Feb. 4, 2012

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HEAD COACH Anthony Grant

Opening statement:

"I could not be prouder of the effort our guys gave today. You know the first half we really struggled. Give Ole Miss credit, I feel like they shot the ball extremely well, they were tough defensively. We had to find different ways to manufacture points during the first half. In the second half, at half time we talked about what we needed to do from a defensive stand-point and I thought from that point forward the defense just continued to get better and better and better over the course of the rest of the game. I thought we looked stronger in the overtime than we looked during regulation and that's a credit to the hard work and courage our guys showed tonight."

On Trevor Releford defensively:

"He made so many plays defensively that had to be made. Every time there was a play that needed to be made, somebody on our team stepped up and made the play. Whether it was a defensive possession or a rebound or an offensive possession, somebody stepped up and made the play."

On JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell in this game:

"Tonight they played with great heart and great passion. One of the assistants mentioned probably three times tonight, JaMychal had to ask to come out of the game because he was playing with so much heart and so much passion. Tony stepped up and was terrific down the stretch. He took a blow to the head in the first half and had to sit for a while in the second half, but he was dying to get back in there and he really made some plays for us there in the end. If you look at the box score we had 10 guys in double figures for minutes, and everybody, every last one of them made a play at some point. That was pivotal to the win."

On the play of Charles Hankerson tonight:

"He is coming off a knee surgery on Monday. He only had one day of practice and our medical staff did a great job. He played with great confidence and passion today. I thought he gave us a spark there on the offensive end, but gave us great effort and intensity on the defensive end as well."

#12 Trevor Releford, Guard

On tonight's game:

"Coach (Grant) talks about it every day. Every game it is going to be a fight. We just have to keep fighting, pull it through, and we did everything we could to get this win to keep this streak going."

On tonight's performances from the veterans:

"Tony Mitchell. JaMychal Green, (Andrew) Steele - all of our veterans stepped up today. Everybody stepped up as a team, even the bench. They gave us the energy to keep pushing and to try and get the win."

On the defensive intensity:

"Coach (Grant) looked us all in the eyes. When he looks you in the eye like that, you have to give it your all."

#22 Andrew Steele, Guard

On tonight's emotional win:

"It was tough. We went into double-overtime against a tough Ole Miss team. They are a really good team. To get a good win against a team like that helps our confidence."

On tonight's performances from Green and Mitchell:

"We always depend on them. Most of the time when they have success, we have success. A lot of times people will only look at offensive numbers. The job they did defensively, they were all over the place and that is what we expect from them."

On late-game defensive intensity:

"We understand late in the game, it was winning time. They gave us good chances to win, starting on the defensive end. They had a lot of success early, especially in the first half when they shot around 56 percent. That was our focal point in the second half, to try to make it tough on them offensively. Teams like that you can't really stop, but we did our best to try to limit them and frustrate them. We came up with some big stops."


HEAD COACH Andy Kennedy

On another missed opportunity and what they struggled with:

"I thought both teams played extremely hard. It wasn't always the best executed game but it's one of those games that you just feel bad about. Obviously we feel really bad because we are the ones taking the loss. You feel bad for either team that had to lose because of how hard guys played. We were both playing guys heavy minutes and you could see fatigue and fouls play a factor. Ultimately at this level it always comes down to a play here or a play there and you have to make that play. Alabama made it."

On the last sequence in the second overtime with Jelan Kendrick's play and what they were looking to do there:

"That wasn't it. We had issues that we were going very small and we pushed Terrance Henry to the floor. We were trying to get a double-ball screen and throw back to Murphy Holloway. Jelan went the opposite way that he was designed to go and ended up taking the shot. It was paint only and didn't hit the rim. That wasn't the one we were looking for."

On the inbounds play at the end of the first overtime:

"I think they just knocked the ball out of Jarvis Summers' hand. I thought the red sea parted and I thought he had a layup. It looked like he dribbled off of his foot or slapped it off his foot. He just couldn't secure the ball. The media that cover us every day knows that's been an issue. Our Achilles' heel has been our inability to make plays with the ball. We had 17 turnovers tonight, even though the game was extended an extra 10 minutes, it allowed Alabama to stay within striking range in order to make the plays they needed down the stretch. Even in the second overtime, I joke about it sometimes and I laugh about it so I won't cry, but we just fall down. We did it again tonight. Ball went to the top of the floor; we were up one point with two minutes left to play. We just fell down and gave them an open dunk. Those are things you obviously can't do."

On whether or not their best chance to win the game being when Jarvis lost the ball on the inbound play:

"We wanted to get the ball in it. I think there were four seconds on the clock and Jarvis made a good read by the way that he got the ball and then you've got to make a play. Obviously we were going to get it entered to him and try to set a quick ball screen and a little pick-and-pop but he went the other way which was the right way to go. It was inability to execute."

On doing well in the first half and shooting 56 percent:

"I thought our ball movement was pretty good. Guys stepped up and knocked down shots. I thought we were active on the offensive glass. I thought Reginald Buckner got out of the gate really quickly. He was a little more mobile than his matchup early. He's been staying out of foul trouble pretty good. Tonight he picked up number two and three real quick. At the end of regulation he goes to the line and misses two, JaMychal Green goes over him and it's his fifth foul. It was a huge eight to 10 second sequence and now we are trying to battle without him in the game. I think JaMychal had four at that point. Obviously block-charge, you take the charge and make the free throw. The whole tide changes, pardon my pun."


On coming up short in the team's second double overtime game in Alabama:

"It's tough. We were just a little bit short and we just have to learn to make plays at the end. We had some opportunities but we just didn't capitalize, but we will watch the film and we'll get better."

Talk about stepping up and making plays personally and as a team:

"Just playing hard and picking my spots, I was open and I knocked it down. Coach had faith in me to put me in that position and I got the ball and made the shot. We are ok, we are four and four, but guys will step up and as the season goes on we will get better at some stuff."

What does this mean to you coming back to your home state:

"It means a lot, obviously it means a lot. We are trying to make it to the NCAA tournament. We are trying to do some things that this program has never done and coming back home playing against some old teammates was fun and obviously I wanted to win, but we didn't. We've just got to get them next time."

How do you put the loss behind you and get ready for Mississippi State:

"I think this team is good at putting losses behind us and focusing on moving on. On the ride back we will watch film and then we'll get in the gym tomorrow and work on some stuff. We've just to get better and this game Thursday will be a tough one but we can pull it out."