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BasketballPress ConferencesWhat Coach Said

What Coach Pearl Said After the Ole Miss Win

Auburn beat down #22 Ole Miss and then Coach Bruce Pearl spoke with a media about it. He started with reminding everybody that Auburn has to go to Oxford in a few weeks.

Opening Statement…
Well, two weeks from now we have to go back to Oxford, so I’m already starting to get prepared, so I’m not going to get too happy. I told our guys before, every now and then, they’re asking me, ‘coach, are you impressed yet?’ Well, I really haven’t been. Part of it is just we haven’t played that many ranked teams yet, right. But, you know, Ole Miss comes in ranked and they’re a good team. They are really well-coached and have a really good personnel of older guys. And gah lee, when you look at Jaemyn Brakefield, Matthew Murrell or Allen Flanigan, and the kid (Jaylen) Murray. Those guys have played a lot of basketball, all of those, each one of them are 20 points a night guys.

To play that well and control the game like we did was impressive. I thought particularly the way we guarded, and again we did a good job, especially in the first half, guarding without fouling. I thought it was a great example of what I want this team to try to be like. A couple of things, momentum helps with the substitution.

Lior Berman got a rotation in there and was playing really well. Particularly on the defensive end, he was physical. He had gone up against Al (Flanigan) for four years and really did a nice job. He was working really hard defensively. He was effective out there. It was more than his time to come out and Chad Baker-Mazara was due to come in. Chad Baker-Mazara says I should leave him in there, because Lior was playing so great. When you hae teammates like that, that’s really special. So, let’s hope we can keep that going. We turned it over a little bit too much, but other than that, played well.

On the team’s defense versus Ole Miss…
They were locked in. I think they are beginning to enjoy the fact that they have the ability to make it difficult on the opponent and they’re creating some offense from their defense. I get it, it goes back to being unselfish. You realize the effort that it takes to be in the right spot at the right time. To do the things that they have to do to be able to, you know, sit down and guard. Matthew Murrell averaged 24 against us last year. Averaged. He shot two free throws tonight and he shot like 22 last year in two games. The defense can carry us, if we can continue to do this. Obviously, our mind is set. We know where we have to go on Wednesday. We understand what an unbelievably tough cover Alabama is. It’s going to be important and we know how physical and athletic, and how hard, Mississippi State plays.

Well, we’ve been saying all along that when we go to the bench, we don’t drop off. My question was, is it because our bench is that good or that our starters aren’t good enough. All summer and fall, it was even. I could start Aden (Holloway) or Tre (Donaldson). I could start K.D. (Johnson) or Denver (Jones). I could start Chad Baker-Mazara. He’s my best three man. Chris (Moore) and Lior (Berman) would tell you that. He’s coming off the bench. Jaylin (Williams) has been terrific. But Chaney Johnson, did he not show you some freak tonight? I mean, that was some freaky stuff he was able to do out there man, let me tell you. I was happy for Chaney. I’m hard on Chaney. My boy works hard and I mean, ‘wow.’ Then Dylan (Cardwell) and Johni (Broome) – two really, really good centers that are both different, but are both extremely impactful. (Associate Head Coach) Steven Pearl had the scout tonight. He had a brilliant, brilliant game plan.


On keys to the team’s defense and offense speed…
First and foremost, they (Ole Miss) are a great transition team. A lot of their points come off block shots and Al (Flanigan) is just so hard to stop. We knew that from playing with him last year. Just looking at those top four guys: (Brandon) Murray, (Matthew) Murrell, Flanigan and (Jaemyn) Brakefield. After watching their LSU game, we realized just those four guys scored 87 points. You realize, if you want to win that game, you have to start with those four first.

On the last play of the game and the team’s closeness…
First and foremost, I want to apologize if that came off as classless. That is not who we are storming the court up 30. I apologize if I came across disrespectful. It was not any disrespect towards Ole Miss, but more towards our genuine friendship and being proud of our team. That was Addarin’s (Scott) first field goal made, so that was fun. It was a testament to his hard work. It was one of the craziest things I have seen in awhile (Scott’s made layup over 7-foot-6 Jamarion Sharp of Ole Miss with 43 seconds left in regulation).


On the team’s confidence going forward …
When we bring our effort and energy – that is when we are best. It does not matter who we play. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy. If we are flying around making plays, we can run with anyone. If we continue to do that, we will have continued success.

On what has been clicking this season …
We are deep in every position. We have each other’s backs. If we have one guy off, we have another coming in. We will support each other through that. Having that at each spot and position has allowed us to be effective every night.

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