Cincinnati-Xavier Postgame Quotes

Dec. 19, 2012

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Cincinnati Players

Mick Cronin, Head Coach

Opening Statement
“Obviously, it’s good to get a win. Rather win than lose to quote a great past coach of this game. I think Xavier gave a valiant effort. Obviously, they had some issues they were dealing with and struggling against our pressure. I’m not sure what was going on, but I knew they were missing some guards out there at one point. I’m proud of our guys and our effort. Our pressure defense was the difference in the game. Obviously, our offense in the first half was about as bad as it’s been since I’ve been the coach at Cincinnati. I was highly embarrassed at half time. We did a better job of passing the ball and taking care of the ball. We only had four turnovers in the second half. We did a much better job at the point with leadership from Cashmere Wright. Just a much better job of getting each other open and played more team basketball.”

On Xavier Defense
“We did too much one-on-one in the first half and early attacking of Xavier defense.  They are too well coached of a team. You won’t throw one pass, dribble down the lane and shoot against Xavier. It just won’t happen. They have one of the best interior defenses. With their points in the paint, they are one of the top 20 teams in the country, and they usually are every year. We made it a game in the first half with our lack of patience and our ineptitude on the offensive end.”

On Being Offensively Tough
“We have to get to a point where we are as offensively tough as we are defensively. We were there last year, which is why we beat more ranked teams than anyone in America.,You can see where my mind is at. We are trying to compete for a BIG EAST championship and we will have to be much more efficient offensively to do that. Like I said, I would rather win than lose. I’m proud of the effort. Anytime you get 47 rebounds and 20 of them are offensive- you have to be proud of our guys.”

On Being Down Two at Halftime
“I always talk to our guys about you can’t let your offensive struggles effect your defense. If you do that, you will get blown out, especially if you are on the road. We open the BIG EAST at Pitt and if we struggle in the first half on offense and left that effect our defense, we will get blown out. We did a good job of not letting our missed lay-ups and turnovers affect us. We only gave up 24 points. Although, they did shoot 39% on us in the first half, which is a little high, but our average is better than that. For the most part our defense held us in there.”

On The Team’s Depth
“I would have liked to get more out of Jermaine, GeLawn and Shaq Thomas. Titus Rubles gave us nine rebounds. That is two straight games that he is our leading rebounder. His defense, tracking down loose balls, and along with his rebounds, he had seven of our 41 deflections. We got a lot out of him. I thought David gave us quality minutes too. I didn’t get a chance to get him back in there. When he was in there in the second half, is when we really pulled away. Our athleticism was a big factor in the game. That has to be our calling card.”

On The Atmosphere
“I thought it was great, off the charts, especially with no preparation. We have never done this before. You can adjust ticket prices and market the game differently. What I hear all the time after last season’s incident, ‘are you going to play. You have to play Mick, it is the city’s game.’ If it is the city’s game we need to play it in downtown Cincinnati and let both team’s fans come. It shouldn’t be secluded to season ticket holders only and students. I also am a firm believer that what happened last year – anyone that has been around this game – saw it coming for three years. It eliminates the hatred that gets spewed in the on-campus environment. It keeps it positive for everyone. For the first time for this game, I thought it was off the charts. It couldn’t have been any better. If we commit to playing it this way, I think it could only get better playing this way. I have strong feelings about this. I represent a University and my job is on the line. People want this to go back to campus. That’s great. But you aren’t the coach. The people that are a part of this and should see the big picture. It’s about our university and celebrating our city so let’s do it.”

On Sean Kilpatrick
“He does that all the time. He’s the guy that at a game earlier this season, we had a camera man fall during the game, and he went and helped the man up. You come to one of our practices and he is going to walk over, shake your hand, and introduces himself and say nice to meet you.  That’s just who he is. I’m not going to say our guys didn’t want to win and weren’t excited about winning, but he’s that way. He has one of the best personalities and characters than any kid I’ve ever coached. I said this when he redshirted that when he is a junior, we are going to have a great team. When he’s one of the leaders of his team, we will have a great team. When you have a special guy like that, his work ethic and positive attitude, it permeates throughout our team. Francisco Garcia (at Louisville) was the same way. He was always happy, shaking hands, and hugging people. As great of a player he is, he is a way better person. Sometimes you get lucky in recruiting. He went off the charts in the right way. We are lucky to have him.”

