Transcript: Darrin Horn postgame comments

March 8, 2012 

University of South Carolina head basketball coach Darrin Horn answers questions from the press after the Gamecocks victory over Alabama at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com

Opening statement

Got off to a really good start, and then I think nothing obviously that stretch in the first half where we had some turnovers against their pressure. And they were able to extend their lead, put us in a little bit of a hole. Made a great run in the second half, had some guys step up, Brenton Williams being one. He played really well. Then at the end, they make one 3-pointer in the game, it's a huge one to kind of put it out of reach there. And we had a good look and it just didn't go down.

Just how big was that fourth foul on Bruce Ellington? Also, was there may be a thought to put in Brenton Williams over Eric Smith to replace him?

Our foul trouble was big in general. Bruce's fourth was big as well, just because we seemed to be gaining some momentum, was playing extremely well. That's one of the reasons we rode them out. In a tournament situation with the way we play, it's hard defensively. It's hard to isolate guys. We ended up getting caught in the high post and got caught with his hand on somebody, but that was definitely something that hurt us. There's no question about that.

And fouls in general, Alabama is apparently the best defensive team in the country at playing really hard and really physical and not fouling, because we only got to the line six times and they shot 29. So I think fouls were an issue in the game in general for us.

Brenton, you know, we wanted to go with Eric just because that's what we've been doing, but then felt like maybe we needed a little bit more scoring punch and ability to create off the dribble. And really the lineup with him and Damien in up top, and Lakeem, a lot of it we really don't play a whole lot. Did a great job of getting us back in the game.

As you look back on the season, how tough was it? Did you expect -- obviously I'm assuming that you obviously didn't expect it to go like this -- but based on what you expected out of the young guys, why do you feel like you guys weren't able to put together more wins?

I think you saw tonight, just frustration where we end up with one part of the game that hurts us or a couple guys getting -- key guys getting in foul trouble. That part is frustrating. There's no question about that.

One of the things that we are proud of is that we're committed to building a program, and one of the things you have to learn is how to compete and fight and continue to work hard and develop a work ethic and a culture of competing. And our guys did do that. Just like we saw tonight, we're in position to have an opportunity to win the game and we don't make enough plays throughout or at the end. And so that part of it obviously is very frustrating.

Do you feel like you have done enough at this point to feel good about your status for next year?

Yeah, my thing right now is that we're committed to building our program. That's going to start with, now that our season's over, hitting the recruiting trail immediately as the rules allow, and we'll sit down and it's customary at the end of all seasons and visit.

But we're going to keep plugging forward and keep doing what we have been doing to be commit to building our program. And again, I think when you look at some of the guys that stepped up and played really well, that's a NCAA tournament team that we lost to just now, and we're on the floor with a bunch of young guys that are only going to get better and smarter and stronger and all of those things. So we think there's some positive things going on from that aspect.

Could you just talk about defending Alabama in the paint and especially early? They gave you all kinds of physical with those big guys in there. How hard is it to defend them?

I think both of those big guys are really good. Green obviously is terrific, but I think Jacobs has really established himself as a guy, as I mentioned yesterday, that can catch the ball down on the block and do something really positive with it. They both did that tonight.

And really one of the things that hurt us was when we were turning the ball over against their pressure in the first half. They were able to get some put-backs and get the ball in the paint as well.

In the second half, defensively, we were outstanding. Held them to a low percentage, very few field goals, and did a great job. But again dug ourselves a little bit of hole in the first half with our turnovers. Seventeen turnovers is a lot to overcome when you're not a team that scores a lot.

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