McGill University vs. University of Cincinnati
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gobearcats.COM

Nov. 1, 2011

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Nov. 1, 2011 – Fifth Third Arena


UC head coach Mick Cronin

Opening Statement …
“First up, I want to thank the kids from McGill and head coach Dave DeAeiro. Obviously, we had them outmanned tonight, and I felt they played extremely hard. One thing about playing the Canadian teams, especially one with a great a coach -- we played them last year up in Canada -- they really execute their offense and spread you out. It is very good practice for our guys. We struggled early on with our ball movement. They play with a 20 second clock in Canada. It forces them to move the ball faster. Once our guys made the adjustments the last 30 minutes of the game, we played better. We have to get our wing guys, especially Sean Kilpatrick, more sound defensively. On the front line, with Cheikh (Mbodj) out, we are a little thin on the front line. We were experimenting a little bit tonight. That being said, the second half we couldn’t play much better. The guys shared the ball and passed the ball well.”

On Chehk Mbodj …
“Cheikh will not play until he is 100 percent. It is a long season. We have a very good team and a chance to have a great team, especially when he is with us. The last thing I want to do is bring him back too soon and have him dealing with a bad ankle all season. Whenever he is back, when I see him run up the floor and not limp without pain, he’ll be back. He has to be cleared by doctors and me. I’m the final clearance. I didn’t call myself a doctor. He had two different injuries. He turned his ankle the first week of practice and then he stepped on JaQuon Parker and turned his ankle a different way (earlier this week).”

On UC’s offense during the game’s first 10 minutes …
“That’s why you play those games. It is inevitable. (Our players) are used to running their offense and everything works. You have to get a team out there that takes things away. We have areas to work. I think we have a chance to score in transition with outlet passing. I thought we had guys hanging on to the ball too long. On the break, we have to outlet the ball.”

On defensive effort …
“We still have some things we have to improve. It’s good to be able to see a game, to see film. I can have my thoughts about who played well, but I go and look at the film. I talked to the team about the key to losing a guy like Rashad Bishop is that he could play well without ever scoring. The three guys could get beat, and he would help them until they recovered. This year, our veterans – Yancy, Cash and Dion – have to do that. I don’t think Sean is ready for that. That is something I’ve talked to (Kilpatrick) about. I think Ge’Lawn Guyn is a player that I’m really happy with. He’s got a lot going defensively. He’s great on the ball. He’s a typical freshman off the ball.”

On Dion Dixon’s performance …
“When I go into the locker room, I look at the deflection board. We had 45 tonight, and he had eight. I’m looking at his leadership. I was happy with him being aggressive without turnovers. The advantage of him is that he is such a good free-throw shooter. You can put the ball in his hands, and he can shoot it. It’s kind of like Steve Logan when I was here in 2000. Him and Cash in our preseason free-throw shooting, they were combined 4-of-5 in the last month. I’ve talked to Dion about leadership and using his athleticism off the ball. Don’t just sit out there and think that you need 20 to have a good night. He needs to do other things.”

On the freshmen’s performances …
“Those guys all did good things at times. If you were to ask me, I thought Kelvin Gaines’ defensive presence and rebounding. He still found a way to get four fouls in 12 minutes. I told him right out of the time out to not get a moving screen call on him, and he got it. Early in the season the officials have all been told, ‘Here’s the watch points to watch.’ You have to know what they are looking for. Kelvin is a little bit like a bull in a China shop. When he goes after a rebound, you might want to be careful. Our guys know to be careful, but our opponents don’t know.”

On Yancy Gates’ performance …
“The other thing you have concern about with him is he’s really in shape right now. In these type of games, trying to keep him sharp and get him ready. This is his year. If you don’t play him and he sits, he needs the cardio. He needs to learn how to play when he’s tired. You go back and watch the Connecticut film and he was tired. We tried to go to him. We need to be able to play him 30 minutes, and go to him and score.”

On freshmen finding mix …
“The way we did it tonight. I played them together a lot. That was by design. I was trying to let the other guys play together as much as I could. It is harder on them to be out there without the older guys. If you put Jeremiah Davis with four older guys, if he gets beat, he’ll be protected. I want them not to have the crutch of the other guys. They need to practice talking. When they are out there together, it forces a freshman to talk on defense and communicate and rotate. It is a different world for them. Your whole life you’ve only worried about offense, not defense and defensive rotation and guarding someone that can score on you. They are going thru that every day in practice. You get to a point where you are playing a game where you can actually lose. They have to learn to not get exploited when they go in. I can’t go in thinking that I’m firing up the first ball I touch. I’m not worried about offense. They all have offense. I’m worried about their defense. I think S.K. (Sean Kilpatrick) is still making that adjustment.”

PLAYER QUOTES

#1 Cashmere Wright, G

On second-half offense …
“We got more comfortable and we played faster. Defense translates to offense. When you play hard on D, things will start transitioning on offense.”

On the difficulty of getting excited for an exhibition game …
“I think it took time for us to gel together. We weren’t playing each other like that in practice until two days ago. It’ll take us some time to work out some kinks.

On message at half time …
“We just got loose and got a feel for the game and each other. We started playing better.”

#34 Yancy Gates, F

On Dion Dixon’s dunk …
“I was going and I heard someone go backboard. Dion can jump so we were winning. I thought if he caught it that Cronin wouldn’t be too mad.”

On second-half defense …
“I think talking. At first when we started, we started slow and we went possessions and didn’t talk. When we communicated on defense and had a sixth man with communicating, it made it easier.”

On younger guys …
“They’ll be alright. They had some good moments and their freshmen moments.”

On first game exhibition for freshmen …
“I think of it as the first real game more than the exhibition game. People are different though. They may have thought it because it was their first college game.”

On communicating …
“Just because of the communication level. It isn’t us guarding our man one-on-one, but us talking through the screens and switching back. I think once we get in the habit of talking every time, our defense will start to look like last year compared to the first half.”

On offense in second half …
“We had two assists in the first half, but 12 in the second. The ball was moving and transitioning.”