“Alright, we feel great, there’s no question about that. We survived their early start where they made their first four three’s and after that we were fortunate that they missed a bunch of them. I thought our team the last few minutes of the first half really grew some today. We played with some poise. We had a couple of things going wrong and five guys got together and got it straightened out.
“The last play before the half we were holding it for the last shot, we were going to run a man-to-man play and they switched to zone. Marcus (Paige) calls zone and everybody gets in the right spot and we end up getting a layup. I think that was huge for us. The last five or six minutes we outscored them 7-0 or 9-0 to end the half.
“In the second half, I think our defense was more active, we came up with loose balls, we came up with some turnovers and then all of a sudden we got our break going as well. We’d like to play the perfect game all the time, you can’t do that, but I still thought we did some good things. Very pleased.”
Do you feel like your team is now in a rhythm and playing the way they need to play the rest of the season?
“I never feel like that. I feel like every day we’ve got to play the best we can possibly play or the world’s going to end, so I’m never going to be satisfied. Armageddon is coming around the corner if we don’t play great is the way I look at it. I’ve never been one to look down the schedule and decide which games we can win and which games would be difficult and which games we’d probably lose. We just play as hard as we can play.
“I’ve said before the more you make, the more you make. In golf, the more puts you make the more you make. I’m not saying that I don’t like this but I’m sure as the dickens not going to say we’re going to win the next 26 because we won five games in a row, but I like the way we’re doing some things and I think the kids have gotten more confident and I think that’s a huge part of it.”
What did you like about your defensive play in the last 30 minutes of the game?
“Well there’s no question that the turnovers are a big part of our game because we like to run the ball. In the open court we made some good decisions and I think that led to some good basketball with some open shots around the basket. We still gave them too many things inside. We had a difficult time handling (Garrick) Sherman there for a while. They shoot 50 percent in the second half, you don’t like that, but we shoot 54 so it’s one of those games where the ball was going in the basket. I did, I think we were more active defensively and came up with turnovers.”
Did you feel like your team attacked the ball defensively in an effort to force turnovers?
“A big emphasis for us is to keep the ball in front of you. We say if you have to give them another half step then give them the step. I don’t know if I’d say attacking there but I think everybody else away from the ball was much more active.”
How’d you feel about your team’s shooting down the stretch?
“I thought it was really good, 16-of-21. J.P. (Tokoto) said he’d take all the load for everybody’s misses kind of thing. J.P. was great today, I told him in the locker room that other than the free throws I thought he was great with loose balls and steals and taking the ball the basket. I never get too high or too low about free throws because there’s always another day and we keep working on it everyday. I think James Michael (McAdoo) six for six had to make him feel better. It made his gray-haired old coach feel better and hopefully his mom and dad did saying prayers over there and doing everything. That was good.”
Comments on playing at Notre Dame:
“I’ve been here before. It’s my first game coaching against them as a head coach here. We played Notre Dame in Maui a couple of years ago. I think the ACC the league is really exciting with what’s happening. I’m old school, I still remember when we played everybody twice and there was some beauty to that as well but what we have now is fantastic. The league is only going to get better. I love going to new places. I love going to new places where it’s 75 degrees instead of seven feet of snow though a little bit more. Mike (Brey) does a big time job here and Notre Dame is a fantastic school and we’re ecstatic about them being a part of the ACC.”
Do you think this team is playing better now than it did early in the season during some of the big wins?
“Consistently, yes because we’d have a great game and then we’d have terrible game. I think we’re much more consistent now and I think the kids are much more confident now as I said and believe in what we’re doing. You know but we’ve got some big time games left. I can’t remember who it is we play next but we’ve got some big time games.”
Comments on J.P. Tokoto’s play of late:
“Clark Kellogg would call J.P. a stat sheet stuffer. Last game he has nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and a couple of blocks. He’s a young man who’s getting better and better every day. He’s understanding his game and his strengths and his limitations and everything every single day. He has that athleticism that is off the charts and he’s learning how to use that more every single day. I’m really proud of the way he’s changed some things. He’s as hard-headed as this daggum table sometimes but he’s trying and doing some better things too.”