Jan. 25, 2014
"I was really pleased with the energy level from the tip on both sides of the ball, a lot of it had to do with the best crowd we have had here since I have been here and I would imagine in a long time. The place was electric. It was fun. It was a factor ten minutes before the game started. Our guys were all fired up and I think it carried over into the way we started the game. Unfortunately, I thought we had a lull there after we had a lead. We started uncharacteristically playing to the crowd a little bit. We are not used to playing in front of a big crowd. We are extremely appreciative, but hopefully next time we have this many people in here we'll learn to play as hard as we did tonight but also a little more intelligently, especially as it relates to the fouling. The biggest key to the game tonight for us going in was defending without fouling and we did a very poor job of it. Thankfully Stojan Gjuroski bailed us out. He played quality minutes. He had six rebounds and they all came in the first half. He played within himself. He stole some minutes and probably earned more opportunity in the future. Speedy Smith was absolutely terrific, 13 assists to one turnover, that is a lot of assists to very few turnovers in the last two games. He is in a great rhythm. Alex was really good. Jaron and Kenyon off the bench were tremendous as well."
On Stojan Gjuroski stepping up:
"Did I expect Stojan to play tonight? Honestly, no. Did I think if we gave him the opportunity, he would play well enough to help us? Yes. He is not a guy that has been in the rotation. He has a tremendous attitude and a great work ethic. He is a very bright kid. He is an awesome teammate and when his number was called he just took advantage. Going into a game you don't plan on playing a guy that has hardly played, but he is capable and he proved that tonight. Again, he has earned himself more opportunity for the future. The thing that he did best, which was most surprising to people who know his game, was that he is a ball mover. He is a very intelligent guy, a good passer and a good shooter. He went out there and did what we needed most and that was defending the post and rebounding, giving up a lot of weight at his position. He just gave us a great effort, mentally and physically."
On the status of Raheem Appleby's injury:
"He does not require surgery, which is great news for him. It may be another three to five or six weeks for him, who knows? I know he had a severe ankle sprain with ligament damage. By not requiring the surgery, it is just a matter of getting the swelling out, getting his flexibility back and then the next issue will be his game conditioning. I know we'll both be begging our trainer to get him back on the floor as soon as possible. We will have to be very smart to make sure he is 100 percent by the time he comes back because he has a very bright future ahead of him for a long time. We will make sure he is ready before he plays."
On Alex Hamilton:
"This game was a testament to the bar that Alex is setting. I do not think he played poorly at all. I know he made some big plays off ball screens, especially in the second half. He got into a really good rhythm and was trying to play through fatigue. You just start taking it for granted and that is what you did with Raheem probably midway through his freshman or sophomore year. You start seeing a kid do things more and more consistently and you take those things consistently. I thought Alex was average and then you look at the stat sheet and you learn otherwise."
"Marshall has good drivers. They get to the foul line a bunch. It is not just against us. When it is the key to the game and you have been focused on it for 48 hours, it is disappointing."
On Kenneth Smith's performance:
"I cannot imagine there is a better passer in the country. I have never been around a better passer. I do not think I have seen a point guard in college basketball on TV that I would say is hands down a better passer than Speedy. He is phenomenal. He gets 12, 13 and 15 [assists] in games where we don't shoot the ball well. Imagine if we shot the ball well. Heck, he could have had 20 assists tonight. He is a ridiculous passer, who is getting better in other areas."
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