November 16 quotes from Myrtle Beach Invitational

Western Kentucky 63, West Virginia 57

Coach Rick Stansbury, Western Kentucky – ““West Virginia is a tremendous basketball team. They’re one of those teams that at the end of the year will be fighting for championships and a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. They’re a really good team. We were just able to find ways. Our guys did a great job keeping them off balance a little bit. It’s not always about how well you play. Sometimes how hard you play overcomes some things. What I’m most proud of is we went against probably the hardest-playing team in the country, and our guys rose to the occasion. They made runs at us. We got into some foul trouble. (Charles Bassey) guarded (Sagaba) Konate as well as you can guard him. Josh (Anderson) was tremendous in transition making some things happen. And a big key was we didn’t turn the ball over against that press. That was huge, keeping them from getting those easy baskets. It was a great team effort. This time of year, any time you have an opportunity to go play for a championship, it’s very special. Not many college teams across the country have a chance to play for championships. These guys deserve all the credit. They put themselves in position to come out here Sunday and play for a championship. I’m proud for them. This is a huge stat: we made more free throws than West Virginia attempted. That’s a huge stat against a team that pounds you on the inside. We wanted to have no regrets, we didn’t want to sit back on our heels, we wanted to be aggressive. And against that defense, you’ve got to throw it to the paint, you’ve got to drop it into the paint. There were a lot of times we drove it in there and came up empty, but you look at that stat sheet, we made 27 and they attempted 19. That’s huge.”

Guard Josh Anderson, Western Kentucky – “We knew they were going to come out and play hard defense coming into the game so in our head, we just knew if our offense wasn’t going good, we’re going to have to come back and play defense too and I feel we did a good job on that.

Forward Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky – “It was a good game, I just came ready to play defensively, offensively and we stayed together, played together and took care of business. That’s what we do every time. We came out ready to play from beginning to the end.”

Coach Bob Huggins, West Virginia – “We were throwing it to the guys in the wrong-colored shirts. We don’t have a point guard, that’s the bottom line. Beetle (James Bolden) for two years played off the ball . . . he came in to make shots and now all of a sudden he make a bonehead foul in the first half and I’ve got to get him out. If it’s a close game, I’ve got to have him at the end of the game. I don’t know, maybe his hand’s bothering him because he generally makes the shots he missed. He’s maybe playing through some stuff, maybe playing in pain. We led the first half, our shot selection was better in the first half then all of a sudden – we can’t win shooting all those 3s. We don’t shoot them well enough. Beetle had shots he normally makes. Lamont (West) had shots he normally makes. We’ve got some other guys jacking them up that don’t have a shot to make them and that’s got to stop. Our guys that we count on to make them need to make them. Our margin for error is not very great. We don’t really have (a press). We’ve tried. We don’t have the foot speed, we don’t have the athleticism. We’ve played two teams here that are more athletic than us. (Brandon) Knapper we thought played pretty well in practice the past whatever three weeks of the season and he’s struggling. You can’t continue to throw the ball away. We put them on a treadmill in practice when they throw it away, I do the same thing with them that I used to do with (Jevon Carter) and everyone else because JC used to throw it around. He got better and better and hopefully these guys get better. And they’ve got to get better pretty soon.” (On pressing and defense): “Honestly, I don’t know what to do. We’re not very good halfcourt, I try to play 1-3-1 and we’re not very good at it. We’ve tried to play point-drop, which we’ve done for years. You kind of assume, I guess, which is a really bad thing and it’s a terrible thing on my part, but you go back through the last few years, when we weren’t as good, we didn’t have a leader. . . . there aren’t any of those sitting in the locker room. We’re not near as athletic as Western Kentucky.”

Guard Chase Harley, West Virginia – “I felt like we were getting the stops when we needed to. It was just us. We had 22 turnovers, they only had 13. It was us just turning the ball over. Their defense was pretty good but at the same time we were pretty much just throwing it to them. That’s where we struggled. Our turnovers just completely killed us. It was a very physical game though.”

Guard James “Beetle” Bolden, West Virginia – “The early fouls put them on the line and they weren’t missing at the free-throw line. That kept them in the game in the first half. Without those fouls, we would have been up easy, 12-15 points. Our defense was solid, honestly. We got key stops when we needed them, we rebounded the ball well, it was just our turnovers that changed the game.”


