N.C. A&T at Cincinnati - Postgame Quotes

Nov. 18, 2012

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

North Carolina A&T at Cincinnati

Fifth Third Arena

November 18, 2012

Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin

Opening Statement:
"I was really happy for the most part with our defensive effort. Fortunately, we have some shot blockers because when we did get beat, we blocked a lot of shots when they came at the rim. That was pretty discouraging for their guys and it got them gun shy. Cheikh (Mbodj) got a few, David (Nyarsuk) got some, and Kelvin (Gaines) had two so whenever you get 12 blocked shots from one position you have to be happy with that. We can't put our five man in that position as much as we did. There are some areas you have to improve. I was happy with our assist-to-turnover (ratio), obviously, the  24 assists and 13 turnovers were big for us. As you guys know, Sean Kilpatrick had a big night. With five assists and zero turnovers, shot selection was excellent and he had seven rebounds. None of that surprises me because his preparation every day for every game is as good as I've ever been around as a coach. It's off the charts."

On Minutes Played:

"When you get into a game and it's up at a certain point, I certainly think 26 minutes would have been the max minutes for anybody tonight, not just (Kilpatrick). I wanted to get Shaquille Thomas at least 20 minutes. I knew that going into the game. I'm just trying to get some guys ready. He hadn't played as much as some other guys. Jermaine, GeLawn, and Jeremiah played last year. You can only get so many opportunities, and it's his first year, so he needs them. Those guys have played."

On the development of the younger players:
"It's a learning process for me with (Thomas), Titus (Rubles), and David (Nyrasuk)for them to learn how to make it easy on them. My job as a coach is to teach them in practice, motivate them to be dedicated, and in the game I have to figure out how to get them comfortable, so they are playing well. Players don't play well for you as a coach if they aren't comfortable. You have to help the guys get into their comfort zone.  That is what I was trying to work on today. He is going to need minutes against a real team. Nothing against North Carolina A&T, I mean a high-major team that has enough size to deal with us. (North Carolina A&T) did a lot of things really well, but they didn't get the reward with the ball in the basket. When they did some things really well and exploited us, they couldn't make a three-point shot and when they went to the rim, they dealt with 12 blocked shots."



"I'm sure some people are wondering how good are we? I can tell you this we aren't good enough yet, but nobody is. That is my job. Using these games to try and improve and get guys minutes. Make sure our guys continue to understand what is out there for us, and our veteran guys know that. If you see me during the game that is what I'm reminding guys of constantly."

On UC's free throw shooting and tomorrow's 7am shooting practice:
"Beyond bad. Unacceptable. (How long practice tomorrow morning lasts) depends on how many they make. It is all about commitment. Sometimes you have to send different messages as a coach. I saw lack of concentration. (Associate Head Coach) Larry Davis does a lot of our coaching drills. He's one of the best in the country at it, and he predicted this. I had met with the team about it because it isn't a lack of talent. We don't have guys that can't put the ball in the basket."

On Kelvin Gaines:
"At times, he does things like shot blocking that you say, `wow.' He is still learning how to use his strength. That's a guy that has to make his free throws because he's a Dwight Howard kind of guy. He can catch it deep when he wants to, and he's going to get fouled a lot the more he plays. He has to get to a point where he's making a free throw. When Kelvin plays with intensity and focus, he can help us. The challenge for him and too many players this day in age is to be like Sean Kilpatrick, who is in the minority at being a guy who is always focused, always intense, and trying to get better every day. When Kelvin Gaines does all that and uses his body, his strength and his physicality, it's something we need on this team. It'd be nice to have."  

On Cheikh Mbodj's defensive rebounding:
"I thought that they were outmanned but physically they were the more physical team on the block outs. To me that is unacceptable. As much as Cheikh is blocking shots, his rebounding is nowhere near where we need it to be. It's all about toughness and pursuit. He doesn't overcommit to it; he blocks it. You have to get in the fight, get leverage, get down and dirty and go in and get the ball.  The difference for us is Justin Jackson views himself as a rebounder. It is all about toughness and pursuit. Fortunately for us, we have some wings that rebound, but Cheikh is going to have to improve as the year goes on, especially his defensive rebounding."

Cincinnati Player Quotes

No. 23 - Sean Kilpatrick, G

On his finishing 66.7 percent from the field:

"I was just playing within the game and the flow of the game. Everyone was finding me early. On top of that, there were just open shots. Couldn't of been a good night without the team."


On if this offense suits his style:

"I think so because most of us are all scorers, so we all want to score of course. It opens the floor a lot more to better opportunities. You can also just find the players because the whole floor is just open."


On if Coach Cronin said something to the team about free throw shooting:

"We have 7 a.m. free throws. There's no late night, staying up and watching ESPN. We're all going straight to sleep."


On if the team has ever shot free throws like that before:

"We've never had a bad day at the line like we did today. First time for everything."


On if there was anything he didn't like about today's game:

"I would say so. I still don't like the turnover look. Thirteen is still a lot of turnovers, but at least we had more assists than turnovers."


On UC's defense:

"That comes along with the pressure on the ball and that everyone off the ball is really alert to what's going on. The scouting yesterday was based on you have to be alert off the ball because they can go backdoor or they can creep up a hit a three. So everyone was alert and trying not to let their man score, but also playing help defense."

No. 3 - Shaquille Thomas, F

On how much playing time in these game helps:

"It helped me out a lot. Next week when we go to Las Vegas, it'll help me a lot because it'll give me confidence and help me get into the grove of things after sitting out a year."


On his confidence now:

"It's getting back there. These guys, like Sean and Parker, that play on the wing try and help me on practice and tell me the right spots to be."


On how the adjustment how has been thus far:

"A lot of ups and downs. I'm handling it pretty well."


On what's been the hardest thing:

"Just being in the right spot on defense. The game is faster than high school. Mainly you just have to be in the right spot."

North Carolina A&T head coach Cy Alexander

On the game in general:

"Cincinnati is a great basketball team. We didn't step up and meet the challenge to try and play at this level. They were just a better basketball team than us. We continued not to be able to put the ball in the basket from an offensive standpoint. We've just got to keep doing what we are doing. Hopefully sooner than later, some of the people we are counting on, their shots will fall. We got beat by a better team. There is not a whole lot of strategy involved. Cincinnati was a better basketball team than us. Maybe not 40 points better, but still a better team." 

On if his team did a good job trying to stop (Sean) Kilpatrick:

"No. We didn't make the adjustments. We told them what he was capable of doing. This was the first game from a defensive standpoint that I was disappointed in our defensive effort. We knew what we had to do from a defensive standpoint and we didn't do it. It appeared to me from the sideline that we were somewhat intimidated which there is no excuse for whether you are playing mid-major, high-major, or whatever major, you got to step up to the competition that you are playing against. We didn't do that. We played like a team who was scared."

On the height of Cincinnati:

"That is a great defensive weapon that Cincinnati has. They have that big kid in the middle. They block shots. We attacked the basket and tried to score and they just blocked us. That is deflating to our kids." 

On what they will take from this game:

"Well, I don't want to take anything from this game. I want to just throw this game away and start over against Iowa State. There is nothing that we can take away from this game except to get better."

On his impressions of Cincinnati:

"I think they got a great mix of inside-outside and ability to get strong defensive presence in the middle. They got Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright, and Parker on the perimeter. They all three can play. They got depth and keep the pressure on you. Their pressure caused us a few problems and kept us from really attacking."