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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 15, 2014


Nemanja Durisic

Mark Fox

Kenny Gaines


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Kentucky テや 70
Georgia テや 58


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 FOX:テつ Kentucky's a really good basketball team, and to win the game we would have, we needed to play very complete basketball.テつ We didn't rebound it well enough and just couldn't get enough stops in the second half to win the game.
We didn't turn it over.テつ We slowed their transition game some.テつ I think they probably had less than 10 transition points.テつ But we didn't do all the things that we needed to do to win to beat a very good team.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Take your questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Kenny, just talk about you got off to a slow start, what happened that that didn't come through for you?
KENNY GAINES:テつ It was pretty key.テつ During regular season play, shots were falling for me pretty good and we had a pretty good handle on the game.テつ But I started off a little slow and missed some good looks, but it just comes with the game.

Q.テつ Talk about rebounding a little bit.テつ Kentucky had a little bit of a size advantage today and it kind of showed on the stat sheet.テつ How hard was it going up on the glass against this team?
NEMANJA DURISIC:テつ From the beginning we wanted to impose ourselves in the paint and then try to block them off, the big guys especially, and have a guard come and rebound the ball.テつ We did it effectively in a few periods of the game.テつ But as it shows here, in a few periods we gave up a lot of rebounds.
That's something that we have been doing very successfully lately and we really needed that to win the game.テつ Unfortunately, we didn't do it well today.テつ All the credit to their big guys.
THE MODERATOR:テつ All right.テつ We'll excuse you to the locker room and take questions for coach.

Q.テつ Down three and Kentucky had what I thought was a key possession there.テつ You talked about the rebounding already.テつ They went up 51‑43 at that one point.テつ Can you talk about that spot.テつ Then also just the rebounding difficulties that you had, especially in the defensive glass.
COACH FOX:テつ Well, I think it was 46‑43 was the score and they had back‑to‑back buckets, and that was a critical part of the game.テつ It really was.
Because I felt like had we been able to get one or two more stops, and then maybe a bucket or two in there and take the lead, that we could have really made it interesting.
But give them credit, when the plays had to be made there, they made them.テつ We sacrificed some offensive rebounding today to try and get back in transition defense, so I thought that our offensive rebounding numbers may be down.テつ But you're right, defensively, they just outworked us on the glass.テつ Their length is an issue and certainly it was a big part of the game.

Q.テつ Foul trouble seemed to limit a lot of your guys today.テつ Just how difficult was it trying to figure out who to get in there and your bench did help you in the first half, but you didn't get as much in the second.テつ How tough was that?
COACH FOX:テつ Yeah, that's two days in a row we had significant foul trouble.テつ And our bench kept us in it again in the first half today.テつ We didn't rally in the second half.
But we had more foul trouble here the last couple days than we have had for awhile.テつ But fouls are part of the game.テつ I thought the game was well officiated.テつ They're a hard team to guard, they really are.テつ With their ability to drive the ball and attack the basket, there's going to be lot of contact.テつ Certainly with the new emphasis this year, that's going to result in some fouls.

Q.テつ You played them earlier in the year.テつ Is there much difference between Kentucky now and than when you played them at Rupp Arena?
COACH FOX:テつ We played them at Rupp Arena I started my center at the two guard spot.テつ I can't compare them now.テつ We just glued together a team and a game plan that day.テつ I really can't.テつ I'm not trying to avoid your question.テつ I really can't compare because we didn't have a team that could really make a challenge that day because we were a little bit limited.
Do I think their team has continued to improve.テつ One of the things that we banked on today is that they wouldn't shoot the three well and they made shots.テつ They made three point shots today, and that's the difference in the game.

Q.テつ There were a lot of minutes today for Marcus.テつ Did you see any fatigue out of the two of them with the foul trouble at all?
COACH FOX:テつ One thing I was pleased with today is that even though we played two games in 16 hours or whatever it was, I don't think fatigue was a factor at all.テつ I was really pleased with how we bounced back with our energy, so I don't think that was a factor, no.

Q.テつ As you look forward now, does your focus now shift to the NIT and how important would that be for this team?
COACH FOX:テつ Well, one of my managers said to me there's a team in the Big‑10, they lost seven of nine.テつ Their RPI is 61.テつ Ours is 64.テつ We've won seven of nine.テつ They're a lock for the NCAA tournament, we're not.
Who is picking the field for the NCAA tournament?テつ Is it a computer?テつ Is it just numbers or do we look at who is a good basketball team right now?
I know we weren't good enough in November.テつ If you were to take a hard look at it, we might be good enough now.テつ I realize the body of work argument may put us on the outside looking in, and if it is, that's where we put ourselves.
I'm proud of this team.テつ The fact that it's still a conversation as of today, and that hopefully we'll be in post‑season, play somewhere, whether it's the NCAA or the NIT, we would be privileged to be in either one.

Q.テつ One of those theoretical questions that I hate to ask in a public setting, but since we are here, you spoke of the new emphasis and the new rules and the trouble y'all had adjusting to it tonight.テつ At the same time, you guys shot 72 free throws in the last two games.テつ Was there a point in the season or before the season that you said, This is what's going to happen this year with the new whistles and this is what we're going to do to take advantage of it?
COACH FOX:テつ Without question.テつ We devised a way to play where, especially with Charles Mann, without Kentavious, with Charles and Kenny Gaines, that we were going to be able to drive the ball a lot this year and try and get to the free throw line.テつ Certainly with Charles that was a big emphasis because we knew the rule change was coming.
So as much as we had some foul trouble today, we used it to our advantage most of the year and some today.テつ We got to the line today.テつ Not as much as in the second half as we wanted, but we got there quite a bit today.

Q.テつ Back to the post‑season conversation you were having a minute ago.テつ The fact that there is still a conversation with this team, regarding the NCAA tournament versus the NIT, what does that say about this conference?
COACH FOX:テつ I don't know how many.テつ We have I think seven top 100 hundred wins.テつ We have got two Top‑50s.テつ We only played one Top‑50 at home.テつ There's teams that people say are locks because they have got less numbers than that.テつ Because our league has not gotten the respect in the conversation, we don't know what the committee thinks, but the Tennessee team?テつ That's a darn good basketball team, who about beat the number one team in the country, who everyone is picking to be the national champion.
Kentucky is a terrific team.テつ Nobody wants to play Kentucky or Florida.テつ Last time I checked, we tied for second in this league.テつ There's a lot of good teams in this league.テつ Arkansas?テつ That's a good basketball team.テつ There's a lot of teams in this league that deserve to go to the post‑season.
I think if you really look at it, I think Cal is right, in other leagues, they say people beat up on each other.テつ In this league, you lose a game, Oh, your league is terrible.テつ That's a perception issue.
We certainly have to do a better job in our non‑league play, but I think at the end of the day, team's get better during the year and our team today is a heck of a lot better than it was in November.
You have to have people that have knowledge of basketball to make the decision on who should be in the tournament.テつ If it's just a computer picking it, well then, hey, let's save some money and just plug in the numbers.テつ By the way, let's do it for the football championship, too.テつ Then what kind of argument would we have?
I think you really have to have people with knowledge to really evaluate how good is this team in any specific case.

Q.テつ The Harrison twins seemed like they kind of hit like a potential today.テつ They really played well, both of them played.テつ Tell me about guarding them and dealing with them.
COACH FOX:テつ Well, they shot the ball well today.テつ They're big, they get in the lane, those kids have really improved.テつ They played very well today.
I thought Kentucky's team played well.テつ You have to give them credit, they outplayed us.テつ John did a nice job getting his team ready to play.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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