Q: In the second half, you seemed to lose your mojo on defense and struggled on offense?
Fran McCaffery: Yeah, we didn't have the same intensity level at the start of the second half that we had at the start of the first half. That's really disappointing because this team has shown that they're going to keep fighting; that they're going to keep coming. We had an opportunity there.
The first couple of possessions (of the second half), they really got going. They got other people involved, (Shavon) Shields in particular. We had (Dylan) Talley buttoned up in the first half, he goes off in the second half. That was unfortunate.
Once they got it…it seemed like very quickly it was less than 10. Then it's a different game. Where as if you go from 16 to 21, it's a different game.
We allowed them to get their offense going. They ran good offense at the start of the second half. We changed to the zone. That was effective for a little while. But you've got to be able to play man to man.
Q: The last possession when they went ahead and got the three, was that a breakdown on defense?
McCaffery: No. You have to give it to the kid. The kid hit a great shot. You really do.
In that situation, I don't want them to drive and (draw the) foul. I don't want them to throw it inside. They were scoring every time they threw it inside it seemed like. We wanted them to shoot a contested jumper in that situation. That's what they shot. The kid made it. Give it to him.
Q: Tie game, you had Devyn (Marble) with the ball. That's what you wanted.
McCaffery: Yeah, we didn't execute that play. That was unfortunate. We didn't execute well at all.
Q: Was it supposed to be him coming off a screen?
McCaffery: Yeah, it's a long story. There was a lot more to it than that. We just didn't execute it.
Q: It looked like Talley was able to break down the defense, get in the lane and make some plays in the second half.
McCaffery: He got to the mid-range point where he's very effective. He shot over Mike a couple of times; hit a couple of floaters. He's one of those guys where once he gets going like that he's really tough. We had him sideways in the first half. He's one for seven. Once he hit a couple, then he hit the big three off of an offensive rebound when we didn't get the ball. That really got him going.
Q: Coach, what do you say to the team after something like that? You had the game under control, up 19. So what message do you deliver after the game?
McCaffery: Well, you know, I challenged them. I talked to individuals and some of the things they could have done. I hope that they feel as badly as I feel right now. You know, we're all in this together. I'm not finger pointing at anybody, but you can go and say, what about this, what about that. We'll break that down. What could the players, what could the coaches have done differently. And then get up tomorrow and go back to work.
Q: This game would appear to have a big implication on postseason hopes. You let one get away. How do you handle the rest of the season?
McCaffery: We have let a number of games get away. That is something that we just have to get better at; like I said, as a group, players and coaches. What could we have done as coaches that might have enabled us to get a basket.
It seemed like in the second half we just couldn't get a basket. We had guys that are normally aggressive offensive players being really very tentative; wouldn't shoot, turning down shots, throwing the ball to the ball to the wrong guy, thrown the ball to guys that aren't open, fumbling the ball out of bounds.
So, then you start going away from what you're doing and try to set some people up. That's what's unfortunate. We try to set somebody up and that play didn't work because we didn't run it right.
It's one of those things where we just have to figure out are we going to be aggressive no matter what and live with the consequences. We got tentative trying to hold onto a lead. You can't hold onto a lead, you know, a seven-possession game, eight-possession game for 20 minutes. You've got to go attack the same way you got the 16-point lead. We didn't do that.
Q: Did you want (Mike) Gesell taking that shot with three seconds (Nebraska leading, 63-60)…
McCaffery: I was fine with him taking that shot. I've got one of my best shooters wide open at the three-point line. We need a three with three seconds to go. We could have taken a quick two, but there would only have been two seconds, two and a half seconds left. It makes it tough.
"So, if we can get the ball right there. They're backing up, backing up. It takes whether or not they're going to foul out of the equation. They don't have time to set-up. Are we going to foul? Are we not going to foul? All that kind of thing. He's made a lot of those shots in his life.
Q: Your last five road games, I probably don't have to remind you of this, have all come down to the last minute. You won one of them. I know you've talked on this before. Is this one of the most frustrating seasons of your entire coaching career?
McCaffery: No. I had one that was a lot worse. So, I guess it is one of them. Yes. One of.
Q: Shileds kind of started off slow. What was your game plan with him coming in?
McCaffery: He's been really impressive to me. I really like him. He's consistently gotten better. He's very versatile. He can post. He can handle it. He can make a three; can hot a runner. He offensive rebounds. He's got length. He was a guy that we were really locked into in the first half; did a good job on him. Second half, obviously we did a very poor job on him. Credit him.
Q: I assume the delay didn't matter.
McCaffery: No. It had nothing to do with it.