Jan. 23, 2014
"We really responded from the way that Southern Miss handled us in the paint. I am not sure if we played with as much physicality tonight that we would have even overcome the effort Sunday by Southern Miss. They are just so good in the interior, but Charlotte is as well and Charlotte is really good. They have those couple of shooters that complement their two big men. They have some athletic wings and then Pierria Henry is ridiculous. He is a terrific player. He came in here and had two turnovers playing all those minutes with us trying to pressure him as much as possible. We tried to wear him down, one of our keys to the game and he only had two turnovers and 20 points. Overall, we were able to overcome a very average offensive performance, which is fine. We will take that. Since September we have talked about how that needs to be our identity. Where we do not shoot the ball well, uncharacteristically had 14 turnovers, but we were really good defensively and that is as good as it gets for us on the glass. Just to hold serve against a team who is tremendous on the glass every night."
On playing with more physicality tonight:
"More than anything, I think it was mental. Our guys watched film to learn what single-handedly lost us the game on Sunday. Southern Miss could have done some things better as well. I do not want to say if we rebounded this well on Sunday we would have beaten Southern Miss; that is an entirely different conversation. I just think our guys responded the right way mentally, taking the challenge that we have to get better in that area. Physically we did some things in practice and guys were very physical against each other with a couple of really competitive practices. We picked it up a notch in that regard. I thought overall it carried over. Unfortunately, Mike was not able to finish the second 20 minutes but Gilbert Talbot and Isaiah Massey did a really good job, even when they did not rebound the ball, making sure Thorne and Clayton were blocked out, allowing our wings and guards to rebound and help them out."
On Talbot frustrating the Charlotte frontline:
"I am not sure how frustrated they were, but I can tell you that if Gibby was on the floor, he was playing physical. That is what he does. He is like a football player and we love that about him. When we recruited Gibby, we loved his physical toughness more than anything, he loves contact. He is very different from everyone else on our team in that regard. Those minutes helped him gain a little bit more experience and as he gains more experience, he will be even more productive for us."
On Kyser's ejection:
"I was told that a part of his arm made contact with one of Charlotte's players' head, so it was an automatic flagrant two. I have not gotten a chance to see it yet and I guess we will find out from the league office tonight or tomorrow morning his availability on Saturday. Right now, we should prepare for him not playing on Saturday because of league and NCAA rules."
On what was said to Kyser at halftime:
"We just moved on. We said `Mike you are done for the game, we love you and everyone else has to step up. Gibby you have to be ready and [Isaiah Massey] you have to be ready.' Those guys accepted the challenge and they were very good for us for 20 minutes, again with the help of our guards."
On Alex Hamilton's performance:
"He just has that ability while he is in the middle of those two steps, while he has his head up seeing his teammates on the perimeter. He is good at taking contact and getting a really good look up on the rim. I thought he missed three or four early, that really had a chance. He could have had a phenomenal night. He still had a very good night, of course."
On Kenneth Smith's performance:
"[Speedy] has gotten more minutes with Raheem being out. There is one less guard in the rotation, so all of our guards are getting more minutes. The second thing I told Dave on the postgame radio is that Speedy was banged up early in the season. We talked about it in a few post games where he had a groin and a hamstring problem. He still has severe tendonitis. He had to come out of the game at one point tonight because his knees were hurting so bad. That said, as he has gotten closer to 100 percent, it has allowed him to practice harder, longer and he has gotten in better shape. Now he is that much better in transition. When he gets that outlet now, he is 100 miles per hour from the second he has the ball and he is able to sustain how hard he is playing for longer stretches."
On the defensive pressure during the second half:
"We rotated off double teams a little better there in the second half and midway through the first half. We had a couple situations where we just did not do our job early in the game. We had some good traps but just did not rotate. There were a lot of open shooters and a lot of open drives and we also started denying passes a little bit better on the perimeter, especially when it was going to Pierria Henry. We were trying to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible. Our guys did a really good job on the perimeter. We played with a ton of energy, especially the first 15 minutes of the second half defensively and on the glass. I thought we were really good."
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