MBI Quotes – Wichita State 86, Coastal Carolina 77

Wichita State Coach Paul Mills – “I think road wins are hard, anytime you get in this environment and travel and all the things that go with it. I know we got up 14 with about 14 to play and you didn’t exe-pect anything less than for them to battle back. I thought we were really composed, made free throws down the stretch and we were fortunate to get the ‘W’ tonight.” (On the play of Guard Xavier Bell) “From a points perspective, he was great, but I think Xavier’s leadership gets lost on people. He’s obviously been in this position to be able to lead others. He’s seen what this looks like up close and he knows how to assemble everybody in those rough moments. To have a guy like him out there when you’re up 14 and they cut it to three, you really don’t worry that much when you have his leadership out there. I thought he did a great job  just gathering everybody together and making sure that we understood coverages. 20 points is great. He shot it well, made the open shots, and the five assists are a bonus. He has the ability to score, but again, his defensive communication was really impressive.” (On his assessment of the team down the stretch) “You have to be able to make shots in those moments and get the most out of your possessions. You got to get quality shots. We track energy points and we only had 10 at half. I just didn’t think from a deflection standpoint and an activity standpoint we were great. We finished with 24 [deflections] in the second half and I thought we were much more active. We were getting our hands on loose balls, we won our 50-50s. Kenny Pohto was able to get to the floor. I thought our activity picked up a little bit better, allowed us to get the lead and then we got complacent. We’ll learn from it and grow from it but we responded the right away. (On having everyone contribute) “[Guard] Colby Rogers can really score the ball and he finished with six assists and zero turnovers. I thought he did a great job just moving the ball and taking care of it. We only finished with seven [assists] as a team. I thought kenny Pohto had a really rough first half and then he finishes with 16 points in the second half. He was second on our team, ‘X’ [Xavier Bell] led us with nine, and then Kenny had eight. I thought his activity turned up.” (On holding on to a lead and having so many Shocker fans helped them win) “That helps. Wichita State and Shocker nation are well known for supporting their basketball program and they were phenomenal. It helps, especially when you’re on the road, because you know how quickly these tides can turn. To have the support that we get, we don’t take it for granted.”

Wichita State Guard Xavier Bell – (On playing in front of so many Shocker fans on the road) – “It was cool. Especially just to see them travel so much, I know my parents came as well. But to show the support that Shocker fans do, I think it’s a testament to our fanbase, but then it just shows us what we can do on the road as well.”

Coastal Carolina Coach Cliff Ellis – “It was a hard fought game. Hats off to Wichita State. They’re very good. They played well. They shot the three better than we thought that they would. They had some guys that really knocked some shots down. We competed. That team would be at the top of our league. But you know when ESPN puts on an event like this, there’s not going to be a bad team. No matter who you play, it’s gonna be good and it’s gonna be a dog fight. You ask your team to compete. We got so many new faces. We got so many guys that just have not played together and I thought that they competed and I thought we got better as the game went. We don’t like to lose but I don’t think we left anything on the floor. We’ve got to come back tomorrow and be ready to go against whoever we play.” (On the fight in the second half) “That’s competing. You just want to see how they [Wichita State] would respond. You’ve got to give hats off to Wichita State. We were competing, we got it within three but they responded, and that’s credit to them.” (On playing back-to-back days) “It’s how the conference tournament is going to be. You have to go. You really truly have to focus on yourself. We had nine days to prepare for this team. We’ll come in and talk about it tomorrow and go out and play. It’s going to be about us. It’s gonna be their system, our system, and we’ll just come in and battle.”

Coastal Carolina Forward Kevin Easley – (On playing again tomorrow) – “Short memory. Back at it tomorrow. That was a great team we played. I think we learned a lot about ourselves this game. You have to think, we got eight new guys and that was only our second game together. Personally, I don’t really care about my stats, I wanted the ‘W.’ I think we fought hard and we just have to scout Liberty or Furman and be ready for tomorrow.” (On the improvement from game one to game two) “We were focused. We had nine days to prepare for them. We knew the game plan. The biggest thing is we were trying to preach rebounding and we outrebounded them by two. We missed nine free throws and we lost by nine. We were right there. I think that was a good team, hats off to them, we just have to move on to the next one and get locked in for Liberty or Furman.”