Postgame Quotes - Cincinnati vs. Nebraska

Dec. 28, 2013

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Cincinnati vs. Nebraska
Fifth Third Arena
Postgame Quotes

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin
Opening statement:
“Obviously, I’m always happy to get a win. Give Nebraska credit they made some shots and I thought they put some game pressure on us making nine threes. Obviously, (Ray) Gallegos goes in the first half and (Terran) Petteway in the second half. They really stepped in and knocked in shots for their team, but we were able to withstand that. Anytime a team shoots that kind of number against you, especially 6-for-9 in the second half can cause you problems. But we did a great job with our offensive efficiency in the second half by getting the ball inside and getting to the foul line, not trying to match their three-point shooting. Sean (Kilpatrick) and (Justin) Jackson did a great job of that and we had some guys step up. Different guys gave us contributions. We outrebounded them by 10 in the second half as well and our rebound was not where we are accustomed to or what we expect it would be even at the half. We limited them to two offensive rebounds in second half. Their offensive rebounding is what kept them in the first half, and their three-point shooting kept them around in the second half.”

On their defensive holding Nebraska to a season low in points and field-goal percentage:
“Our goal is to be the best defensive team in the country and guys are buying into that. Every team in team sports has different pieces and parts and is built a certain way and you have to embrace whatever you have to do to have success as a team. Our team with our athletes and our size, although we aren’t huge our guards aren’t either. Ge’Lawn (Guyn) is our smallest guy but he is tough as nails and it allows us to do things defensively to make it tough on other teams. Our formula for success is to try to the best defensive team in the country as well as rebounding and continue to be plus in turnover margin and rebounding margin.”

On if he expects Kevin Johnson to continue to score like he did today as his career goes on:
“Yeah, it is one thing that I am going to show him a lot of. He is going to watch all of Sean’s offensive moves tomorrow to try to teach him that being a scorer is different than being a shooter. He has great quickness and he is very strong and as he learns how to get himself fouled and get himself easy baskets, but Kevin has toughness and there is zero question in my mind. He reminds me of Sean. He is just obviously a lot younger. Kevin is only 18 but he believes in himself and he has great toughness. When you’re as athletic as he is and as tough as he is it is just a matter of when you develop not if. But he was big for us in the first half with Ge’Lawn (Guyn) and Troy (Caupain) in foul trouble.”

On if it was tough to keep Kevin Johnson on the bench most of the second half after how he played in the first half:
“Well, it becomes where do you put him? They had the little guy (Benny Parker) in and I didn’t want Sean (Kilpatrick) to have to bring it up on (Parker) for them. Troy (Caupain) was doing a solid job. But we usually go with the best defensive line up and once we had the lead and we weren’t turning the ball over, I thought we had a good rhythm. I told Ge’Lawn and Shaq (Thomas) we found a pretty good rhythm with Jermaine Sanders and Sean and Troy and the game wasn’t flying up and down. The other guys weren’t playing well and I didn’t want to disrupt our rhythm.”

On what Troy Caupain creates for the team especially in the second half:
“He is a talented guy and he is still trying figure out what he is doing out there and what I want him to do. He has to continue to improve on the defensive end. But he is good with the basketball. He plays with a calm that you can’t teach. Some guys are just born comfortable with the ball and that’s why we recruited him. He can find the open and he is a confident offensive guy. He had a couple great practices the last few days, he had played really well in practice the last two days. We never do this, but we put the starters against the other five yesterday and Troy did a great job of rallying his team. He really carried his team and it was good for him.”    

# 5 Justin Jackson, F
On the differences in the first and second halves:
“In the first half they were really loading the box, so in the second half I saw that they were playing one-on-one so I took advantage of that.”

On his production the past few game:
“I have been comfortable and I have been confident. I have been confident in myself and I know that my team is confident with me. I just do what I do.”

On knowing he can score when he gets the ball down low:
“I know I can. Like I said, I am confident in what I do. I know my team in confident behind me. The sky is the limit when I have the ball because I am not really a five, but I am playing a five. Most fives cannot guard me close to the rim or far from the rim, so I feel it is a win-win for me.”

# 23 Sean Kilpatrick, G
On Making a conscious effort to get to the free throw line:
“It’s really just trying to get my teammates involved. Jack (Justin Jackson) was real hot today, especially down low. He really helped us down there in the second half – he was blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. But it is more that if you are a scorer, you need to try and get things going from the line. That was something I was really focused on. I was just taking the ball to the basket. I know a lot of people who will be guarding me are a lot smaller than I am – by height and weight. So I was shielding them off with my body and they were trying to reach in. A majority of the time that is going to get called as a foul. I was just trying to do it that way.”

