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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 13, 2014


Michael Carrera

Frank Martin

Sindarius Thornwell


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

South Carolina テや 71
Arkansas テや 69


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH MARTIN:テつ Like we spoke about yesterday, survive and advance.テつ That's all you're geared up to do at this time of year.
I thought we didn't have as much pep in our step today as we had yesterday.テつ On the sideline, I thought our coaches did a great job of just keeping the fight in our guys and the belief in our guys.
Then hats off to them that every time it seemed like, Oh no, somebody stepped up and made a play to stop the bleeding and then give us life again.テつ Then we came up with stops and rebounds in the last minute and a half of the game.テつ That's something that we preach and preach and preach, that to win, you got to win through your defense and I'm real proud of our guys.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Both of you guys could comment.テつ You've been in a lot of close games this year where you lost in the last five minutes.テつ Both of you missed some free throws in the final minutes.テつ Just what did you tell yourselves and what did you tell your teammates in that final minute to say that you still had the game in control?
MICHAEL CARRERA:テつ I think that you have to be more focused.テつ I think that it was just missing free throws.テつ You can see that it went in and out, but we got to keep working on the free throws.
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ We were up one, with everybody missing free throws.テつ So regardless of those missed free throws or whatnot, we still was up.テつ So just all we needed was one rebound, one stop, and we would go back and shoot some more free throws and expand the lead.
So even though we missed free throws, we just wanted to focus, keep everybody's minds right and just focus on the next possession, the next play.テつ And that's what we did.

Q.テつ For both of you guys, two questions in one, what do you remember about playing Tennessee back on February 8, and what's this 10 games since then been like?
MICHAEL CARRERA:テつ I think that we played really bad.テつ I think that we got to become more focused and we got a big job.テつ They have really good players and we just have to pay attention to the scouting report.テつ Everything that the coach tells us to do, we have to do it.
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ Against Tennessee last time, we wasn't as focused.テつ This time we come in mentally prepared for the game and do all the things coaches want us to do, and hopefully we'll come out with a win.
The last 10 games have been good.テつ We're all playing together.テつ We're starting to find ourselves as a team, and we just are trying to keep the winning going.

Q.テつ For both of you, pep in the step, what does it say about how far y'all have come in this last little bit that you might not be playing your best, but you still find a way to win?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ Earlier in the conference play, we were in a lot of close games.テつ We lost those games.テつ So it just showed that we have matured and we have grown as a team, because early in the year, we probably would have lost because we were young.
So it just shows that we were still able to pull the win out, even though we didn't have as much pep in our step as yesterday.
MICHAEL CARRERA:テつ I think that we are playing together now.テつ We have come together as a team and we have such great coaches.テつ They are always pushing us to get better.テつ And that's a great thing that we have.テつ We always are going to push ourself and win every single game.

Q.テつ I asked you before the tournament if you were ever going to allow yourself to think of five and five.テつ Do you ever allow yourself to think of three and three?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ What do you mean?

Q.テつ Did you ever allow yourself to think of winning five games in five days?テつ Now do you think of yourselves as winning three in three days?
SINDARIUS THORNWELL:テつ No.テつ One day at a time, like coach preaches.テつ We just try to live to fight another day.テつ We don't look forward.テつ We don't look over any team.テつ We just try to focus on the next team in front of us.テつ If we win, we focus on the next team.テつ We don't skip over anybody.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll excuse you.テつ You can return to the locker room.テつ We'll take questions for coach.

Q.テつ Same question I asked them, coach, to you.テつ What does it mean to these kids that they're finding a way to win?
COACH MARTIN:テつ If you think about it, usually when you are going to go play a game, and it's tournament setting, you can't stand overtime.テつ You're in the locker room, you come out.テつ Overtime.テつ Go back in.テつ I was praying for a third over time.テつ Why do I say that?テつ We're playing at 9:30 at night last night, and you turn around and you got to be ready to go at 3 in the afternoon that next day, to play a NCAA‑caliber team.テつ It's hard to do.テつ Hard to do when you're grown, harder to do when you're young like our team is.
But I'm ecstatic for them.テつ I'm ecstatic for our coaches, our staff, our kids.テつ Our assistant coaches and our kids put in just a ridiculous amount of hours with each other to get better individually, to understand how to watch tape.
See, when kids first come on your campus and you say, All right, let's watch film.テつ They watch the guy with the ball.テつ And when they jump up and dunk, they think it's a great play, but they don't watch the game.テつ You got to teach them how to watch the game.
They have grown there.テつ Scouting reports are something that we handle a lot better now than we did back in November and December.
So I'm ecstatic.テつ I tell these guys all the time, there's a reason February is the hard month of the year.テつ Everyone's tired.テつ Players are tired of listening to coaches.テつ Coaches are tired of repeating the same thing to the players.テつ Officials are tired of hearing us coaches.テつ It's just everyone's bogged down.
The guys that stay the course and get through that month and just continue to believe, gets their team prepared to find success at this time of year.テつ I'm happy that we're experiencing that right now.テつ It's a great lesson for our kids to continue to learn.

