're going to go a lot of zone.  Our team is pretty good in the zone.  We active and everybody communicating and talking.  When the ball go up, everybody is finding a man and blocking out and helping us get in transition.

Q.  This is for Trevor.  Talk about the transition, Tennessee mentioned how difficult it was to stop you in transition.  Just talk about your emphasis of trying to get it up court as fast as possible and taking everybody to the basket.
TREVOR RELEFORD:  I mean, our team, I think we like really successful when we get out in transition, just play up-tempo and push the ball and try to get easy layups.  We tried to do that today.  For the most part it worked.

Q.  For either of the players, can you talk about how successful y'all were in trying to slow down Jarnell Stokes and then getting some of those rebounds off of their missed 3s?
LEVI RANDOLPH:  That's one of the things we talked about in scouting report.  When they take shots, to make sure we find him and block out because he's great at offensive rebounding.  You know, we had guys step up and get the big rebounds when we needed them.
THE MODERATOR:  Other questions, raise your hand for the student athletes?  Any others?  Front row.

Q.  For both players, I mean, basically you know where you are as far as your NCAA Tournament chances.  Can you talk about how that enters into like your backs are against the wall right now and got to play like there's no tomorrow?
THE MODERATOR:  Trevor.
TREVOR RELEFORD:  I think we're looking at each game is a great opportunity to get closer to a championship and not necessarily worrying about the NCAA Tournament, because we know we take care of what we need to take care of here, then, I mean, we get a championship, it will be automatic.  We're worrying about one game at a time and doing that.
LEVI RANDOLPH:  Like Trevor said, we're just trying to take it one game at a time.  You know, we made the one today, so now we're just looking for tomorrow.  We're not necessarily at the NCAA Tournament right now.  We're just trying to take it each day at a time.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for either of the student athletes, raise your hand.  All right.  We'll excuse you.  You can return to the locker room.  Thank you.
We'll continue on with Coach Grant.  Raise your hand and we'll get a floor microphone to you.

Q.  Coach, you got a great game from your bench tonight, particularly Retin and Nick.  Can you talk about their efforts and how they lifted your team?
COACH GRANT:  We got great efforts out of everybody that went on court today.  Like I said, we talked about the experiences that we've gained over the course of the season and what we needed to do from a scouting report standpoint and a preparation standpoint today, and I thought we had everybody, you know, did a great job, not necessarily showing up in a stat sheet in terms of points and those things.
Obviously Retin was very good today.  I thought he was very aggressive, made some big plays for us.  Nick Jacobs came in and got some great rebounds.  I thought we got great play today from Devonta Pollard.  I thought everybody that came in today really did a good job for us.

Q.  Coach, describe how resilient Nick has been in battling back spasms and just how tough it's been for him dealing with those this season.
COACH GRANT:  You know, I think we've talked all year, you know, about how much better of a team we are when Nick steps up and performs for us, and I think Nick's journey over the course of the year, he's really grown and matured.  It was great to see him go out today and compete and just battle the way he did, went up and got some big time rebounds for us, got some big-time defensive stops for us.  That type of effort really makes a difference on our team, and just really proud of him for the growth that he's made over the course of the season.

Q.  Coach, just kind of adding to that, talk about the job that both Moussa and Nick both did on Stokes today.  He got 13 rebounds, only scored 12 points.
COACH GRANT:  He's a load down there in the post.  12 and 13 with 8 offensive rebounds today.  So, you know, I think the biggest thing was to make him have to work for everything that he got, you know, and I thought our guys were able to do that.
I thought the zone helped some with that as well.  But, you know, it was just a matter of, you know, stepping up and competing like we're capable of competing, and I thought both of those guys today did that.

Q.  Obviously this is a very physical, intense game.  How do you get your guys recovered for tomorrow playing Florida at noon?
COACH GRANT:  I don't see that being an issue, you know.  Obviously, you know, Florida played a game today as well.  It's the same situation for both teams.

Q.  How do you feel about getting Florida again less than two weeks or just about two weeks and what do you think you gain from that?
COACH GRANT:  I'm excited our team is still alive and has a chance to advance in the tournament, you know, and obviously we knew we'd have to play, you know, a very good team.  Florida is a very good team.  So it's just a matter now of getting prepared for the turnaround and getting ready for tomorrow.

Q.  What went into the decision to play so much zone defense today?  Did you make that decision early in the week, last minute or what?
COACH GRANT:  You know, I think the last time we played them we played a lot of zone as well.  I think the difference today, you know, was, you know, they got 17 offensive rebounds, but I think if I'm correct, previous two games that we played them we were out-rebounded by 15 and a half rebounds in both of those games, you know.
So today obviously they won the rebounding battle but it was by a significant amount less.  So we felt like it wasn't the first shot that was beating us no matter what we did, man or zone, but it was the second shot.  Obviously, the other important thing was being able to keep them off the free throw line.  I think if you look at their success of late, with Stokes and McRae and Golden, those guys have been able to do a great job of getting themselves to the free throw line and converting along with the other things they do well.  So we just felt like it gave us a chance to limit some of those opportunities.

Q.  Florida is one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the conference and they went 11 of 20 today earlier against LSU.  What do you plan to do to combat their perimeter shooting?
COACH GRANT:  They're a very good shooting team.  They have been all year.  We'll get together today.  We just finished this game right now, so we'll get prepared for Florida here today and be ready to go tomorrow.

Q.  Anthony, Coach Martin said he thinks his team is in despite this loss.  Tell me where I think your team is and how important this game is in that determination.
COACH GRANT:  Don't take this the wrong way, but right now we're in the SEC Tournament.  We play Florida tomorrow for a chance to advance and play for a tournament championship.  That's just where we are right now.  That's all that really matters.  Nothing else really matters.

Q.  Coach, you come off that mid court buzzer beater Senior Day.  Was the team still riding a high from that or kind of calmed down to normal?
COACH GRANT:  I think we were prepared for today.  I don't think there was any lingering effect from the emotional win the other day.  Our guys were locked in and prepared for today.

Q.  How effective has your zone been against Erik Murphy in the past couple of years and what kind of challenges does he present?
COACH GRANT:  I've done nothing in preparation for Florida.  Our focus has been on Tennessee.  We'll cross that bridge as soon as I get out of here.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Coach Grant?  All right.  Thank you very much.
COACH GRANT:  Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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