Alabama at Cincinnati Postgame Quotes

Dec. 1, 2012

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Alabama at Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
December 1, 2012
Postgame Quotes

University of Cincinnati Quotes

Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin

Opening statement:
“Alabama has a really good team. In my opinion, their guards are better than advertised. You play against a lot of good players in the BIG EAST. Trevor Releford and Trevor Lacey are really good players.  They can stack up against anybody we will play all year. I’m very happy with the win. Obviously, we have a lot of areas we have to improve, namely offensively, getting more ball movement, more assists, more touches on the ball, standing around too much, and our fast break. Some of it was them and some of it was us. They did a good job of keeping us off the break. Once again, we get a 13 point lead and start looking around instead of continuing with the pace of play we want to play at for 40 minutes. I have to make some adjustments in practice.”

On UC's fast break:
“If it wasn’t for our fast break, I don’t know if we would have scored in the last couple of minutes because we threw it ahead and scored twice. Even SK’s and 1 was a throw ahead, and we had two or three in a row where we got it right back. We can’t let teams take that away from us. We have to trust it. We can’t get away from the way we are. We have to get more bench minutes and keep the pace going. We may have to press to do that. I’m not sure. It is something I have to look at. I don’t want to get stuck in half court grinders the way today ended up. I give them a lot of credit. Everything that happened to us had a lot to do with it.”

On Cashmere Wright’s game winner:
“Obviously, Cash hit a big shot for us. I told Dan Hoard that in 17 years of college coaching and 5 of high school, I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a game winner. As he was shooting it, I was thinking of Jered West of West Virginia and DeShawn Butler, and one of these has to fall for the Bearcats. For him, obviously, he didn’t have his best game. He didn’t practice all week. He did some light work yesterday. Trying to let his shoulder heal and all he has been thru in his career, I was really happy for him.”

On UC's guard play:
“Let me give you a real revelation. The reason that coaches win games and the reason Alabama is going to have a great year is players- when the coaching is equal and everyone is battling for every ball, you can’t out-athlete them and you can’t out-hustle them, it comes down to guys making plays. You saw a lot of guys that can play basketball at the guard position out there today and make some real plays off the dribble. There was Cash, JaQuon and SK, and they can all make plays.”

On the final play:
“Justin set a great screen, which is what we wanted. I was hoping he’d be able to blow by the big guy. He did a great job defensively. Cash just made a tough shot. The guy couldn’t have done a better job. If they had stayed at home, we had SK waiting in the corner.  We were hoping Cash could blow by and they’d be helping in the corner. He’d either get a foul, lay-up, three in the corner, or an open shot.”

On Jackson's blocked shot on Alabama's last possession:
“I put him in for defense. I don’t know if Cheikh has ever played 30 minutes. In fact, I know he hasn’t because early on he hadn’t and in Vegas, he was in foul trouble. I don’t know if he’s played more than 20 minutes in a game. Cheikh was tired. He’s in great shape, but playing in these types of games for 30 minutes is new to him. He got exploited on their last two field goals for lay-ups. One thing about Justin, is he may be small but he plays bigger than he is. I knew they weren’t going to be able to blow around the corner on him. I thought he had more life and Cheikh looked tired.

On Justin Jackson’s defense:
“Justin is more adept at defending at 10 feet and in. It was a tough cover for him trying to guard their guards out on their perimeter. It is tough for him. It is not his specialty. He is working on it because he does it every day in practice. But 15 feet in and around the rim, he does a pretty good job.”

On Ge’Lawn Guyn playing in final play:
“I have a lot of faith in Ge’Lawn defensively. I don’t want Cash to get stuck in a switch and that guy outmans him physically. Ge’Lawn is a lot stronger. I’ve got faith in him but you have to do it without fouling. There is a time to be aggressive and time for him to be solid. He is learning and he is getting better. It was a big thing for him to be out there. He guards Cash every day.”

On UC's bench performance:
“As I said all year, if we are going to get to where we want, our bench has to be a part of it. I wanted to get Shaq in the game, but I was concerned with him. I didn’t want to have him and Justin in there, or Titus, two taller guys that are going to get beat off the dribble. This was a tough game for our 6-7 or 6-8 guys guarding their smaller guys off the dribble. In hindsight, we could have played some zone, but I didn’t want to let them shoot threes.”

On Alabama head coach Anthony Grant calling UC the best defensive team in the country:
“We try hard. I think his guards are the best in the country. That is what happens. We go way back. I couldn’t be happier for the success he has had in his career. We came up a long way together. We are the same age, but he looks older.  When you are looking at another team it is a great complement from him, which I appreciate.  You always covet what the other guy has. I thought they did a great job talking about defense. They held us to 33 percent in the second half; 1 of 7 from the three-point line, which we have some guys that can score. They did a great job.

On Alabama:
“Their kids played with great toughness, but i knew. No matter how much Villanova is struggling; when you can go into Madison Square Garden to beat Villanova by 20 is something.  They beat Oregon State, who gave Kansas everything they could in Kansas City. Alabama is for real. If their guys stay healthy, they aren’t going anywhere (but among the Top 25) all year. They are the best team we have played all year by far.  You don’t know until you get them in person. Competition wise, who they are playing against, and all that type of stuff. Their guards are really good. I was impressed with their toughness. They hadn’t done a great job of rebounding until today.  They were kind of even on the year. They played with great toughness today.”

