Was this shocking to you?
"Is what shocking—the loss? Actually, yes it is because we're a great shooting team, but tonight in the first half we were like 4-22 (4-19, actually) from behind the 3-point line, or something like that. That's just not going to happen every night, and plus they were hitting tough shots with us contesting them, as well. You have to tip your hat to them; they are a good team."
Can you put into words what this game means?
"It's a learning experience. It's very frustrating, and we just have to look at the positive side. The positive side is that we were down 16 with four minutes to go and we didn't quit. We cut it down to six, and that shows the heart that we have. We have to go from there."
Why was their zone so effective tonight?
"They were very active. They were an active zone, and they had their hands out. It was just a frustrating time for me in there. We were shooting the outside shots, but we just weren't hitting them, and that's going to happen some nights. Unfortunatey, it happened on the season opener, and it was frustrating."
Does your defense have as far to go as it looks?
"I believe that we can't let teams drive us. They did drive us whenever they wanted to, but the guys are working on that in practice every day, and that's all we can ask is for them to work hard."
They also knocked a lot of outside shots in.
"We just have to contest the shot, but you have to tip your hat to Hampton. They were hitting some tough shots, with our hands in their faces. They also hit some open shots, so we have to be able to contest every shot."
There were a lot of guys out there playing who didn't play much last year. How did that affect the team?
"Any time you have freshmen playing the type of minutes they are playing, they have to adapt to the intensity. I think even the guys that haven't played much, they know what the intensity level is like. That's something that will come, but I don't think that was a huge difference for us tonight. We just got on our heels from the start, and it took a while for us to attack them."
What was Coach Doherty like in the huddle?
"He was very encouraging. He kept our heads in the game and encouraged us, and he had us fighting all the way until the horn. That was his big key—to keep fighting and keep believing we could win."
What were they able to exploit tonight that allowed them to get an early lead?
"They shot the ball extremely well. They shot a lot of contested jump shots, and that's what we would encourage teams to shoot—with a hand in their face—and they just knocked them down. They hit a lot of tough shots. Part of it was our defense. We were scrambling a lot and not exactly in the positions where we were supposed to be, but a lot of it was just them shooting the ball well. We came out a little slow, and the zone put us on our heels, and we were just never able to fully recover and turn the corner."
Was this a fluke with you guys shooting 6-34 from 3-point range?
"I would like to think that our shooting isn't going to be that poor again. I wouldn't call it a fluke, though. That's an excellent team that they have. To me that would diminish their effort if I called it a fluke."
What are your feelings about this game tonight?
"It was a tough loss—a real tough loss—but you've got to take the positives out of it. We've got to get better, it's as simple as that. I don't think there is time to push the panic button. We've got a lot of young guys. They showed a lot of effort out there, and we've just got to get better. And we will get better."
You guys will probably see a lot of zone this year. Do you have the shooters on this team to pull people out of a zone?
"I think so. In practice we knock them in, and we didn't do that tonight. I'm disappointed in myself because I didn't do that. We'll get better, we'll shoot better, and we'll become better defensively. This is one game we let get away, but we've got to get ready for Tuesday and Davidson."
You looked a little out of sync. Do you think the practice time that you missed hurt you?
"Did I? No excuses. I don't think I looked out of sync. I think I missed some shots, and I take full responsibility for that. They are shots I know I can make, and shots I know I should make. I don't believe I was out of sync. I think the zone threw us out of our gameplan a little bit, and we didn't adjust accordingly. We'll get better. I'm not going to miss that many shots, and my teammates aren't going to miss that many shots. I wasn't out of sync at all."
What were they able to do to get the lead early?
"They came in with nothing to lose. They played well. You can't take anything away from them. They played well and they forced the tempo. They set the tempo from the beginning of the game. They got a lot of easy baskets, and we didn't. They made shots, and we didn't. It's that simple. We have to get better defensively, and once we start making shots, it's a different ball game."