UCF 77, Saint Joseph’s 57

Coach Johnny Dawkins, UCF – “Anytime you have a chance to compete for a championship that’s a special moment and I’m just happy our guys put us in a position where we can compete for one. They have a terrific offensive team as you saw, they can really shoot the basketball. Our guys as the game went on started to really lock in as the game went on. Give them a lot of credit, they found ways to get their shooters open, found ways to get to the basket but we had enough stops to gain some momentum. I thought our offense really complemented our defense tonight and that’s something that might go unnoticed. Our combination of being very efficient offensively allowed us to be able to come back and set our defense up. (Terrell Allen) has been working all summer and he’s probably made the biggest improvement of any player on our team last summer. It’s great to see him be rewarded by some of the things he’s worked on. You can see it out there on the floor, guys go under screens and he’s a very good 3-point shooter so he’s going to knock those shots down, he did tonight and that was huge for us. We’re still finding ourselves. We’ve got three guys in the lineup this year that didn’t start as much last year. The more we play, we get familiar with where guys like the basketball and what each player can do the better we’ll be. The chemistry is starting to show.

Guard Terrell Allen, UCF – “St. Joe’s is a great offensive team, you could see that from the beginning of the game, they came out lighting us on 3-pointers and it was hard to guard. In the second half we started to figure what they were doing so we started switching more, started communicating more, we started closing out better and I think that’s what led to a lot of their misses in the second half. We started rebounding the ball and started controlling the tempo. Having Tacko back there, the guards are able to pressure the ball as much as we want to knowing he’s back there. He’s even playing well for us on offense, he’s been giving us everything he has with rebounding and scoring. We need that from him. I think all the shots I took were good shots for me. I think I picked my spots out there and it shows in the field goal percentage. I just had a lot of confidence out there. It’s always great to play for a championship. Coach Dawkins preaches that all the time, you’re going to get a chance to play for three championships all year and this is one of them right here. We’re blessed to be here.”

Center Tacko Fall, UCF – “We had a great defensive effort, the guys played really well, we rebounded the ball well and I felt we imposed our will throughout the game and that’s how we play. We’re a big team, we have the personnel to do that. Defense is wear we hang our hat and they’re a great team, they can shoot the lights out of the ball. In the first half they came out hot but we made some adjustments and we did a pretty good job throughout the game. It’s about us, it’s about what you do and as long as you stay true to your identity, it doesn’t really matter who you play. It’s about defensive effort and if you bring it every night, you have a chance to win the game. You don’t get that many opportunities to play for a championship and it’s going to help you prepare for what’s coming, it’s one more game and we’re taking the trophy home, we’ve just got to out there and let it all out.”

Coach Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s – “Their defense is good on tape, it’s outstanding in person. We ended up playing a lot of side-to-side basketball and not to the rim. And even when we went to the rim, one of the things we have not done great is finishing. And you can’t go 6-for-13 from the foul line. You have to take advantage of every opportunity to score against a quality defense. They had 10 field goals off the bench, and we had none. Those guys made a difference. They showed balance. … We’re looking to have four double-figure scorers. We want to be in the 72-point range. We got to 22-22, and then hit a wall. We rushed some jumpers, and at the rim we weren’t finishing. But all credit to their defense. They’re a wonderful, wonderful defensive team. We’re tired mentally. We missed assignments, we missed calls. … We didn’t have a pop. We didn’t have a right pace mentally or physically. The next time we play back-to-back games, if we lose, they collect your uniforms (for the end of the season). That’s why we take these tournaments, to play back-to-back games and get used to everything. How did you hydrate? What did you eat? What time did you get to sleep last night. All these things so we can make the necessary adjustments in March.”

Wake Forest 66, Cal State Fullerton 59

Coach Danny Manning, Wake Forest – “Today was a day I thought our new team took a step. It was a bounce-back game from a beatdown yesterday. We had a lot of guys who contributed to the victory. In the first half, Cal State Fullerton was the aggressor and chance favors the aggressor. In the second half we came out, we were a lot more aggressive, we didn’t settle for long jump shots. We did a better job of attacking the paint and we did a good job with our zone defense. We went to the zone to throw a curveball at them and it worked for us. They’ve got two of the best scorers I’ve seen in a long time in Allman and Ahmad. Watching them on tape will give you nightmares. We tried to stay in front of them and show strong help and make somebody else have make plays to beat us. We thought if we Jaylen (Hoard) on the post, he would command some attention and if they came down to double him we could kick it out and somebody could get a wide open shot. He got to his spot and was able to elevate and score. I told him after the game, I said, ‘You are nightmare to guard for a big guy if you’re putting pressure on them by dribbling and attacking the basket. I’m a big guy, and if I was guarding you, I’d love for you to be shooting jump shots.’ I thought we showed some grit. To be a young, to be a new team, playing up against a squad that’s an NCAA Tournament team, a little bit more physical than us – I thought our guys did a real good job of answering the bell especially in the second half.”

