Postgame Quotes - Syracuse at Cincinnati


Men's Basketball |

Feb. 7, 2010

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University of Cincinnati

Mick Cronin, Head Coach

Opening Statement

“Well, obviously, Syracuse has an excellent basketball team. We were able to control the tempo and have it where we wanted it for 30 minutes. We scored five points in the last 12 minutes against the best team in the country. If you do that, you won’t win. At that time, we didn’t do a great job of offensive rebounding, and they stepped up and blocked us out. They were really big across the front line. I am very proud of our guys’ effort for the most part. Our two best shooters went 2-for-12 at the 3-point line. At one point, you have to make shots to loosen that zone up. We struggled to get the ball inside from the 10-minute mark on. When we penetrated the zone, we were able to be effective. It is tough for the smaller guys to pass over. There is a reason they are 23-1.”


On Their Zone

“Their wings came up higher. We were unable to get the ball over their head into the interior. We tried it a few times and got the ball deflected. We stopped them from getting easy baskets for 30 minutes. When they went on their run, we aided them by fouling them. That hurt us. When we went cold from the field, we let them pull away from us from the free-throw line. It takes time to break down their zone. It is hard to get a shot against them in two to three passes because they are so long.”


On Lance Starting

“Just getting a taller guy throwing over the zone. He did a good job of getting the pass over the top to Thomas where he was pretty effective. They adjusted to that. We got a few deflected and I think Lance was a little gun shy. He didn’t want to force it in there.”


On Thomas’s Performance

“When we were able to get the ball inside, Yancy and he were effective. It is hard to get the ball inside against them. Especially when you aren’t making shots, it is hard to get those guys the basketball. We didn’t force them to come out far enough to where we could break it down.”


On The Rest of Season

“I told the guys the last three days we have gotten to be a much better team. Our focus was right where it needed to be today. I wasn’t happy with some breakdowns defensively, to be honest with it. If we play the way we did today, we will be fine. I’m not encouraged by the last six minutes. They are really hard to get a shot against and that affected us. You will only hold them down so much. Someone has to score 80 to beat them.”


On Mental Toughness playing against the zone

“It just keeps trying your patience. It is so long. Our guys are calling for lobs. I was telling Lance to be careful because they are long and lobbing behind them is hard. It looked like they were open, but they get open quick. No doubt that having to attack the zone wears you down a little bit.”


On Game Breaking Down Team

“If you don’t put the ball in the basket for the last five minutes, you won’t win the game. At some point, someone has to make a shot. Realistically as a coach, you have to understand that they are hanging in there defending. They really prepared and did a great job mentally. When they got up 59-52 on us, I saw it affecting us. You can’t get an open shot against their zone. You try to set every time a slip-fade to get them in the low post. It wears you down. You can’t get quick shots against them. If we had made a couple of threes, it would have changed the way they played the zone.”


On Affecting the Team

“We understand that we play in the BIG EAST. We are in the situation we are because we gave three games away early. We still have to play well on the road and then at home for the next two. You still have to play in February. You have to worry about basketball and the things that make you a good team and player. You have to hang in there and that is life in the BIG EAST. There are a bunch of us in that situation.”


On Lance Stephenson

“All young guys struggle to focus on scouting reports. It is like coaching freshman in high school. I told him that I have to have his full attention because this isn’t easy. Obviously, he is a talented player. I hoped he would get more assists tonight. He did a good job of moving the ball, but at the end of the day, he only had two assists.”



Player Quotes

Deonta Vaughn, Sr., G

On Taking Him Out

“I don’t think they did too much. I got good looks at the basket. I think I leaned back expecting them to close out more. I ended up missing shots, going in or out, or hitting the rim. I was thinking too much.”


On Worrying about NCAA

“No. We aren’t worried about that too much. We have some winnable games ahead of us and the BIG EAST Tournament. We know what we have to do. We have to step away from it – the last ten minutes of the game. We know that we have to keep playing and not worry about what people think of us.”


On Thomas Playing Well Today

“He was active all week preparing for the zone. Thomas was really active today and came ready to play.”


Yancy Gates, So., F

On Their Run To End the Game

“That just shows that the defense slacked off. I don’t know if it was fatigue, but the defense wasn’t as good as it was at the beginning of the game. We didn’t get as many rebounds when we really needed them. That helped their run. They are a good semi-break team. We got people back, but they scored quickly. The defense should have been tighter and more solid at the end of the game.”


On Being Up 6 points with 10 Minutes

“We had momentum going our way. We started missing shots, where we should have gotten the offensive rebound. Our




Syracuse University

Jim Boeheim, Head Coach

Opening Statement

“I thought Andy hit some shots in the first half when we really needed them. In the second half, our defense got better. I thought offensively, we got better. I think we only turned it over once in the second half. We executed as well as we have all year in the second half. I think Chris stepped up and had two wide-open shots. His two three’s broke the game wide open. They were trying to get it inside, and we did a good job of getting their shooters. I thought we played really well in the second half. It was a good team effort. Everyone pitched in. This is a tough place to win.”


On Zone Defense

“It has always been effective, but this year we are bigger at the guard spot and inside. We are bigger at the No. 4 spot than previous years. Our defense has been underrated, but we have always been in the top two or three of defense field-goal percentage. I think the size in the guard spot helps, and I think they have really bought in. We were struggling on offense in the first half. “


On Zone Against Younger Teams

“It works better against some teams than others. We have made more adjustments this year than others in the past in how we’re sliding and trapping. We’ve trapped more and slides are a little different than they have been because we saw early, that we wouldn’t have much success in the man-to-man. I think all of those things add up for how it is a little better. I think our offense has been very good. We don’t get a lot of easy shots in terms of fast break. Execution has been pretty good. We won the game without Wes Johnson, and he has been playing as well as anyone in the nation.”


On The League

“The league is so difficult. It is much harder this year than it was last year because the bottom teams are better. Pitt is much better than people thought. I think Louisville will come back and make a run. I think Georgetown and Villanova are good, and UConn has enough to make a run. We had two or three at the top last year, but we have more down the line this year. It is very difficult to even think about the next game or the one after that.”


“It’s hard. It is really hard. In this league, if you are in the bottom and climb, you have to climb over eight people. And if you climb over that many, you are still in fifth place. At the end of the day, we are still going to beat each other up and still have really good teams with a lot of losses. Just like last year. I think Notre Dame and Georgetown would have been fine had they not gotten beaten up so much. We lost three games last year, and we were the top eight teams in the country. That is what it means when you play those kinds of situations. You have to keep playing and try to get better as you go along. Be ready at the end of the year to play well. If you can survive through this league, you have to play really good basketball.”


On UC Team Compared to Prior Years

“I think they have the players. It is about getting them together. They have so many new faces. Stephenson and Wright are good players. I like Thomas. He was really good today. When you have so many new guys, they have been good at home because they can keep the momentum going. I think the difference tonight is they got tentative, which is what a young team does especially against a zone.  They have really good pieces and it is just a matter of it taking a while. It goes back to us because we have veteran guys. “





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