USA TODAY Sports-Mark Konezny

Quote Book: Syracuse vs Texas Southern

Post-game quotes from Syracuse players and head coach after their win over Texas Southern.

Head coach Mike Hopkins

OPENING STATEMENT
“Hats off to Texas Southern. They haven’t played a home game all year and they really competed tonight.  They took it right to us and we have been trying to get the importance of defense across to our team.  To the guys, offense and shooting threes are important, but you are there to trade baskets, get stops, and compete on the defensive end. Overall, I was not too happy with our defensive effort tonight.”

ON THE DEFENSE EFFORT
“The problem with Texas Southern was they had a very athletic guy in the back who could catch lobs and a lot of times the forward was out of position in the way we play our zone.  It forces space and you have to worry about the guy behind and it opens up a lot of space from a three-point shot to playing out of position.  We had to adjust a lot with the center and they were able to get the ball in high-post and that became a problem.  

“In any good defense, you are going to give up something. You have to figure out and pick your poison. I think for the most part we have to, obviously, get better at that. When they went inside I thought Tyler Lydon did a good job at walling up, but it’s the physicality of walling up. I thought DaJuan (Coleman), for the most part, did a decent job in there, especially rebounding and having some physicality. However, we need Tyler Roberson. When Malachi (Richardson) is in there he is like a lightweight fighting a heavyweight.  He is small so we need Tyler Roberson to have a physical presence down there and battling.  It’s a dangerous area to get the ball versus the high-post and Texas Southern got there tonight.”

ON THE CENTER POSITION DEFENSIVELY
“You can play up or you can play back when teams go four out and you need to adjust and it’s all based and determined by the offensive attack. Regardless of how tall or big you are, they get it over your head. DaJuan (Coleman) made a couple good plays in the second half or he disrupted and tried to screen them. Even the plays where they had to start the game, those are difficult plays and passes. Hats off to Texas Southern.They came prepared and they competed. They gave us a great game.”

ON DAJUAN COLEMAN
“We adjusted DaJuan in terms of staying back. We felt like the high-post guy was looking to make that pass to the lob and not allow the forwards to play-up. If you have a lob player inside, the forward and the shooter on that same side, that forward has to come around. It’s a far distance so we adjusted by having the center go back.”

ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF COLEMAN
“It’s impossible to tell. We don’t like him taking that jump shot but when he takes it and makes it, I’m like, ‘he’s going to have a great game because DaJuan is in his zone’.  We need those seven rebounds in 20 minutes, we need physical presence so when we play against those guys in our league and they are in there, he is banging, battling, putting his weight on them and tiring those guys out.”

ON FIRST HALF PROBLEMS
“Defense. When we play good defense, our best offense is our good defense because now we are in transition. If you look at our percentages, when we are in transition and shooting threes, we have a great game. Even in the beginning of the game, we got great shots, but we did not knock them down and you knew over time we were hitting great shots. When you’re getting great shots and missing, you can hopefully get some put-backs or offensive rebounds and we didn’t get those. When we get into rhythm or in transition we are a different team and that all stems from great defense.”

ON SHOOTING
“These guys are great shooters. Like Malachi (Richardson)--he had a good rhythm from mid-range and he finally made a three.  Tyler Lydon is obviously shooting 50 percent from three and he was 1-for-4 tonight. These guys can all shoot the ball and the days when we are going to go like we did against Colgate, 14-for-30, makes everything a lot easier. I thought we got great shots tonight and the guys got good looks. A couple (were at the) end of the shot clock when Mike (Gbinije) had to take from 35 feet and Trevor (Cooney) a couple, but for the most part I thought we got great looks.” 

WHERE THE TEAM IS HEADING INTO ACC PLAY
“The potential of being really good defensively is the thing that excites the coach. As a coach, you get better every day and we’ve had some great halves, but we have to put it all together and play full (game). The positive thing is earlier in the year we played okay, like Elon. We had our struggles offensively and defensively. We put it all together when we played Charlotte and Connecticut.The guys really responded. Getting these guys to be positive, focused, and getting them better is the most important thing. Before the break I thought we had some really good halves.The defensive message was getting tattooed and obviously we finished plays with rebounding.”

