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Opening Statement: “That was a really good basketball game. They are a really well-coached, disciplined team. That could be a first round NCAA game tonight. They almost did that last year and they returned everyone. It’s one of the oldest teams and that’s what we’re facing a little bit in these first three games … we faced veteran teams in different styles. This one with five guards at most of the time, you just have five handlers. They take you far into the shot clock, but they’re disciplined deep into the shot clock. That doesn’t happen with many teams. In the first half, obviously we had a lot of adversity with Wendell [Moore Jr.] getting hurt on the first play. I thought it scared us and knocked us back and then they scared us by how hard they played. We collected ourselves and I thought in the last 32 minutes of the game, we played great defense … not good defense. In the second half, we didn’t give up a back door or a three. In the first half, we gave up more offensive rebounds than they’ve had in a game in the last two years. They’re not a big offensive rebounding team but with our team, you play defense for 25 seconds and a shot is taken, we clamored around the bucket and the rebounds went over us instead of getting an umbrella around. They got a second shot and now you’re playing defense for another 20-25 seconds. Again, they’re not holding the ball … they’re working. They’re good and he’s a good coach. These guys know how to play basketball. Obviously, Wendell coming back was huge. It was a game where we couldn’t play our bigs. Joey [Baker] had one of his best games. He hits three 3s and he doesn’t hit three 3s in a game where we win 82-60. He hits 3s when it’s a four-point lead. There’s a lot of pressure and that’s big. He played over 30 minutes. I thought Jeremy [Roach] played an outstanding game and really I thought our whole team did. We got tired and therefore Jaylen Blakes’ minutes in the second half were big coming in for Trevor [Keels]. Theo [John] really gave us a few good minutes especially when guarding the guard but also running some screens to get us open. It was like improvisation in what we were running. Our guys adjusted really well to it. I’m proud of our guys … we beat a really good basketball team.”

On going with a small lineup: “We weren’t able to see what a bigger lineup did with Wendell there. It’s not like our big guys weren’t playing well but we didn’t have enough room to operate. We decided about 10 minutes in to forget it … we have to do something different. That’s good in your third game of the season, to play in this type of game is excellent for us. I didn’t feel that way when we had a four-point lead and they had the ball but it feels a lot better now.”

On helping a young team make adjustments on the fly: “They’re good listeners. We always give them a little feedback from the night before and we were in our practice facility and Chris Carrawell gave the scouting report in our theater. We spent over an hour walking through their offense and a little bit about what we were going to do offensively. They pay attention and they take notes. They’re a good group. They’re learning to do that with every game. That’s one of the reasons we set this up like we did … it’s like intense training. I’m pleased with them. We have a good group of kids who want to do the right thing and do it together.”

On the biggest takeaway from this weekend: “The experience of playing against older teams that are going to be ahead of us as far as their ability to work together because they’ve worked together. In the military, you call it ‘on the job training’. No matter what you would do in the classroom or in practice, there’s nothing like on the job training. I’m really glad that the other two teams came to this. I thought they were all good games. Campbell won a one-point game … the Army [West Point] and Hartford game this afternoon was an exciting game with more points than this game. It was good basketball.” 


On tonight’s game: “Campbell is definitely a tough team, an older team. I think they returned about three seniors, so it was definitely probably one of the oldest teams we’ll play. Tough, physical. We just competed with them the whole game, it was a back-and-forth game, but at the end of the game we just had to get a couple more stops and get some scores that kind of separated us.”

On how playing this type of game helps the team moving forward: “Definitely. Not every game is going to be the same, every game is going to present different challenges so I mean, the adversity we faced in this game is going to help us throughout the whole season.” 


On the team’s defense the past three games: “Our defense is something we really hang our hats on. I think first, our defense starts everything. Our defense starts our offense, it gives us energy. Guys come off the bench and play really good defense and that translates to the offensive end. It’s something we’ve really taken pride in, being one of the best defensive teams in the country and I think we’ve done a good job in these first three games.”

On cleaning up the rebounding in the second half: “I think that was as important as anything because they’re already an offense that runs 25, 26 seconds off the shot clock and then you give them an offensive rebound and that’s another 20 seconds you’ve got to play defense. So really instead of 25 seconds on defense, we’re playing 45, 50 seconds and it wasn’t really doing anything except tiring us out defensively. In the second half we cleaned it up and were able to get rebounds, get out in transition and really just play how we play.” 



On his off season preparation to prepare him for games like tonight: “I stayed back in May, June, July, just working out with our coaches, our strength and conditioning team and just trusted my work. I knew it always pays off so, during the season that’s what I’m going to fall back on. Those summer months, just grinding, hopefully it takes care of us.”

On Wendell going down early: “It wasn’t a good feeling, for sure. Just not really knowing what happened and seeing him go down like that. As a team, I think we could all feel a little shook up about it. So, having him come back out there – he’s a tough guy, he’ll do anything to win – it just gave us another lift so, I’m happy he’s okay.”