“I expected a hard-fought game. LSU has gotten a lot better. They’re very young and very quick. I think we showed our experience in the second half in a five- to six-minute stretch. I’m really pleased, other than our foul shooting, with the way we played.”
“Obviously Jeff [Taylor] and John [Jenkins] and Festus [Ezeli] were big for us in the scoring department, but I thought our bench played well. Rod [Odom] made some big plays for us. Kedren [Johnson] played well. Steve [Tchiengang] played well… We need them to be solid.”
On Vanderbilt’s Second Half Offense: “We got stops [and got the ball in transition], which opened it up.”
On Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins: “[LSU] played him tight. He put it on the floor and got to the rim. He’s a terrific off-balance shot-maker. He has a great touch. He has to do that to keep the defense honest. He was very aggressive in putting the ball on the ground.”
On Festus Ezel’s Game-High 21 Points: “You didn’t anticipate a performance like that when he didn’t really get to practice. Hopefully, that increases his confidence going forward.”
On Vanderbilt’s Seven Turnovers: “We took care of the ball. We had 14 assists and seven turnovers – that’s solid. It wasn’t a high turnover game [for either team].”
On Facing #1 Kentucky on Saturday: “Someone [Indiana] flew one in on a prayer to give them their only loss of the season. I’ll try to figure out our plan. I’m pretty sure the gym will be energized. I’m pretty sure both teams will be as well.”
LSU Head Coach Trent Johnson
Opening Comments: “[Vanderbilt] is a good basketball team. They are very experienced, skilled, and balanced. We have a hard time playing 40 minutes against a team of that caliber. We tried to stay within reach, but Jeffery Taylor. Jeffery Taylor, I don’t think he gets enough credit. He’s an athletic player. He is going to play for money. In college, we don’t get enough athletes like him. Festus [Ezeli] also played a good game. [Vanderbilt] coming off two losses was going to play strong. I was talking to Kevin Stallings before the game and told him [Vanderbilt] is not a basketball team anyone is going to want to play in the [NCAA] tournament.”
On What Makes it Tough to Defend Festus Ezeli: “I thought Justin Hamilton played well for us. [Festus Ezeli] is a kid that enjoys playing center post. He is a true post player. He understands the ball… He is a strong player.”
On the Offense When Justin Hamilton is on the Bench: “What is a mystery to me is when we are only down by four and have a lot of open shots. I know that Andre [Stringer] had a lot of open jumpers he missed and that is the bottom line… In late clock situations, we didn’t execute the plays we needed to. [Vanderbilt’s] length and strength caused problems for us - their length, strength, and their experience.”
On a strong performance: "Yeah I felt good tonight. Healthwise there was some pains and aches, but I felt good. And when I feel good I'm able to go play like tonight."
On the block in the beginning of the second half: "I was running back and I lost sight of him and lost site of the ball. I went up and I was determined not to let him score on that one."
On Saturday's game with Kentucky: "I've watched them play, they're are really good team. The kid Anthony Davis is really good. They have a lot of good role players and they know their roles. He [Davis] is good shot blocker and it will be a good test of my post game."
On his shot selection: "I think it was both. The last thing I want to do is force shots. Thats something I've been working on all year. I was just taking what they were giving me. They were leaning in to me so I was looking to drive and then I made some jump shots and floaters. Things really worked out well tonight."
On guarding the three point line: "I think we did in the second half. We were definitely helping each other and coach was talking to us a little bit. Having more intensity out there helped us as well. They got fouled and made a layup in the second half and that got us going."
Storm Warren #24
On bringing the team back into the game in the second half: I just took my time and realized that they were rotating, they were throwing everything, so I started recognizing there was nothing on the backside, so I went with the backhand stick and knocking it down.
On whether things seemed out of control when Dores took 56-45 lead: Most definitely (felt like we had another surge). That’s what we were talking about. We were looking to make a home run stretch but it kind of slipped away from us. They executed their plays well, a couple of defensive breakdowns on our end, and we pretty much have to give them credit. They did a heck of a job.
On the zone: It threw us for a loop a little bit but we got good looks and we got shots off. They just pretty much went and fouled it.
On Festus’s game: When he’s on, with him you’ve got to do your work early. If you don’t do your work early, he’s going to go to work on you, he’s going to get it done. We were a step off, a step behind him and he got his touches in. (And) he has great perimeter players to get him the ball.
On bouncing back from here: We’ll take it game by game. Go back home, get back in the film room and break down our mistakes, and build on them. You can’t hang your head, or it’ll mess up everything in the future. We’ll look to build on this and learn from our mistakes and get ready for the next game.