Postgame Quotes - Rutgers vs. Cincinnati


Men's Basketball |

March 10, 2010

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

COACH Mick Cronin:  Obviously, we have a great win for our team.  One point blowout.  That's all you need at tournament time.  We started that back in Maui when we went there in November.  We got a one-point blowout tonight.  And we're proud of it.

            Thought Rutgers played well.  I want to congratulate Fred and their team.  They finished up 5-5.  I thought they came in and made shots tonight and made it tough on us.  They knocked in a lot of open shots.  They didn't get a lot of layups on us.  They made shots and made it difficult on us.  Stretched our defense.  But we did a great job offensively taking care of the basketball.  If we get shots off, we're going to rebound.  We got 69 shots off.  That's why we had 23 offensive rebounds.



            But we needed to get this win.  So we get a chance to play Louisville again tomorrow night, a team that we lost a tough game against in Freedom Hall earlier in the season.  But I'm proud of our guys.  We got 37 points and 31 rebounds from Cashmere and Jaquon, Lance and Ibrahima Thomas.  Four guys who did not play for us last year.  It's their first game in a BIG EAST Tournament.  I'm proud of those guys and their effort tonight.  But it was tough out there.  Yancy didn't get a lot of calls but he kept battling.  I thought his defense in the second half was tremendous.  Despite the fact that I think he was definitely getting frustrated with what was going on under the basket.  But he hung in there.  It was a team win for us.  You have to give Rutgers credit.  They wouldn't go away at the end.


            Q.  It looked like a couple of times Lance took over and got a couple of three-point plays and didn't make the free throw at the end.  Can you talk about that (inaudible) -- no turnovers.

            COACH Mick Cronin:  That's the biggest part.  For our whole team.  Only eight turnovers.  Can't rebound a turnover.  We're pretty good if we can get it on the rim.  He was able to get the ball to the basket in the second half.  We had had a big steal in the press coming out of the time-out.  And when we get defensive stops, we can get in transition.  Obviously a lot of our guys are at their best, lance in particular.  He gets a chance to get the ball to the basket.

            But they did a good job in the first half.  I'm sure he would be the first to tell you.  He was trying to get it at the rim in the first half.  Rutgers did a great job of battling him up.  The game loosened up in the second half for a stretch there and he was able to get the ball to the rim.  He's as good as anybody when he gets a chance to get in the lane and get fouled and get and-ones.  He's as good as anyone in finishing them.


            Q.  This is not the first time you've played at The Garden.  Was it any different because it was the BIG EAST Tournament?  Some jitters there?

            Lance Stephenson:  It was, that was difference.  This is the best conference in college basketball.  I wanted to get everybody ready in the gym and work hard and get prepared for this game so we can win.


            Q.  Can you talk about the play you made at the end to get fouled?

            Lance Stephenson:  I learned from the beginning of the season against Xavier not to settle for the jumpshot.  So I went to the hole like I did at UConn, and tried to get the basket or a foul.


            Q.  Lance, can you talk about what's going through your mind before you took the first foul shot?  You walked away from the line and thought about it a little bit.  Obviously the last time you were here at St. John's it was a rough ending.  Does this sort of make up for that?

            Lance Stephenson:  I don't think it makes up for it.  I just wanted to play hard and win the game.  That's all I wanted to do is win the game.  I knew I was going to make the first free throw.  I had confidence in myself.  So I just wanted to make the first one, so I could miss the second one and make it a tough shot for them.


            Q.  Lance, -- obviously you played here a number of times.  Growing up in New York, is this what you dream of being able to hit, I guess it's different, this free throw.  Being able to hit a big shot in a big game in Madison Square Garden in the big stage?

            Lance Stephenson:  Big time.  That's why I came to Cincinnati to change the program around, play hard and just win games.


            Q.  A big three-point shot at end.  5 points in a row.  Did you know you were going to start tonight?

            Jaquon Parker:  Actually, I didn't know I was starting.  It was like, "You're starting."  I had my mind ready the whole time.  Just came by and tried to play good.


