Cincinnati-Kennesaw State Postgame Quotes
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Nov. 29, 2013

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Kennesaw State vs. Cincinnati
11/29/13
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin

Opening statement:
“Obviously, we had a little advantage tonight in a few areas. Points in the paint were big, 54 for us, and a season high in assists which I was happy to see. We rested a little and watched film on Wednesday and we tried to work hard on our half-court offense. It’s an area that we have to continue to improve as the water gets deeper. Probably the next thing I’d be happy with is Titus Rubles being 8 of 8 at the foul line because the way he shoots the ball, he should be an 80 percent free throw shooter. So I guess now he is up in the 60s. But we continue to get rock solid play out of Sean Kilpatrick and we’re just trying to get our freshmen minutes and develop those guys as best as we can.”

On him challenging Titus (Rubles) and Justin (Jackson) to play defense at halftime:
“At half time I thought 28 points was too many and of course we gave up more in second half, but we came out and put the clamps on them early in the second and got up by 30 to put the game out of reach. We started the game by giving up three straight lay ups and I called a timeout. We don’t believe you can win games by giving up lay ups, free throws or stand-still three-point shots. Those are the three things in the half court that we try to take away from them. Those guys understand that there is a formula for success. (First) you have to play with tremendous toughness and togetherness but then it comes down to so does the other team and they are on scholarship and they practice. So execution and strategy determines a lot of games. So that being said, in our half court, we can’t give up any lay ups, free throws, and stand still three’s for shooters. We tried to force play to take jump shots inside the line with a hand up and box out.”


 

 

On if he liked the way the team responded in the second half:
“Yeah, a little bit. Once we got over thirty from there on it’s tough to say because you’re pressing a lot. We changed our press at halftime too and I thought that helped. When you’re a pressing team you have to make adjustments because they had little fast guys and we were soft trapping. They were throwing over it and putting a lot of pressure on our back defense. They did a good job of that and give them credit early in the game. I knew that was going to be a problem, but I wanted to see how we could handle their quickness and speed. When you have a smaller team sometimes you have to change your press a little bit to where they have to dribble the ball a little more. We took our guy off the ball and went to a different type of press.”

On UC leading the league in scoring defense coming into today’s game:
“Well, we just have to keep getting better at it because it’s going to change with the type of teams you’re playing. Something we had not done a lot of that we had to do today was deal with a big strong guy in the interior. I believe No. 45 was about 260, 270 maybe. He is a big boy and even number 50 was a big strong guy ducking in and trying to be physical. As the water gets deeper, you’re going to have people that have a size advantage on us so it’s something we haven’t had to work on, trapping bigger guys in the low post. We haven’t had to do it quite as much in games as we probably will as time goes on. Right now it is what it is and I am happy with our effort but you’ve got to continue to get better because the other teams you’re going to play are going to be better and they’re improving to. When you get into December, school is out and you get unlimited practice time. People are starting to figure out who should shoot, who should pass, who should set screens and it gets harder to win games.

“So you have to continue to improve, but like I said, our team’s effort is tremendous. It has been. Our attitude is great but I will take issue with something that Bill wrote that I almost passed out when I read it. The water gets deeper for us Tuesday night, I don’t care what our opponent’s name is South Carolina Upstate can play. They have real players. They beat Virginia Tech. They blew a close game late at Tennessee when they were up by 10 in second half. They lost by one against Kent State. Kent State made 18 threes. Kent State has a great coach Rob Senderoff. They won at Temple and they have a real team. They lost in the last second to Seton Hall. South Carolina Upstate can play and they are a rock solid mid-major, we knew that they have all seniors returning, a returning player in their league, and returned their starting five. They are extremely well coached and that’s why we scheduled them. They are 69 in the RPI and we play Middle Tennessee State later on which is another team that may not have a great name, (but is) another rock solid team. We are going to have to play in order to win. So we are going to need all the fans support we can get on Tuesday night.”           

#5, Justin Jackson, F

On the team’s defensive effort being as good as it’s been all year:

“You’re right about that. We came into halftime knowing that we were able to play defense the way we played defense in the second half. We just wanted to show that because we haven’t done that yet this year and today was the opportunity to do that.”

On why defense was so important today:

“Coach Cronin felt like we haven’t really played defense like Cincinnati is known for playing defense. We focused on that in practice especially against Kennesaw State because they are a really good offensive team and we knew playing defense would win us this game.”

On enjoying playing defense:

“I love it. It’s that full court, open court mono e mono, you and him. I enjoy blocking a shot or getting a deflection or diving on the floor before I get a bucket. That’s just me personally.”

On the team’s focus moving forward:

“It’s going to be the same thing every time. When you play defense that’s how you win ball games. You play defense, you win ball games and that’s our main focus. We know we can score, we know we can execute, we just have to play defense. If you play defense you get deflections and get what we need. When you play the defense end the sky is the limit.”

#2, Titus Rubles, D

On taking pride in his defensive game:

“I take a lot of pride in it. Like I said before I feel like that’s the way I can contribute and then for the young guys on the team who see me play defense the way I do makes them want to play defense like that too. When (Justin) Jackson was talking he was talking about playing defense for 40 minutes because sometimes we will play good defense for one half and then slack off a little bit but today our focus was to play for 40 minutes.”

On getting hit in the head early in the second half:

“He hit me with a Mike Tyson blow on accident but it was nothing just temporary [pain]. As soon as I got on the bench I didn’t even feel it anymore. I was ready to get back in the game.”

Kennesaw State Head Coach, Lewis Preston

On what the key was to the game:
"Twenty turnovers. We let the pressure get to us a little bit. A couple of guys made some shots that normally don't make shots, but that kind of happens when you get into a rhythm in what they were doing to us defensively. The last 10 minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half kind of seperated us. Outside of those 14 minutes, I thought we played evenly with tem."

On how UC was able to pull away after the nice start they had to the game:
"Some of it is their experience versus our lack of experience. Some of it was their maturity versus our lack of maturity. They were just putting their heads down and driving to the basket, while we were settling for contested jump shots. We were able to get to the line once we were able to change the floor and get ball reverseal. We were able to get the ball inside, but then we went away from that for a little bit. Good veteran teams expose you and take advantage of that."

On UC's defense:
"It has its moments. I think against other veteran groups they will figure out different ways to get the ball into the right place at the right time. With their length, depth, and the variety of guys they can put at the top of that press, I think it can be something that can be very beneficial for the rest of their non-conference and conference season."

On some of the positives he can take from this game:
"I thought the guys went into the last five minutes full. They took the identity of what I believe in. I don't care what the score is, I want you to go play hard and play to the best of your ability. Stop feeling sorry for yourself because nobody is going to feel sorry for you. We will build on that for preparation for Sunday."