March 19, 2008
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University of Dayton Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Brian Gregory
On the Cleveland State Viking program: "The last two days preparing for Cleveland State, it was plain to see that number one: just how tough they were and how good they had been playing. And in the fact that in two short years Gary has put a stamp on that program already. You saw that tonight, they are a hard-nosed team."
On the win:
"I'm very proud of our guys. I've said it a hundred times; this is the most resilient group I've been around. They bounce back from a little disappointment on Sunday with two great days of practice and I thought a really, really hard-nosed, tough effort today. Their gimmick defense in the second-half did give us some problems, but our defense was great the whole game."
"Our guys executed our game plan really well on the defensive end and the most important thing is we get to advance and get some more time to be together and to improve as a team and a program."
On defensive game-plan and challenging Bullock:
"We really challenged Jimmy and Charles, but we really talked about a disciplined defensive effort as a team. Shrinking the court, containing the penetration, not letting them cut where they wanted to cut, and keeping [Bullock] off the glass, he's a one-man wrecking crew on the offensive boards. We needed to do a good job on that, and those guys did. Jimmy and Charles did a very good job defensively on Bullock, didn't give him any open looks and I thought that was a big key and a thing we really stressed the last two days. Those two guys have done a great job all year long on guarding some very talented four-men, and I thought they did another one tonight."
On the team getting over an NCAA Tournament "snub":
"Brian Roberts and the other two seniors, that's their job. And they've done a great job all year long. I just talked to them about getting off the mat one more time, because the next time we ain't getting up. And then I know that those guys [the seniors] have really been pushing the underclassmen and pushing the team... we put another brick in the foundation today. It's been six years since we've won a post-season game, I know these guys wanted to continue to play and continue to work together. These guys have been great to coach and I think they enjoy being together and they want to stick around a little while longer."
"We've talked all year long and this year, fortunately or unfortunately, you can only control the things you can control. Things you can't control, you just got to keep fighting through those if they don't work out the way you want. We can control our effort, our energy and the intensity we play with. You can't always control if the ball goes in and all that stuff. We've talked about that all year; the only thing we can control now is our next practice and getting better."
"We watch one film on Cleveland State against Butler and I said, `this definitely is no joke,' but our guys have done a great on job on focusing on what's important. And that's what's next or what's in front of them. As a coach you have to set the tone for that, but when we got to practice on Sunday night we had a workout afterwards and our guys were ready to go. It didn't take them long, that was right after the NCAA selection show. And I knew right then that this was a special group because they wanted to keep playing."
On wanting to get to Madison Square Garden:
"I think we've had an unbelievable year already and anything else is extra, just to add to the work that these guys have done and a really good path that they've set. That's where you want to get to, you don't go into this without the goal and the desire to win it. That's why you play, but we've always focused on the things we can control. We're 5-1 in March and I think we've played some pretty tough teams, so I think we're definitely doing that."
On having to possibly play on the road next:
"I don't know how they did the NIT seeding, but we'll play anywhere. We're 7-7 this year on the road and at neutral sites, I think we've proven our mental toughness and our ability to go on the road and be successful."
On Disappointment of not making the NCAA Tournament:
"I think we all were disappointed as a team. We knew going into Sunday we were going to be playing in something, we were hoping for the NCAA [Tournament], but watching it turn out that way... initially it was tough. But we all bought into doing as best as we could in the NIT and playing and having the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden is very unique and that's kind of how we looked at it."
On Possibility of next game being the team's last:
"I don't think our roles need to change. I just think the sense of urgency is more. I mean this could be our last forty minutes. It's one or done from here on out."
On disappointment of not making the NCAA Tournament:
"This is new to me, as well as everybody else on this team. One of the things coach said is, nobody on this team has ever played in the post-season before. It was frustrating on that day to see that we weren't in there, but once we heard our names called in the NIT that was all we were thinking about. And that's what we started working on."
On his role in the game-plan:
"Their post men were a little under-sized, that was one of the things we worked on this week was getting the ball inside to me and just using my size and strength to get some shots up."
On the crowd's effect on him:
"You always hear the crowd and you do feed off that a little bit, but I just keep trying to do what I do best."
