Well, we had terrible practices Thursday and Friday, so I challenged them to get more out of this game than they have gotten out of practice the last few days, and I think we really did. It was disconcerting to say the least to not have Marcus (Ginyard)--we knew that yesterday but didn't know we weren't going to have Dexter (Strickland) until this morning. We were trying to put some lineups out there that we haven't had very often.
I thought we were really so much more active defensively in the first half. We made shots, we didn't give them any second shots (but) we got second shots, so that was the ball game there in the first half. In the second half, I didn't think we had quite the intensity, which is human [nature].
But I think you have to congratulate Presbyterian because they shoot 57 percent in the second half, 58 percent from threes. I think they broke us down a little bit more off the dribble, and we weren't as active getting out and getting a hand up, but I think Greg (Nibert) would feel happy--not happy in his way about the whole game--but that his kids kept competing and made a bunch of shots.
Eddie (Davis) was really good for us. I thought Deon--I tried to keep his minutes down because his knee's tendinitis has been acting up. I got him only 18 minutes--I was pleased with that. I guess we had at least 12 guys play at least 12 minutes, so that part I liked. I didn't like the fact that they shoot 57 percent in the second half. Larry (Drew)'s line of nine assists, one turnover was good as well. That's basically it.
Could you speak to the performance by the guys who filled in and got into the rotation because of the guys out (with injuries)?
I thought Justin (Watts) was really active early--much more so than he was after he went out. And defensively, I think he did some nice things for us, but the best thing he did was chasing down--looking here, yeah--he had two offensive rebounds. I think both of those were probably in the first five minutes of the game.
Marc Campbell, I chewed him out a little bit one time when he tried to throw that lob that Superman couldn't have caught--and he shouldn't have thrown it. There were only 18 guys in the trombone section in the band in the way in there. Second half I don't think Marc had any turnovers. I think he did a nice job of coming in there as well.
Dave (Wear), Travis (Wear), John (Henson)--the guys off the bench all came in and gave us some things.
What more can you tell us about the injuries? Would Marcus have played today if it was Texas?
It would have been hard for him to play today because he hadn't practiced in three days, so that part would have been hard for him. If we had Texas coming up and it hadn't been exam period, who knows if we would have gotten things done quicker, but he has had an X-ray, an MRI, he has had a bone scan--took him and let him have sushi, all kinds of stuff, so we have done everything we can and we feel really, really comfortable, but we are trying to be very conservative and that is the best way to put it. There is nothing that has shown up yet, except Marcus's pain, that has made us worry. It could be that he just has a bruise there, too, which I have seen that happen before as well.
Dexter was at practice yesterday. He stole the ball, went down, jumped up to dunk it--did dunk it--felt something pop. We thought it was a hamstring, but didn't know what it was. Dr. Creighton looked at him this morning. He felt stiff and had a little swelling. He said his ACL looked good, the MCL looked good, he just had a little swelling, so we decided to hold him out because it was stiff. To answer your question, I think it would have had to be a different situation, if it was Texas. And I think Dexter, for example, felt much better tonight than he did this morning, but we are trying to be very caution with him.
What was it like for this team to get back on the court after a week of not playing?
We were just very anxious from having a bad taste in our mouth after the Kentucky loss, so we were just ready to play against someone new. We were just tired of fighting each other in practice.
The biggie is next week--Dallas Cowboys Stadium, No. 2 Texas. Your feelings about going down there and measuring yourselves yet again?
It going to be -- once again -- a good test for us on the big stage. Two great teams going at it, so we are really looking forward to it.
Could you talk about how the backcourt was depleted with injuries. It looked like you and Deon really decided to take matters into your own hands.
We knew going into this game that whoever we had on the floor (that) we were going to be still better than them, so we just had to play hard no matter what--no matter who we had on the court.
How do you focus in a game like this and continue to do what Coach Williams wants you to do, especially when you jump out so far ahead early?
The main thing was just trying to get the bad taste out of our mouth from the Kentucky game--especially me, I didn't play so well so I really wanted to play better and wanted to get a good victory for us.
With some of the injuries to guys on the perimeter, how do you think Justin and some of the guys who had to take on larger roles did?
I think they played good tonight. Justin was aggressive getting to the basket. You could see how athletic he is getting to the basket and finishing plays. I think something like this is only going to help us. It gives Justin a little more confidence putting him in the starting lineup and get out there and do some good things for us.
When you have a week like exams coming up, is a game like this sometimes different than practice in that it breaks the monotony of everything you are doing so it is good for psyche to do something a little bit different… especially a game where you are not going to be as taxed mentally?
Yeah, it is definitely good just to have a good game like this, just to tune up some things before we head to Texas. Coach tried to keep my minutes down. I think I only played 18 minutes. He tried to keep Ed's minutes down. We definitely got some good things and got some other guys in to do some things to help us.
Did you hear the guy yelling at you from the crowd that Roy got tossed (from the arena)?
Yeah, I [saw] him. Coach has a lot of pull around here, huh? To be able to get somebody kicked out of a game. So that is pretty impressive.
Was he cursing at you, or did he just say, "Miss it"?
He said I was going to miss it, but obviously I didn't miss it. I still heard it though.
Do things like that usually bother you?
I heard it, but it didn't really bother me. But I heard the guy up there, though.
Were you a little surprised by Coach's reaction?
Nah, that's typical Coach. That is something he would normally do in that situation.
When did you know that you were going to be in the starting lineup?
Around pregame meal. We have a meal before every game, and that is when he wrote my name on the board beside the other starters for the other team. That's when I knew.
So what were your thoughts when you saw that?
It was a rush of adrenaline and excitement, but I didn't want to get too overwhelmed and still stay focused on the game and what we do before every game and what I do before every other game this season.
Did any of the other guys on the team or any of the coaches say anything to you between when you found out and the start of the game?
No, no one said anything to me. They said to go out there and play, have fun and execute and play hard.
So what was it like to be out there playing?
It was fun. We had fun tonight. We really executed on offense, which has been one of our focuses, and we really were aggressive on the defensive end. So it was fun.
You personally, can you talk about what you were trying to do? It looks like it worked out for you--nine points, three assists.
I was just out there playing basketball. I did what Coach told me to do, got my teammates involved and played hard.