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"The kids had a lot of high spots there. I need to work with Tyler on his three-point selection. I didn’t tell him this, he’s 7-8, but that may have been the worst three pointer I’ve ever seen anybody take. But he can shoot the basketball. One of these days he’s going to make one, and he might make a second or a third one. But that was not a very good one.
"The first half reminded me of the Gonzaga game last year. We would jump out and have them 12-0, and it was not because of our defense, it was because they were missing shots. Sure enough, Valpo made a great run. I tried to warn them that the game’s not over with. A lot time ago I was coaching a team and we were ahead 22-0, and they had a shot to win the game at the end.
"I’m never extremely impressed or extremely disappointed about the first couple of minutes of games. They were missing those shots, but then they started making some. We started turning it over and taking bad shots. It was down to five at half. We came out in the second half, and it got to 37-37, then all of a sudden we probably played the best basketball of the year for about the next eight or ten minutes. We got some stops on the defensive end, and we made shots. Everything looks a lot better when the ball goes in the hole.
"Danny Green made a couple of threes, Ty made a three in that stretch, and we were getting the ball inside to Tyler. Those kinds of things really help you. You look down and we had a lot of plus moments from a lot of kids. I think Danny and Will Graves particularly, coming off the bench. Will made most of his when the game was not in doubt, but at the same time he made a couple when it was big for us. His first five were good points for us."
On adjusting to the game without Bobby Frasor and Quentin Thomas:
"It’s a little frustrating to lose Bobby to say the least, and then lose Thomas the next day at practice to a sprained ankle. I’m not sure right now whether he’ll be able to play Wednesday or not. We spent the day yesterday working with Marcus at the point. Marc Campbell would have been the next guy to go in if something happened. I kept trying to take Ty out around the TV timeouts to give him a little extra rest. It worked out fine."
On Danny Green’s play when Wayne Ellington struggles:
"Well, Wayne’s been shooting great. Danny’s been stinking it up, but tonight it changed. Danny made one three in three games. Wayne was five for eight or five for six the last game. We need somebody to step up.
"Danny’s been really really good for us all year, hadn’t shot the ball well the last two or three games, but still doing some other good things. I thought he was huge for us. If I had to guess I’d say he probably scored more points in that run than anybody else. Wayne Ellington was two for ten, but I told him last year I would have taken him out if he was shooting like that because his defensive play wasn’t very good. But he’s so much better defensively this year, and that allows me to keep him in. He had six assists and zero turnovers. That allows you to keep a guy in too."
What did you do to pull away after it was 37-37?
I think that was the point that the respect for this team [Valparaiso] was right in our face. We knew this was the toughest team we played so far. We knew they weren’t going to give up. And right when it was 37-37, we weren’t as focused as we needed to be. We were at the point where they were going to get a lot of momentum and go on a run, or we were going to get our act together and play the style of basketball that we know how to play."
On the challenge of keeping focused after pulling out to a big early lead:
"It is difficult, but we have to understand that we’re putting ourselves in that position every time. It’s not that the other team isn’t a good team, but we’re coming out and playing the style of basketball that we know we can play. That’s what catapults our team to victory.
"We’re a tough team. When we play the way we can, we build leads like 19-2, or we score 50 points in 15 minutes. Sometimes I think it surprises this team how good we can be. But we’ve got to come out and play a complete game, not have those moments when we’re letting down and letting other teams in."
Was the key tonight the new point guard?
"[Laughs] No! No. Definitely not."
But talk about that adjustment to playing the point:
"I just had a lot of fun out there. I had a lot of fun in practice, throwing lobs over the backboard, and stuff like that. So it’s been interesting. But no, it’s been fun for me, learning the offense from a new position. Right now, I’m just trying to get coach to put me in at the five. That is the only position I haven’t played, so…just trying to go through the numbers here."
On his comfort and confidence:
"I’ve been playing basketball since I was four. So I hope every time I’m on the court I have confidence. But it’s my home state, my home team, and I just want to be comfortable and contribute in any time I’m given."
On his defensive improvement:
"I think I’m a whole lot better. Coach is behind me, in my corner. He pushes me and wants me to do well. Defense is all in your mind. I want to stop my man. That’s what I have to say every time he catches the ball."
On the team's ability to make big runs:
"You never know where it's coming from. Tyler can start rolling. Danny can start rolling. Ty can get going. You never know where or when it can come from with us."
On his intensity over the last few games:
"It’s just being aggressive and trying not to be so hard on myself, not trying to fill Brandan’s shoes and just playing. That was the biggest thing for me at the beginning of the year, worrying about not wanting to let my teammates down and what the coaches are thinking. I’m just trying to play my game."
On keeping focus after a big lead:
"It’s kind of tough, because when you see the name Valparaiso, Coach says it about every team, that they’re the toughest team we’ve played so far. So after a while, it’s like, Coach … you know? But Coach has won some games, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about. When he says it, you’ve got to believe what he says."
On the adjustment to playing without Bobby Frasor:
"Well, if you look at the results tonight, I think we’re adjusting pretty well. But practice has been a lot tougher. We don’t have as many subs. But we stepped it up tonight, and hopefully it will continue to go that way."
On his role in Carolina’s 27-2 run in the second half:
"I was just playing basketball. I wasn’t thinking much. I was just in the flow of the game. I got into a rhythm, and it was able to give energy, to the team and not just myself."
On confidence in his shooting:
"I hit a couple, and when you hit a couple, it gives you confidence. Then you take the next one to see if you can make it, you know, a heat check. They kept giving me the ball, so I kept looking for my shot."