2008-09 Cincinnati Men's Basketball

Jan. 10, 2009

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Connecticut at Cincinnati

January 10, 2009

Cincinnati, OH – Fifth Third Arena


Mick Cronin, Head Coach

Opening Statement

“Well, I thought it was a great game. Our guys gave a tremendous effort. I think we got fatigued in the last ten minutes of the game. A.J. Price’s three’s at the end of the first half hurt us. We could have had a halftime lead but we couldn’t get over the hump against them. We could tie it, but we couldn’t wrestle away to get a two- or four-point lead. We had some big efforts particularly by Mike Williams, Rashad Bishop and Deonta Vaughn. I thought Yancy played pretty well considering he is going against a first, second, or third pick in the draft. There are no moral victories but at the end of the day, we played physically and gave our best effort. We still have struggled defensively. Part of that is your opponent and our experience, and it wasn’t our effort today. We got fatigued late in the game.”


On Deonta’s Performance

“He definitely has taken a few shots that were a stretch to call them a good shot. You have to understand when your team struggles that your best player is going to do that. Everybody does it. Kobe Bryant does it. His effort has been great all year. He couldn’t play any better. He had one pass that I wasn’t happy with. The guy plays 40 minutes and has 19 (points) and six (assists). It is hard to ask much more of him. “


On Eight Turnovers

“Offensively, we can’t play much better. We have to get to a point where we play that well offensively that we win. Our problem is our youth and UConn, let’s be honest. It is a two-fold problem when we play against them. They physically wear you down. I was asked in an earlier interview if anyone could beat UConn and I said North Carolina. I thought we physically competed tonight. Guys gave everything they had, and we just got tired.”


On Starting League Play 0-3

“When you are in a situation that we are in, it is an 18-game schedule. If you want to get to the postseason, you know how many wins you need for NIT and NCAA. There is no rule that you have to win the first three. Villanova was 4-7 and they finished 9-9. I’m focused on building a program no matter what anyone tries to say. A lot of people say bad or nice things, but it is irrelevant to me. I’m focused on evaluating tape and getting back to work on Monday.”


On UConn’s Veteran Play

“Talent combined with experience equals winning. When you have serious talent and a wealth of experience, you are going to win big. If they can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for them. It is just a matter of staying healthy. They probably got a wake-up call in their first BIG EAST loss.”


On What A Win Would Mean

“These guys are a different team. You can’t win two until you win one. We are worried about Monday. Today we were worried about physically not letting UConn run over us, and we didn’t let them run over us. We gave ourselves a chance, but we couldn’t get enough stops at the end of the game. We have to get back and get ready for Wednesday.”


Deonta Vaughn, Jr., G

On How Tough the Team Played

“We made some strides to play hard that is one thing we wanted to. We came out and did what we had to do. We had eight turnovers as a team and I had half of them. We played hard and competed. We didn’t give them anything easy.”


On Working From This Game

We going to practice on Monday and keep working hard to get ready for the game on Wednesday.


On Best Thing About Today As A Team

“The best thing we did as a team was play hard. Most of the games we hang our head, but we didn’t. We tried to get a win, and I think we did that throughout the whole night.”



Yancy Gates, Fr., F

On Pre-Game Thought of Playing Hasheem Thabeet

“You try and bring it every night, but it is in the back of your mind that you are playing a sure lottery pick. You don’t raise (your game) just because of him but it is in the back of your mind.”


On Adjusting to Losing

“It isn’t anything personal that I fight through. We are a team and we are working to get better because we are a young team.”





Jim Calhoun, Connecticut Head Coach

Opening Statement

“Well obviously, earlier in the season we saw two home games and the opening was Georgetown. I didn’t’ know if we’d be ready and Georgetown was. Then we beat Rutgers and then the three road games starting at West Virginia. We have never won three in a row since I have been here. To come in here with my respect to what Cincinnati has with Vaughn being one of the best players in our league, being without a pure point guard it puts a lot of pressure on him. We denied him the whole night. He’s really a terrific player and competitor. We did a really good job of holding him to 19 points and six assists. The Williams kid in the long half of the BIG EAST is going to be a major factor. The hardest problem we had was to elongate the hedge on Vaughn and try to have the other guy cover two. Overall, I think they can play with anyone in the league. It is a little more difficult but they are physically a very good basketball team. We had a team two years ago where we had to work really hard to get baskets. We were able to get 17 assisted baskets and get the ball moving at the right time, shooting 65% in the second half had to go with getting the right people the ball. Mick does a terrific job of going to the zone. This is a really good win for us. We’ll get some home cooking here shortly but this is a high quality win.”


On Yancy Gates’ Performance

“Generally speaking he is averaging 14 (points) and 10 (rebounds). Hasheem Thabeet couldn’t average that without a point guard. It is a long season and as he develops, people are going to get him the ball at the right spot. It is great when a big guy can roll to the basket. He’s one of the best young players in our league, and he can battle any of the big guys in our league. The future of Cincinnati is really good. That is a pretty good basketball team because we are pretty good.”