Men's Basketball vs. Rutgers Postgame Quotes

Jan. 19, 2014

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Opening Statement
"I'm really proud of our guys for the character they displayed over the last three days. Especially this afternoon, because of what happened Thursday night. It would have been easy to have your head down and feel sorry for yourself, but our guys really responded in a positive way.  I give a lot of credit to the players and a lot of credit to the assistant coaches. They did a great job with the guys.

"Preparation was very good, and we played well. It's kind of hard to find fault, but the two area's we'll go back and look at it are too many offensive rebounds today but Rutgers, and the other thing was right after the half. The first four-minute segment they outscored us 8-2 and took the lead, but I was proud of the way our guys came in. 

"We got good production off the bench. We have some guys coming off the bench that all have been starters at one time or another. Team chemistry is something that is really improving. It showed today with 21 assists in the game. It's a good performance against a good Rutgers team. I'm proud of our guys for the short prep time and the way they approached the game, and then the way they came out and carried out the game plan.

"The biggest key that I look at today is our defense. When they shoot 24 percent in the second half, our defense is pretty good."

On if they did anything different to prepare for tonight after Thursday's game
"No, we talked about the reality. We got it handed to us. They played great. We didn't play very well. That's embarrassing to play like that in a conference game on national TV. Our guys realized that, and they know they're better than that. We talked about our approach mentally and physically. Get yourself to whatever the level to be ready to play, you have to be there. Our guys did a really good job preparing.  We didn't do anything special. Our guys coaches did a marvelous job spending time with the guys as a team and individually."

On the defense fueling the offense
"That's when we're at our best. Leading up to the Louisville game our defense has been very good. Obviously, we didn't have the energy at Louisville. We talked about energy on the defensive end. When we defend, and get stops we can get out on the break and get into our offense quickly, move the ball, and make them defend some we are a better basketball team. There's no doubt our defense was huge in today's victory."

On the differences in effort between halves
"To start the second half, that first four minutes we didn't have great energy. We didn't win that four-minute segment. The guys really turned it on after that. Everybody performed at a high level. You have to play the game with great energy, great intensity, and great awareness. We knew that the first four minutes was going to be really key, but it turned out the second four-minute segment was key for us, because they won that first one.

"It helped getting them some game time. Louisville was a tough game to come back on. It's been a long road back for them so they were rusty, but they came in today and really blended in well. They both got off to a nice start and had some success.

"One of the great plays in the game was his offensive follow, because we've been talking to him about going to the offensive boards. Those kinds of things happen when you crash the offensive glass. That's not going to happen when you stand on the perimeter and watch.  On the other end he grabs a rebound, comes back down, passes it and we get a three. It was a big five point span for us."

On Danuel House's return
"Do I think he's full speed? The full speed is going to have to come mentally. He may say physically, I'm at 90 percent, but he's strong enough or we wouldn't have had him out there. I don't know if any of ya'll have had an injury in the knee but it's the confidence of knowing that everything is going to hold up when you do everything.  Yesterday was the first day I've really seen him push that ball hard and transition like he did before he was hurt. His knee is strong and stable, he just has to have confidence in doing it."

On the challenge with players missing a lot of time and the ability to work them back in
"We have good chemistry with the nine guys we were playing.  We were playing well and got off to a good start, but when you have starters out, you have to blend those guys back in there. It's a credit to them because of their approach to the game. They're ready to contribute when they go in the game and not thinking that they have to go in there and score right away but `can I do it with defense, can I do it with a rebound?' Tione (Womack) didn't play particularly well today and as a result L.J. (Rose) came in and gave him a big lift.  L.J. did it particularly well with transitions and finding the open path."

On giving Daniel House and L'J Rose significant playing time
"We didn't have a set number of minutes but we do have a time that we want to rest people. In the first half we played Brandon (Morris) too much and TaShawn (Thomas) way too much and as a result TaShawn was a little winded at the start of the second half.  Danuel (House) ended up playing 27 minutes but we are also playing Danuel at two positions right now. L.J. (Rose) played 21 minutes. Probably going into this game, if you had asked me I would have said they won't end up playing 20 minutes, but it's just the way the game went. Those two guys really contributed to us being successful on both ends of the floor in both halves."

On the decision to start `Chicken'
"I contemplated it at Louisville, but just because of the magnitude of the game and the crowd situation I elected not to start him. The big reason to doing it today is the size of their front line. He is going to be a special player. He's got to get more physical and I thought he did during the second half. We've got to get tougher on back side rebounding."


On putting the game out of reach
"We saw that we played the passing lane, everybody would deflect the pass or steal the ball and it would be a run out, it could be a dunk for that person or a dunk for the next person."

On having fun on the court
"The coaches talked to us and we talked to each other that it is not fun if you are not winning and what the coaches and the players came together to do was we found a way where we could play team basketball where everyone is happy, everyone is having fun, share the ball and play defense and win basketball games and that is the most important thing." 

On moving on from Louisville game
"We weren't even thinking about it. We thought about Rutgers because they were the opponent so we forgot about that game because that game happened and there is nothing we can do about it so we came out here prepared and prepped for the next game."

On going forward in conference play
"We have to practice hard, practice together, play as team in the game, play defense and rebound the ball well - which we didn't do well tonight."

On importance of win in conference
"It's very important in our conference play because now we saw that we can really match everyone's intensity. This win shows that we have to practice harder and bring the same intensity into every game because we went up there and didn't bring the same intensity and that's why we ended up losing."

On health
"I still have my doubts but I'm 85 percent. I just try not to worry about that, I just try to the coaches put me up in there and tell me to defend the rebound and that's what I'm here to do I'm here to sacrifice my body so my team can win and I'm willing to do that." 

On importance of everyone being healthy
"Yes sir, it is very important because we need everybody from the coaches to the managers to the redshirts to our weight lifting trainer, we need everybody.


On first start
"It was nervous. I shot an air ball on the first shot. I got it out of my system early so that was good for the rest of the game." 


On the rebound and the slam dunk
"Before the half he was yelling at everybody to go rebound, on both ends and I was like I'm just going to go every time and I got lucky."

On Brandon Morris' three-point shooting
"Usually they are always screaming that I'm the shooter but they don't know that Brandon (Morris) can shoot, I don't know why, I think he is an even better shooter than me so when they do that I just look for Brandon every time I tell him spot up.  He is a great shooter."

On the 22-3 run
"There was a timeout before we took the run and made some sub and Danuel (House) and I were on the bench and we talking and we were like well we know we got up our intensity, we got to go hard so the first chance we got we took it."



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