On the impact that Kevin Johnson had in the game:
“It was huge. With him working as hard as he does every day in practice, we know what is can do. He is capable of being the type of player that he is. He is a prolific defender and that is something we need from him. And he can actually shoot, so when he is going like that and Ge’Lawn (Guyn) and Troy (Caupain) are struggling and I am struggling like that, it is a huge lift. I am happy when he scores. That is something that we need the most.”

On the first 13 games before conference play:
“The first 13 games are what they are. You are going to have games where you are up and down but now it is to the point where we are heading into conference play and this is something that needs to stay up now. We know the teams we are playing in our conference are great teams. The conference has great coaches and great players. Every night we are going to have a team that will give us their best shot. That is something that we need to keep doing, giving everybody our best shot.”

On being scrappy and forcing turnovers:
“Coach has been harping that ‘you are going to win if you are the team that does the dirty work.’ That is something that we have been trying to implement in practice and it has been carrying over into games. Being able to really get scrappy on defense and get the rebounds that we have been grabbing is something that has been helping out transition play and getting the ball up the floor.”

On Troy Caupain pushing the pace:
“We know he is a tall guard so he gets a lot of rebounds and will push it up the floor. With us running the lanes the way we do and getting fouled, that is something that helps us a lot. There are more than two options now. Basically all of the teams are looking at me and Jack, but they are looking at everyone now because everyone is more aggressive. That is something that we have been implementing in practice – everyone has to be aggressive and show their game. You cannot be timid because now we are about to be in conference play and we need as many scorers as we can have.”

On the 31 bench points:
“It is a huge deal because it helps with their confidence as well. With us going against conference play, our bench knows that it won’t be an easy game but that they can score. It is a lot more game to play and we need them. That is what helped us today the most.”   

# 25 Kevin Johnson, G
On his comfort level in the first half:

“Today was a pretty good day for me, but every day I try to come out here and contribute anyway and in any way I can to help my team win.”

On stepping up when other teammates aren’t making shots:
“We have a lot of great guys, Jack (Justin Jackson) was especially scoring well down low today. It wasn’t that I was trying to score, but I was just attacking lanes when I saw them and being aggressive.”

On playing well against Nebraska, a good Big 10 team:
“It definitely helps. This year has definitely been a learning experience, so to have a good game against Nebraska, a Big Ten school, and contribute to my team the way I did definitely helps my confidence.”

On where he is thus far into his freshman season:
“I feel like I am pretty on pace. I am learning from the older guys, definitely SK (Sean Kilpatrick), playing behind him and going against him in practice every day. I have learned more of the mental part of the game and SK has stuck with me and teaches me every day to play basketball. And Coach Cronin, on and off the court, he is constantly trying to help me become a better basketball player.”

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles

On feelings about the game:
“We didn’t have everybody on the same page. We had a couple of guys with off nights, but we felt like we survived it and put ourselves in a good position. It came down to a few little things. We still gave up too many offensive rebounds even though they are one of the best teams in the country with that. We might have even held them under what their average second chance points usually are, but that is just something they are so good at. I think they had 21. I am not sure what they average per game, but when one-third of their points are second-chance points, that is a tough deal. I think the thing that hurt us the most was when we fouled in transition more than we normally do. We had a couple against Kilpatrick. He was having a tough night, then he ends up at the foul line 17 times and now he has a big night when we held him from 2-13 from the field.”

On having three guys play really well:
“Those guys do a lot of good things. We need balance on this team. It was a tough night. I didn’t think we played in the paint very well with their length and athleticism. It is one of those games that you have to get a little crafty when you get in there. You can’t just take it up and play off one foot. We had some guys trying to play off one foot instead of driving or going for a shot fake. We got Ray (Gallegos) on a few kick outs. I like when Ray is out on the perimeter. I think he was successful from the three tonight because we didn’t have him on the move. We have seen a big percentage difference when he is on the move and when he is not. We weren’t crafty enough down low. Jackson had four blocks and he probably altered another four shots.”

On the problem all year with finishing at the rim:
“We just have to keep working on that. We are maybe one or two lengthy guys away from being where we want to be. In my book, Petteway is probably a two guard and Shavon is probably a three. We have guys going in there that are smaller and mismatched a little bit, but we have to figure it out. That is the bottom line, if we are going to be good, we have to figure it out.”

On Cincinnati pulling away in the second half:
“It was 47-44 in the second half, then they had a basket to crawl in. I think we missed a layup on our end. Then they came in and got a three-point play on us. That put us in a hole. I thought the kids fought hard. They are a really great bunch. We have to figure out how to win these games.”