Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell – “It was a very spirited basketball game, really kind of neat for both teams to be playing. A neutral court, good fan bases here and pretty good basketball. Credit to Chris (Mack), they really played well. They hadn’t been shooting the ball well this year and they came alive.
“Macura was unbelievable in the first half. We tried to do some things to take away other guys and he made us pay. When Xavier shoots the ball like that they’re going to be hard to beat. It was kind of like we were in the ditch all day, nine or 10 down, we’d cut it to five or six and maybe four and get our heads above water for a second looking out of the ditch and all of a sudden more dirt would get thrown back on us. We just couldn’t ever get control of the game.
“I thought we did some good things. As the game wore on we guarded them a little bit better but they still needed to make a couple opportunistic shots and they were able to do that.
“Both teams really competed, both teams played really hard. Guys are getting after each other. You’re driving in the lane and there’s probably fingernails getting into you. A very competitive game on the backboard; if you don’t bring physicality when you play Xavier, you’re in trouble.
“You get to these neutral-court games like this and a lot of times it’s vanilla. That wasn’t the case. You had kids out there playing their hearts out. It was fun to watch.”
Xavier Head Coach Chris Mack – “I feel a lot differently than I felt when I sat at this table 24 hours ago. Our team played much better today against a very good Clemson team. It was a battle. They gave us a punch with about seven minutes to go and I thought our guys responded again much better than we did against Missouri to close out the game.”
“(On J.P. Macura’s hot start) – “His teammates really wanted to find him. He has that ability. Every guy on the team’s got to know that when the shot doesn’t go in a couple times – it’s not shoot ‘til you get hot – if you’re hot the way he was hot the way he was it’s nice to know, I’m sure for him, he’s got unselfish teammates finding him, looking for him in transition, and we ran a few plays for him to get him open. He had a huge game in the first half and he made some big-time plays in the second half as well.
“It’s two teams that are very competitive wanting to win the game and get to the finals. Our team has a lot of respect for those guys. Ed (Sumner) and Trevon (Bluiett) played against (Clemson’s Jaron) Blossomgame in the summer. Basketball is very familiar these days and we knew we were going up against an ACC opponent, didn’t play very well yesterday and so I think our guys were really on edge to be much better.”
Xavier guard J.P. Macura – “I started the season off not shooting the ball very well and my teammates did a great job of getting me the ball. I had all the confidence in the world when I was shooting and we just had a great team victory today.”
Xavier guard Malcolm Bernard (on his spin-move off-hand layup down the stretch) – “Coach Mack tells us all the time ‘Be confident and make strong moves’ so I saw a mismatch and just took advantage of it and tried to make a play.”