The second half, I thought that our defense was superb and I thought the defense created opportunities for us to get into the open court. And the open court created opportunities for Steph Curry to get some good looks at the basket and for Jason Richards to deliver the ball to him.
To have an assist-turnover ratio of 13-0 in a Sweet 16 game I think is unparalleled. Now, Steph Curry is averaging 30 points a game. I think this is a pretty darn good back court.
But the key factors in the second half was not just their performance, but the subtleties, the details, the little things that were performed by guys like Boris Meno, Stephen Rossiter, Andrew Lovedale, in terms of getting 50/50 balls. The catalyst for our defense, we held them to 23% in the second half, which is Max Paulhus Gosselin. Will Archambault and Bryant Barr his some buckets in the first half to keep us close.
I couldn't be more pleased because so many guys contributed in so many ways to make this a very special victory for Davidson College.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach. Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Stephen, as shooter, when you look around and see how this venue is set up, how favorable was it for you tonight?
STEPHEN CURRY: Well, the rims are very, very soft. They give great bounces for shooters like me. So that's helpful.
The depth perception, it's tough to get adjusted to. But I think that's the value of the practice we had yesterday, just to get used to that and make that last in our memories overnight and come back and have confidence to shoot it.
It's kind of a neat, neat arena to play in just because of the way it's set up.
Q. Steph, talk about your duel with Michael Flowers tonight. A couple physical events out there. Talk about his defense on you and your scoring with him.
STEPHEN CURRY: He's an outstanding defender, very quick. I thought I was open off screens, he'd be right there chasing me. So credit to him. He was a great defender.
I just found myself in open spots in transition which helped where he wasn't on me one-on-one, and Jason found me in open spots on the wings and in the corners. That was the benefit of our defense, just getting it out in the open. I didn't have to worry about him chasing me off screens. That happened more in the second half, so that helped.
Q. Stephen, another excellent second half. Seems like you're able to be patient and wait for the game to come to you. Tell me how that develops for you.
STEPHEN CURRY: I try not to force anything. It's hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes. Eventually you'll find yourself open. If you're patient, stick to the system that we've worked on all year. When guys slip up, you find yourself open, we know where each other is.
It's just being patient and sticking to the system that we have at Davidson.
Q. Stephen, early in the second half, when it was still close, there was a malfunction of some kind. You stood there together, you and Flowers for quite a while. He spoke to you. You seemed to be smiling at him. Why were you smiling?
STEPHEN CURRY: We were talking about our hometowns. He asked me where I was from, I told him. I actually lived in Milwaukee, for a little bit, like an hour away from where he was. For the duration that we had, we talked just about our hometowns, a little friendly talk.
Q. Stephen, I'm not sure if you were aware he was in the building, but LeBron James stood to his feet when you made the reverse layup. What is it like to see a guy like that respond to the type of game that you've been playing in this tournament?
STEPHEN CURRY: It just shows what we're doing here at Davidson. We got guys that are in the spotlight and they're coming to our game and watching us play. It's pretty cool to give him something to be happy about and cheer about and just entertain him.
It's just really cool to have a guy like LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA right now, coming out and supporting Davidson. I don't know if he's supporting us, but definitely to make plays and have fun out there (smiling).
Q. From an observer's standpoint, it seemed surprising how easily Wisconsin folded in the second half. What are your thoughts?
JASON RICHARDS: I wouldn't necessarily say they folded. I thought they fought till the end. They're a great team, great defensive team. I just think we stuck to our system and got a lead on them and never looked back. We kept pushing the tempo.
I wouldn't say they folded at all. They're a great team. They have a great coach. They definitely fought a full 40 minutes.
STEPHEN CURRY: Same thing. I mean, they've proven themselves a great defensive team, a national powerhouse the whole year. So no team like that would ever fold. We just tried to use our strengths of running up and down the floor, getting stops, getting in the open court in transition. I think once we got that lead, we tried to just sustain it and get defensive stops. I just think they didn't fold; we just played very well tonight.
Q. Jason, talk about how important it is getting in the open court, freeing you up to make better decisions.
JASON RICHARDS: Definitely as a point guard you like playing the open court if you like an up-tempo game. That's what we have here at Davidson. Coach gives me an opportunity to get in the cracks, find other guys, pick my spots where I can score.
I mean, that's the type of game we play at Davidson. We get up and down the fast break, find shooters on the wings. When you got guys like Stephen Curry, Bryant Barr, Will Archambault, you can shoot from anywhere. It makes my job a whole lot easier.
Q. Bo Ryan spent a lot of the first time lobbying with the officials that you were being very physical. Is it possible that teeny Davidson is tough?
STEPHEN CURRY: We like to come out and just battle with the big guys. I mean, you can't be soft out there. You have to hit flesh, just compete 100% every play.
It was a mission for us to get loose balls and control the boards early. To do that, you have to be physical, boxing out, sticking your body in the line of fire, putting it all out there. We weren't going to back down.
JASON RICHARDS: Even though you say we're "tiny Davidson," we're a very physical team. Like Steph said, we're not going to back down from anyone, no matter how big their frontline is is. We play a physical game. We stuck to it the whole season.