Q.テつ I asked the players, how is this team different now than February 8th when you played Tennessee?テつ The other part is, you spoke of fatigue, are you even more concerned going into the third day about fatigue?
COACH MARTIN:テつ No.テつ We'll get our full compliment of 21, 22 hours of rest now, which is no different than a regular day where you play and practice or practice and play.
And we practice.テつ I'm not a believer in just kind of showing up and just shoot layup lines and talk and go home.テつ We practice.テつ And the reason we practice as competitively as we do is so we don't have an excuse that we're tired at this time of year when you're facing these kind of situations.
The problem for us is we're playing better, but so is Tennessee.テつ And Tennessee, you can argue Tennessee's playing better than anyone in our league right now, including Florida.テつ You can argue that.
You're talking about a team that beat Virginia.テつ They could have named the score.テつ You're talking about a team that's got great parts and had two first‑year guys at point guard to start the year.テつ Well, Barton, and excuse me for not remembering the name right now, the freshman that plays point for them, they're playing their tails off right now.テつ So it's no surprise now that those two guys now at the end of their first year, as point guards, are playing as well as they are and that team's playing as well as they are.
But when we went in there, I don't think McRae missed a shot, and he's a hard matchup because he's so competitive.テつ He shoots it as well as he does.テつ If you crowd him, then you open up passing lanes to the two big fellows inside.
I don't know if you've seen my guys, but I think that their left legs weigh more than my guys inside.テつ So we have got our hands full, but like I told the guys, this time of year, don't expect an easy one.テつ Be a man, be excited that you get a great opportunity.

Q.テつ You start missing some free throws down there in that last minute.テつ What was just the mood on the sidelines of guys still encouraged?テつ Was there any head hanging going on right then?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Next play.テつ Next play.テつ We don't get to teach a lesson tomorrow if we drop our heads because we missed a free throw.テつ Next play.テつ That's what we did.テつ We got stops.テつ We lost their guy, I can't remember, I think it was number 4.テつ He shot a three from the left side.
See the game was almost identical as the one that we played in Arkansas.テつ At Arkansas we lost him and he jumped up and made that three.テつ Today he missed it.テつ We didn't do anything to make him miss it, he just missed it.
But we got the defensive rebound.テつ Then the other times we helped each other, we didn't give them anything easy.テつ Then Portis just missed a dink right there.
But, you know, I said this earlier in the year and I'm going to use it again, because I kind of like it, I'm going to quote Coach Spurrier again, "I guess the good lord was looking down on the Gamecocks today."

Q.テつ In those moments when they're missing free throws and it's tough, how do you really keep them up when you're talking to them?テつ Is it just talk about what the strategy for the next play is?テつ How do you keep them there and away from that?
COACH MARTIN:テつ I get mad at a lot of things, I never get mad at a kid for missing a shot.テつ That's never aggravated me.テつ But that's hard to do.テつ Hard to do.
I get mad at guys when they don't do what they're asked to do, when they don't rotate, when they break a play off and don't come out of a timeout and execute.
Kids miss a shot, they miss a shot.テつ It is what it is.テつ Things like that, there's no reason to hang your head.テつ Exactly what Sindarius said, whether we made them or missed them, we would have made our life a lot easier if we would have made them, but at the end of the day we still had a lead.テつ What we preach is defense, defense, defense.テつ So you got a lead, trust your defense.テつ Go out there and do your job and that's what our guys did.

Q.テつ How surprising is it that you scored 71 points and get a win and Brenton Williams only makes one field goal and has zero threes, would you have expected that?
COACH MARTIN:テつ Did I expect it?テつ No.テつ I really hope that doesn't happen again.テつ But Brenton was tired today.テつ Brent didn't have that spring, that attack mode mentality that he's had pretty much the last six weeks of the season for us.
But give Arkansas credit, Arkansas is a real good team.テつ It's not like we're talking about a team that doesn't know what they're doing.テつ Mike did a great job and his kids, they're good, give them credit.テつ They're athletic.テつ They stayed with him.テつ They never left him.
When we were at their place, they left him and he made a bunch of shots.テつ They weren't leaving him today.テつ But that's where our inside guys, who I've been on all year, they gave us some real productive stuff on the interior today.テつ Brian Steele, the play of a game where we were starting to reel a little bit and we had a bad offensive possession, and instead of standing there watching, he ran after that offensive rebound, put back.テつ That doesn't sound like much, but it was a crucial play in a difficult moment of the game for us.テつ That play gave us life to, you know what, Let's fight the next play.テつ We kept doing that and somehow, some way, we figured out a way to be sitting here with the great opportunity to play tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right.テつ Thank you.
COACH MARTIN:テつ Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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