Dec. 12, 2015
On Dayon Griffin:
"Dayon was huge. He did everything we asked him to do. First, we needed to play a defensive type of game that used our length and used the paint. He was huge in that. It turned into some great baskets. He was really feeling it. He has strung together many good practices. It has turned into a great performance. As a sophomore he should take good confidence from it and keep this thing going. He is a really good player."
On being down ten in the second half:
"At that particular timeout, we were down by nine. I actually talked more about offense, because our offense was turning into great offense for them. We took a couple of tough shots and turned it over. They got some transition baskets. They are very tough to guard in transition. That was something we tried hard to do, get a set defense. We started to get better baskets. We started to get better stops that turned into transition for us."
On free throws:
"Free throw is the greatest cliché with their importance of winning games and championships. We are a good free throw shooting team. In practice we make a lot and shoot a lot. We were 3-of-9 in the first half. We only missed one in the second half, 18-of-19. We want to be a team that attacks the rim and gets to the foul line. Those free throws are huge. The guys really stepped up in the big moments."
On home winning streak:
"The streak is something that we do not talk about so much, but it is something you feel. This game was important to our team. It was certainly important to me. It was important to our fans. Every game is. There is something special about playing an in-state team and a team that you play often. We have played them 161 times. There is a lot of history here. This was one that the guys wanted quite badly. They really gave it all that they had. It showed."
On difference between first and second half:
"I think our effort was consistent the entire game. I thought we played very hard. There were moments where we picked up our execution. We turned it over too much in the first half. That was the main thing. Those eight turnovers turned into easy baskets for them. We turned it over three times in the second half. We were able to set our defense and get shots. I thought that was the difference."
On second-half runs:
"You can draw great confidence from playing in this place. Our people are phenomenal. They are into the game and they know when we need them most. They really give you a lift. A big thanks to everyone who came and really supported us, because it is huge. This team has the ability to go on runs in scoring and defense. A lot of times they are intertwined. When we get stops we are able to run out and get some nice baskets. We have that ability and we want to keep getting better and better at all of the other aspects, like half court and full court. We just want to get better as the season progresses."
On team coming together with injuries:
"I think it says so much about the type of people we have in our program and the type of players they are. I told them the other day that it is like we work for a company and you have to change your job description. You have to do other things. You cannot just be a specialist in one way. You have to step up in other areas. If you are hurt, you need to cheer louder and encourage others. You need to rebound more, even if you are 6'5. I have said this word many times, our guys are flexible. We try and play a style that is versatile. The guys are interchangeable. They have been able to play bigger than themselves and sometimes smaller than themselves. I really give our guys a lot of credit. We have some great people in our program."
On Qiydar Davis:
"I told Q that he has a huge job tonight. He provides so much energy on the floor and we cannot have that energy go away. He needs to at least be on the bench and every time there is a timeout, he has to be a spark plug. He has that personality; same thing for Merrill and Joniah. LeAntwan was not able to go today, but everyone was into it. Everyone had a role. I was really proud of them."
On Shawn Long:
"He was obviously a huge part of our game plan. We knew it was going to be very difficult to out-rebound them, but they were plus-12 in rebounding margin [coming into the game]. They out-rebounded us by six, so we were close. We had a collective effort approach. Branden Sheppard was really good tonight. It does not show up in the box score how good he was, but he was a huge part of tonight's win. We were resistant to easy catches and we relied on a lot of help from other guys once the ball was caught by Shawn Long. The guys really executed the game plan well, to give him nine points. I am really proud of them."
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