Postgame Quotes - Cincinnati vs. Middle Tennessee State

Dec. 21, 2013

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Middle Tennessee vs. Cincinnati
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin
On the relief of scoring 48 points in the second half:
“It felt good to be back home at least. It has been a long journey with the past three games that we have been away, but it felt good in the second half to really get our legs back under us and really get used to the rims again. Because playing in the Garden is totally different with the scenery and everything. It is a little bit harder to shoot. We had to adjust quickly today to the rims (in Fifth Third Arena) because we are used to practicing in the practice gym. It was a good adjustment.”

On transition scoring:
“That is who we are. We like getting out in transition and really attacking the basket. That is something that we thrive on. If we can get a lot of deflections and a lot of steals then that can ignite our fast breaks. That is something that we wanted to do. The score was a little bit too close heading into the second half. We were trying our hardest to stop them on the defensive end and get out and run.”

On passing Louis Banks (1,644 points) for eighth place on the all-time scoring list:
“No, I don’t (pay attention to it). I pay attention to what is going on in the locker room and on the court. The accolades don’t really matter to me because if it weren’t from my teammates, I wouldn’t be getting up there. I don’t pay that any attention, I just focus on winning and defense. That is something that Coach (Cronin) preaches to us day after day. If you can defend and rebound against the top teams in the country, then that is something that can help you win. That is all I really focus on.”

On being the No. 1 target for opposing teams defensively:
“I am used to it and I am aware of it, but at the end of the day, the team is more than one player. There are 12 of us on this roster and that is something that a lot of teams are going to have to realize. I am not the only one you need to be worried about. You’ve got Justin (Jackson). Our whole team can score. I am not the only scorer that is here, so I pay that no attention at all. I worry about getting everyone else involved and worry about winning. That is what I worry about the most. Once the other teams see everyone else hitting and scoring, then of course they will start laying back on me and that is when I will take my chances. I really just let the game come to me and let everyone else do their thing.”

On how good the team can be with consistency on offense and defense:
“The sky is the limit with that. We know how talented we are as a group and we know how far we can go, but there is still a long journey ahead of us. That is something we are going to have to continue to keep practicing on and worry about the little details that come into play – like diving on the floor, getting deflections and most importantly rebounding. That is something that we have to keep doing. We know we are a small team and if we can continue to keep rebounding like this and out-rebounding teams, we have a good chance.”

#5 Justin Jackson, F
On what was wrong with his shoe in the second half:
“It busted open. I stopped and I thought ‘is my foot out?’ I looked down and my big toe was out of my shoe. I was like ‘this is a problem’. So I had to change shoes. That’s never happened to me before.”

On the relief of scoring 48 points in the second half:
“We are more of a second half team than a first half team. I can’t tell you why, it just is what it is. Since I have been here, we have always played harder in the second half. It definitely was (a relief). We got our motor going in the second half.”

On the second half performance of Shaquille Thomas:
“Shaq counts in many, many ways. He can play defense and is 6-foot-7, playing the two and the three. Not too many guys in college are playing the two and the three at 6-7. And he can move. Shaq can bring a lot to the table. What we saw in the second half is what we are used to and what we expect out of Shaq.”

On the reason for the inconsistency on offense:
“We have a whole new team, basically. We have five freshmen and they are in the rotation. That is a big thing. Going from a high school level to a college level is a really big change. It is a different atmosphere and a different speed and everything. Coming in on day one, we have a team full of freshmen. It really is a learning period and you have to learn on the jump. Which is what we are doing.”

Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis
On having to try to grind this game out:
"It was a step up in class. We have some guys now that kind of do okay at that level, but not when we step up to a national level. Cincinnati is a national level. They are a really good, physical team. I was really proud of our team the first 20 minutes. We didn't start the game the right way. We didn't have our mindset right, we weren't physcial. Jacquez picked up two quick fouls. I was really proud of our team. We hung in there. We were tied at the half. In the second half, give Cincinnati a lot of credit. They started making shots. They played down hill and, obviously, we had some turnovers. Give Cincinnati all the credit."

On Tweety Knight getting a lot of rebounds:
"He really played with a lot of energy and a lot of physcialness. He is still struggling scoring, going 1-7, and six turnovers, but I thought his rebounding was great."

On Kerry Hammonds performance:
"We need some shot-making ability. It was good to see Kerry read some screens well today. He looked good shooting the ball and that is just what Kerry does. He is not a real slasher or driver, but he is good on pullups and is a real good spot-up shooter. I think five days off will help his health too."

On how tough Jackson made it difficult on the offensive end:
"Jackson is a really good player. He is a four-year starter. He has a lot of leadership. He got a double-double tonight. He has been to three NCAA tournaments. Really it is Kilpatrick and Jackson that make those guys go. They both played like big players today."