“We’re very pleased to get the win. I think the inside game we wanted to get the ball in the lane area by dribble or pass and we scored 42 points in the paint. We wanted to try to do a better job of guarding them at the three point line than we did at our place. They had 13 threes there and today they only had seven… seven out of 24. One of the goals we set was to play defense without fouling, and we didn’t do that very well. They shot 30 free throws to our 15. Mike Young and Jamel (Artis) are hard to guard. They shoot the ball well from the perimeter and start taking it to the basket like they did in the second half. Michael Young especially was a load getting to the free throw line. The other thing I think… it was 48-28 on the backboards, we got off to a great start getting some offensive rebounds and scoring… then we made a couple of shots. Joel (Berry), I think he made two threes early and Justin (Jackson) made one, so at halftime we had a little bit of a working margin. In the first four minutes of the second half we were awful. Throwing the daggum ball anywhere and everywhere and they were dunking it on the other end. Then we got a little bit refocused and started getting the ball back into the lane area and finally playing a little better defense… It’s the best defensive field goal percentage we’ve had in quite a while. I’d say the backboards, scoring in the paint, and not giving up as many open threes.”
In the last 12 minutes of the first half, your team outscored them 29-11, what was the difference in that stretch?
“I think we started getting the ball a little bit more inside then. I think Kennedy (Meeks) made some baskets. Tony (Bradley) made some baskets inside. Justin made a couple baskets inside as well. Tony and Luke (Maye) gave us good minutes off the bench and kept going when Isaiah (Hicks) and Kennedy needed to take a blow. We just got the ball where we wanted to a little bit more and got more shots than they did.”
What is you confidence right now in Justin’s shot?
“Late in the game where he came down and Joel found him over and he stepped right into his shot, I felt like that one was going in. I like that little jump hook he shot in the baseline when we should have run some more clock. I didn’t think it was going in and it did. 5-11 from three, that’s pretty daggum good. You’ll take that most times. I think Isaiah’s passing today… he couldn’t find the basket for the longest time but he did make some assists. He and Theo (Pinson) both had good assist-error ratios.”
How big was that game for Isaiah? He made a couple of baskets in the second half, finally.
“Finally is right. That’s what I was thinking. The first half he had a couple of them that were right at the rim… he didn’t finish one and got fouled and made one of the two free throws. At halftime he had four assists and one turnover and only one point, but at least he was getting some other things done. The only turnover we had was his pass to Johnson… I thought he was better today to say the least.”
What’s been the difference the past couple of weeks defensively?
“We’ve sure emphasized it enough in practice everyday. A couple of games the other team has missed some shots that we shouldn’t have let them have. I do think we’re getting a little better but I still want to make some big time strides and we really need to make big time strides defensively. I really think we’ve got a long way to go.”
Did you expect to win the rebounding battle that extensively in this game?
“I always expect to win. I never know anything about that big a margin. I always expect to win the rebounding battle because we emphasis it so much. We have a couple of guys that can shoot three point shots but Isaiah and Kennedy don’t go out and shoot three point shots. They’re niche is rebounding the ball and scoring inside. That’s a pretty good margin, but we’ve had a pretty good margin most of the year. We didn’t last time we played at Cameron Indoor Stadium… they outrebounded us. I remember that more than I do the big margins.”
How different was it defensively not having Theo available early in the year?
“When he plays defense it really is good. I got a little mad at him today because he was running alongside Young, fouled him, and then ran to the referee… I mean, you fouled him. I don’t know if one or two calls where we fouled him when we didn’t foul ‘em. Don’t try to make the referee look bad. When he plays defense and plays it the right way it really helps us. But he helps us so much more by the passing and finding guys inside. The start of the second half was not his best moment. You throw the ball, pick it up, you shouldn’t throw it away… just put it in your shirt and hide it.”