Q&A: SLU Talks Postgame

Saint Louis players and Jim Crews spoke with the media after Thursday night's improbable victory over NC State in overtime.

JIM CREWS:  Well, obviously we're very excited about the win.  The NCAA, so many teams that are really good, it's hard to win a game.  It comes to a crashing halt to everybody except for the national champion, and North Carolina State, I've got all the respect for Mark and the program he's got.  Over the years I've known Mark and everything, and they're certainly a tough challenge.  They got us out of our game, I thought a lot both defensively and offensively.  Early in the game Rob hit a couple threes to get us off to a good start but we started settling for jump shots I thought maybe the first eight minutes of the game, and then we just weren't getting back.
But as the first half went, I thought we got sharper, and the second half, even though we got down-- we missed a ton of free throws tonight, and we missed some other opportunities both defensively and offensively, but I thought during the process it was pretty good.  We were getting what we wanted to get but we weren't cashing in on it.  I can't salute these guys enough in terms of how they just stayed with it.  I don't know how many we were down late but we were down plenty late.  They just stayed with it.  Obviously our press gave us a little energy, we got a few buckets out of that and that picked up things for us and we had guys making big plays down the stretch.  Obviously Rob was off-the-charts great today with all those rebounds and points, and that was neat.  These guys have had a tremendous four-year run, and so we're excited about the opportunity Saturday.

Q.  With three minutes to go you were still down six.  What was going through your mind at that time, and what would you say was the turnaround point in the game for you guys?
Jake Barnett:  Well, you know, being down six, we knew that we were right there, and coach has been saying all week, it doesn't matter if you're up 10 or down 10.  Obviously we were down a lot, but we kept fighting, and so being down six, we just kept battling, and the thing that was cool is guys came in off the bench and made great plays.  Grandy Glaze came in and maybe made the play of the game with the steal and the put back.  He might not get a lot of attention for it but he was ready to play when he got his time.  Everybody stepped up, made big shots, and we were just able to cash in down the stretch.
Rob Loe:  Yeah, you know, we just wanted to keep fighting.  They had missed a few free throws that got us back within six.  We knew what we had to do.  We knew we had to foul and hope they missed a free throw and then capitalize on that, and I think we did a good job capitalizing on them and playing defense.  We did really well.

Q.  Rob, have you ever seen anything like that?
ROB LOE:  No, not at all.  Yeah, that's probably the weirdest turn of events that I've ever been a part of.

Q.  When you guys are down 16 points with eight minutes to go, what's the attitude within the team at that time?
ROB LOE:  We just didn't want to give up.  We didn't want to end on that kind of note.  We didn't want to bow out of the tournament this early.  We wanted to win.  We're here to win, and we're here to put our mark on basketball.  We just wanted to keep fighting.

Q.  You hit those three quick threes and then I think you shot only one more time first half.  Was that kind of frustrating there?
ROB LOE:  I don't think it was frustrating.  I was open those first three.  The guys gave me the ball.  I wasn't really open the rest of the time.  They started to close out on me and get me out of my shot.  I let it come to me.  I don't think I scored until the second half there.  It doesn't-- the game just doesn't happen.  You can't force your way into things.  You've just got to let it come to you.

Q.  Jake, talk about just the defense on Warren and what you guys did against him tonight.
JAKE BARNETT:  Yeah, well, first of all, he's probably-- for me one of the best guys I've ever guarded and I think probably one of the best that we played all year.  He's averaging a ton of points, and we just wanted to slow him down.  We wanted to deny him and when he got the ball we wanted him to make contested shots.  We've been practicing, had a great game plan on him, and I'll tell you what, he's a heck of a scorer and he never stops going.  I'm glad we were able to slow him down somewhat but he still got a lot of points.  Yeah, I think we did an overall good job on him tonight.

Q.  Jim, is this team really built to come back from a 14-point deficit in that amount of time, 18 points in 2:22 of regulation to end the game?  How many times are you guys capable of that and what kind of circumstances do you need to do that?
JIM CREWS:  I have no idea on that question probably.
We tell them you can't get 10 points a possession.  I think sometimes what happens is when you get a little down, you start-- I don't know if the word is panicking or get a little anxious, and you've just got to stay with it.  You've got to stay with it.  You're not going to get 10 points for a bucket, and we've got to stay within what we're doing.  One of the things that we really want our guys to constantly remind themselves is hey, just believe in yourself and believe in your teammates and believe in the system.  Let the system-- you work for the system, the system will work for you.  I thought our guys did a great job of that.  They didn't try to get seven points, 10 points on each possession.
When we pressed-- we're not a pressing team, but we've pressed before, just a smidgen, and our guys get after it, and that gave us a little energy at times when we needed it late, which was great.  But Jordair was really good the second half.  Rob was good the whole game.  As Jake said, John Manning coming off the bench and Tanner Lancona did a really nice job for us, Grandy made a big play for us, Austin made a bucket over that 7'1" kid, I think it was 7'1", a big kid, in the last 10 minutes of the game, so that was good to see.

Q.  How much of the press was kind of improvised out there?
JIM CREWS:  All of it.  All of it was improvised.

Q.  What does that say about this team to be able to improvise an incredibly impressive press there?
JIM CREWS:  No, they do.  You know, really impressive on their part because we've never practiced it.  I don't think we've ever practiced it once in three years that I've been at Saint Louis.  But what we tell them, we just try to keep it simple a little bit on some things.  But I thought our guys did a good job of fouling when we needed to foul, not fouling when we didn't need to foul, and not running to make long traps.  We didn't try to run 25 feet for traps, we trapped just in short quarters, and they did a great job of it.  All the credit goes to them.  You shouldn't do things you never practice, but we were in a position we had to do that.

Q.  I think Jett really shut down T.J.  Warren and frustrated him especially in overtime.  What did you see from him guarding Warren and do you think Warren get frustrated down the stretch?
JIM CREWS:  The kid had 28, so he's really good, so I don't know if we frustrated him at all.  Jordair did a good job, Jake did a good job on him.  I thought we put good pressure on the guard at times that slowed the entry passes into him or delayed the passes to him, was good.  But we wanted him to really-- and I think we made him work.  So he had to work for every point.
So I think we did a good job, but the kid still got-- I mean, he's a great player.  He's really a great player.

Billiken Report Top Stories