On Second Half Momentum
“We are still getting there. To get to where we can really wear people down with onslaught runs, we are still getting to that. We haven’t committed to this style and played it fully for forty minutes. It’s new to this team and part of that is we have to get more out of our bench and I have to play those guys a little bit more. It is hard to keep that onslaught coming when you are playing 35 minutes. I have get those guys down to 29 or 30 minutes in a game like this to keep that going.”

On Converting Offensively After Pressure
“They understand. The problem is how we are trying to go about scoring - too much one-on-one. We have to move the ball more and trust our teammates more. You have to realize that you will have to break the defense down with teams that are really well coached at our level – like Xavier. I know they are shorthanded or whatever, but they are as well coached as any team we will play against this year. I told them that they will be standing in the paint. We are going to have to get the ball reversed and get extra passes. It’s something we have to continue to work on and that is what they pay me for.”

On Avoiding the Crosstown Funk
“My post game talk was about what we need to do to improve. We out-athleted them today. We executed in the second half pretty well. It isn’t a game that is indicative of what we are going to have to deal with a team at full strength such as a New Mexico State or Pitt. Wright State has been on a roll. I don’t know if they played tonight, but they have been on a roll. Billy (Donlon) has done a great job. You can’t think that this is great and we won this game. I’m not concerned about that with this team."

On Intensity Being Different at Off Campus Site
I think the hatred is. This is a positive environment for both fans. But as far as our preparation, it was good that we only had a few days. My concern is going forward. No radio guy is going to try to induce a fight this year. As time goes, it will end up back like that. I went to LaSalle, and we never played against a Colerain because of a previous fight. I grew up a nine iron from Colerain High School, went to LaSalle, and I never played against Colerain. It has to be positive. If it isn’t positive, what’s the point? It has to be positive, and it was great this year. I don’t know how anyone could say that during the introductions that it wasn’t off the charts. It was off the charts. It reminded me of the Final Four, for the people that were there, when Louisville played Kentucky. Somehow they got all the tickets, Kansas and Ohio State didn’t seem to have any. When both teams came out and did introductions, it was the way it should be.” 

No. 1, Guard, Cashmere Wright

On if the team felt fortunate to only be down by two at halftime:
“We did, but you know, it all comes from just playing hard. In a game like this, you never know. The rankings don’t matter, you never know who is actually going to come out on top. They came out fighting hard and we came out flat. They caught us off guard. They just were doing everything they could to stay in the lead and we couldn’t get it back.”

On when the team suffers from the jitters:
“I think the jitters start coming mainly when we start missing shots. You know, before the game we were ready, then when you start missing shots their crowd starts going wild. It’s like we have to refocus and get ourselves geared up to how we have to play and that’s what we did in the second half.”

On the benefit of UC’s depth:
“That’s what we talk about everyday. We feel that we’re two deep at every position and we won’t miss a beat. So we feel like the next person to step in can play just as hard as the person who started.”

On the atmosphere at US Bank Arena:
“I loved it, personally. You get two sides. So when they scored, their crowd went crazy. Then when we scored, our crowd went crazy. And it kept going back and forth. It was the first time this happened. It was a great experience for me.”

On how he felt winning his second Crosstown matchup in five years:
“I didn’t even think about it. This is my last game – my last UC/Xavier game. Coming in at halftime, my whole mind state was for Coach. We can’t leave here with a loss. Not like that. Not not playing hard and actually giving them the game. We felt like we just had to get control of the game and push the tempo to get it back our way.”

No. 23, Guard, Sean Kilpatrick

On what the team talked about during halftime:
“Defensively, we were playing so flat and that’s something that we’re not really used to. So we just had to keep attacking them on the defensive end. We knew that shots were going to end up falling in the end because that’s kind of - for the last two games - that has been happening for us. In the first half, shots haven’t been falling, then the second half it’ll catch up with our defense. And so we did a great job in the second half talking about what kind of defensive strategies we would start using.”

