Opening Comments: “It looked like the first game for both teams. We missed a ton of free throws. They missed a ton of free throws. We couldn’t make shots. They couldn’t make shots. We had two nice runs [including] one in the second half that was the deciding one.”
On Vanderbilt’s Offensive Rebounding: “Rod [Odom] and Jeffrey [ Taylor] helped us on the offensive boards. We forced turnovers and didn’t turn it over ourselves. I didn’t like how we attacked their zone, but if someone offered me a 14-point win at the beginning of the day, I would have signed up for it.”
On Oregon’s Offense: “They’re very fast in transition. They put pressure on you. It’s not fun playing against [Coach Dana Altman’s] teams. They’re fun to prepare for because you’re going to be stretched in every way.”
On Not Having Festus Ezeli: “It’s obviously significant for us not to have him, but we don’t have him and we won’t for a while. We have to play better without him and make up for him. Our kids played hard. We came out at the start of the second half and we were on point. We have to get better as a team and when Festus comes back, we’ll hopefully be at full strength.”
On Vanderbilt’s Opening Night: “Anything can happen on opening night. That’s why they’re scary games. I was spooked earlier because I saw it was a full moon, so I thought anything could happen. We’re happy to win and move forward because this was a game we sweated.”
On Oregon’s Zone Defense: “I didn’t expect to see that much zone. Their zone was effective… because we didn’t penetrate enough… We were going at it without our passing, our cutting, and our driving.”
Vanderbilt Player Quotes
John Jenkins On playing against a zone defense: “It bothered me a little bit. I got a little first game jitters. I don’t know why I’m kind of old now, but I had the jitters and I had to get out of it. As soon as we started moving the ball and moving around we got used to it and shots started falling. We got in the middle, we got kick-outs for threes and we got them to foul on us a little bit, so that was good.”
On winning the game despite an Oregon comeback: “I think you said it right there, finish, and that was one of our key words last year that we couldn’t get. All of us seniors and juniors said in the huddle that we have to pick it up some because the same thing happened last year. We talked about it all in the off season, finishing games and finishing games, and we did it so it feels real good to do that.”
Jeffery Taylor On stepping up when the team fell into a slump: “As a senior you kind of have to step up, try to make plays, and not just make offensive plays, but try to affect the game in a lot of different ways with offensive rebounds and steals and stuff like that. Just as a senior, you know, guys look to you to step up and make plays, so that’s just what I did.”
On the cause of Oregon’s turnovers: “I think it was a combination of both. I think we did a good job of getting our hands on balls and tipping passes and things like that. Maybe they were a little careless, but I think we can afford to give ourselves credit for that too, so I think we did a pretty good job today.”
On adjusting to playing without Festus: “It is a little bit of a transition for us, but we’ve got a lot of talented players that can step in and fill the void that Festus left. We’re looking forward to having him back, but we have a lot of great players.”
Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman
On Oregon’s Play: “There are three numbers that jump off the stat sheet. On the road, you can’t have 20 turnovers, you can’t shoot free throws 6-of-21, and then second chance points were only 18. You can’t go on the road and have three lines like that and expect to win. It’s really disappointing. We have a lot of new guys; I guess we can use that as an excuse.”
On Being Unsatisfied with Oregon’s Practice Coming into the Game: “I’ve not been excited about it. I was fearful coming into this game. We didn’t practice well on Tuesday or Thursday, and Wednesday was our day off. I don’t think our guys were confident coming into this game. When you don’t practice, don’t do a good job of preparing day in and day out like you need to, you can’t expect to win.”
On Vanderbilt’s Team: “[John] Jenkins and [Jeffrey] Taylor are great players. When they get [Festus Ezeli] back, they will have all the parts. They are so well coached. They know what they want out of a play and they are so much further than we are. We’ve got a lot of work to do…. It’s an exceptional basketball team and when they have [Ezeli] back, he’s a threat inside and they’ll have all the parts.”
Oregon player Brett Kingma
On the loss: “I think like our coach said, we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game. I think we hurt ourselves with turnovers. Obviously running the offensive rebounds up, that put us in a tough position to win, especially on the road against a top ten team like that."
On defense: “We didn’t have the greatest practices this week. We’re going to get things figured out. I’m not worried, I know guys are going to pick it up. This loss hurts, but you just got to take care of the ball."
On Jenkins: “Obviously he’s a really good shooter so we don’t want to let him get going, and he got going a little bit. That definitely hurt. He hit some big shots when we were trying to get back. He’s one of the best players in the country and he showed that. He stopped some of our runs.
“He has such a quick release, I think he just started off a little slow, once he found his rhythm, he doesn’t need much space to get it off. I thought he did a decent job defending it but we didn’t get a hand up on some shots and that allowed him to get on the ball."
On point-difference in second half: “We knew that we’d face a little bit of adversity against a good team like that, but we knew we’ve got to keep fighting. We fought our way back into it and then they went on another run, and we couldn’t do anything about it."
On speed of getting off his own shots: “That’s one of my goals on this team, to be ready in case to shoot, I thought our point guards did a good job of finding me, so I just tried to make the shots.