November 15 Myrtle Beach Invitational Quotes

Saint Joseph’s 89, Wake Forest 69

Coach Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s – “The ability to make baskets, it makes it an easier way to coach. When you measure it out and say these guys are all experienced – (Lamarr) Fresh Kimble, (Pierfrancesco) Checco Oliva, they’re still young, we started three sophomores and a freshman, but I really liked the offensive mindset of this team. There were a couple times when it got tight in the first half, we got out to a lead, we got a little bit maybe happy with ourselves. But in the second, I thought that was beautiful basketball. Everybody will look at the baskets made by Taylor Funk and Charlie Brown, but a lot of it was directed by Checco Oliva and Fresh Kimble running down rebounds. And we were just older than them in the second half. I thought if we could come at them, a young team like Danny has, it’s going to have a tough time holding up against it. I’m pleased with the defense, Anthony Longpre had a couple buckets and his defensive talk and presence was outstanding. We’re delighted to play tomorrow. I was bothered in the first half, they had eight offensive rebounds, they had 10 transition points, but the first two or three possessions in the second half got really tight, really dialed in, and I thought we can go with this.”

Coach Danny Manning, Wake Forest – “Going into the game we knew St. Joe’s is a very talented team and they like to play exceptionally fast. In the first half both teams did some OK things. You go into halftime and it’s tied up so we did some decent things offensively. The second half was the tale of the game. They came out and they imposed their will and we weren’t able to prevent that from happening. We didn’t do a good job of locating their shooters and try to run them off the 3-point line. We just weren’t where we were supposed to be at times. Typically when there’s a breakdown that occurs, it’s not just one person. We’re going to go back tonight and we’re not going to have as much prep time as we did for St. Joe’s. We are going to make sure (the players) see some clips especially of this game and learn from that. We’ve got to come out and do better across the board.”

UCF 68, Cal State Fullerton 52

Coach Johnny Dawkins, UCF – “First off, we beat a very good basketball team. Dedrique has done a great job with Cal State Fullerton, turning the team last year and watching a lot of film on them and how his players have developed over the years has been fun to see. They’ve all gotten better. I’m very proud of our guys, we had a tough loss with a late clock shot made on us a couple nights ago. For us to respond this way, especially on the defensive end, was really good to see and I thought that’s where the game was one for us. We were very active, guys were defensively following the game, knowing who their primary scorers were and really taking a team effort to slow them down. You’re not going to stop those two guards, you just want to contain them as best you can. We were really focused on the entire game.” (On having four players in double figures) “That means on any given night, one of those players can have a really good night for you. It’s exciting for us, we haven’t always had that in years past. That versatility of the offense can be a positive for us as the season progresses.”

Guard B.J. Taylor, UCF – “I thought we played really tonight, especially on the defensive end. Our keys coming into the game where we wanted to shut down their offensive attack. They’re one of the better offensive teams, especially out West. They have a couple guys in (Kyle) Allman and (Khalil) Ahmad who are really good scorers. We needed to have an awareness on those two guys and make it very difficult and make the uncomfortable and we did a pretty good job. Our identity is defense. We have a lot of guys with great size, obviously starting with Tacko out there, the biggest guy in the country and Chad Brown off the bench and Collin Smith is a big physical guy. We have to get back to playing physical UCF grind-it-out basketball and that’s been our identity since Coach Dawkins got to UCF and we tried to impose some of that tonight.”

Coach Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton – “We played a really ballclub. B.J. Taylor and obviously Tacko Fall, they represented themselves well and we didn’t do what we are capable of doing, which is defending, getting out and rebounding and trying to get some transition baskets. You have to tip your hat to Central Florida and Coach Dawkins and their staff and their program. They willed themselves to the type of win they got tonight and they earned it. Our ballclub, we’ve got to get our head in the right space and come back and compete tomorrow. I thought their physicality bothered us, I thought they were able to get away with some contact that wasn’t reciprocated on the other end of the floor. But that’s something we’ve got to get used to and be prepared for. Particularly with our backcourt as everybody keys in on those guys, we’ve still got to fight for the types of possessions that we want and the types of shots we want and we didn’t do that over the course of the game. (Fall) is a big difference just because he takes up so much space. If he’s in the paint, it’s good luck. The officials have so much pressure to officiate that the right way. It’s difficult to prepare for him, it’s even more difficult to play him. I’m glad I’m not in their conference.”

