MBI QUOTES – Charlotte 68, Tulsa 65

Charlotte Coach Ron Sanchez – “That’s a really good basketball we just played. We played really well in the first half and kind of set an offensive tone there and we defended well. We got a little stagnant in the second half and took some blows. This team needed a little bit of adversity like this so we could grow. This is the reason we wanted to be part of this tournament because there are so many good teams and we knew we would be tested. I’m hoping that this gives us an opportunity and take another step forward in our journey this season.” (On Tulsa’s Sam Griffin): “We knew how talented he is. Some of the shots he made were difficult and contested. He might have had one or two open looks. When a players makes plays like that, you tip your hat to him. It was a challenge to see who was going tpo guard him and make it difficult on him. Offensively we found a way to score enough points to break it up. But we executed well and in the end it’s all about executing and making sure we’re doing the small things well. The reason why Igor (Milicic) is on the floor is and I tell him this all the time, ‘You’re unbelievably smart, intelligent and your size really helps us.’ One thing I like is we play defense without fouling. We didn’t give them too many free throws, we did have a game plan in place and the guys executed it well. One of the keys was not giving them free points and not allowing them to have as many easy baskets. We failed we gave up too many offensive rebounds in the second half that led to some of Griffin’s shots.”

Charlotte guard Lu’Cye Patterson – “Our coach just tells us to stay poised. Isaiah (Folkes) and he came in and played defense. Me and Tre (Montre Gipson) are veteran guards. We’ve been in a lot of games like that in impactful situations and it was kind of second nature.”

Charlotte forward Igor Milicic – “Somebody set a back screen on me. I saw the ball coming my way and the player dribbling my way so I just went for when I saw he was wide open. I knew he was going to shoot it so I just went for it and blocked. No big deal. We are working so hard every day with each and we never really think about what’s after the next game. Now we’re in the final game and we’ll focus on that one.”

Tulsa Coach Eric Konkol – “We knew coming in on a one-morning prep we were going to be very challenged to guard Charlotte. I’ve known Coach Sanchez for a long time and I have great respect for him. Their style of play is very unique and it took us certainly the first 20 minutes to figure out how to have a real plan on guarding them. We talked about how it was going to be fast and we’re going to have to learn on the fly. It took a little bit longer than what we would have liked. I’m proud of our team for battling back, took a lead in the second half and we gave up a couple points and a couple easy baskets. We just couldn’t quite respond correctly. I told my team that I’m pleased with the effort, pleased with the resolve. Just disappointed we couldn’t get to it earlier. Sam (Griffin) is a special scorer and we got much better rhythm in the second half against Charlotte and they’re packed defense. We got a couple stops and got those 3s in transition. They really geared it up and we tried to create the shot for him at the end and they made a great play to alter the shot. Our guys emptied the tank tonight for sure.” (On Charlotte center Ali Khalif): “Khalifa’s a special player. You talk about with your players that you don’t want to thread the needle. He threads the needle about 15 times a game and is as accurate as can be. They cut hard, they’re good at it, but he puts the ball in windows that are so small and everyone knows it’s happening but he’s a gifted passer.”