MBI Quotes – Charleston 80, Coastal Carolina 72

College of Charleston Coach Pat Kelsey – “I want to first mention [Coastal Carolina Head] Coach Cliff Ellis. He’s going to end his career as one of the winningest coaches in the history of college basketball. I’ve known him for a long, long time… I have a ton of respect for him. He took me under his wing when I was a young, greedy head coach and gave me a ton of counsel and advice and I just have a ton of respect for him… We’ve had a tough little run here. There are spells of the game where we play really well and then in crucial parts of the game we didn’t execute to our standard or finish the game, and we did that tonight. I give our upperclassmen a ton of credit. Frankie [Policelli] is a terrific player and a terrific shooter. I said the other day to the players after the game that you are what the back of your bubblegum card says you are. Everybody’s talking about, ‘They’re struggling to make shots.’ Law of averages, it all evens out and it sure as heck did tonight. Frankie was phenomenal. Reyne Smith, who had been struggling a little bit from three, was phenomenal. We got big stops and rebounds down the stretch, so I’m proud of our guys.” (On what the team will take away from this tournament) “They’re great [early season tournaments] in terms of finding more about your team – what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are. You really get a good barometer of exactly where you’re at. As tough as those two losses were, I think those five days in that hotel were great for our team. It did wonders for our team coming together and our bond and our team chemistry. We talk about the power of the unit all the time. When you face tough losses and you can’t get away from us or me or each other, when you face that adversity, usually you go clear your mind. Go to the dorm, go to the beach because we’re in Charleston, they were forced to band together and they responded the right way. There was no head hanging, there was no ‘woe is me,’ there was no complaining, nothing. It was just let’s keep doing what we’re doing, be great in our preparation. They were locked in, leaning forward in film sessions. The energy in walk throughs and practice was better than it’s been all year, believe it or not. That’s very, very encouraging to me as a coach that those guys faced some adversity and handled it the way they did and came out with a big win tonight. It was good for our team. Coming out of this, although we lost two games, I feel good about finding out more about our team.”

College of Charleston Forward Frankie Policelli – (On hitting three threes in a 1:27 span) “My teammates did a really good job of breaking the defense down and drawing two. We were just able to swing it and I happened to be in the right spot at the right time and knocked them down. That was just what we did. We just passed the ball and were unselfish. I got to give credit to Reyne [Smith], because Reyen made the first shot in the right corner. We always talk about how shooting is contagious so after I saw him make that, I knew we were gonna be alright.”

Coastal Carolina Coach Cliff Ellis – “It was a hard fought game. Both teams competed, but that’s the way the tournament has been. Our team competed. I thought the difference in the game was their big guys. I knew [Reyne] Smith from last year after getting 23 points against us. We knew that we couldn’t get him loose. He’s a dagger, even though he hadn’t been shooting it well up until now, we knew he had a quick release and that it would hurt. The three-ball. That was the killer. [Frankie] Policelli, big threes. These are big guys. [Ante Brzovic] hit two threes in the first half. That was really the difference in the game. Rebounds are the same, turnovers are the same. It’s the three-point shot and their bigs were the factor. We shouldn’t have let Smith get what he got, but he did it. Give him credit.” (On what the team will leave with from this tournament) “We’ve got so many new faces and we’re playing top-flight teams. College of Charleston is one of the top teams in their league. Same with Furman and Wichita State. All these teams. They’re early matchups for us but those teams would be at the top of our league and we see what we got to do. We take away from it the fact that we competed. We’ve got to work on some execution. We’ve got to learn from what happened tonight and in the last two games. We got this week, and then we got four games in eight days. We’ll use this time to get ourselves ready.”