Men's Basketball vs. Alcorn State Postgame Quotes

Dec. 9, 2013

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Opening Statement
"We looked more like a team tonight. Certainly, the last two days were long and uncomfortable for all of us. I was highly disappointed, and we didn't have a lot of time to prepare. We had a lot of individual meetings, we had some team get-togethers, but in a short period of time our guys were really locked in with Coach Hamilton on the scout. We didn't do a lot yesterday; we couldn't do a lot. In film session and preparation our guys did a good job. We had a good walk-thru yesterday and a good shoot-around today.

"Our guys played much better; we looked like a basketball team tonight. We shared the ball. Some things that helped us a lot tonight were we had a lot of paint touches; we either threw the ball inside or penetrated, pitched and got to the paint. It's not about how many shots the big guys get, it's about collapsing the defense and we did a much better job. To start the game the second half, we established ourselves because the score was much like the game on Saturday night, and I was unhappy that we gave up that offensive rebound right before the half. We wanted to establish ourselves in the second half. Our guys that came in off the bench really gave us a lift. Our coaches did a better job of keeping our guys fresh. TaShawn (Thomas) had played 18 minutes in the first half Saturday night, he played 14 tonight, he and Tione (Womack) played the two most minutes in the first half. Our guys were fresh, and we continued to substitute fresh people in. That helped us.

"We were more aware defensively. The biggest fault and disappointment I have with our guys is we gave up too many offensive rebounds. We still out-rebounded them, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds and that shouldn't happen. We missed some assignments on box-outs; there were some 50-50 balls we didn't get. We got to the free-throw line 28 times in the game and we had 18 assists, which is good. It was a good performance. I have a lot of respect for Coach Riley and the job that he does, but this is the way that we needed to play. This is the kind of outcome we should have had on Saturday night. Now we have to build on this momentum. We're going into finals, so we have to do a good job balancing our time and being smart about our practices as we prepare for our next game on the road at Louisiana-Lafayette who has a very good basketball team." 

On adjusting to the loss of sophomore guard Danuel House
"We went through a period of two things, one, where are the rebounds going to come from and maybe some people feeling like they had more of a burden to score. We never ever said that this guy had to get us 20 or 16, we believe in playing the game inside out and sharing the ball. There's going to be different nights. Stiggs (Jherrod Stiggers) has had two good offensive games; I was much more pleased with the offensive game tonight than Saturday night because he gets 16 points on five shots. It's not about how many attempts TaShawn (Thomas) gets or how many attempts a perimeter player gets, it's about the team game, sharing the ball, defending, rebounding and making the extra pass. You miss a guy who is as talented as Danuel who can go make some plays with his athleticism. He is terrific in transition and is a very good rebounder. That's where, with the guys, the mentality has to start; not on the offensive end, but on the defensive end. Contributing with defense and rebounding and sharing the ball and you're going to get open shots. Tonight we really shared the ball and we scored 89 points in the game. They do a good job controlling the tempo and running their sets. They had the opportunity to run and we ran. We were much fresher tonight and I thought our guys played harder on both ends of the floor. But, there is an adjustment period and we need a lot of different guys helping us, but the short answer is I guess not very well considering the games we've lost- the game against A&M and the game here against San Jose State at home. Our guys did a better job in the last two days of understanding how we're going to play and how we need to play."

On senior forward J.J. Richardson
"J.J. did a good job for us tonight. He was the lone bright spot down the stretch against San Jose. He got a tip-in and a huge offensive rebound. Off the free-throw line, he got another three-point opportunity inside on a drive. He's been really playing well, and we tried to establish him low early in the second half. He does a good job for us. He's got to rebound better, but that can be said for every guy, even TaShawn (Thomas). J.J. gets 11 points on six shots, five out of six. When you look at our stats, our offense was efficient tonight. You'd see a lot of guys getting a lot of shots. We did a good job of sharing the ball, finding the open man and, as I said in my initial statement, playing like a team. J.J. did a good job for us; he passed the ball well, too. Our interior passing has been as good tonight as it's been all year with him, Danrad (Knowles) and TaShawn (Thomas) inside and Mikhail (McLean)." 



On difference between tonight and Saturday night's game
"Everyone was tired of losing. Everyone was tired of how we lost the last game. How we had the lead, how we let them come back, so everyone was hungrier this game and stayed hungrier because they were trying to get that feeling out from what happened last game."

On it's going to take to be consistent
"I kind of felt like when we won, everybody got complacent. The past couple of days, well yesterday because we only had one day of practice between the last couple of games, everybody was locked in and more focused so we have to keep that. Myself, I have to try to keep the team together and make us stay more focused and practice."

On confidence going into conference games
"After the Texas A&M game, we expected for San Jose, this game, UL-Lafayette and Rice to be momentum games, to try and carry our momentum into conference. The fact that we still have a chance to win three of the four games means a lot to us. We're just trying to build momentum going into conference." 

On what is being missed without senior guard Danuel House
"We're missing some offense, but I feel like a lot of other players are stepping up and helping out to where it's not as bad when House is missing."

On what Coach Dickey told the team before today's game
"He was just very upset about how we played on Saturday, so yesterday he was basically saying we have another chance to get out on the court to play and we can either mourn on what happened on Saturday or we can change it, change our whole attitude on what happened on Saturday. I guess everybody just grasped that statement." 

On F J.J. Richardson's performance
"He played big for us. We needed him to. Everybody knew he could play like that and the fact that he did is just overwhelming to everybody on the team."

On more balanced on scoring
"Us getting a more balanced score across the scoreboard was just something coach had been shooting for all year, it just never happened." 

On defensive scheme
"Every defense has breakdowns. The more you cut down those breakdowns, the more it's going to make your defense better and better, so make less mistakes on defense, stop missing screens and boxing out. We missed some offensive rebounds tonight, so that's one way we can get better on the defensive end."



On difference between tonight and Saturday night's game
"I agree. We just wanted it a lot today. A lot. We got it."

On beginning to get more comfortable
"Yes, sir. Getting much more comfortable. I'm feeling a better flow. I'm just playing."

On today's performance
"I shot the ball well today, attacked the rim, played tough, physical. I could've rebounded better though."

On defensive scheme
"Our defense was outstanding. We rotated well, talked a lot, communicated great, but it could get better."



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