Coach Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton – “I thought our guys competed and played hard. We gave ourselves a chance to win the ball game down the stretch there and what we’ve got to do now is find a level of consistency in those particular areas. If we compete and play hard as we did there and add some execution, then I think our fortune is different. Tip your hat to Wake Forest, they came down and made some crucial shots down the stretch, turned us over for some key baskets, got some second-chance points, 14 second-chance points, so we’ve got to shore that area up. We got stagnant, we stopped attacking, and their length kind of bothered us and took us out of rhythm. That’s something we’re going to have to deal with. When teams switch up defenses, we still have to have an attack mentality. They took advantage of their size, whether they were going inside to (Jaylen Hoard) or offensive rebounds during that stretch hurt us as well.”

Guard Khalil Ahmad, Cal State Fullerton – “It just comes us with us being more consistent. It’s not a frustration thing, we’ve just got to push ourselves to be better for the whole 40 minutes, from the jump to the buzzer.”

Valparaiso 64, Monmouth 53

Coach Matt Lottick, Valparaiso – “When we were preparing for Monmouth, the one thing that stuck out for me, especially watching the West Virginia, they embody their coach’s personality. We’ve all seen King play, just how hard, how competitive his team was. So our message to our team was ‘Look, this team, they’re not afraid, they’re a very proud program, they’re very well coached and you guys aren’t ready to match their intensity, they’re going to run away with the game.’ We challenged our players to do that and I thought our players were locked in and aggressive from the start. It took Derrik Smits a little bit of time to get going. We challenged him a little bit at halftime that ‘You have a choice – you can sit and make excuses for what’s happened or you can respond.’ And I thought he responded well. We need him to be better and he was. I thought that Deion Lavender just slowed us down, especially late when Monmouth was trying to pressure. He took the pressure, got us easy baskets. No substitute for experience. If you can get stops and secure rebounds, take good shots and get stops, you should be in pretty much every game we play. Their pressure was real and I thought we handled it pretty well. Ryan Fazekas specifically, he missed a bunch in a row then he hit a couple of huge ones for us that kept that lead right about 10 or above. Markus Golder hit a big shot in the corner to kind of put the game away. We’re going to enjoy tonight, the coaches are going to prep, but it’s not every day you get an ACC team on a neutral floor for a mid-major. It would mean a lot. This is a heck of an event, the field is loaded and to play a field like this this early in the year, you learn a lot about your club.”

Coach King Rice, Monmouth – “Tough night for us, take your hats off for Valpo. I figured somebody would grab a hold of this game, two teams playing after hard-fought games yesterday. When kids come in and they’re fired up and when you don’t win that first one, this next game is so important and I think both teams started a little bit slow and they grabbed a hold of the game and once they grabbed a hold of it there wasn’t much we could do with them. You sign up for tournaments so you can get ready for the postseason when you play in your own tournament. The teams that win are excited to play today, the teams that lose, not so much. Coach (Dean) Smith never one time tried to get me up to play. If you showed up not ready to play in a college basketball game, that’s on you. I don’t think we’re supposed to have to get them ready to play. Kids should be ready to play. You’re playing in a college basketball game, you get 30, 31 of them a year and then your career is over after four years. So if you need someone else to get you up to play in an ESPN tournament, I don’t know what’s going to happen when you have a real job. Right now Mustapha Traore, he is trying to do what I want as much as anybody. I respect him so much because when Mustapha came in, we all thought he was more of a wing player and he’s asked to change and be a 4 man, and then when Diago (Quinn) got hurt at the beginning of the year, he has to be our 5 man. When a kid will come in and change two positions for you, and he’s not the most talkative kid but he’s our most talkative kid. That says a lot about him and his family, and he just wants to have a great college career so I was extremely happy to see he had a good game today.”