Feb. 15, 2012
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn
It probably goes without saying, this was a really big win for our team, an important game, and as I said yesterday before the game, we needed to get one. Our team would continue to play hard and really compete, and come ready to play and do a lot of good things, but just have stretches that eliminated our opportunity to win. I think tonight we didn't have those stretches and there were a couple of times we had a few careless turnovers and they got some run outs in both halves where it looked like it could happen, and our guys just didn't let it happen. I really think the difference in the game was the job that we did on the defensive end, holding them to 35 percent. We really varied our looks a bunch tonight and I think that really, really helped us. Offensively we weren't stellar, but we made the plays we needed to make. I thought Damien [Leonard] hit a huge shot down the stretch, obviously Anthony Gill was really big with those free throws and then the shot Malik [Cooke] hit. We told them in the timeout, we didn't set anything too structured, I didn't want to come out against the zone and try to execute something just right, throw it away, or force a play, we just told them to keep the floor spread and continue to let Anthony and Bruce [Ellington] work the high post area off the screening action. I think a huge key to this game and the way we played was the effort of some guys who didn't play much tonight. Brian Richardson, Carlton Geathers, and Eric Smith made our practices great on Monday and Tuesday, and they really brought tremendous energy and made our practices competitive, the kind of practices you have to continue to have to get better.
On Malik Cooke keeping the team spirits up and fitting that he got the chance to win the game...
If you keep working hard and doing good things eventually good things are going to happen for you and no one deserves to make a play like that more than Malik does. He really has stayed extremely positive and done a really good job with our young guys and was phenomenal in huddles tonight and on the floor talking to our team, giving them confidence, so I think it's fitting that he's the guy that makes the shot tonight that helped us win the game.
On Cooke's shot...
He got into a little bit of a tight spot, and we didn't get too structured at the end there and try to force something and end up with a turnover. That's the gap we want to drive in, in that situation with our regulars on offense. He did get in a little bit of a tough spot and made a tough shot, but the bottom line is he made the shot. It was good to see him aggressive in taking it.
On hitting 14 of 15 free throws ...
I think it was huge and I think the timing of them was big. As I mentioned earlier, Anthony's free throws were big and he's a really good free throw shooter and has not shot well over his last 10 or 15 shots percentage wise, but for him to step up and do what he did at the foul line tonight; our only miss was the one Bruce had late that I fully expected to go in and it just didn't go in. Getting there 15 times was a positive and obviously shooting 93 percent was a huge help
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
It's tough to lose by a point on the road, but I have to give South Carolina credit. I thought they played a little bit hungrier than we did tonight. I thought they were pretty resilient. We got a couple leads on them and they came back. We had a tough time getting in rhythm on offense and that's a credit to their defense. We'll have to pick up the pieces and move on.
On knowing the ball would be in Malik Cooke's hands on the last possession...
I didn't know if that is where it would end up, but he got it and he made a great play. I haven't seen the tape but I thought the defense was in pretty good position.
On what the play call was with .2 seconds left...
If there was less than .3 seconds left there is no time to catch the ball and shoot it, so you just have to tip it in. We aren't allowed to sub in that situation because it's a timing error. Then they called a timeout so we got our subs back in, and then the ball was deflected on the pass.