Forward Jackson Rowe, Cal State Fullerton – “One of my main roles is just bringing energy to the team, just doing whatever I can to get my teammates open looks. So, if I see them struggling, I’m going to try to do what I have to do to help us get a better offense flow and keep bringing up the defensive pressure. You could tell in our huddles we weren’t as together as we should be. We’ve come a long way but there’s also room for improvement.”

Western Kentucky 83, Valparaiso 71

Coach Rick Stansbury, Western Kentucky – “We went back and played some zone (when Valpo pulled within three). We were getting beat about three or four times in a row on that ball screen out front where they got it to the hole and got fouled or got into the paint, collapsed the defense and pitched. We’ve got to be better on the ball screen. We were throwing inside, we were driving inside and got to the free throw line and got them in double bonus very quick in both halves. If we’d made free throws like we normally do, I think we’re an OK free-throw shooting team, we just didn’t make them very well tonight. That would have separated the game. We had a bad last five seconds of the first half, that was a five-point swing in the last five seconds. Missing two free throws was part of it. Those are momentum plays you just can’t have. Well learn from those things.”

Guard/forward Jared Savage, Western Kentucky – “We got to the free throw line by throwing it inside and driving it inside and just slowing the game down and scoring with the clock not running. Then on defense, I think we picked it up a bit from last game, getting stops. They’ve got to respect Charles (Bassey) so we throw it into him, he kicks it out and he’s a good a passer and we made shots. I like playing with (Tavieon Hollingsworth), he brings energy to the game.”

Coach Matt Lottich, Valparaiso – “Obviously that’s a very talented club and we knew they were more physical and they really crashed the offensive glass and that took us by surprise a little bit in the first half. They had 16 second-chance points in the first half. We made a run there in the second half and then had two empty possessions and it just looked like a young team at those points. We’re going to learn from that. Western Kentucky is very good. Obviously, we were down a center, a young man (Jaume Sorolla) who was playing very good. That hurt and we were play a 6-5 win at the 5 for about 8 minutes in the first half. That’s not something we practiced much but John Kiser came in and gave us everything he could. There were a lot of fouls. Derrik Smits started for us and he fouled out in 8 minutes. Mileek McMillian ended up playing 25 minutes but he had four fouls and I think he played the majority of the second half with four. It was concerning. Bakari (Evelyn), who we rely a lot on to score for us, couldn’t play much in the first half when he had two quick fouls. We’ll fight and I was proud, our guys played very hard.”

Coach Bob Huggins, West Virginia – “We backed the pressure back a little bit (in the second half) and we didn’t have to cover as much ground. I don’t think we’re very physical. One of the ideas of pressure is just to wear them down. You’d have to ask them if it wore them down or not, I don’t know. I kind of like us going to the foul line. We didn’t pass the ball, we shot it too quick. I keep looking at the bench and I’m going to put in someone I haven’t played before, so we’re fighting through it. A lot of it is understanding who’s going to be open first, who come open second and are we down-screening, are we back-screening. They throw the ball sometimes where they think somebody’s going to be and they’re not there and the passer is wrong, it’s not the other guy. They just didn’t read what we were doing. Yeah, it’s very concerning. We turned it over way too much.”

Guard James “Beetle” Bolden, West Virginia – “We just wanted to come in tonight to give more effort and energy on both sides of the game. I think we did that especially in the second half when we picked it up a lot. There were no adjustments, just more effort and energy and communication. We were talking more in the second half and it paid off for us.”

Forward Esa Ahmad, West Virginia – “We just felt like we had the mismatch. They always guard so we felt if we could pound it inside we could get some easy ones. We started the to move the balle and Beetle and Chase (Harler) started hitting 3s.”

Forward Sagaba Konate, West Virginia – “If I get it on the top so they will pressure, my teammates will set a good screen so there are open guys and I just need to throw it to them. Defensively I just need to get better off the ball so I can help my team get a win.”

Coach King Rice, Monmouth – “I’m a big Coach Huggins fan. I’ve been to his fantasy camp, he mentors me, he helps me be a better coach I think he’s one of the better coaches in the country, he runs a program as well as anybody and for 20minutes we had them playing. I feel bad for my kids because their bodies are so big and strong when you’re dealing with West Virginia, they have one of the best strength training programs in college basketball and Coach goes that way to wear you down and I think my kids got a little tired with the physicality of the game. But we battled West Virginia for30 minutes and I’m proud of that part. I’m not one of these guys that’s into this ‘Oh, we played them tough,’ I’m trying to win the game. But when you’re going against a Hall of Famer that’s been doing it as long as him, you’ve got to take small victories. Being down six after we fouled them so many times in the first half to give them 25 free throws and only be down six, I think our kids did great tonight.”