Coach Hawkins MAC Quotes Week 2

In the second week of MAC play following the Broncos men's basketball team's 88-65 win over Marshall and their 77-48 win over IPFW in the first home games in a month Head Coach Steve Hawkins talked about the games. He talked about his offense and his defense, about the play of his bench and the play of Mike Williams and Ben Reed among other things.

Coach Hawkins talks about what he liked best between his offense or his defense against Marshall.

"It all depends on which point in the game you are talking about. I really felt that we've, I made this statement really here we started playing well offensively down in Arizona. I felt like our offense was really starting to come along and that carried through all the way to Akron. I thought we played one of our best offensive games of the year at Akron. But we also played in that game our worst defensive game of the year. At Buffalo I felt like we put it all together and then tonight I felt like we really played well offensively, we really played well defensively early and than when we got out to a pretty comfortable lead we had some lapses. But for the most part you hold a team like Marshall who is a very good basketball team you hold them to thirty eight percent from the field and a lot of if you watch us play a lot of our defense keys our offense. You know if you hold a team to thirty eight percent from the field that obviously means that we're pulling down some rebounds and if we're pulling down rebounds, then that allows us to get out and run on the break which allows us to be an aggressive attack and it gets some easier shots."

He talks about the production from his bench.

"It's really important. So much attention has been given to Mike (Williams) and Ben (Reed) and the numbers that they are putting up. But Mike has been in foul trouble off and on throughout the year. We went on an I believe someone just told me it was an eighteen to two run with Mike sitting over there in the first half and Ben sitting quite a bit as well. Bobby came in and played another very good game behind Ben. A night when Marshall, this is going to happen more and more, when they were dead set on taking away Ben Reed we had some other kids that are capable of playing some very good basketball that did so tonight. Other kids that are capable of shouldering a good burden of the scoring load and we did it tonight. They showed that they can do it and it can be somebody different. When we put five guys out there that can score it really makes a difference. We had great balance tonight. Also, I thought, I want to make this point, you look in and somebody might say well Ben really had an off night and again, he forced a couple of shots early when they had taking him away and I had talked to him. If somebody's going to play Ben like that then Ben can become an extremely effective screener because his man doesn't want to leave to far away from him. He doesn't want to get to far away from him so the three that Levi (Rost) hit there, I don't know if it was toward the end of the first half or in the second half, Ben set a tremendous screen for him that popped him open on that and Ben is very comfortable as long as we win Ben is very comfortable with that."

He comments on the student support the team got at the Marshall game.

"How about those guys, huh? Talking about bringing a smile to my face, they filled up the wall again and they've done it, the one game the students were gone, the Fordham game we still had quite a few students here for that though. But every game we've been in town they've been here and they're having a lot of fun and we're having a lot of fun watching them. We're having a lot of fun representing them. It is them that we are representing, the university that we're representing and they make up the university. We don't take that responsibility lightly. That was fun to watch right there and it was fun to play in front of them."

He talks about Anthony Kann.

"This ankle has been an ongoing thing. He actually hurt it the morning, we practiced the morning we left for Arizona he rolled it really bad. He didn't play in the Winthrop game down there. He really kind of just gutted it out in the Arizona State game and I think he probably played on adrenalin as much as anything you weren't going to keep him out of the game playing against Ike Diogu who is a first team All-American and he got through that. We thought, I thought okay he was going to be okay and then we got home and he really struggled moving after that and I realized just how gutty of a performance it was against Arizona State. Then he didn't move well at all in the Akron game really struggled and since then has gotten a little bit better. In the Buffalo game moved a little bit better but still wasn't moving great. The last couple of days he seems to be, he's really finally seemed to come around a little bit and tonight was the best he's moved since that day he hurt it. He still tweaked it a little bit you can see him limping on it here and there. But for the most part hopefully it's turned the corner. He got up off the floor tonight as much as Anthony can get up off the floor. He's not capable of getting up off the floor in the first place but ten rebounds and five of them offensive he's back to being real aggressive."

He comments on Ben Reed's knee.

"Yeah, he's fine. He's fine, in the Buffalo game he was closing out on someone defensively and the leg kind of went backwards on him. So it's a slight hyperextension a little tender. You get to this point in time in the season and most kids are playing with owies right now and he's going to be a little tender."

He talks about the offense performing as good as they did.

"Yeah, it is. I mentioned at the beginning of all of this that I really feel like our offense is starting to come around and we're moving well. We're getting production from a number of spots but the one thing that can't go it just can't continue to go unnoticed is our unselfishness. Again, all the attention given to Ben and Mike and the numbers that they receive Rickey (Willis) and Brian (Snider) we won at Buffalo by thirty and Rickey and Brian took a grand total of four shots and we won on the road. But some people would say when Rickey starts to shoot the ball you guys are really going to be good and that's Rickey. Where Rickey gives us so many other things than just a score he's so unselfish and I thought he did a tremendous job of leading the fast break tonight. We got the ball into his hands and he got it up the court in a hurry. That put an awful lot of pressure early on their players. At one point in time we had Reggie (Berry) and Ben both out there you've got Reggie and Ben both on the wings on the fast break and you could see the defense part to try and pay attention to the two shooters on the wings well that leaves an open floor for Rickey and Brian both to deal with and they did a really nice job early of attacking that and recognizing that and getting to the basket."

