Paycom Wooden Legacy Quotes – Saint Mary’s 75, Vanderbilt 65


Saint Mary’s Coach Randy Bennett – “Honored to be playing in a John Wooden event. I had opportunities to meet Coach Wooden and he’s just an unbelievably special human and a great leader. We’re pumped to be a part of this and we have another game in it but I just wanted to make sure I covered that. We played a good game. I think Vanderbilt’s good tea. It was choppy, we didn’t shoot free throws well, but I thought two teams competed really hard. They made a run and had a 9-0 run to start the second half. After that, I thought we competed pretty well and made pretty good decisions. They’re good. We feel good about how we played, I thought our guards did a good job of controlling the game and making good decisions. Had we shot free throws better I think it would have been less stressful, let’s just say that.

 

(On G Logan Johnson) – Logan [Johnson] was Logan. That’s how he plays. He’s very steady, makes plays, he makes big plays. He always defends one of the two best players, usually he defends their best guard. So I thought he had a lot to do with us being able to separate and keep our lead in the second half and he made some big buckets. I haven’t even seen the stats, but I know he dropped some assists for [C Mitchell] Saxen and [C Harry] Wessels a few times. He played good enough for us to get the win and we need to play well tomorrow night. 

 

(On C Mitchell Saxen) – “He got us a lead. He got us an eight-point lead at half. We hit a big three to end the half. It’s just how we play. We play off ‘Sax’ a lot and these guards get him layups on rolls and he finishes those so. I thought Mitchell made some big buckets, but I think the guards helped him get them.”

 

(On playing away from home for the first time) – “You learn things about your team, you need to play on the road, you need to go get tested, you need to play in tougher situations than just playing at home, so we needed this. We started out 5-0 at home and we needed to go play a good team like Vanderbilt. I think we’ve lost to Vanderbilt in the last three or four times we’ve played them. I try blocking those out how many it was, I just know,we haven’t beat him since I’ve been at Saint. Mary’s. We played a good team, our guys did a good job. To be able to do it at a neutral event, this event in particular, was a huge feather in our cap. We needed that. It helps us build confidence and for this team to believe that we can play with anybody.”

 

(On Fr. G Aidan Mahaney) – I just think we have a good threesome of guards. Logan [Johnson], Augustas [Marciulionis] and Aiden [Mahaney]. Pick a night, it’s a different guy every night or different two guys every night. But all three of them are good. They’re good guards. It’s hard to find guards that can score, can make the pass on a pick-and-roll and they can. Aiden had a good night tonight but it could be Logan tomorrow night, it could be Augustas tomorrow night and that’s one of the strengths of our team is that those three guys keep coming at you.”

 

(On the matchup with Washington Thursday) – “We better be good with our zone offense, those are my thoughts. I know their players, I just haven’t seen them play so it’ll be a great opportunity to win the championship game of this tournament. That’s about all we can ask for.”

Saint Mary’s Guard Logan Johnson – “It was a great team effort. Everybody pitched in and showed up. ‘Sax’ had our first 11 or 12 points I think so when you have Saxen scoring at the rim like that at will, it’s pretty easy to make that pass and just have him finish it. Kudos to him for finishing those. I definitely have to take better care of the rock, I had five turnovers. We’ll be better tomorrow for sure. We’ll minimize the mistakes and we’ll be better.”

(On Fr. G Aidan Mahaney) – “He’s fearless. He’s not scared of anything. He’s not scared to take a big shot. He’s not scared to shoot it if he’s missed it 10 times. That’s what we practice every day. Keep continuing to shoot your shot. But he’s a killer. He’s ready to go and he’s definitely making big strides to be a really good guard, not only in the WCC but in the country.”

Saint Mary’s Guard Logan Johnson – “It was a great team effort. Everybody pitched in and showed up. ‘Sax’ had our first 11 or 12 points I think so when you have Saxen scoring at the rim like that at will, it’s pretty easy to make that pass and just have him finish it. Kudos to him for finishing those. I definitely have to take better care of the rock, I had five turnovers. We’ll be better tomorrow for sure. We’ll minimize the mistakes and we’ll be better.”

(On Fr. G Aidan Mahaney) – “He’s fearless. He’s not scared of anything. He’s not scared to take a big shot. He’s not scared to shoot it if he’s missed it 10 times. That’s what we practice every day. Keep continuing to shoot your shot. But he’s a killer. He’s ready to go and he’s definitely making big strides to be a really good guard, not only in the WCC but in the country.”

Vanderbilt Coach Jerry Stackhouse – “Hats off to Saint Mary’s, I thought they played a great game. Our game plan was to take the 3-pointer out of the game – they’ve been shooting it really well – and we thought we did. We made them play in the mid-range and they [Saint Mary’s] stepped up and made shots and conversely in the first half we weren’t able to make shots ourselves. We took a lot of mid-range twos outside of the paint and that’s not really our game. We want to get it around the rim, get paint points and hopefully open up some threes for us. But it’s tough to come on the road and win against a good team when you shoot 28% In the first half. We figured it out a little bit better in the second half and then I thought we contained them a little bit better defensively as well. We had some opportunities there when we got back in the game, we just came up a little bit short.”

(On Saint Mary’s leading scorers having 19, 19 & 20) – “Those guys were guys we had factored in. [Saint Mary’s G Alex] Ducas had been shooting it really well and was the leading scorer for them. [Saint Mary’s C Mitchell] Saxen got off to a good start finishing around the rim. I thought we contained him better in the second half but he got off to a good start and got those paint points. [Saint Mary’s G Aiden] Mahaney played well and made that shot at the end. With all that and as poorly as we played in the first half, without that heave three it’s a five-point game. We felt that we could definitely get back in the game and had a chance to win but you have to perform and they had guys that performed better than we did tonight.”

(On Sr. G/f Jordan Wright) –  “Jordan [Wright] did a good job for us tonight and he got us going offensively, especially in the first half when nobody else seemed to kind of have any rhythm. He got us going. [G] Ezra Manjon had been struggling all day. We didn’t know exactly what was going on with him whether it was just the flu, COVID or whatnot. He had not been feeling the best but he came out and gave us everything he had. I think him being full strength maybe leads to a different outcome, especially with those guys that were getting into the paint. He’s a hell of an on-ball defender and he just was a little bit slower tonight than what he’s been this year so far. Hopefully we get some fluids in him and get him ready to go and we can bounce back tomorrow.”

(On what the team needs to do differently) – They [Saint Mary’s] made plays. I thought our defense was pretty good, they just got behind us sometimes. We had some lapses. We talked about our scheme of having those two guys in the pick-and-roll handle it and then all of a sudden the guys relaxed out there on the perimeter and they got a couple of back cuts. There were opportunities where we maybe could have fouled them and put them on the line instead of giving them and-1s. Those things add up towards the end of the game when you go back and it’s a five-point game late. You look back and see those opportunities where you give a little bit of a harder foul and at least they only walk away with one as opposed to three. I thought our guys competed and gave ourselves a chance to win by getting back in the game. But we ran into a veteran team with guys that have been playing together for a long time and I think that was the advantage tonight.”

(On the matchup with Fresno State Thursday) – “We’ve scouted them. We knew that we could possibly play them. We came to this tournament prepared to play either of the other two teams as well. We just have to dust ourselves off, obviously disappointed with tonight’s loss, but it’s a quick turnaround. We’ll let the guys sleep in and get as much rest as they can and then we’ll lock into Fresno State in the morning.”