Feb. 24, 2010
HEAD COACH Tom Penders
"It was a really courageous effort by our kids. We just found out yesterday that Zamal Nixon has mono and Maurice McNeil broke his nose. Mo actually fractured it earlier in the season but he hurt it again recently. He was having trouble breathing but said he was good to go. Aubrey Coleman has one of the worst thigh bruises I've seen. It looks like a football helmet on his leg.
"If you're willing to fight, you can beat anybody. I don't care if you're the most talented, if you don't want to fight, you can't win. We beat a very good Memphis basketball team tonight and it wasn't just one or two guys.
"We showed a lot of poise tonight. It was a back-and-forth game that was very physical but we kept our cool all game. We had some silly turnovers at the end but for the most part we really protected the basketball. We also shot really well from the foul line - I wish we could take some of those free throws tonight and put them in some other games, but we can't."
On getting everyone involved
"When you play a team twice in a season, you need to change it up a little bit. We threw an entirely new offense at them from what they saw in the first game. It was a five-man motion offense with a lot of slip screens and we got the ball into the paint through passes and dribbling. The kids left everything out on the court"
On Kendrick Washington and Nick Haywood
"Obviously with this game you can see why I'm so excited about Kendrick Washington. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and from a coaching perspective, he's always in the right spot for whatever play we call.
"Right now he's just a big teddy bear. He's only 18 years old but he's a really smart kid, has a great sense of humor and some days gives me a lot of gray hairs. Now that' he's getting some success and experience, he will continue to build on it. He also keeps his cool whenever he's out on the floor. When things get physical, he likes it. If he doesn't make it to the NBA when he's done, I think Coach Sumlin is going to try and get his hands on him."
"Nick Haywood played thirteen minutes tonight. He did a great job defensively although he's probably a little further along offensively. He's a little unsure of himself right now but we think he's going to be a star in the future. It's good to see those young guys contribute."
On Kelvin Lewis and Desmond Wade
"Kelvin did an unbelievable job on Memphis's Elliott Williams, a player who is averaging 19 points a game. Kelvin was on him all night and held him to only six points. Kelvin was really in lock-down mode defensively.
"Desmond Wade also played a tremendous game. He's had some injuries with a badly sprained ankle and is finally close to 100-percent. He had ten assists and three steals tonight. You could see tonight just how fast and quick he can be."
"I told the kids that this was the last time we're going to see .500. We're going to win these next four games and enter the conference tournament on a role. That's how I'm always thinking and that's how I want them to think. I had a feeling just before the game with how loose and focused they were. We were very loose on offense and very intense on defense.
SOPHOMORE GUARD Desmond Wade
On the style of play
"It felt good. We practiced hard and just had fun. Our coaches told us to just go out there and play like it was a pick-up game."
On why they played better
"We went out there and played loose because we didn't have anything to lose."
SENIOR GUARD Kelvin Lewis
On the strategy of the game
"We knew they were going to be hard on Aubrey, so we really wanted to put pressure on them. Kendrick and Sean helped take a lot of pressure off him too."
On his good game
"I was relaxed. It was fun. I kept trying to get the team to work with me and they responded."
SENIOR GUARD Aubrey Coleman
On the game
"It was just another conference game. We just started with some good layups and went from there."
On the win
"We discovered we can beat anyone in the conference. We just have to get ready for SMU now."
On the pressure the rest of the team took off
"They took a bunch of pressure off. The whole team came out. It was the first game we played really loose. Memphis plays really loose, so we just decided to use their own tricks on them."