Nov. 23, 2011

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Head Coach Anthony Grant

Opening statement:

"Obviously we were a little limited today. JaMychal suffered a hip pointer over in Puerto Rico so we felt like if he wasn't healthy (he wouldn't play). He and I talked before the game, he was still sore, so we decided to hold him out. Obviously Tony going down in the first eight minutes wasn't good. We think it's an ankle sprain, nothing more than that, so we hope that he'll have a quick recovery and he'll be back. I'm proud of the way our guys responded. I thought we had a lot of guys step up tonight. They really did a good job on the backboard, did a good job defensively, did a good job taking care of the basketball so there were a lot of things we were pleased with."

On Charles Hankerson's play:

"It was really good to see him come out and be productive like he was. I thought he did a good job for us in Puerto Rico with the opportunities that he had and he came out tonight with the opportunity that presented itself. You look at nine rebounds, that's awesome from a guard. And for him to get five steals, now his teammates will accuse him of one of those steals being on the offensive end stealing a pass for a layup. Overall I thought he gave us great minutes as did everybody who played tonight."

On being able to play without Green and Mitchell:

"I think the guys are doing a great job of supporting each other and trying to get an understanding this early in the year ... in November. We have six games under our belts and our team's in a great place. I like the competitive spirit of our team, I like the energy and the camaraderie. We just have to keep getting better and improving."

On Nick Jacobs' and others' play:

"I thought Nick did a great job tonight. He actually could have had much bigger numbers had it not been for the foul trouble and if he had finished some of the opportunities he had to finish like he normally does. I thought we got good minutes from Carl (Engstrom) before he fouled out. I'd like for him to have the opportunity to stay on the floor longer, but you look at seven minutes and two blocked shots and maybe a couple more that didn't get called blocks. I thought we got a lot of good play out of a lot of guys tonight."

On Rodney Cooper's performance behind the arc:

"He's got the ability. The thing that we've told him is to just continue to take good shots. He's had these games that he's started out hot or struggled but he still has the confidence. But the thing with him is that he affects the game on the defensive end with his size and he does a lot of different things for us and it was good tonight to see the ball go in for him."

#15 Nick Jacobs, Forward

On what the team should take away from this game:

"We just have to keep our heads on straight. We aren't going to get anything unless we work for it and play hard as a team."

On how it felt to go out and contribute to the game:

"It felt really good. I feel like I got a lot of touches, and I feel like we played well overall as a team."

#2 Charles Hankerson, Jr., Guard

On how it was to see the whole team involved in the game:

"It was awesome, seeing the whole team do well, seeing everybody succeed. We worked so hard and we put everything into this. It was just good seeing everybody doing their thing out there."

On the defensive strategy this game:

"Our game plan is just to play hard on defense. Coach (Anthony Grant) preaches that every day and today we were just successful."


Head Coach Willie Hayes

On their performance tonight:

"You have to realize that when you play against a team as athletic as those guys are, they are a defensive minded team. That was one of my main concerns the first two to three minutes coming out of the gate. They did exactly what I thought they were going to do. They were aggressive defensively, but I didn't expect (Rodney) Cooper to hit those two three pointers at the beginning of the game. I know he's a shooter, but I didn't expect him to shoot it that well."

On this being a learning experience for their team:

"You use it as a learning tool, but I came down trying to win one. We tried to win one but you do use it as a learning tool. When you play a team as athletic as they are, you have to do fundamentals. When you watch their film against Purdue and Wichita State, you see how aggressive they are from the one to the five defensively. That's a great defensive team."

On the younger guys at Alabama:

"They are talented. Down the road I see them going a long way. Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper and Nick Jacobs make a big team. You are talking about two guards that are 6-4 and 6-5. Then you have Jacobs in the middle. I see a bright future for them. Then you still have Tony Mitchell."

On what he was proud about tonight with his team:

"I was proud that they didn't quit. They kept fighting. A lot of easy baskets that I thought we should have made, we didn't make. We were getting fouled and hitting our free throws but those are and-ones. It makes the game closer and you feel a lot better. When you go in there against a team like this that's strong and athletic that's not going to work. You have to go ahead and accept the block or the foul. That's what you have to do."

#4 Casey Canty, G

On playing so close to home:

"It feels good. I live an hour away from Tuscaloosa, so being here is very familiar to me. Our team felt good coming in, but we just got out rebounded the first half. We dug ourselves a big hole during the first half. It was hard to come back out after that."

On A&M's struggles from the field was a lack of execution or Alabama's defense:

"It was both. Like I said before, the offensive rebound killed us during the first half. Our execution wasn't that bad. We just ran into one of the top ranked teams. They played defense, and we have to learn from this game and move on."

What can your team take away from this game:

"I can tell you that we have to play hard for 40 minutes. We have a tendency to come out sluggish, but we have to get on it from the jump. We have to play hard, box out, rebound and the offense is going to come, but the defense and rebound we've got to work on."