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Listen to Audio (6:58)
Opening remarks -
The bottom line is we’re more gifted anyway, and then when you get to a point that they don’t have their two leading scorers in the game, it’s really difficult for Rex [Walters’] club to have much intensity. But I loved our intensity in the first half. I loved our attention to detail, and I loved just about everything we did. We started building on some defensive play in the game on Saturday against [UNC-]Asheville, and I think our youngsters wanted to try and build on that today, and I think we did. [Florida Atlantic] had a difficult time completing passes and getting looks at the basket at all in the first half. It’s hard to maintain that in the second half, but we also got some good work in, because we played zone basically for the first time all year. I think that will help us in the long run as well. We didn’t play it very well, but I think it’s getting the experience of that. At halftime I think we had seven guys already in double figure minutes. I like when you look down there and the starter who had the most minutes had 22 minutes. So that means a lot of guys got some extra time as well.
It’s one of those things you hate, because I look down to the bench and see Rex standing there coming to me and I told him, ‘I know it’s hard, but try to be positive.’ You guys have no idea what it’s like to coach a youngster who gave you every ounce of his heart, body and soul, and then to see him down on the other end of the bench. He didn’t have the weapons we had. That youngster is going to be a great college coach, and he was a great college player. I’m where I am today because of Rex Walters and some of the other guys. I felt sorry for him, but at the same time, he doesn’t like that because he’s as competitive as you can possibly be. Their leading scorer from last year just got eligible today, and then two leading scorers from this year didn’t get to play, so he didn’t have enough weapons.
On when to substitute in games like this one -
The one thing I wanted to try to see was if we could get a couple of possessions in the zone with the starters still in there. Then I told the staff once we got to the 10-minute mark, I knew none of those guys would get back in the game. I left Ty [Lawson] and Wayne [Ellington] in, for example, eight straight minutes and didn’t take them out. I would have taken Tyler [Hansbrough] out if he had given me the tired signal. You still want to get some things that you can work on. I think we did that. Playing the point was better with that first group in than it was with the last group, because that first group has had more time to work on it in practice. Again, I look down and see that four fo the five starters played less than 20 minutes. I like that part. It was good for Danny [Green] to get that many minutes. I think he didn’t have his legs there at the end because he had a couple of open shots that I think he would normally make. Wes [Miller] made one and the other two misses were right on line and maybe just another bounce or step and that might have been good.
On the defensive progress -
First of all we have to understand we are more gifted than the other two opponents we’ve played since exams. I think the idea is that the guys are moving together more, and when you’re on the ball, you’re supposed to be pressing. When you’re one pass away, you’re supposed to be denying. And when you’re more than one pass you’re supposed to be helping. I think that’s what we did Saturday and definitely during stretches in the game tonight. Hopefully we’ll continue doing that and be able to do that when the other opponent is similar to us as opposed to someone who’s not as gifted.