He talks a little more about Reed.

"Once again, what I talked to him about he forced a couple of shots early but other than that it's just something he's going to have to adjust to and then from a stand point of it he can become an extremely, there's some many other things he can do than score. I talked to him and Mike before the Buffalo game and I said, "Listen you two have to be more than just scorers. We've got to get rebounding out of you and more importantly we need to see some defense and some intensity," especially away from the ball. Everybody recognizes Ben's intensity when he gets on the ball. He hit the three, he comes down, he slaps the floor, he's clapping the face you know all of that. What I told Ben, "I want to see that one time when you're not guarding the ball. I want to see you get down in that stance when you're not on the ball. I want to see that intensity away from the basketball." He's really doing a much better job away from the basketball now."

He talks about getting the team prepared for IPFW.

"Well, we talked about a number of things in trying to get ready for it. I was concerned from a couple of different areas coming into the game. Number one obviously you're playing a team that doesn't have too many wins coming into the season and with eighteen to twenty two year olds sometimes they can be tricked into thinking that they can take an opponent lightly. Then the other thing, the other factor that really concerned me coming into the game was just the fact that we were going out of MAC play. We had been in MAC games for a little while and stepping out of MAC play so I was a little concerned coming in to it but at the same time they've played a couple of games that caught our attention as well. They beat Bowling Green earlier in the year and Kent State threw in a forty footer at the buzzer to beat these guys by one. So there was a couple games out there that caught our attention and plus we have some maturity on the team I don't think it took a whole heck of a lot to get ready for it."

He talks about the performance from Reggie Berry and the bench.

"Well the bench was the bench and I thought that they did a nice job for the most part in coming in a night when we didn't play real well offensively and I don't just mean shoot the ball. We just didn't move as well offensively as we've been moving. Reggie was big for us I thought that he did play well for us offensively I thought he moved well without the ball and consequently he was the one that ended up open. There's a direct correlation between his movement away from the ball and his activity level and how open he got away from the ball."

He talks about the play of the defense.

"The one thing even though we didn't play, we didn't have great movement offensively defensively I thought that we still played fairly well. There were a couple of spurts where we got a little lax but for the most part we stayed down in the stance, we pressured the ball well, we checked shots, the first half we didn't do a good job of blocking out but we but we got that corrected I thought in the second half and that keyed our fast break. We had several fast break opportunities because of our defense. We didn't capitalize on as many of those as I would have liked but defensively I thought we did a pretty nice job. One thing we keep an eye on as a group is we keep an eye on what our opponents are shooting on the year from a field goal percentage standpoint and coming into the game our opponents were at .408. So after tonight that might have been enough to get it under forty which is something that we really strive to do. It was one of the goals at the beginning of the year that the team set was to limit our opponents to under forty percent on the year from a field goal percentage standpoint."

He talks about the patience of the team.

"We even talked to the team ahead of time. It's kind of funny because often times we will go into a locker room before the game and I will talk to the team about the way I see the game unfolding. I talked to the today about, "Don't be surprised if these guys play with us for awhile, if these guys hang with us awhile. Don't get frustrated about it. They have some guys that can do some things, they're a little awkward to guard and because of that they can play and plus they have a very nice inside player. They're good athletes, they crash the glass well. Don't be surprised if that happens." Plus you also have some experience to draw from. We dropped behind by fifteen at Akron we dropped behind by eleven at Arizona State so dropping behind by one here at home there is no pushing the panic button. We have the experience to draw from and know that we just need to continue to play a consistent game and stick with the game plan and things have worked out well for us."

He comments on Kann challenging Reed's three-point shooting percentage.

"Yeah, he stepped out there and I'm sure he will be woofing about it tomorrow too in practice a little bit. Anthony was a very, very good three-point shooter in high school and he was also probably thirty pounds less than what he weighs right now. But he was a very good three point shooter in high school, he's very capable of hitting those shots and if the defense lays off of him then we want him to take those shots."

He talks about getting ready for Eastern Michigan.

"I know a little bit about their personnel. I haven't seen them on film yet. We will get ready tonight after this game is over with here I will head home and start to prepare for them tomorrow, tonight actually. I know they seem to be deeper than they've been. They've lost a couple of very good inside players last year in Pettyjohn and Prillman and they've added a couple of kids from what I understand step in and play very nicely for them. So we will look to see how they are getting their points and how they're scoring. I know they had a big win at Central last week and I don't know what they were doing tonight but it's a MAC game, it's on the road, it's at Eastern and it will be tough."

He talks about the team having its legs for Saturday with the three games in five days.

"It is and from that standpoint that we just got done with playing three games in five days and I don't think we had a single player get over thirty minutes in any of the games. If we did Reggie might have got thirty minutes or thirty one minutes over at Buffalo but other than that I don't think any player got over thirty minutes. We didn't have anybody get over thirty minutes in a game that couldn't have worked out better for us and then we'll take tomorrow off, we have a mandatory day off tomorrow by the NCAA and we'll prepare for Friday and get ready for Saturday's game."

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