I'm pleased to stand before you after a win. I thought it was a great team effort. Everybody contributed positively. I like the way the minutes ended up. I think, in the first half, we got a false sense of security shooting three's. We made a few, and I think their game plan was to let us shoot the three's and hope we miss. We missed our share in the first half. We took 21 three's, and that's way too many.
In the second half, we tried to make a conscious effort to go inside. I was really pleased with the way we got the ball inside. I thought some of our guys really did a good job of being unselfish: Jawad, Raymond, Jackie. We passed up some shots that I would have minded them taking in other games, but, in the second half I told them that I didn't want a shot unless the guy goes inside first. They listened.
We beat a team that, if they had their two best players, it could have been a different game. With Sorrentine out and Coppenrath out, you watch them on tape and they are pretty good. That's a good team there. I feel sorry for Coach Brennan being short-handed the way he is now, but they will be a very good team when those guys are back.
Coach Brennan came out and thanked you for calling off the dogs when you subbed in five guys right away.
He caught me off-guard by saying that. I'm not as nice maybe as he made me out to be. I was just trying to give our guys a little rest. I think the back-ups deserved time the way they practiced, and I wanted to give them time and hope they'd bring some energy. I thought they did a good job. They maintained things, and then we hit a lull. We finished out the half fairly strongnot as strong as I'd have liked, but in the second half, we took care of business they way we should. I don't think the game was ever in doubt. I wanted to share minutes, and I thought the minutes worked out pretty well.
Jackie Manuel was assertive and confident. Why do you think that was so?
He played great. Most people judge it on shooting, but Jackie's been playing great. Tonight, it was a bonus when he shot 4-5 from 3-point range. His defensive energy with five steals, a block, and lots of deflections, he was all over the place.
What did you work on during the long break?
It was hard because we had exams and then we had guys hurt, so we didn't have a full roster until yesterday. It was hard to work on things. We focused on man-to-man defense in the half-court, the free lance offense, and the secondary break.
Was everyone at full strength?
Yes, but I think guys got winded a little bit because they haven't played much. Since they haven't practiced much the last 12 days due to injury, I think you saw some fatigue, and that was another reason to sub a little more.
Do the 23 turnovers and 34 percent shooting indicate the defensive intensity that you wanted was there?
I thought the defense, for the most part, was there. There were lulls. I wanted 100 percent, but I have to realize that we'll probably never play the perfect game, defensively. For the most part, I was pleased with our defensive energy.
Is there a mentality that you just want to stockpile wins--a win is a win is a win?
You certainly want to play well and win. I thought we played well. Did we play great? I don't think we played great, but since we are getting through exams, I'll give us maybe a B+. I don't think it was an A+, but it was an A- or a B+. It was good. I thought we played well. I thought there was some rust there, but that was to be expected.
What did you think of Damion Grant's play?
I thought he did a lot of good things. He played 11 minutes with three blocks, and he had a heck of a catch in front of our bench and put the ball in the basket. He's really getting better. The better shape he gets in, the more he will play. He gave us some positive minutes and was alert defensively. We did some different things on ball screens, and he was alert to the changes we made.