“Well we feel very good right now, not real good about the way we played the last couple of minutes or really the second half. We had some silly turnovers and missed opportunities there but you’ve got to give Pittsburgh credit, they’re a tough bunch. Jamie (Dixon) does a great job with his guys and they made plays down the stretch. There was some weird stuff going on out there. It was a three-point game and thought it was our ball and the officials reviewed it and saw that they had made a mistake and gave it back to them. We just never could seem to get a grasp of everything. Then we felt like we had it, Jackson (Simmons) had a hold of the ball and he was standing out of bounds so it’s there ball again and then I felt like I was in the ’72 Olympics.
"James Michael (McAdoo) and Marcus (Paige), 37 and 38 minutes, I hate that part but James Michael with 24 and 12 and Marcus five for six from the three-point line. We’ve got to get some other guys to step up and make shots, that’s the bottom line. Other guys have to step up and help us. It’s a big win over a very good basketball team and glad I don’t have to go to Pittsburgh this year because they’re awfully good. We made some big plays, Marcus made some big three’s in the second half. Every time they’d make a little run, we’d make a couple of baskets ourselves until the very end there.”
Did you see Brice Johnson emerging offensively on this team?
“Yeah, but the whole run started when he didn’t front the low post and then they threw it in there to him and he got it and turned around and laid it up and we complicated things by fouling him. You’ve got to be able to play on both ends of the court but Brice is getting better. Those five blocked shots, those were huge. In fact, I thought it might be the key play of the game if we’d come up with the ball but instead they call the foul on James Michael.
"Not only did we not get the ball, but also we foul them and put them on the free throw line. That could’ve been the biggest play of the game. He’s really doing some good things for us. I was concerned, I wanted him to make at least one of those free throws there at the end, there’s no question about that. We’ve got to get a lot of guys, a lot of guys have to step up.”
Did you feel like your team gets enough credit defensively?
“I think we’re getting better but I try to look back at the end of the season and evaluate at that time because it’s a process that we go through. My goodness, we work so hard every day on trying to be better defensively and trying to box out. I feel like we get outrebounded every game and then I look and we have a few more rebounds. We are getting better defensively. I think Brice’s blocked shots were big for us. Desmond (Huber) is by far the best defender for position and can block some shots too. Kennedy (Meeks) can score inside but everybody’s got some big time strength and weaknesses up front.
"We’re not going to have anybody as complete as we’d like them to be but it’s all about the team defense. I think there was one key possession where James Michael just got off in the lane and helped and we ended up coming up with the basketball. Two times we over gambled, one time was J.P. (Tokoto) and one time was James Michael. When we do that down the stretch, that makes me feel like we’re not very good defensively so we’ve got to stop that.”
Is McAdoo finally playing with the type of consistency level you expect throughout the entire game?
“It’s a work in progress. Every day he tries to get better. He’s much more under control. He got one ball on the break when he went flying down on the right side and he had no prayer of making that shot. You’ve got to get under control and I was praying like crazy. I’m good with a quick prayer. He is getting so much more under control but the best thing to me is not only 24 points, but 12 rebounds and seven of them on the offensive end with just one turnover.”
Is this team as much of a work in progress at this point in the season as you can remember?
“I can understand the question, it’s a good question. I said in the preseason I thought our team would get better and better as the season went along. We had a lot of adversities and things that we didn’t expect going to happen, happen and so they had to regroup a little bit. I’m telling you we went hard yesterday in practice, we went hard Thursday in practice, we’re going to go hard tomorrow in practice, we’re just going to go shorter.
"The kids really are trying to get better and they’re buying in to the whole thing about the sense of urgency and I think that really helps us. There was one loose ball and Brice dove for the ball—he didn’t trip he really actually dove for it—and I think it ended up where we get possession. They’re buying in and we’ve got to do it a little bit more every day.”
Comments on playing four games in eight days:
“Well it’s two things, one if we work our tails off in practice and play as hard as we can play in games and you’ve got four in eight days then that might be a load. I’m telling them it’s no problem. They’re 18, 19, 20 years old so you shouldn’t get tired. The other thing is what I’m going to do is cut back practices a little bit and try to get their legs back there. It’s what it is. It’s the schedule we have to play and we’ll show up and we’re sure as the dickens not going to worry about it. We’re not going to make any excuses.”