Opening statement – South Alabama post-game
First of all, and I mean this sincerely, I want to compliment coach (John) Pelphrey's team. That team's got no quit in it, and I think that team's a lot of effort in it. I think he's done a nice job with a team that didn't know how to win and teaching them what they need to have an opportunity to win. …That's a tough little squad he has. They play well and do some nice things.
Had we not defended the second half and responded and rebounded, we wouldn't have won the game. The only reason we did win it in my opinion…is because we defended and rebounded. We struggled to score it. We missed some quality shots, some layups around the goal. We struggle at the free throw line. We have veteran players who can't complete plays.
From an offensive standpoint, we're a ways away. But from an effort standpoint and a defensive standpoint and a rebounding standpoint, we're pretty good.
They (USA) shoot 37 percent from the game, 6 for 17 from the three. We get 30 rebounds, turn it over carelessly down the stretch.
Here's my idea. When the ball goes through the net, our 2-man works the ball in-bound against pressing teams. Our big guys sprint back to half-court, and our 1-man and our 3-man…just worked to get (the ball) in.
…When the guy that's guarding (the 3- or 1-man) beats me to the ball, I'm not doing my job to go get it and grab it. It's just careless.
We were able to learn a lesson or two in winning by not being aggressive enough and going to meet passes when they were running through them.
I like this game for us because we had to play to win it. Our (veteran) players have thought for some reason…they're just going to go up and play and it's just going to happen. Well it didn't happen. We had to make it happen.
You've got Jaime Lloreda and Darrel Mitchell who give our team a lift and a spark. When Ronald (Dupree), Torris (Bright) and Collis (Temple) - the guys who've been through the wars here – when those guys start playing, we can be pretty good because our new guys are OK.
None of you thought, and I didn't think, Darrel Mitchell would have that kind of impact. I thought Jaime would be good eventually; I didn't know he'd be as effective as he was tonight, this early.
I hoped that Collis, Ronald and those guys would carry us along, but it's not happening that way. It's almost in reverse. I told our team that.
It's good to learn lessons when you win. It'd be terrible to learn lessons and lose. I don't like that. I'd rather teach, tell them the truth and tell them where we are and what we need.
It's not being critical. For goodness sakes, don't think I'm being critical. But the team needs to understand where it is. The best players we have…need to play a little bit better, particularly from an offensive standpoint.
I think Ronald is rushing it too much; he's trying to make things happen a little too quick. He's trying to press, and now he's missing free throws and layups. It kind of snowballs.
But am I not going to stick with him? No, I'm not. That's never been my style.
I stay with Torris Bright. I stay with Ronald Dupree. Those are the guys who've won games for us, and they're going to win games for us. We just need to slow down a little bit, play a little better as a team, be totally unselfish, give until it hurts, and the offense will take care of itself.
But the effort our team gave defensively and rebounding the ball gave us the opportunity to win this game. We're down four at the half and we take a 14-point lead, so we outscore them 18 points in about 12 minutes. And then we kind of hang on at the end and win.
That's why I compliment their team because they never quit. (Pelphrey's) going to do a good job there…
Q: Jaime had a lot of easy shots. Is that what you want to see from him?
A: I wanted to pound it inside, and that was our advantage. We didn't do it early. We had Collis shooting threes, Ronald shooting threes. Early on, we just shot the ball too quick.
After we starting throwing the ball to Shawnson (Johnson), throwing the ball to Jaime, things started happening. If we didn't score it off the post, we were able to go inside and throw it back out. (Antonio) Hudson got some shot-fake drives to the goal out of doing that offensively.
We just need t have a better concept of offense. We can throw the ball inside to Shawnson, Jaime and Brad (Bridgewater). Brad's 4-for-4 tonight. Jaime's 7-for-7. Why wouldn't you throw the ball in there? Those two guys are 11-for-11. They hadn't missed yet. If we throw it in their every time, they may have gone 20-for-20. Who knows?
Especially when our perimeter guys can't make baskets. Bright's 1-for-6 (three-pointers). Collis is 1-for-4. Dupree's 5-for-12 (from the field). C'mon.
Who should be shooting the balls: The guys who are making them. That's the way a team's supposed to operate. We don't quite have it yet.
I don't think it's anything intentional. I just thing it's guys trying to do too much. They have other guys to rely on now. We need to accept that fact and include them. When we do that and get this continuity or chemistry offensively the way it needs to be, we can be OK.
We did defend well tonight. We had 43 rebounds to their 30. We had 15 offensive rebounds. We held them to 37 percent shooting – that's pretty good. We need to continue to do that as the offense comes along.
Q: Was it just the shooting in the first half?
A: I think South Alabama early on in that game made some shots. I don't know what you were seeing, but I sat there and (saw) they made some shots over us. You've got to give a team credit somewhere because we're not a bad defending team – never have been.
It's like the game with Ball State. They made some baskets. Early on, South (Alabama) made some shots. But as the game wore on, we got a little closer to them. I think they may have gotten a little tired because they only rely on a couple guys to shoot it. We were able to wear them down a little and they started missing…
I'll be interested to see how their team plays as the year goes along. I think they're going to be OK in that league.