Ray McCallum's comments:
It was a tough ballgame, I thought that we got a great effort throughout the game, a tremendous effort on the boards and defensively against a team that is really hard to guard. They use a lot of stuff, a lot of cutting, a lot of screening, a lot of moving and action, our guys really had to work.
I'm proud of our effort, I guess the last situation, the last play we had our best free throw shooter on the line with Andre an d we just knew he was going to make it. We had one time out to give and we were going to use it right after he made it, that's how confidence this coach was in him and if we have this situation again, he's the guy we want on the free throw line. I really look at our last set of possessions and four of them were turnovers and that really was the difference in the ballgame. It should not have come down to Andre on the free throw line, a lot of guys had a part of the breakdowns down the stretch. It was unfortunate because I thought we competed hard enough to win the game.
It has been a tough week for us and a tough three ballgames, but I thought we saw a lot of improvement tonight and we got great effort. I'm really pleased with the effort, at halftime I didn't know if Jeremee was going to make it because he played so hard. Andre is in great shape, really, you know, he felt the pain of losing and Lou's effort for 40 minutes, you know, I can go on and on. We have got to develop a bench, we've got youth and inexperience, we have got to develop a bench. We are going to continue to do that. When you look at us down the stretch, we don't have a lot of moves that we can make, it was Hensley or Dwight Jones. I thought that Jones did a great job on covering Lucas that let us get Andre off of him, he had dogged him all night and we put Dwight on him to kind of keep him in front.
We out rebounded them, we would like to get to the free throw line more than we did tonight, but I thought we played physical and aggressive basketball.
Q & A
How did there press affect the team and were you frustrated with the turnovers late in the game?
Yeah, we were and down the stretch it was a combination of fatigue and the constant pressure. We broke down. We had control of the game, we had leads, you just can't give the ball away.
Coach, to what do you attribute the vast improvement over the teams performance at Rice earlier this week?
Practice. I told these guys that it is a process that we are learning and we have come out and competed after each defeat in practice with a high level of intensity. We are starting to understand that there is a sense of urgency if we are going to get better and creating a competitive environment. That is why we came in prepared to win, we competed in practice to win and that is what I and the coaching staff have to be pleased with. In a week we improved as much as any team that I've been involved with. It was just a great effort in practice.
On the last shot when it went up did you think it was going in?
From my angle, when he lined it up it looked like it was on line all the way. It was the only shot I think he made all night.
On the decision to start Anwar tonight, what lead to that?
Well, I have not been pleased with our starts and as I told the guys, just because you sit on that front row it is not about is it your position, it is about competing every day. Maybe (Jeremee) plays better coming off the bench because he had one of his best halves and one of his best games since he has been here. It got his attention I guess.
Was this reminiscent of NC State last year?
You know what, I told the guys it is a process, it is teaching, it is helping them understand. The guys that were here a year ago had to go through that experience and just like this weekend we are going to have see it on ESPN as the play of the week just like we did a year ago about this time. That basketball team didn't feel sorry for themselves and they came out and got after it and that is what we have to do. We have to feel the pain of defeat and grow from it.