On why they were flat in the first half:
“Everyone was just getting the jitters out mostly. It was really one pass and then just a shot. But for the most part, we weren’t taking are time and we weren’t patient through the offense.”

On attacking the basket more in the second half:
“[Cash] has been finding me. So when I see lanes, I’ve just started driving and whatever happened, it happened. They were cutting certain angles off so my spin move was working a little bit. I was just attacking and being aggressive.”

On play tough defense when shots aren’t falling:
“Emotionally, we just have to stick together, defensive wise. Because we know that every shot isn’t going to fall for us and we’re still a work in progress when it comes to the offense. Due to the fact that, like I said, shots weren’t falling, we were able to stay with it defensively because that’s who we are. We are a defensive team. Everyone on our team is a good scorer, but there’s not a lot of people that can stay with us defensive wise.”

On if he like pressing in the backcourt:
“Yeah, I mean I know if I wanted to cut the other defender off, I've got somebody as fast as [Cashmere] to help me defend them. And with his quick hands it’s unreal. Our deflection chart today – our goal every game is to get 50 – tonight we got 41. But for us to play the way we did in the first half and then to come out with the firepower in the second half was great.”

On hugging Cincinnati president Dr. Santa J. Ono following the win and the satisfaction he feels because of it:
“Our president and our school, the students and everything, they’re everything to us. They make the games. They’re the reason we go so hard everyday. We don’t only do it for ourselves and our teammates and the coaches. We do it for the school as well. That’s the main thing that we do. Coach always preaches to us to have good character, always stay within [ourselves] and to always make sure that everyone loves [us]. Because at the end of the day, that’s all you have. That’s all you have really." 

Xavier Head Coach Chris Mack

Opening statement:
“Well certainly a tale of two halves. We were who we wanted to be in the first half. I thought we did a really good job of keeping the floor crowded outside of the first six or seven minutes when I think they had eight or nine offensive rebounds.  We did a much better job the last twelve/thirteen minutes of the first half of eliminating them to one shot and that’s what you have to do against Cincinnati. So we go into half time feeling good about where we were and what we needed to do in the second half and then UC really showed up with their defensive pressure. They are an extremely athletic, physical team they really rattled us early on in the second half with their pressure, we knew it was coming and we made some ill-advised decisions and we made some lazy passes that I thought really swung the momentum to their favor.  When we got to the point where they became poised that’s the point when we were dealing with guys out of position; Justin Martin having four fouls and not being a factor in the game, Semaj at the end of the bench with cramps, Dee coming out with cramps, guys playing different positions. Mick said it before the game you have to give his team a lot of credit, they are a very deep team. I looked at our Athletic Director at half time and said hey you look at the depth that they talk about, they had 24 bench minutes, and we had 20 bench minutes. Something certainly happened at halftime because the depth really showed itself in the second half, both with their pressure and then as I told our guys we have to control the controllables and that is you have to block out. You may be playing out of position, you may turn the ball over, but you have to block out when the shot goes up and you’re not going to win any games when you give up 20 offensive rebounds and that’s the lesson that we have to learn regardless of the opponent.”

On keeping a close eye on cramping:
“Well we need to be and I’m not a doctor but I really feel like its not high school anymore, there are a lot of things that go into being a big time Division I college basketball player. The first of which, you have to take care of your body. You know Maj is not the average freshman because he is playing a lot more minutes, much more is expected on both ends of the floor so you have to take care of yourself with how you eat and how you hydrate days leading up to the game. You know the amount of sleep that you get and obviously that’s a problem with Semaj. I don’t feel like that’s been a problem with Dee. I thought that the building was a little bit warm but when I looked down I didn’t see any Bearcats cramping up so we have to fix our own problems.”

On the press:
“I think that there is always two ways to look at it.  We always feel like if you press us and we break it, attack and score you are just wearing yourselves down. But you know like anything it’s a battle. Its who comes out on top and for the first twenty minutes we handled it fairly well. In the second half we came unglued and unfortunately when we finally regained that poise that I had talked about we had fours and fives bringing the ball up the floor versus ones and twos. But you know, give UC a lot of credit in that regard.”

