PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF post-game quotes, Western Michigan 86, Appalachian State 67

WESTERN MICHIGAN Coach Steve Hawkins – “We are much happier, not just with the win but with the effort. Yesterday we came out complacent for whatever reason against Tulsa, we just weren’t aggressive, we didn’t play with a lot of energy and we dug ourselves a hole early. Today I was happy with the way we came out. A lot of that has to do with this guy here (Thomas Wilder). He’s the heart and soul of the team. Our guards, Bryce (Moore) and him did a great job defensively in particular.

“On Monday after the game (vs. South Carolina) the guys came in and said hopefully we get a chance to play them on Sunday. This wasn’t exactly the plan in the way we would play them on Sunday. We played hard and really competed over there but there was too much South Carolina.”

(On Wilder’s defensive abilities): “If Thomas stood up right now, his arms are almost below his knees. He’s got incredible length and when he’s down in a stance, he’s got great lateral foot speed. It starts with a desire, he takes as much pride on that end of the floor as he does anything else which is a testament to the kind of kid he is. The part of it is not only can he stay in front, he can poke at the ball because of his length. He can bother ballhandlers without lunging, without gambling. It starts with the defensive end for us and tonight’s a good step in the right direction.”

Western Michigan Guard Thomas Wilder – “I’m just happy we won. That’s the most important thing to me and my teammates. The numbers don’t mean anything. As long as we won, I couldn’t care less if I had two points, four turnovers, whatever else.

“I really came out trying to be aggressive. Of course I was very disappointed in the way we came out yesterday so I wanted to put an emphasis on getting into the paint and make something happen. Luckily today I got the whistles, sometimes I might not get the whistle.”

APPALACHIAN STATE Coach Jim Fox – “There’s nothing really to say, it’s just disappointing. We battled in the first half even though our shots weren’t falling and in the second half, just our lack of confidence going forward, we were kind of in cement getting started up. We turned the ball over, we get another stop but we give up a rebound and it kind of spiraled from there and we couldn’t just quite get over the hump. We get at it tomorrow and do everything we can to get a win on Sunday.

“The ball moved, we got shots and we just didn’t knock them down. Then what happens is you’re so concerned about ball movement your attack mentality kind of wanes and we were able move the ball but it wasn’t anything penetrating, it wasn’t with a purpose. We were kind of stuck in between.”

Appalachian State Guard Ronshad Shabazz – “We were really stagnant and that hurts our offense and gets people out of position. Turnovers happen when you don’t move without the ball. It was nothing from the other team, more so us than anything. I feel like we lose focus just like last night. You come out and (say) yeah, we have to do it but when it’s time to actually do it we’re not focused. It was 40-40 at half then I look up it’s 53-40 just that fast.
“I feel like everybody’s got to stop pointing fingers at this point. We’ve got to look at each other say ‘Look, it’s us.’ The coaches can’t do anything, it’s not anybody in the crowd, it’s not moms, it’s not dads, it’s us. We’ve got to handle business. Before you know it, it’s going to be not the third game but the 12 th game then the 25 th game. We can’t keep saying the same thing. We have to put together a full game to come out with a victory.”