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Listen to Audio (10:43)
Opening remarks -
It was a fantastic second half for us. I’ve told this team many times that we’ve got to build our identity on the defensive end of the floor. I had told them about a Kansas team I had a number of years ago that shot 29 percent on the road and won the game because we held the other team to 21%. I asked them at halftime if they were just trying to challenge me and check, because we shot 29% in the first half ourselves. I told them that if we move a little bit better, not just have on guy trying to go and the other four watching him, that I thought our offense would get better. I thought we’d make more shots because we are good shooters. That’s what happened in the second half. We got it inside more in the second half and did a better job. We continued to play better defensively in the second half as well.
Tyler had a heck of a game. That’s a lot of pressure on a youngster to come back home and have half the town of Poplar Bluff here. It was a heck of a game for Tyler, 15 points and 13 rebounds. They really devoted their defense to him. You saw many times they’d have two and sometimes three guys around him. He did a heck of a job. The other big push for us was Danny Green. He and I had a meeting this week, and I’d like to remember what I said to him so I can have a meeting with every player. Danny came up big and made a bunch of shots on a night when Wayne was really struggling.
I want to say something about the crowd. I thought when they introduced Tyler, there probably were a few boos, but there was some great cheering. You just watched one of the great youngsters of all time answer questions on a day that was filled with a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. It is good to bring kids back so people who haven’t seen Tyler perform can do that.
On the difference in SLU this year and last year -
They’re much better. Let’s be honest. In that second half, we got it going pretty good. They missed some shots that they would normally make. Brad has done a good job. Not too many people have played four true road games, not if you’re in the top 100. They got two wins on the road, and they’re a team that’s going to be reckoned with in the conference and, at the end of the season, has a chance to keep playing.
On playing in front of so many friends and family -
Before the game, I saw my grandma as I was walking to the bus. I didn’t get a chance to see any other family and friends. I wasn’t trying to get caught up in things outside the game. I told them I would see them after the game. I did see my brothers before the game. I talked to them when I first got here. It was great to see a lot of my family and friends at the game. A lot of people that watched me in high school got a chance to see me in college, which is great for them.
On added pressure in this game -
I did feel more pressure than usual because I wanted to impress a lot of my close friends and family who may not get a chance to see us play in Chapel Hill. I did feel a little added pressure.
On Ian Vouyoukas -
He’s a different type of player than I’ve faced. He’s one of those guys that you can’t give an angle. He’s European player who is skilled and is very crafty. That’s something different than I’m used to guarding. It was difficult.