            Q.  Can you talk about playing this 9 o'clock game or 9:30 game, what it's like having all day long to think about it.

            COACH Mick Cronin:  We'll take it.  Our guys had no interest in the noon game.  We had a great win earlier in the season against Vanderbilt because I told the guys the night before the game, "If you lose the first game in Maui, we were going to have to play the second game at 8:30 in the morning."  Vandy had no chance at that point.

            It's no problem for us.  Sleep in and gives us time to prepare.  Especially now with tomorrow night.  We'll play at midnight if we keep winning.


            Q.  You guys have lost some tough games like this a lot this year.  How does it feel to finally win one in this situation?

            Yancy Gates:  It feels real good.  Like a monkey off your back.  We talk about as a team how we have to quit losing these games.  The close ones that come down the stretch and get one in the BIG EAST Tournament for our first win.


            Q.  Coach, can you address how you go forward (inaudible).

            COACH Mick Cronin:  Not a whole lot, because with Dion sprained his ankle yesterday.  He got kicked.  Yancy is a pretty big guy.  He kicked him on accident.  Hopefully Dion will get loose.  He was going to try to play tonight.  Because he didn't practice I didn't want to put him in a bad situation.  We have to make up for the rebounding and the defense.  Offensively, I don't think there's -- we may be better.  Especially when Jaquon plays the way he did tonight.  The thing about Jaquon, you can play Deonta on the other team's point and Jaquon can guard anybody.  In high school he guarded 6'7" All Americans and shut them down to win a state championship.  I have a lot of confidence in Jaquon.  And the things he brings to the table.  A lot of the similar things that we would miss with Rashad.


            Q.  What did Rutgers do in the first half that kind of let them stick with you?

            COACH Mick Cronin:  They made shots.  6 for 11 from three.  They made shots.  And, you know, we let Mike Rosario get too many open looks.  James Beatty hit a couple in the first half as well.  We knew Rosario and Mitchell were capable.  But I thought we could have had a chance to have 40 or more at halftime.

            But they made shots.  We didn't finish around the rim.  Yancy and I talked about the BIG EAST Tournament.  They let you play.  You're going to have to deal with it.  So I'm glad we were able to get a win, and adjust to the way the game is going to be officiated around the rim.  So you have to make sure you get the ball in the basket.  You can't look to draw fouls.  Unless you get hit on the arm, you're not going to get one.  Forcing him to get the one and he can adjust forward.


            Q.  Can you talk a little about tomorrow night against Louisville, the first game seemed like they were jumping on them early.

            COACH Mick Cronin:  It's been a while.  A lot of stuff has happened since then.  We have had so much heartbreak this year that you know, you try to think back to that.  I stayed focus on Rutgers.  One thing about Louisville, they have great resiliency.  Coach Pitino does a great job with his teams of -- they continue to play.  Rough loss at St. John's, turn around and win at Syracuse.  Rough loss at Marquette, turn around and beat Syracuse again.  They're going to play the whole 40 minutes.  And that's going to be our challenge tomorrow.  Making sure we're able to play the whole 40 minutes.

            Obviously we're pretty familiar with their style of play.  So there won't be a whole lot of secrets when my team plays Coach P's team between us.  Not a whole lot of secrets.  You have to execute and rebound and take care of the basketball.  Last time we played them we only shot four free throws.  Most of that was our fault.  We didn't get the ball at the basket a whole lot.  You get frustrated as a coach.  Then you review the film, and you are to blame because you didn't get the ball to the basket a lot.  They did a good job adjusting defensively.  They do a lot of things with their zone changing up.  We're going to have make sure we handle the things they throw at us.


            Q.  You guys have won a game, take the burden off?

            Yancy Gates:  Oh, yeah, you come into the game so focused on trying to get that first win.  You probably come out a little more hyper or anxious until you get the win.  When you finally do get the win, you kind of relax more and just get ready to play.

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