On UC's fast break:
“My theory is, no matter who you are or what you have on the front of your jersey, if you can’t get to 70, you are going to be life and death against good teams. We have to get better on the offensive end. We never stop practicing defense. I thought our defense got too soft at times. We need to score off turnovers. We were averaging 24 points a game off turnovers against Iowa State and Oregon. Today, I think we got 16 and we need to get more than that. You can’t let big-time players get in a comfort zone. They are going to hurt you. We just got too soft at times. Maybe I didn’t play the bench enough, or maybe we got tired. I don’t know.  We have to find a way to play at our pace for 40 minutes. We have to get to that point by the time we get to January to play at the pace we want against whoever we are playing. We can’t let them dictate a tempo against us. They did a great job of slowing us down.”

UC player quotes

No. 1 – Cashmere Wright, G

On scoring the game-winning basket:
“It was the least I can do. I was basically throwing away the whole game at the end. I feel like if they can take me that far, if I had the shot, it was in me to shoot it.”

On how the final play was designed coming out of Alabama’s timeout:
“It was supposed to screen on [Justin Jackson] and I was supposed to go on my left. If they cheated off of [Sean Kilpatrick], pass to SK. And if they didn’t, they told me to go to the hole.”

On shooting the ball over Alabama’s Moussa Gueye:
“I just shot the ball hoping. Shot a regular shot, hoping it would get up and get a chance to get in and it did.”

On the buzzer beater’s degree of difficulty:
“I really don’t know. I couldn’t see the rim.  I just knew we were going to the left, so I just went down the court and already set myself up from where I wanted to take the shot from. I kind of got there (to) that spot -- the left side of the court. That’s why we ran the ball that way.”

On if he practices buzzer-beating shots:
“No. You know you got the shot. He wants you to shoot the ball, so be confident. They kept telling me the whole game, ‘the next game is the only one that matters.’ I kept believing that, so when I got the opportunity I just shot it.”

On if this was a good way to celebrating his 1,000th point:
“I had a bad game, right? But I guess that that one shot was okay. Like they told me, they next play will take care of the whole game.”

No. 23 – Sean Kilpatrick, G
“It’s going to be tough. Especially when they playing so close on the league like that and they main scorer is here. The best thing to do when it’s times like that is to get easy chipping plays like backdoors and just trying to beat them with our speed. We can get the ball out as fast as anybody in the nation. Then just get up the court and get layups because we have those type of players. If we’re able to do that every game, then it’s going to be very hard to stop us.”

On not being able to do that in the final:
“Every team is going to adjust, they adjusted to the way everything was going. Once they adjusted, it was our time to adjust to their defense. Down the stretch, we also played defense. They only got the ball on the rim like one time, and the rest was just steals and blocks. That was a big key to the win.”

On being called the best defense in the country:
“I believe it. We have great coaches like [Anthony Grant] saying that we’re the best defensive team in country and we haven’t even scratched the (surface) yet. I wonder how it’s going to be when we do get there.”

No. 44 – JaQuon Parker, G

On being called the best defense in the country:
“It makes me feel good. We go to practice and all, and we work real hard on defensive drills. For us guarding each other, it’s going to be pretty hard in practice. We should be a good defensive team.”

On keeping the team in the game during stretches:
“I just play.  The ball came away and you've got open drive or open shot, you just take it. That’s how I always do it. Whenever you don’t take a shot, that’s when the other players are going to get on you. So if you've got a wide-open shot, and you think you can make it, just go for it.”

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant
Opening statement:

“Give Cincinnati credit today. They’ve got a very good basketball team and they play extremely hard. Obviously, for that game to come down to that last shot. I’m proud of the effort that our guys gave tonight, but we just came up short.”

On UC’s opening 17-4 run:
“We knew coming in that their defense coming in was outstanding and that they were going to apply pressure, but we just didn’t do a very good job handling it. They got some turnovers that I think led to 10 of their first 16 points were off of turnovers. So I told our guys that we just needed to settle down and that it was going to be a 40-minute game and that we would have some opportunities if we could take care of the ball. And we did that. We were able to chip at the lead and Releford made a big shot at the end of the half to put it to a two or three possession game going into the half. We felt like if we came out of the half and took care of some of the turnovers, rebounded the ball and got quality shots that we’d have a chance. And like I said we did that. There are just some things down the stretch that we have to get better at as a team. We’re a young basketball team right now and this is a great learning opportunity for us and hopefully it will make us better.”

On what he expected on Cincinnati’s last possession:
“I thought that that was my fault because they put basically five guards or four guards and a forward in the game so I figured what they would do was look to Parker or Wright there at the end. I thought we contested the shot, but he’s a hell of a player. He made a big-time shot and he won the game for them.”

On not being able to stretch the lead to a two possession game once they got the lead with 7:05 left:
“I thought it was critical. We had good looks. I thought they might have blocked or altered some shots down the stretch and then we had opportunities and we turned it over. We had a two-on-one that I think we threw out of bounds and the possession before that was a play that we should have made that we didn’t make. Credit their defense, they have great length and they’re able to make up for their mistakes with their athleticism. They just did a good job with making it difficult for us to find the creases and do what we wanted to do.”

On what he likes about Coach Cronin’s team:
“I have a lot of respect for Mick. I think he does a great job with this team. When you look at the program that he’s been able to build since he’s been here I think he’s got his footprints and his staple on the program. I also think when you look at it they’re the best defensive team in the country right now with what they’ve done and they’re an explosive basketball team. He’s got a deep basketball team and I think they’re going to be really, really good. They all buy into what he’s telling them they need to do. They play extremely hard and they seem to play for one another and enjoy competing together. That’s always the mark of a good team, a well-coached team.”