Jan. 22, 2011

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Mick Cronin

UC Head Coach


On junior forward Yancy Gates' game-winning field goal ...

            "We had been trying to run that play the last four minutes of the game. St. John's had great ball pressure, so you have to give them credit. We were so consumed with the guy guarding the passer that we were never really able to give Yancy (Gates) the ball where we wanted. We weren't going to be able run anything where we threw two or three passes the way they were taking us out of our offense with the pressure, obviously we had 17 turnovers. So I wanted to run something where we required one pass, so we wouldn't turn the ball over, and get it as close to the basket as we could. You're only down one, Yancy's not a great free-throw shooter, but he's better in tough situations, he focuses more. I have confidence in him. He was 3-for-3 from the foul line today. He did a great job on that play. He took his time and didn't settle. He got stopped, kept his dribble alive, turned to shoot then he stepped through, then he shot faked and got the foul. Because he didn't fade, he had some balance and got the and-one. It was just a great play on his part, a great pass on Rashad's (Bishop) part. The guys showed tremendous heart today. Whenever you can win a basketball game when you turned it over 17 times, you played tremendous defense and rebounded the ball really well."


On the final play of the first half ...

            "I had already used my first-half timeout. Obviously I had more, but I didn't want to waste any more. But I guess they hadn't used all the TV timeouts in the first half. So fortunately we had the timeout. They had been aggressive against us, and watching the film in late-game situations, (St. John's head coach Steve Lavin) had pressed in that situation before. So we wanted to setup a play if they did press we could throw it long to Biggie (Anthony McClain). At 7-foot-1, he's got a chance to catch it. We curled Larry (Davis) off of him and had him rub into Biggie's defender to give Biggie room to catch the ball. They took the bait and went after the ball and left Larry wide open. It was a great pass by Rashad and an unbelievable catch and pass by Biggie then Larry knocks in the shot. I would've liked Larry to cut for the dunk. But I don't know if he realized they'd left him. He was running where I told him to go for the shot. What people don't realize is that coaches are drawing up plays like that all the time, but players execute. It was excellent execution by the players right there." 


Your inside players were productive today ...

            "We blocked five shots today. (Ibrahima) Thomas gave us some good minutes off the bench at the 5 spot, an adjustment we made in the last few days in practice. We wanted to limit their points in the paint and we limited them to 14 points in the paint. St. John's is at its best when attacking the paint. Probably their best win of the year at West Virginia they had 40 points in the paint. We really wanted to make it tough on them to score in the interior. We also told our guys to make sure that if they did get it in there, `I don't want layups. Use your fouls.' That was by design. We didn't think we did a good job of that against (Syracuse forward) Rick Jackson at Syracuse. And the guys did a great job with that. Let's make their bigger guys make free throws. They're a great free-throw shooting team, but when you dig into the statistics, it's their guards making free throws. Evans, Burrell, Kennedy - if they get it in deep, let's foul them. We're done giving up free throws. That's what's really hurt our defense in our three losses."