Cleveland State University Post-Game Quotes
Coach Gary Waters
"I thought that we had our opportunities in this game but we just didn't capitalize. I thought our zone in the second half gave us a chance to get back in it. I thought they played a phenomenal first half; they shot the ball well and moved the ball well. I thought that they were very good in the first half. They deserved to win the ball game."
Your team put in a solid effort but the execution here and there was not what you were hoping for, can you talk about that?
"It just was not working out. A couple of turnovers in the beginning of the game and we missed a couple of layups. The effort was there but it just wasn't going in."
"Sometimes we settled for shots or we shot too early in the shot clock. Early in the game our turnovers led to them getting good fast break points. In the second half, if you noticed, when we got back in it, it was because of less turnovers and more execution."
Norris, what was your strategy against Brian Roberts today?
"Just be solid and make every touch difficult and try to wear him down a little bit. Just stay in front of him."
Were there difficulties in making adjustments?
"I think it was more on us. I'll give their big man credit, their big man did play well today, but we did some things sometimes out of character and they made us pay for it sometimes. That is what we are going to work on so we can come out better next year."
Can you talk about your experience this year?
"I got a lot of experience this year. Overall as a team it was a great year especially to bounce back from 20 losses (last year) to 20 wins, it is a great year."
Norris, can you talk about playing in front of the hometown crowd?
"I didn't really think about it during the game. I was just trying to do whatever I could for the team and play my role. It was exciting to play on UD's court; I have played here a lot. After you come walking into the gym, you forget about that and you are playing to win. That is all I was thinking about was trying to help our team win."
What did Dayton do limit J'Nathan Bullock in the game?
"They did a great job of staying in front of him. Whoever guarded him stayed in front of him and the next guy came down and helped. They did a great job in doubling him. In the second half I think we did a much better job getting it inside to him so he can do that. I think what hurt J'Nathan more today is that he never hit an outside shot. Normally when he hits an outside shot it opens him to go back inside and do whatever, so he was very limited to one shot. They just stayed inside on him and I thought they did a good job on him."
"We had gone down by 15 and at that point they were scoring at will. They had scored four in a row or something like that, so I just said `Hey, we have to make this team beat us from the outside.'" [Brian] Roberts is as pure of shooter as you can find. I didn't want to give him open looks so that is what we went to the diamond and one."
Normally you play a man-to-man defense, were you reluctant to switch up your defensive style?
"We will go a diamond and one every once in a while. We were only down eight I didn't feel bad, and I felt that if we could just get back on our defensive steam that we could get right back in it. They executed and I have to give them credit. They extended to 15; they hit the first three buckets to make it seven points. I couldn't continue to do that if we wanted to stay in that game because they would have continued to increase the lead. It was a chance and the chance worked out. Literally, it was a six-point game and we had two three's and if we knock those three's down it is a tie ball game. I told our team that we shouldn't have taken those threes, we should have taken it to the basket because we had them in foul trouble, because they had to foul us."
You feel good about this year but do you feel there is work to be done?
"The year was fabulous for these young men, in my estimation. They came from a long way. Obviously everyone has a lot of work to do, so they are going to have to work. I think they are going to get better. Basically you have everyone coming back. We are going to add some good pieces to this and our goal next year is to get to the NCAA tournament."
What was your thought on Dayton's offense?
"In the first half they executed as well as we have played against a team. No one has really done that against us defensively. We usually around 40-percent or 42-percent and they were executing. The key was Roberts. I did not realize how good he was. We have a guy by the name of Breyohn Watson that I felt could literally stay with him, but he had a hard time staying with him. Whenever he was open he knocked the ball down. I felt our guys in the diamond and one did a great job on him because only had six points in the second half and one of them was in the beginning. I think he had two points in the diamond, so I thought we did a great job there. The biggest thing I felt in this game is that we missed opportunities. If you remember going down the stretch, we stole a ball and the ball went out of bounds. We didn't capitalize and we had two of them right in a row. If you capitalize on those two, in the start of the second half then it is an eight or six point game. They have to start thinking a little, now the positive thing is that our kids never quit. They kept fighting all the way to the end and that is what this team has been about all year. They never quit."