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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 12, 2014


Roquez Johnson

Rick Ray

Craig Sword


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Mississippi テや 82
Vanderbilt テや 68


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH RAY:テつ Just a really good win for our guys and our program.テつ A lot of people could have just pitched up the tent and headed into the offseason content with being in last place and not even trying to advance on in the SEC tournament.テつ But our guys stayed the course and really stuck with it.
I know it's hard to see, but when we lose so many games straight, our guys continued to play hard in practice every day and I saw improvements in our team, even though you can't see the result in the win/loss column.
So I thought we had some success at Vanderbilt.テつ I thought we did some things, but I thought we had 24 points that we gave up off our own turnovers and we turned the ball over 18 times at their place.テつ I thought we reduced that here in this game, and I thought if we didn't give them points off our turnovers we would have a chance to one this basketball game.
But more so than anything, we had a time in juncture there where we could have splintered and come apart.テつ Our guys, to their credit, didn't do that.テつ They found a way to persevere through it and get this win.テつ So I'm really proud of those guys.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ We talked a couple days ago about the feeling after South Carolina.テつ Compare that feeling with, I guess, couple minutes ago when you guys finally broke that leasing streak?
CRAIG SWORD:テつ The feeling is, I know I told you, when we finished that game, and we didn't finish that game.テつ We played hard 40 minutes of defense and we was hitting a lot of shots tonight, too.

Q.テつ Talk about some of the guys talked the other day about this being a new season for you guys.テつ You can kind of erase the regular season.テつ Is that how y'all approached this game?
ROQUEZ JOHNSON:テつ We were talking before the game.テつ We know we had a bad losing streak, but we are just going to start fresh in the SEC tournament and come out there and play our hardest.

Q.テつ For Craig or Roquez, how much are you guys looking forward to getting another shot at Ole Miss?テつ Obviously the last time you played them they beat you pretty bad.テつ Another chance at the in‑state rivalry?
CRAIG SWORD:テつ It will feel great to get to see them one more time.
But we're going to take this thing one game at a time.テつ We're going to come in tomorrow focused and locked in.
ROQUEZ JOHNSON:テつ I agree with what he said.テつ We have been waiting to play them since they beat us the first time.テつ So we're going to come out there and play our hardest and do what we have to do.

Q.テつ I think they cut it to six with about 12 minutes to go, then you had that bucket and you guys never looked back.テつ What was the feeling like on the bench and the court when they made that comeback?
ROQUEZ JOHNSON:テつ We were talking to each other, we were like we got to keep each other up.テつ We can't let nobody get down.テつ If one person get down, we feed off the negative energy.テつ So I stayed out there and I just brought a lot of energy to the team and helped the guys out.

Q.テつ Talk about how you started the game.テつ I think you started the game off six‑of‑six or seven‑of‑seven or whatever it was.テつ Talk about the hot start?
CRAIG SWORD:テつ Well, we executed.テつ We ran all our plays right and we got good shots and finished them.テつ Throughout the year we had a lot of shots that we didn't finish, but tonight we did.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Okay.テつ We'll excuse you, you can return to the locker room.テつ Thank you.テつ Take questions for coach.

Q.テつ A couple days ago, Fred took that 3‑pointer in the corner and it extended the losing streak to 13 games.テつ This time he takes that last second three and it goes in.テつ I saw you shake your head and smile.テつ What was going through your mind at that second?
COACH RAY:テつ Well, we wanted penetration on that.テつ Any time you get a late shot‑clock situation you want to make sure that you're penetrating and getting into the lane.テつ But Fred felt like he was open from the three, so he took it.テつ But at that point in time, it was really immaterial.
It was just good to see the ball go through the net for the last time for Fred.テつ So hopefully that carries over to the next game, him feeling good about himself and feeling good about his jump shot.

Q.テつ Regardless of how this tournament ends up, just getting that 13‑game losing streak ended, with a win in this, how positive is that to go into the offseason just with a win and not having that long losing streak going into the end of the year?
COACH RAY:テつ Well, I think it's important because you don't want to answer the question the whole offseason about the losing the games, losing streak, going into the next season.テつ So now you can go in with a positive note.
But I think more so than anything it makes our guys feel good about themselves.テつ I can deal with the public scrutiny and things lake that.テつ I'm fine.テつ I'm grown.テつ But those guys right there, you want to make sure that they have an incentive to work in the offseason and get better.
I just think something as simple as this, as getting a win and going in with some momentum and getting a chance to continue on in the SEC tournament, means a lot to them and their self‑psyche.
So I think that's the most important thing, is give those guys confidence going into the offseason and making them feel good about themselves and what we're doing here.

Q.テつ What was different tonight from the South Carolina game where your guys responded when they came back rather than I guess letting the other team run away?
COACH RAY:テつ If I knew the answer to that I would make a lot of money.テつ But I really don't know for sure.テつ I think more so than anything, South Carolina found a way to get the ball into the paint and execute.テつ I thought Vanderbilt took a lot of threes.テつ So when you don't have those threes, you don't put the pressure on the defense, especially with us having a short rotation that we don't have to worry about foul trouble.
So I thought that was a huge thing and a key difference between the South Carolina game and the Vanderbilt game.

Q.テつ What do you guys have to do to give yourself a shot against Ole Miss?テつ Obviously the one time you beat them they didn't have Marshall play in that game.
COACH RAY:テつ I don't know if we got to do anything to give ourself a shot.テつ I think once we set foot on the court, we got a shot.テつ But I think more so than anything, I think that what happens is everybody focuses in on one player on their team.テつ I think what you can do is like you make those other guys really good players when you focus in just on one guy.
I think people don't understand how good Jarvis Summers is.テつ He's a really good basketball player.テつ I think sometimes you get so caught up in Marshall Henderson and guarding him off the cuts and screening action, that you allow Jarvis Summers to go one‑and‑one.テつ And when you allow him to go one‑and‑one, he's a really good player.
I think the second thing that happens is you help so much with your bigs, and then all of a sudden a shot goes up and their two bigs just really go do a great job of crashing the offensive glass and creating offense for them.
So we got to find a way to deal with all their changing defenses.テつ They'll play a 2‑3.テつ They will play a 1‑3‑1.テつ They will play some man‑to‑man.テつ So we got to get into a flow against Ole Miss and not become stagnant on the offensive end.

Q.テつ On paper you see that they have Odom and Jones, but Roquez and Gavin I think 13 of 18, 29 points, 10 rebounds.テつ Was that a concerted effort to get to them and what were your thoughts on their play tonight?
COACH RAY:テつ We always make a concerted effort to get the ball into the paint.テつ One, because we're not a great shooting team, and I think it's always good when you get the ball to the paint.テつ You can put pressure on defense and try to draw some fouls.テつ You think with the way they call fouls these days, and it's not just the SEC, it's just the emphasis now of what they're doing with the changing of the rules, that we got to make sure we get the ball into the paint.
Then Roquez is such a guy, he's undersized four man, he's an undersized post.テつ He uses quickness to drive by people and make some things happen.テつ So Roquez, he's the type of guy that got to get the ball into the paint.
I thought really Colin Borchert did a great job of feeding the ball into Gavin on high‑low feeds, and so I thought that made a huge difference.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right thank you very much.
COACH RAY:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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