“Well, it was an ugly night for us to say the least. They were the more aggressive team. They were more attentive to everything. They were quicker to every loose ball, quicker to the offensive backboards. The first half we talked about that we’ve got to be aggressive and keep them off the boards and two of their first three baskets are on offensive rebounds and they were just quicker to the ball and then the first shot goes in and everything starts looking a lot better. They’re averaging five three’s a game and I think they made either four or five in the first half.
"[Jonathan] Holmes made some big shots for them in the first half. I think he’d only made three three’s all year, but he made two in the first half because we didn’t do a good job guarding him. We were backed off of him and we like to guard everybody and we didn’t get a hand up. Then you can’t have your post players, one have four turnovers, the other have four turnovers in the first 11 or 12 minutes of the game and yet I thought we still had a great chance to win the game.
“We get it to four at one point and throw it inside and don’t get a real good shot. A little bit of a soft shot. They were more aggressive at that point and they took it back to eight or nine and we got it back to four again and we had a turnover and they went down and scored on that and I think they scored six in a row at that point. We thought we’d have a chance at the end to win the game. I really did. We started fouling a little bit there at the end and I apologize for not pronouncing his name right, [Ioannis] Papapetrou hadn’t been shooting a great percentage, 50-something percent, but he made five out of six when the game was on the line so you have to congratulate him.
“I thought [Javan] Felix did a good job controlling things for them. They outran a running team. We like to say we’re a running team but we haven’t shown it yet, but they did a better job of pushing the pace and getting us back on our heels. I just think everything that happened during the course of the game they were more aggressive than we were. It just seemed like they got every loose ball. Twice we get rebounds and one time we had two guys get a rebound and they fumble it out of bounds at the shot clock. There was discussion whether it was a shot clock violation or not and then another time we get a rebound and fumble it out of bounds when they didn’t even try to get the rebound. They had backed up. It was a bad night for us. That’s about all you can say, but congratulate them. Rick [Barnes] does a nice job with his club and they were the more aggressive, the more physical, the more attentive team tonight.”
There was such a wide discrepancy in field goal attempts in the first half. How difficult is that to overcome?
“Well it’s extremely difficult. They had 15 shots to our five at one point. I think it was at the first T.V. timeout because we had turned the dadgum thing over every time we’d get it. Again, they were just more aggressive, more physical and that’s not meant in a negative way by any means. It’s just they were more aggressive than we were. We were too timid and then you can’t try to dribble the ball between two people and you turn it over that many times early in the game it’s going to be hard to come back and yet I’m still dumb enough to think we were going to win the game.”
What was the key to the comeback that brought you back to within four?
“Well, you know, it’s crazy. We have a dead layup on the fast break and we miss that. We lose the ball out of bounds. We had so many things that it was like a comedy of errors except it wasn’t very ‘blankity-blank’ funny. We still kept trying and kept trying and I thought Reggie [Bullock] played awfully hard. I thought Reggie was the one guy that I would say played so much harder than everybody else and used some intelligence with it. We had some chances. Again, it’s 60-56 with a little under eight minutes. We get a turnover at that time and they score and we come down and we don’t get a very good shot again and they score again. J.P. [Tokoto] gave us a little bit of a lift rebounding the basketball, but we even missed some free throws. We’re putting their guy on the free throw that hasn’t shown a great percentage and he makes five out of six and we’re not shooting a good percentage ourselves so it was like a snowball going downhill.”
You talk about the importance of building confidence in a young team. Are you worried about what this performance might do to this teams confidence?
“Definitely, but it makes no difference. You've still got to play and if you’re real confident and your play stinks, you got to understand that to get better and if you’re unconfident and your play stinks, it doesn’t make any difference if you’re confident or not, you've got to start freaking playing better. So far we haven’t been able to that. We’ve played Butler, a very quality opponent. We’ve played Indiana, a very quality opponent. We’ve played Texas at Texas, Indiana at Indiana and those are good opponents. We haven’t played well any of those three games. The other games that we’ve won we probably should’ve won because we were just more gifted. I’ve got to do a heck of a lot better job and they’ve got to buy in and we’re just doing some of the silliest things out there that I’ve ever seen.”
On starting J.P. Tokoto in the second half:
“He just gave us a little more effort and then the big guys we weren’t getting much out of the big guys. It’s a privilege to play. It’s not anybody’s right to play. You've got to earn it.”
Between the three losses you have made 11-of-49 three pointers. What is the key to getting that turned around?
“Well, tonight the last three or four weren’t very good shots. Against Butler the last three or four weren’t very good shots. You've got to shoot a higher percentage to get back in the game. I screamed one time, 'Let’s take five extra seconds to get a great one,' and P.J. [Hairston], and this is not just picking on P.J. because there was a lot of guys that missed them, but he’s inside and so he dribbles it back out behind the three and then rushed it. You can’t do those kind of things, but we thought we had some opportunities and had it around the rim, missed those that could have made it a lot more fun than it was.”
Did you feel Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan were more aggressive shooting the ball early on based on what you saw on tape?
“I think it was early they were more aggressive in every way and it’s amazing what that does for you when the first shot goes in the basket and I think it did. If I’m not mistaken they made their first one and then the second shot they miss, the third shot they miss, the fourth shot they miss and they made the fifth one, but it was all on the same possession, because I really do believe they made the first one, it could’ve been the first two, but they kept getting offensive rebounds and putting it back in. It think also that spirit that you gain from how hard you’re playing is good for you too.”