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March 13, 2014

Shavon Coleman

Anthony Hickey

Johnny Jones


LSU – 68
Alabama – 56

THE MODERATOR:  We're ready to continue on with LSU.  We'll ask Coach Jones for his thoughts on the game and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH JONES:  We knew coming into this game that it would be a tough, hard fought battle.  We always have played tough type of games with Alabama.  How they finished their season this year with the great victory there at home.
I thought our guys did an excellent job of coming out tonight, establishing themselves early against a very good basketball.  I thought our guys played well on both ends of the floor, especially defensively early on.
It was one of our better team efforts from all of our guys tonight.  Guys coming off the bench, starters, everybody really playing well on both ends of the floor which allowed us to get out of here with a victory tonight.
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Anthony, what does it mean to play your home state school and why do you guys matchup so well with that team?
ANTHONY HICKEY:  We played against them already, great opportunity in the conference tournament.  I think we matchup because we got small and big guards and we are able to get in the gaps and we're able to play big with them.
So hopefully things will go our way and we'll come out ready and get this win.

Q.  I know we asked you this, guys, you two talk about the fact that Tim's sitting up here with you tonight.  I'm not sure that anybody would have predicted what Tim did tonight.  What did you see in him before the game that gave you a hint that he might explode like that.
SHAVON COLEMAN:  We've been seeing a lot in Tim.  Practice, he's been coming out having great practice.  He's been working hard.  Warmups today, he was out talking, getting the team behind us.  Shooting the ball well in warmups and giving us a lot of energy.
So I had a good feeling that he was going to come out and give us some great minutes when it was his opportunity to get in the game.
ANTHONY HICKEY:  I see it every day.  Pushing him at practice, him going at me all the time and just him translating to the game.  We need him to do that for us every game and come out ready just like he did, giving us that spark and that energy.

Q.  Anthony, Johnny O'Bryant said that you want to make Kentucky pay every time you play them, a team that obviously didn't offer you a scholarship.  Is that the case?
ANTHONY HICKEY:  No.  (Laughter.)
No, it's just playing against the home team, great challenge, I love to compete.  Just when you see Kentucky, you always get amped up because it's a big name, just us willing to compete against them, so...

Q.  On a neutral court, Anthony, what do you think will be the difference this time?
ANTHONY HICKEY:  We ain't going to be as loud as it was in Rupp Arena.  We're going to have a great opportunity.  We got a couple fans here, they got a couple fans here.  It's all going to be won between the lines and the guys on the benches.  So that's the main thing.

Q.  Anthony, coach talked about in the week that it was a balance between you guys feeling that there kind of is a back‑against‑the‑wall thing and also playing loose.  Which one do you feel like this team carried tonight?
ANTHONY HICKEY:  Well, we have been there.  We have been down from the losses before, back is against the ropes, but we got a great team.  We're going to keep competing and coming out every night.
We came out hot today and we just were able to pass the ball around.  When we pass the ball around, we're hard to guard.  We were able to knock down shots tonight.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'll excuse you.  You can return to the locker room.  We'll take questions for coach.

Q.  With the win tonight, do you think this boosts your tournament hopes whatever you have in terms of a tournament hope to get to the NCAA?
COACH JONES:  Well, I think this game will possibly help, but I think we need to string a few more together to really make a significant step to where we need to be and put ourselves, I'm hopeful, in the conversation.
I thought our team played well tonight and I think we need to perform like that again tomorrow for us to put ourselves in that position.

Q.  Kind of a best of three with U.K.  What do you think you guys have to do to win that series?
COACH JONES:  They're very talented basketball team, and it will be a very hard fought battle tomorrow.  We have to go out and make sure that we're probably playing one of our better games all year.  We're going to have to execute at a high level offensively, be at our best on the defensive end of the floor.  Kentucky will come in and they will have an edge about themselves tomorrow and we're going to have to just play well.

