Cincinnati vs. Temple Postgame Quotes

Jan. 15, 2014

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Cincinnati vs. Temple
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin
Opening statement
“Obviously, we struggled at times tonight. Give Coach Dunphy and Temple credit for the way they competed. They did a good job of confusing us with their zone and when we started the game off with three turnovers I knew it was going to be a long night. We haven’t had a flat effort in a long time and I was extremely concerned about that. But these guys are resilient and you’re not going to play your best every night. I give Titus a lot of credit for his second-half effort. He played with his heart in the second half and we didn’t play with a lot of heart for a large portion of this game. In defense of my guys, we play with our heart all the time. They’re extremely coachable and they’ve been great. But we really rely on playing with heart, togetherness and toughness. We’re small for a high major team and our scrap and our fight is the reason we’re 16-2. But at times your energy level and focus might be a little off because it’s hard to muster that up every time out. I understand that and they understand that tonight was very dangerous and they know why. Hopefully, we learn from it, which I’m sure we will. I have a lot of confidence in my guys.”

On Sean Kilpatrick breaking out of his slump:
“There was a reason for that, we finally got the ball inside against their zone and made three interior baskets which freed up SK for the next three baskets he made. If we don’t throw three bounce passes through their zone and get fouled, get an and-one, and another interior basket, he would have never been open. But they finally had to adjust once we finally threw the ball inside their zone. They had us passing the ball around the perimeter and that was a big key, that we were finally able to get the ball inside.”

On Kilpatrick’s shooting night being a good sign:
“It’s a good sign, but I’m not surprised. He’s a good shooter. He’s watching film, and seeking advice from the coaching staff. With him he’s playing a lot of minutes, there’s a lot on his shoulders. As great a player as he is, and hopefully he goes down here as the second leading scorer of all time, there are a lot of great players that go through tough stretches in a season and it would be unrealistic to think that it’s not going to happen.”

On if them being ranked had anything to do with their play tonight:
“No, zero. We’ve played really hard to get where we are at that’s just who we are. We’re a team that’s our toughness our energy our fight and like I told Titus (Rubles) at halftime he is just like the guys that built this program back from the drought of the NCAA tournament that went to the Final Four. He plays with his heart and he competes harder than the other guys on the other team and that’s what makes us a really good team. When he doesn’t do that he is just another guy and we’re just another team and that could be the same that could be said for a lot of guys on this team. But he led the way in the second half playing with his heart and showing how much he cared about winning. When he is in that mode and it’s hard to be in that mode every day for five, six minutes and expend the energy that he expends, but when he is in that mode we’re a different team. With our guys being ranked had nothing to do with it.”

On if the unintelligent play included Kevin (Johnson) forgetting to put on his jersey:
“Yeah I would think so. That would probably fall right in there. Somebody had it on backwards and the longer you go Bill. I give him credit for going right to the table he didn’t know that I already put somebody in anyways. I give him credit for that, that’s why I love Kevin (Johnson), he is not afraid.”

“But our focus wasn’t there (tonight). But we did what we had to do to get the win. Onward and upward, that’s how we are looking at it and obviously this group understands what this whole thing is about.”

#23 Sean Kilpatrick, G
On his shooting in the second half

“Coach was telling us ‘you have to play offense with a lot of confidence and you cannot be afraid to shoot.’ That was something that kept clicking back in my mind. Just continue to keep shooting. My teammates, especially Jack (Justin Jackson) were telling me ‘don’t worry about anything – if you make it, you make it. If you miss don’t worry about it.’ So I kept shooting it.”

On the second-half performance of Titus Rubles
“With him being the glue-guy of this team and being somebody that controls everything when things are tough for us, that is something that we expect from him. He continues to keep working hard every day.”

On breaking the Temple zone defense
“I remember one play, we found Justin (Jackson) in the middle of the zone and he threw it down to Titus (Rubles) who was able to make a play. It is a good thing that we have guys like him (Justin Jackson) and Titus who can actually pass from the high post – and especially Jermaine Sanders. That is something that we harped on at halftime. It was tough because they have a lot of length. You don’t want to throw a costly pass to the point where you turn the ball over and you have to hustle 20 times more on defense. That is something that we have to continue to keep working on in practice when it comes down to the zone. We need to get it more to the middle where we got our best passes from.”

On hitting his three to pull the Bearcats away late
“It was funny because today in walk through I was shooting and it was actually falling. I told Ge’Lawn (Guyn) ‘it feels like I am back.’ Ge’Lawn was like ‘you never left, I don’t know what you are talking about.’ It was good to hit some shots today and help my team win. It is playing more with the confidence of my teammates like Jack (Justin Jackson). Of everyone, he is on me the hardest. He tells me to shoot and it doesn’t matter how it hits, where it goes. He says ‘if you shoot it and miss it, I am going to get the rebound and give it back to you.’ That is something I can actually say I am happy for. When I am down they are able to give me that type of confidence.”

#5 Justin Jackson, F
On calling timeout to take himself out of the game
“That was the plan, Coach told me to. That is smart basketball.”

On getting their first win this season as a ranked team
“That is normal. We have been ranked every year since I have been here, so that is something we have grown accustomed to.”

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy
On how much missing (Will) Cummings affected the game today:
“A little bit. There is no question about that. He is really a strength of ours. He has great speed and quickness and creates a little bit more offense for us as well. In all honesty, I think Josh Brown came of age today. I think he did a really good job substituting for Will (Cummings). He played just about the whole game and I thought he made some really good plays for us, but it did hurt us.”

On what happened after being up 49-47:
“I thought we had a pretty decent look at a jump shot and we didn’t make it. Then they made a three. Kilpatrick came up with three really good plays. We were in zone a number of times and they just stepped up and made some really big shots. Kilpatrick had three of them I think and then I think he also made the play that got Sanders his jump shot too. I think what we faced is a very good basketball player who’s got great heart and understands what he needs to do to come to the aid of his team. I thought he did a great job.”

On Cincinnati’s defense:
“They are really good. They are really good. We couldn’t run a lot of things that we would have liked to run just because they take you out of it. They are so aggressive. We had seven of our shots get blocked. Jackson is just a beast in there. He is a really good basketball player. He plays so hard. Not only did he block six shots, but he probably changed another half a dozen. He is tough to battle in there. I think their overall defense is very good.”

On how he feels overall coming out of this game:
“I think there is light at the end of the tunnel. I think we are right where we need to be in so many different games. I am proud of our guys for that part of it, but we need to finish better and really show a little bit more toughness down the stretch and hopefully we are getting there.”

On if Cincinnati shooting 33 percent from the field in the first half was a credit to their defense:
“I would like to think we played decent defense in the first half. They shot 50 percent in the second half and it looked like there were three threes right in a row which really punched us right in the forehead so we reeled a little bit.”