Q. After the game, there wasn't that wild happy celebration. You were happy, but it seemed like you felt like that this was expected, this wasn't a surprise. Can you comment on that.
JASON RICHARDS: I think we were really tired. I was exhausted. I know some of the guys were. I don't know if we had energy to celebrate as much as we did.
It's definitely a big win for Davidson. To make it to the Elite 8, something that hasn't been done for a while, since Lefty was here. Yeah, there's a lot of emotions running through our body right now. I think we were just plain old exhausted after the game.
Q. The play where you hit Steph on the baseline cut, he gets the reverse that got LeBron on his feet. Is that kind of typical Steph other than shooting three-pointers for him?
JASON RICHARDS: Steph can do it all. That play, I don't know, just crossed the green. I didn't really see it coming. Next thing you know, Steph is back-dooring. I just give him the pass, let him do the rest of the work. He got the reverse, foul, and one. That's just how Steph Curry plays. He's done it all year for us. It just shows what a great player he is.
Q. Wisconsin is the team that really prides themselves on taking care of the ball. Tonight they ended up with more turnovers than assists. Can you talk about on both ends of the floor what the key was there?
JASON RICHARDS: We like to pressure the ball. We take pride from our defense as well as like Wisconsin. I thought -- Max Paulhus created havoc in the front court. It was a team effort. You said we got more turnovers than assists from them. On our hand, we just got to value the basketball. If you don't turn the ball over, you keep it in your hands, you have a pretty good opportunity to score. That's definitely what we did today. 18-7, that's remarkable for a team. That definitely, I mean, helped us win this game tonight.
STEPHEN CURRY: Also getting the ball out of the guards' hands, in their swing offense, they have big guys at the top of the key. We have guys like Andrew Lovedale, just an animal everywhere. He can pressure the ball and stick his hands in and get steals. That's a value to us, too, when the guards don't have the ball, not letting the big guys stand there and play quarterback, pick apart the defense.
So if we just get the ball out of the guards' hands and we have our big guys that can pressure the ball, that causes chaos, too.
THE MODERATOR: Student-athletes, you can leave. We'll continue with questions for coach.
Q. You mentioned the other day that you're at ease in a way you never thought you would experience. There was a loose ball that came to you early in the game that you put between your legs, Harlem Globetrotter thing, flipped it back. Is that standard Bob McKillop or the at ease Bob McKillop?
COACH McKILLOP: That's very much at ease. You're always giving messages to your players. It was the thing to do at the moment. As I mentioned to you, I am completely at ease. I told the team last night that I have never felt confidence in a group like I feel confidence in this team. And if you have witnessed from day one the many opportunities they've had to surrender to a variety of temptations, be it expectations, be it the great schedule we had early, be it falling on our face early, be it an undefeated season, be it having to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament, be it having to win a game in the first round, be it down 11, down 17. They have faced every imaginable obstacle.
I'm not brainwashed any more. You know, sometimes you have to brainwash yourself to be confident in your team because you know there's a lot of fallibility there.
This team is absolutely extraordinary in the way they have earned my confidence. You know, my wife Cathy over here, she'll tell you. I'm a basket before most games. I've been so at ease. She's actually had conversations with me at home. Normally game days, we don't converse.
Q. You're on speaking terms now?
COACH McKILLOP: We've always been on speaking terms. She's our best cheerleader. We better be on speaking terms.
Q. Coming into the game tonight, one of the advantages was the inside presence on the boards. You stuck with them all night. Talk about scrapping for the ball.
COACH McKILLOP: The first half, they dominated us on the board. Absolutely killed us. And the second half we managed to tip the ball up in the air and then make it a scrum, a scramble. I thought it gave us what we call daggers. It allowed us to kick the ball out to the perimeter where you have Steph spotting or Jason spotting, then making the next pass. I think that was really instrumental in our offensive attack.
Our defensive attack, I thought they got too many second-shot opportunities. But when they didn't get that shot, they really went to the three ball very quickly rather than staying in the swing, it allowed us to get into the open court.
Q. Obviously when you're in the game, you're worried about coaching. How often do you stop and sort of allow yourself to be amazed when Steph makes a big play, does something incredible on the court?
COACH McKILLOP: I stopped being amazed with Steph Curry back in December of last year. What he did today is what I expect from him. He does that so consistently. That's a measure of the confidence that I alluded to when I answered the previous question. We got Steph Curry. That's pretty good stuff.
Q. I know you used the press against Georgetown to come back. Have you used that a lot? What was the reason for going to that in the second half today?
COACH McKILLOP: Again, we've got a genius on the bench next to me, the architect, Matt Matheny, who again doctored up our pressure just a little bit. We actually almost got a 10-second violation once. But he had Andrew bang back and forth between the two guards rather than just initially trap the first guard. And by trapping that second guard, it forced Landry to bring the ball up the court. Now Landry is starting to swing offense. Landry maybe gets tempted to drive it all the way to the basket. All of a sudden the rhythm of their offense is broken.