Jan. 19, 2011

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Mick Cronin
University of Cincinnati head coach

You scored 20 more points in the second half 39-19. What were your shortcomings in the first half?
    "You can talk about shots all you want. At the end of the day we took seven shots four feet and in, four layups. And we don't get fouled. (Ibrahima) Thomas was 0-for-2, Rashad (Bishop) had a layup and for some reason went up and under. He never does that. Cash (Wright) had an easy two-footer and charged, which you could see (Notre Dame's) Scott Martin standing to take the charge a mile away. It's hard to beat these teams. When you get the ball within two feet you've got to get the basket. They are not a shot-blocking team."

It seemed your team played much more aggressively in the second half ...
    "Obviously, we shot 48 percent in the second half. At the end of the day you've got to get some points if you're going to win in this game.
     "I'm not happy with our off-the-ball defense. Notre Dame's hard to defend obviously. They do a great job and Mike (Brey) is a good coach. They spread you out and have shooters everywhere. But then you get a stop and their point guard gets a rebound on you right under the rim. We force them into a bad shot, which is hard to do, they airball it to the corner and we don't get the rebound pointblank under the rim. They throw it out and get a four-point play.
     "My general thing for us is that we're a different team all of a sudden with great intensity and everybody's locked in when we're down. That can't be that way. It's like I said after the South Florida win, `We should've beaten them by 20.' The problem is that you can't drive on cruise control. You don't win a road race that way. That's the safe way to drive home tonight, but that's not the way to win the Indianapolis 500. Whoever goes the fastest wins. We've got to go full speed all the time. When we get down, we've got kids that want to win. I love my team and they're fun to coach, but you see our intensity level change. We've got to get to a point, if we're going to get over the hump and be able to win these type of games on the road, where play that way for 40 minutes where everything matters. A big part of it is that you've got to play with your heart. It's not easy to win these games."

You've got to be satisfied tonight with the shot selection and the unselfishness of sharing the basketball ...
    "We worked hard at that. I'll give you that, for the most part, we tried to take better shots. We were working hard to get better shots. They played man (defense) the whole game and we only shot eight free throws, which is unacceptable. We've got to get to the foul line. They played 40 minutes of man; we've got to get to the foul line. We got into the bonus with 11 minutes left in the game and never shot the bonus. We never shot the one-and-one. And our whole offense at that point changed to where we tried to spread them out and drive the ball to take advantage of our quickness. You've got to get more free throws. You can't let them double up on foul shots. Our shot selection was better, but we've got to finish better. We have guys that are better players at times than what they're showing. They just have to raise their intensity level to win at this level. It's not easy. These are top 20 teams and we're on the road. They're hard games to win. You're going to have to play 40 minutes of great basketball."