Nov. 13, 2011
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin
“One thing about Alabama State is their kids play really hard. We outmanned them from a size standpoint. I can understand why they went to the NCAA tournament. They competed until the end.
“I think we played as well as we could in the first half. Justin really got us going with some blocked shots and steals. We got the ball moving and made extra passes. One problem is we were 1-of-9 from the three. We were taking open shots, but we couldn’t make them.
“In the second half we weren’t as sharp. We had 10 turnovers, which I addressed in the locker room. Kids were forcing it a little too much inside. Our defense was excellence. I was really happy with Sean Kilpatrick. We had a long talk about not relying on shooting and he has to be a basketball player. He really took it to heart after the NKU game. He almost had a double-double.”
On knowing what buttons to push on Sean Kilpatrick:
“I know him pretty well. He’s a great kid and he’s very competitive. His weakness is he wants to do so well and he puts so much pressure on himself. He’s almost in nervous breakdown mode some times. Being a basketball player isn’t all about shooting and scoring. These guys all have hopes and dreams as players. You have to play the game. Some nights you’ll make shots and sometimes you won’t. You’ll be recognized by your floor game. He slowed down a little bit more tonight, and he got in there and rebounded.”
On team passing:
“We had a team talk on Friday about roles. Guys have hopes and dreams, but No. 1 is to get the win. All No one will recognize you if you aren’t in the top 20. People won’t respect you if you don’t win. We still have a lot of growth in passing. It leaves a lot to be desired. It makes your offense flow so much better. All of the guys did so much better in the first half of making the extra pass. We missed wide open shots.”
On Octavius Ellis
“Since Cheikh went done, it’s given him more opportunity in practice. He’s had to battle in practice. He’s a guy that is raw in regards to having a lack of fundamentals from a coaching standpoint. He’ll admit it right away. Literally, he had to ask what a pivot foot is. That is what you are dealing with. He is a tough kid and highly competitive. That is how I discovered him. I didn’t discover Octavius Ellis
by scoring 20 points. I saw a skinny 6-9 kid who wouldn’t give up and his team was being blown out the opponent. Strength wise he has a ways to go. He’ll never be a bulky guy but he plays tougher than he looks.
On Yancy Gate’s approach:
”Yancy was fine. Offensively, it was an off night for him. They were sending 3-4 people tonight. He would tell you that he would be disappointed in his free throws. He’s been making them. For him to get 15 (points) and 11 (rebounds) and he didn’t have a great night, it is good to get to a point where he gets a double-double and he doesn’t have a great night.”
UC vs. Alabama State Postgame Comments
Cincinnati Player Quotes
Junior guard/forward Sean Kilpatrick
On Coach Cronin demanding more in practice:
“I was just trying to do any and every thing to help the team win. Coach said that if I am one of the ones that does the intangibles then I can be a big factor on this team. That is all I am worried about, I could care less about anything else but winning.”
On not getting the desired 10 rebounds:
“It happens, but I really wasn’t worried about it as long as we won. I was just trying to do pretty much anything just to get there, spin-offs and swims. Seeing people like Yancy (Gates) rebound, I am just trying to get little tactics like that. If a guard is rebounding like that, it is hard to stop that team.”
On being aggressive on offense:
“Coach told me, last practice actually, we had won two games without me even getting a free throw, so I just wanted to start from the free throw line.”
On Coach Cronin trying to make you tougher in practice this week:
“Yeah, especially with him ranting and raving about the other team rebounding. We had seen their film and everything and saw how hard they go, so if you didn’t box out in this game, then you were going to be in for a long night.”
On Coach Cronin knowing how to push you:
“The past three years he has known me better than everybody, so he knows his limits with me and how to get me and how to really get me amped up. He pushes my buttons, but I like it. I’ve got to be effective and if not, when BIG EAST rolls around then, it is going to be trouble.”
Senior forward Yancy Gates
On physically imposing his will on the inside:
“I am just trying to always go. When a shot goes up, even if I’m not in the area, just try to go. You never know where the ball is going to bounce off the rim. If you constantly go, some of them just bounce right to you. I’m just try to always go and keep going.”
On if the game was a good start to the season:
“It was pretty good. We still have to get better on offense. We still only had 65 points. I think to be good, like coach said, we have to get into that 75 to 80 range on a regular basis. We just need to get in practice and work on putting the ball in the hole a little better. Our defense is getting better each game. Our rotation is getting better."
On what may be wrong with the offense:
“I think it is just us getting used to each other, that’s all. We have two different people out there starting this year that are capable of different things. Justin Jackson is more of a driver than Ibrahima Thomas was and SK (Sean Kilpatrick) is more of a pure scorer than (Rashad) Bishop so it is just getting used to each other, finding that rhythm as a team to make offense come easy."
On his thoughts on the young guys:
“I think they are getting better each night. They are learning on the go, playing their minutes hard and just trying to find their role on the team. They are trying hard on defense and hat is all we can really ask of them right now.”
On open shots not falling:
“It definitely is frustrating, especially when you make those shots all week in practice and then you shoot the exact same shot the exact same way you would do in practice and it just rims out or hits the back of the rim. You just try to keep playing and go out on defense and try to get the next stop or try to get that offensive rebound.”
On if getting a double is a goal every game:
“I think it is something I am just supposed to do. If we are going to win, I have to get those double figure rebounds and also score the ball at the same time. It is just me doing my part for the team.”
Alabama State head coach Lewis Jackson
“Well, A very tough game for us tonight. Anytime you come into a Top 25 place to play you really have to do some things well and I thought, in the first half, we didn’t do much of anything very well. We took some bad shots. We forced some shots. We didn’t know when we had open shots.
“Gates just overpowered us throughout the course of the game. I think he’s an outstanding player on both ends of the court, can really do some things offensively and just really dominate the ball game.
“We have to continue to work and improve as a team and I thought tonight we didn’t do a lot of things well. I thought in the second half, we came out and played a little better. We were able to get some things going and just our recognition on the offensive end, we certainly have to improve on, but we have to take our hats off to Cincinnati, they dominated the game from start to finish.”
On how good Cincinnati is this early in the season:
“Well, they’re good. Their guards are tough, strong and athletic. They have big guys around the basket with a lot of size and things like that so I’m sure they’re going to have an outstanding year as they did last year. They’re going to be a team to reckon with in the Big East. They really dominated us in all facets of the game.”
On what he had hoped to do against Cincinnati:
“We wanted to be able to run our offense, to execute, to play defense and rebound the ball. I thought we did a decent job trying to get our bodies on guys, but when you’re giving up 6 or 7 inches and 30 to 40 pounds around the basket it’s difficult. I thought our guys played hard. We didn’t do a lot of things well but we need to just continue to improve game by game, day by day.”
On how UC matches up against Marshall:
“I think both of them are good teams, but Cincinnati has a lot of things going for them. They have a presence inside that can really dominate a ball game. Marshall has some good athletic guys who can run and jump well, just not a dominant guy around the post like Gates.”
On how UC’s guards guarded Alabama State’s guards:
“When you look at the guys size wise, they’re about the same height but UC’s guards were stronger. They knocked our guys off course and stopped us from doing what we wanted to do and made it really difficult for us to get inside. When they attacked the basket, they attacked it with so much aggression that our guards did not fare well in that regard.”