Opening Statement We kind of got out-played, out-fought that last eight minute mark or so in the second half and the rest of the game including the overtime. Even when we were ahead I didn't like our look and our demeanor. They played with more energy than we did. They deserved to win and they did.
On the SEC atmosphere I don't think there's a huge difference in atmosphere. We played at Missouri. We've been in this atmosphere already. Some of the teams in the league maybe haven't but we have. It was just the case that we didn't play well. Then they got the momentum, and the fact that we weren't playing with as much energy as they were finally caught up to us.
On the energy of USC That's how you're supposed to play. [Head Coach Darrin Horn's] teams play hard. Our team plays hard. They just played harder than we did today.
On Sam Muldrow, Malik Cooke, and Bruce Ellington [Sam Muldrow's `triple-double'] should send a big message to our big guys. He really did a nice job. I thought [Malik Cooke] did a nice job too. I actually thought [Malik Cooke] was the guy that came in and impacted the game in the second half as much as anybody on the team. He played with good physicality, and I thought he was a good player in the second half. Then [Bruce Ellington] got hot and made some shots against us and [Sam Muldrow] was good the whole game. He almost had a `double-double' by half time.
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn
Opening Statement Welcome to SEC play. It was a great college basketball game. The two teams fought really hard and really, really competed. We were very fortunate to get some key stops down the stretch and get some big plays when we needed to, especially early in the overtime. I think overall, we're really proud of our guys and that we played the way that we want to play. We played with tremendous effort, energy, (and) toughness; we focused on defending and rebounding. We had a never quit attitude and approach, even when things weren't going our way offensively. That's what we're going to have to do to be successful in games like this to have a chance to win. It doesn't mean you're going to win them all, but I think that putting yourselves in that position is good. Hopefully our guys have learned that. Can't say enough about Sam Muldrow getting a triple-double the hard way, with blocks. Keep in mind he picked up his fourth foul before the four-minute timeout. He had four or five blocks in those last 10 minutes. He stepped up big time. Sam obviously stands out, but collectively we're really proud of our guys who played well against a good Vanderbilt team.
On the team's maturity I think (the team matured) a little bit. The thing that comes most with maturity and experience is understanding that things aren't going to always go just right every time, but staying committed to what you're about and what gives you a chance to be good, you can be in position to have a chance to win. I think we defended and rebounded well enough to be in that position. Once we got flowing offensively a little bit, I think our guys picked it up a little more and that's pretty normal with a young team. It's evidence to them that you will have the opportunity for success if you stick with the right things.
On the emotion of the game We've got to control them, but at the same time we've got to fight and compete. We want to play tough and not back down from anybody. That's what we want our program to be all about. That's what we need to give ourselves the chance to be successful at South Carolina.