ON TYLER ROBERSON
“When he is plugged in, he is as good as any forward there is in the country. Active, blocking shots rebounding, taking the ball to the basket aggressively, and sometimes that happens. It’s our job to get them ready to go.”

ON MICHAEL GBINIJE
“When you have a guy of the Mike Gbinije caliber, it helps everybody. He’s doing a lot for us, from assisting, to rebounding. He’s going to play those minutes and he’s not coming out of the game. He’s too valuable, he’s in great shape. He’s playing as good as anybody in our league or in the country. Just having him feel good.” 

ON TRANSITION THREE-POINTERS
“I think the best time to get threes are in transition because the defense isn’t set. One thing about the zone is teams keep trying to kill you on the offensive glass and with a great equalizer comes good transition when you have a good caliber of shooters that we have, those things become major assets.  Whenever we get those good looks, you will get a lot of good threes in the half court. We are going to take them when we got them and Trevor (Cooney) is good when he gets wide open and the defense is not set and getting in rhythm.” 

Syracuse Players

Tyler Lydon

ON LIVING AND DYING BY THE THREE
“It’s something that we look for. We have a lot of shooters on the team and are able to space the floor out. But I think a lot of people don’t realize that we have the ability to get into the lane and be aggressive. “

ON PATIENCE IN THREE-POINT SHOOTING
“I thought that every look we were getting in the first half, even starting 1-of-9, they were good looks. We just weren’t knocking them down and it’s going to happen on some nights where you’re just not going to shoot the ball that well and some nights where you make everything. It’s just something that we have to stay consistent with.” 

ON FIRST ACC GAME
“Oh yeah, I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun” 

ON IF THE NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE PREPARES THE FRESHMEN FOR ACC PLAY
“Definitely. When you’re playing against those teams, all great teams, all tough teams, I think it will definitely help us out with the intensity and physicality of the game and recognizing what we have to do. I think it definitely helped out a lot.” 

Trevor Cooney

ON THE TEAM'S SHOOTING PERFORMANCE
“Those are the shots that we have to take and have to make. At times today when we got into a good rhythm, we were making them.”

ON THREE-POINT SHOOTING AS A DIFFERENT STRATEGY THAN IN YEARS' PAST
“I don’t think so, no. We are just playing the game of basketball. We are trying to make plays for each other. Trying to play the game the right way and get in and make plays and find the open guy. We do it in practice and at times we have done it in these games and that’s when we are a really good team and playing a lot better.”

ON PATIENCE IN OUTSIDE SHOOTING
“You just want to take the good ones. I don’t think we took that many bad threes today. I think I only had two forced ones that came at the end of the shot clock. We are taking good ones. We just have to continue to take them and we will make them. We are a good shooting team. We just have to take the good ones.”

DaJuan Coleman

ON PERFORMANCES IN RECENT GAMES
“It feels good, but I still think we have some work to do. It’s going to start at practice. We are going to have a good day of practice tomorrow and Tuesday going into the Pitt game.”

ON MINDSET ENTERING CONFERENCE PLAY
“I have to have the same mindset. Going in there and scoring when I can, grabbing rebounds, and working on defense. We have to have the same mindset and play smart basketball.”

Franklin Howard

ON CONTRIBUTING OFF THE BENCH
"I've been feeling good. I'm glad I can contribute somewhat, especially going into these games and ACC play. My minutes have been picking up a little bit. I just want to keep contributing, keep getting those minutes and keep earning them."

ON VERSATILITY OF THE LINEUP WITH HIM AT PG
"When I come in, I'm playing the point and Mike is very versatile. So he can play the two or three, or the one. It gives them a different look. I just go out there and handle the ball and try to get my teammates the ball."

ON BEING AGGRESSIVE OFFENSIVELY
"Definitely my main job is to facilitate to my teammates, get everybody the ball and be a point guard. But now, I've got to start taking advantage of those opportunities when they're there. Sitting down and looking at film, I think there's a lot of opportunities I could've taken being aggressive."


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