Postgame Quotes - Cincinnati 69, UCF 51
Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 points to lead Cincinnati past UCF.

Jan. 24, 2014

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Cincinnati vs. UCF
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin

Opening statement:
“I thought we got a little sloppy in the first half and we’ve got to continue to improve and get hungry to play great collectively and individually for 40 minutes to get where we want to go and accomplish what we want to accomplish. But again our defense was tremendous, holding the opponent to 34 percent and we also out-rebounded a team that was much bigger than us. We fought through a lot of foul trouble in the first half. I elected to sit all three guys that had two. We also fought through some fouls the entire game. But it’s always good to get the win and the thing about our team is I still feel like we can improve.

On him being more animated than usual and calling multiple timeouts toward the end of the first half:
“It was just a lot of teaching. For us it’s not about where you’re at, it’s about where you’re going. If you’re not improving, you’re getting worse.

“Sometimes you have to coach harder when you’re winning. When you’re losing or you have a tough loss - if your team is really worth their salt - you really don’t have to motivate them. I talk to the team and we have things we want to accomplish and to get there we’re going to have to play better. It can’t just be about, well, we won. I am trying to get us away from that. I want us to try to play great for 40 minutes. The day could be coming at Temple on Sunday that if we don’t do that, we could lose. So it can’t just be, hey let’s get a win. I want guys to play great individually and collectively. I want them to play up to their potential. I don’t like seeing guys make mistakes that I know are really good players.

"A lot of people may not talk about our team and our defense, but I believe in our talent. I want our kids to get the respect they deserve. But to do that, you got to be more efficient on offense and be crisp for 40 minutes. We missed way too many lay ups and had eight first-half turnovers and five missed layups. Then we got up 18 around the 9-minute mark. I thought we were ready to get some pizza. I want them to go up by 40. It’s just the mentality. You have to really guard against complacencies when you’re winning as a coach. So I’m thinking about that on the road when I’m trying to coach everything that we aren’t doing right.”

On what affect does the winning streak have on the team:
“We don’t talk about it at all. In fact, we talked about starting over two games ago when we had four games left in January. Our goal is to go 4-0. We’ve got two down and two more to go. Both will be on the road and it’s going to be brutal. Temple, obviously, needs a win badly. They have good players that can shoot the ball and a great coach. It’s not going to be easy. We don’t talk about winning. My problem is everyone else is talking to them about that and that’s why you see me coaching harder even though we are winning because I am worried about how we play.”

On if he thinks when games are close down the stretch the wins will give them confidence to pull through:

“Oh yeah, there is no doubt about that. We have three seniors and Jermaine Sanders and Ge’Lawn Guyn who are juniors. You have guys that understand how to win games. But again, it just can’t be hey, let’s play good enough to win. Let’s play up to my potential individually and collectively. I’m not just going to coach because we are up by 15. I’m actually going to coach harder and challenge those guys to continue to play at the level that they are capable of and that’s the tough thing.”   

Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick

On the difficulty of finding a rhythm with so many whistles:
“It was difficult because every time we went on a run and would have the crowd into the game, if we slid out feet in front of them, they were going to find a way to blow the whistle. That kind of killed the momentum. It was kind of tough.”

On Shaquille Thomas playing well in the last few games:
“It helps us a lot because now we have options. With him being assertive and being aggressive the way he is, it makes the other team look at him as a threat, which is something we need.”

On the affect of Justin Jackson blocking shots:
“I am used to it. I have been seeing it for four years now. That block today, I hope it makes SportsCenter Top 10, it should. I don’t see why not.”

On holding opponents under 70 points for the 27th straight game:
“We take a lot of pride in it. We just try our hardest to really move that deflection board. That is something that we know. If we get 40-plus deflections, then it is going to be a tough game for the other team. So being able to move the deflection board and keep rebounding the ball, it helps us on the defensive end because we know we are going to be able to stop the team. But we have to get the rebound.”

On out-rebounding UCF, a good rebounding team:
“We knew that were going to have to help Justin (Jackson) and Titus (Rubles) rebound. It was a good thing to get rebounds from our guards, Ge’Lawn (Guyn) had a good rebounding game, and Troy (Caupain) as well. We know there are going to be two or three guys boxing Jack (Justin Jackson) out every game. He is somebody that grabs double-figure rebounds every single game, so that is right on the bulls eye for the scouting report on Jack (Justin Jackson).”

On playing against UCF’s Isiah Sykes:
“It is hard to play against lefties like that knowing that he can slither through defenses like that and can make tough shots. In practice, we only have one lefty and he plays a three. You aren’t used to playing against a lefty that drives all the time. Being able to bottle him up throughout the whole game and show support off of the non-shooters is something that we harped on during shoot around.”

Cincinnati forward Justin Jackson

On the student section chanting his name:
“I wasn’t really paying attention to be honest. I heard them, but that isn’t really my focus. At that time I was making sure that UCF didn’t get the rebound. Looking back it is an honor. Getting your name chanted. You don’t hear that every day.”

On thinking about a triple-double:
“I think about that every time I step on the court. I try to get a quadruple-double, I try to do everything. Whatever they need me to do.”

On being considered a second-half team:
“Our focus level gets higher. We know what we need to do – and we just do what we need to do. We were sleep walking (in the first half). I am not going to lie to you all, everyone from the coaches through the bench were sleep walking. We came into half saying ‘ok, we got through the first half, it’s time to buckle down and get the W’.”

On only getting two rebounds:
“I have to give it to UCF. They did a great job of boxing out the whole game. Everyone on the team knew they were going to box out (to start the game), but they stuck with it the whole game.”

On being ranked No. 15/16 in the country:
“We are used to it. We really don’t care about that kind of thing. It is good to be ranked, don’t get me wrong. But at the end of the day, we just want to fulfill our goals. Our goal is not really to be the face of college basketball, but to get to the national championship. That is what every team works for.”

On playing when Titus (Rubles) is on the bench:
“Titus is a versatile player. He is 6-7, 220, but he can handle the ball like a point guard. There aren’t too many three or four men that can guard Titus because, if you are too small, he is going to beat you in the post. If you are too big, he is going to beat you on the wing. He is a big X-factor on our team. Obviously, it showed that it hurts us when he is out of the game.”

UCF head coach Donnie Jones

On having to play catch up the whole second half:
“I thought we fought hard. We have to handle the ball better. I had to call a couple of timeouts there to get us together. Their pressure was pretty good. Cincinnati made some big plays. We still have to make free throws.”

On if Cincinnati’s defense frustrated you:
“We just have to be able to execute better. They have pressure going from full court to half court.”

On if it is frustrating when the outside shots aren’t falling:
“I thought we would maybe get off to a good start, but we just have to keep shooting the basketball. I thought we played tough defensively and thought we did a good job of getting to the line, but we couldn’t make free throws. If you are not making them, you aren’t getting anything out of it so you resort to jump shots.”

On changing the lineup before tonight’s game:
“I saw some good things tonight. We are going to keep working. The good news is we can practice tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before we go back to play at home against Memphis. We made some strides in some different areas. I know the scoreboard won’t really show it, but we are seeing some things here. We are making some mistakes that are hurting our basketball team and we just have to continue to work on cutting those out and improve.”