"Needless to say, the score doesn’t tell the story of the game. I thought we had a lack of execution and a lack of effort and toughness our there early, and they had all of those things we didn’t have. We were fortunate, it was (Jerry Johnson) who hit that three to cut it to eight at half, and that gave them a little bit of an emotional lift, and a challenge to our guys to come out and play better. It was a weird game. We couldn’t catch the ball. We had a couple times on turnovers where the ball would bounce right to us and we’d fumble it and step on it and those kinds of things. I think you don’t do those things if you’re into it more mentally. I think we needed to be into it a lot more mentally than we were.
"Struggled with Brice (Johnson) early, we had Brice and Justin (Jackson) and somebody else, we had three guys with two fouls, last three or four minutes I try to get those guys out If I can get down to the three minute mark. Nate (Britt) came off the bench and hit some really big shots for us, career high of 17. I loved Theo (Pinson)’s eight assists and zero turnovers. We did a pretty good job on the backboard at times, but gave them all the long rebounds. It seemed like every time we would do a good job defensively, the ball would bounce out a long rebound, and they’d get that one, so we’ve got to do a better job there. We’ve got to win some when you don’t play your best.
"Give them the credit, and Marcus Gilbert I thought was really good. He was hard for us to handle, and their zone gave us problems, we’ve got to do a better job with our big guys moving so we don’t have to rely just on the three point shot all of the time. We’ve gotta get Brice, Kennedy (Meeks), Isaiah (Hicks), Joel (James) and Luke (Maye) to do a better job of moving inside, but they did some things that hurt us, and hopefully it’ll help us down the line."
Did you think you guys were settling for threes early in the game?
"A little bit, because a couple of them (happened) because the shot clock was winding down because our big guys were standing still. I told two of the coaches, me and C.B. (McGrath) both said ‘I wouldn’t throw it in to you either, because you’re not moving.’ And we’ve got to get much better movement with our big guys and our guards need to do a better job of penetrating, too. I think you can draw people and then dish it off better. We made some weird turnovers there, trying to throw it inside too."
Why was there such a lack of spark and effort?
"I really don’t know. It was a surprise to me because it was the home opener, we were all so excited about the football win yesterday maybe we we still had that glory in our heads instead of going out there and playing. I was getting to wonder if we were gonna score as many as our football team scores."
Do you expect to see more zone every game?
"I expect we’ll see it a lot, unless it’s a team that’s got a stubborn coach like me that just believes in man-to-man so much and believes in accountability and we’ll see some of those guys, but we’re a much better shooting team than we were last year. Guys have gotten more confidence, I still think Justin Jackson’s gonna be a really good shooter for us - he hasn’t had them go in yet - but I think we’ll see some zone. I haven’t seen any Wofford tape to know what Mike (Young)’s going to do. I’m getting so old, I coached Mike when he was in basketball camp at North Carolina 100 years ago, so that’s really something."
Why did your team leave Marcus Gilbert so open for three-pointers?
"I think we didn’t do a very good job guarding the dribbler, so there’s dribble penetration, and now we’ve got to help, and it gets out to him, and one time, believe it or not, we went down there and nobody knew who was guarding him. That’s not very smart. He’s the leading scorer, the best player, and he’s made 300 against us, you ought to find who he is. I think their little guard, Segura, he really caused a problem because he’d penetrate so deep, and he’s still looking for shooters when he does that, some guys that are penetrating deep, they’re also looking for the drop-off or their own shot, but when he was penetrating, even deeply, he was looking for the shooters outside."
What’s made Nate Britt so effective for the first two games?
"Shooting the ball in the basket makes everybody feel better, but I think he had a good assist-error ratio, he was 5-2, and I can’t remember what he was Friday, but I think he’s comfortable, he’s confident. Confidence does a lot of things for you. He’s gone through some major changes from left hand to right hand and had some good things happen for him last year, but I think it’s more just his work and the time that he’s put in."
So many players have been through sloppy games like this before, are you surprised to see some of these issues happen?
"Not really. Teams at this time of the year that are really clicking are playing five or six guys, and we’re playing nine or 10 guys, and it doesn’t bother me to have three guys with two fouls in the first half. I thought at the end of the game, our depth was more important, because we ran better at the end than we did early in the game. And we’re gonna play nine or 10 guys. When you change combinations so much like that, human nature is you want more playing time. Human nature is you want more shots. So until you get used to the role you’re gonna play and the time you’re gonna get, you’re always searching a little bit more. To me, it’s if you have five guys coming back that played all of the minutes, and nobody else that’s ready, then you can be really clicking a lot more early. I’m concerned about the way we played today, but I’m not worried about our team."
How far along has Theo Pinson come since his injury?
"I think he needs to get a lot better, and I think he can possibly do that, too. Not only did he miss a lot of last season, guys, from the Wisconsin game until our second or third week of practice, he never played a full-court pick-up game. So you’re talking about from the end of March until November 1st, and that’s just guessing. He never played one single pick-up game, full-court or anything. Didn’t play half-court until a couple of weeks before practice started, so he was out a long time and he was trying to get his legs back underneath him. He’s done a nice job working on his shot, and he’s gotta do a lot of other things for us, and I think he’s getting better every day."
Do you anticipate seeing Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks to get doubled immediately like they were against Fairfield?
"I think so. A lot of teams do that. Virginia’s probably better at it than anybody else, we split with them last year. The first time we didn’t handle it well, and the second time we handled it pretty well. The guys know that they’re gonna be doubled, so you need to make a quick move or throw it out, and then if you get good spacing, you’ve got a chance to get a good shot."
How do you like your backcourt rotation?
"Theo got 30 minutes, Joel Berry got 29 and Nate got 27. It’s just what it is, so we’ve got to keep fresh people in there. When the other little fella gets back out there, then we’ll still have the same kind of rotation, but he’s gonna get a lot of minutes."