Q.  How much of a confidence level is there when you play a team for the third time in a season?
COACH JONES:  It kind of depends, I think, how you fared against them.  If you've done well against them, you hopefully feel pretty good going in.  If you have had two setbacks, depending upon the margin that you've been beaten.
But if you split like we have with certain teams, you know that it could be a hard fought game and obviously you match up with each other pretty good.  So it's going to be a great challenge for you.

Q.  Same question I asked your guys, did you see any hint that Tim might do something like that?  I know you recruited him because he could play, but he struggled pretty much coming in the last couple weeks.
COACH JONES:  I thought he was a tone setter for us tonight.  He had a setback a few weeks ago.  He did not get an opportunity to travel to Kentucky with us because of some issues that he had.  He had to get back home to take care of some family things and he struggled with that.
We're glad that he was able to bounce back tonight and put us in a position tonight.  I thought he was the X‑factor in the game tonight.  I thought he set the tone the way that he played early on, hitting threes and finishing there with a rebound dunk.

Q.  Other than Florida, you guys have given Kentucky more problems this year than anybody.  Why do you matchup so well with Kentucky?
COACH JONES:  I think Kentucky's an excellent basketball team.  I think that defensively, offensively they have got many weapons.  They're long on the inside.  They rebound the ball well.  I think we're just really fortunate when we played them early on, we knocked down some shots offensively there at home.
More of the same, we hit some key baskets when we played them there on the road.  We made the run when we needed to get the game into overtime and came up a little short there.
But I think the two times we have played them, we have been really on point offensively.

Q.  I know you can only control what your team does, but your thoughts on what the Arkansas loss earlier means, not only for you, but maybe the whole SEC for post‑season?
COACH JONES:  We'll obviously have to put that in the hands of the committee, and hopefully you're playing well and your body of work means something.
These tournaments are tough.  I think you can look around the country, Villanova, a 1‑seed, wound up losing today to Seton Hall.  And when those kind of things happen, you have to weigh them that way.
But you think when you look at Arkansas and the way that they have played down the stretch, how well they have played, and be it Tennessee or you name it, those teams shouldn't be judged, hopefully, not by one game in a tournament when the stakes are as high as they are right now.

Q.  Coming back to Tim, you said you talked to him about showing some more assertiveness.  I'm curious what you've seen from him in the past couple of weeks inside workouts or anything that sort of led you to believe that tonight could be that sort of breakout for him?
COACH JONES:  I think one, he's been dealing with some other issues away from the floor and really trying to reel him back in and get him to focus and get his blinders on when he got between those lines at 94 by 50.  We call that, that's an opportunity for you to get away from things.  I thought tonight he was able to do that.
We visited actually a little bit before the game tonight and talking about how important he was to this basketball team and getting locked in and how bad they needed him really to be focused.  I thought he was able to come in and do that tonight.

Q.  Just the job he did on Releford tonight seemed like switching ball screens and talking guys through those situations pretty good, you closed out well, is this about as well as you can remember this team playing defensively over the past couple of weeks?
COACH JONES:  Especially against a great player like Releford, he's one of the top players in the country.  He's always hurt us and he's done a tremendous job of getting into the lane, getting into the gaps and finishing in the paint, although he still got there because he got to the foul line.  I think he wound up going 2‑11 from the field tonight and that's one of the better defensive jobs that we were able to do on him.

Q.  You said yesterday talking about stretching that zone out so it doesn't exactly allow them to pack it in against Johnny.  The 3‑point shooting tonight, I think you guys went 11‑22.  That's a season high.  Can you comment about the job you did about finding those perimeter shooters and then knocking them down.
COACH JONES:  First of all, give credit to Johnny.  He didn't force anything.  They did a great job.  You have to give Alabama credit.  They did a great job of doubling down and being very aggressive with their traps on him.  Johnny did an excellent job after the initial trap that they set on him.  He traveled I think the first play of the game.  He did a good job of getting the ball out of there.  His teammates did an excellent job of making the extra passes, getting good looks and knocking big shots down.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.
COACH JONES:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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