Opening Comments: “The story of the game was our defense, particularly John [Jenkins’] defense on [ South Carolina’s Bruce] Ellington. It was superb… We did a great job at the foul line… Festus [Ezeli] was key for us in getting to the foul line. We had nine blocked shots – that’s a lot for any team. [South Carolina’s] defense caused us to stand around and not be effective, but we did what we needed to do to win. Twenty wins – I’m proud of that. I hope we have a lot more in us.”
On Vanderbilt’s Festus Ezeli: “He was a key for us… He was 8-8 from the foul line, which is awesome. He did a great job of effecting shots, blocking shots, and changing shots. He needs to be a big guy for us down the stretch.”
On Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins’ Defense of South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington: “He did a great job of containing his penetration, keeping the ball in front of him, and contesting his shots… A lot of other guys helped him, but we put a lot of pressure on [Jenkins] to play.”
On Vanderbilt’s Offense Producing 120 Total Points in the Last Two Games: “I’m not too concerned about the offense. Less than a week ago, we got 102 [in a game]… Tonight, it was South Carolina’s defense – it takes more time to get the shots you want against them. We got to the foul line. That hasn’t been as big a part of our game as we wanted it to be.”
On the Importance of Getting to the Foul Line: “It’s very important. It collapses a defense a bit. It enables our three-point shooters to be more effective. We can make it from three and from the foul line.”
On Vanderbilt’s 20-Win Season: “It used to be a real benchmark, but I’m proud to get there. It’s good that when we had our first shot at it, we knocked it out. I’m hoping for more than 20.”
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn
Opening Comments: “We came in knowing that [Vanderbilt is] a talented team, skilled offensively, and they play good defense too. They don’t get enough credit for their defense. They have the two leading scorers in the league [John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor]. I thought our defense was focused and put in good effort. We knew we couldn’t keep them both down, but to keep the pair to 25 points was tremendous. We aren’t going to win if one team shoots 28 free throws and the other only shoots four.”
On Defending Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor: “We were able to stop [Jeffrey] Taylor. [Taylor and John Jenkins] find a way to sneak easy shots in. Jenkins is a terrific player, so incredibly efficient. For him to get 10 shots tonight was unreal. But again, with the free throw shooting being 28 to four, it’s impossible to win.”
On South Carolina’s Overall Game: “I think we guarded well in the first half. Both [John] Jenkins and [Jeffrey] Taylor were not scoring. We played poor defense in the second half. We weren’t bad offensively. We had three more field goals than they did.”
On Limiting Vanderbilt’s Scoring: “Our team has done that a bunch. I am really proud of our guys. Our record is not what we want it to be, but our team plays outstanding defense. We put ourselves in the position to have an opportunity to win the game. In a game like this, it’s hard to overcome a 28-to-four free throw advantage. We would have to shoot 12 three-pointers to make up for that."
On rebounding from Sunday's performance: "On Sunday I really don't know what happened in that game. It was bad game. I played bad and I felt like I had to come out this game and play better. The first half was rough with the foul trouble, so it took a while for me to get going tonight and I eventually did."
On getting to the free throw line more in the second half: "Were a good driving team and we took advantage of that more in the second half. We were able to drive it, get it into their bodies and get foul shots."
On John Jenkins carrying team early in the game: "We have a lot of guys on this team who are good offensive players so when one guys not playing well we have guys that can step up. John's been doing a great job with that the past few games. It's coming to an end now to a point where we have to show what we got and everybody has to come play every night."
On a better offensive performance compared to the game against Georgia: "I just cleared the cobwebs from my head and just tried to focus on things I'm good at. I played with a lot more energy tonight. I played hard on Sunday, but not as hard as I could have. I tried to rally my teammates and that gets me going. And also being my second to last home game here. We have only one more left and it's hard to believe it's coming to an end."
South Carolina Player Quotes
#45 Carlton Geathers - Forward
On defending Ezeli: “I noticed this from last year, watching him play from the sideline. He tries to pin you in and I tried to stay at the top of him.”
On the loss: “I don’t think nothing was tough about it, we just made a couple of defensive mistakes, and they capitalized on them. We had a couple of good rebounds that we should’ve kicekd out to set our offense back up but that’s it.”
#23 Bruce Ellington - Guard
On whether Vanderbilt pressured them to shoot threes in the second half: “Some of it was open threes, and then our guys can shoot it, they can knock down an open three, they were missing a couple, but they weren’t making us do nothing, we were doing it ourselves.”
On going inside but not getting to the free-throw line: “Just tell them to keep it tight.”
On defending against John Jenkins: “He’s a great guy, he can shoot it, and he’s a great person, I was talking to him on the court a little bit. But he’s an all around player.”
On the disparity of free-throws: “Sometimes you lose it. You just got to keep fighting, keep driving it, hopefully we’ll get some calls.”