On knowing it was coming:
“Well we felt like it was happening in the first half but we did a much better job, you know you could see Mick over there pointing to who he wanted to run and jump. Our guys were recognizing it, they were flashing to the ball. In the second half rather than flashing hard and making crisp passes, we just wanted to settle for little lazy ones and you know UC has closing speed like NFL defensive backs do and they got a couple hands on the ball and it results in lay-ups.”

On atmosphere at US Bank Arena:
“Well I knew it would be played in a clean manner.  The atmosphere it was great, seemed to me like both teams were very well represented but down the stretch I felt like I was playing an away game.”

On free throw shooting:
“Abysmal. We have been a relatively decent free throw shooting team this year, shooting over 70% but we didn’t make one in the first half we could have extended the lead. We didn’t do much better in the second half. You can’t stay in games with top-ten teams in the country shooting 3-for-14 from the line.”

On Sean Kilpatrick:
“He’s a really good player but you know a guy that shoots 27 shots he should score 25 points.  He’s really good and we knew that on tape but we felt like we wanted to make him drive the ball rather than shoot rhythm threes and catch-and-shoots. I thought again, we did that for a while but they are a really good team and he’s a veteran guy.” 

Xavier Player Quotes

No. 4, Forward, Travis Taylor

On what happened at the start of the second half:
“At the beginning of the second half we just had a lot of turnovers. We weren’t as strong with the ball. They run a good trap and press so there was just a lot of turnovers and we just weren’t strong with the ball. That’s basically what happened.”

On Cincinnati’s defensive intensity throughout the game:
“Throughout the game sometimes it was more intense and other times it was not as intense. We changed it up towards the end of the game to get passed it, but at the beginning of the game it just hit us really quick.”

On what he takes away from a game like tonights:
“First of all as a senior on the team I take away from this game that you just have to be stronger with the ball down the stretch. You just have to stay on top of your game down the stretch. Secondly, you can’t lose focus. You just have to keep your teammates up. It’s a growing process. Each game and each day you just have to keep growing and get better and better.”

On whether or not Cincinnati’s defensive pressure was as they expected:
“They just got a couple of steals. We weren’t breaking the press like we were supposed to.”

No. 12, Guard, Brad Redford

On losing three starters to injury (cramps) and foul trouble:
“To start the second half as Travis said we did a poor job of taking care of the ball. Then Dee and Semaj both cramped up and they’re our two main ball handlers and then J-Mart picking up his fourth foul left us with a pretty short bench. We played the best we could during those minutes that they were out of the game, but we didn’t do a good enough job.”

On Xavier’s uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting:
“We’ve been shooting free throws really well all season and for whatever reason tonight they just weren’t falling. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well either.”

On the missed opportunities to score from the line:
“I think in the first half we were zero for six from the line and we were up two going into the half and those are big points especially in a game like this when you’re struggling from three-point range and struggling to get any easy buckets when you get to the line you have to step up and make them.” 

On Cincinnati’s defensive play:
“It was just aggressive. They feel comfortable in their system and once they get one turnover it seemed like they just kept coming harder and harder. We just didn’t do a good enough job taking care of the ball. Really it’s as simple as that. They’re tough defensively and they’re just a good team. There’s a reason that they haven’t lost a game all year. ”

On Xavier’s first half play:
“I thought we played as hard as we possibly could. We held them to 22 points. Really what hurt us the most was just the turnovers, which led to most of their offensive points. “

On playing the game at US Bank Arena:
“Any time you play in this game the fans are always into it. The seats are all filled and everyone is excited for the game. I enjoyed the atmosphere here and it was fun to play in front of the fans on both sides. “

On his thoughts on moving forward with the rivalry after last year:
“Last year’s incident is something that isn’t going to happen again. I think that both of these teams have a lot of respect for each other. I know that we do for UC and what they’ve done over there and the team that they have this year. So yeah it’s good to get last year’s game off of their back and I’m glad that they allowed us to play against each other this year.”