Feb. 4, 2012
Memphis (16-7) 72, Xavier (15-8) 68
Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner
First of all, I'm so proud of our players. We got down 11 with about six minutes to go. I think we were down 10 with four or five minutes to go. We just stayed the course. We didn't get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. We stayed sound and solid. We just gutted that out. We just had to grind that out. I mean, that's an NCAA tournament team there in Xavier. They're extremely well coached. To get that type of win is fantastic. Obviously, that's important long term.
I have to say the crowd was amazing with a capital A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and 10 exclamation points. Amazing. That's how the crowd was. They were so good against Marshall and willed us to win. And the crowd willed us to a win again tonight or this afternoon. Once again, Tiger Nation, you are the best.
How about Wesley Witherspoon? He played tremendous. He came in and hit big threes and he also had big-time, man rebounds.
And, then we won the game - just how Southern Miss beat us Wednesday when they were 24-of-27 - from the free throw line. When you are in high level games, it's about the little things. And, tonight we were 24-of-28 from the free throw line. We shot 86 percent from the free throw line. Joe (Jackson) was 12-of-12 from the line and he had eight assists, which was terrific.
Again, we had good points in the paint. We outrebounded them with a plus-one margin. We only had 12 turnovers - seven in the first half and five in the second. We shot a few too many threes, but Wesley (Witherspoon) had some big ones; two big ones. Antonio (Barton) really came through with some drives late in the game.
The other thing is 11 assists on 22 made field goals. As you know, that's important to us and to me. Fifty percent of our made field goals were assisted. We just had to grind that victory out. Everybody stepped up and did their job, and we got the win. Everyone that got played, and even those that didn't play, contributed. It was a great win for the Tigers and for Tiger Nation.
What types of adjustments did you make on offense and defense?
Yeah, we didn't go to a zone, partly because of the way they were shooting the three. They have some really good shooters. As I was going through the handshake line, Tu Holloway grabbed me and said, "Coach, that's the best defense I've played against all year. You guys are terrific defensively."
Again, I'm proud of our guys on that. Yeah, we shifted some things offensively. I thought the press was good late in the game to change the pace a bit. We stayed man the whole game. I was thinking zone a couple times, but I just felt we should stay accountable and stay in man.
Xavier Head Coach Chris Mack
Their (Memphis’) length, athleticism and quickness over the last five minutes really took over, and you have to give them credit. We tried to execute some things down the stretch, but they really played tough defensively.
We didn’t get the clean looks, and then they went on that 15-0 run. I felt sick for our kids. That is a tough one.
On Xavier’s defensive game plan
At the end of the first half they got a couple of straight-line drives when we were playing zone, and that was frustrating to see. If anything, that should be taken away by the dribble penetration in the zone. But, we stuck with it.
On Mark Lyons’ fouling out
Joe Jackson is an awfully tough match-up. He is extremely quick, but we cannot give up straight-line drives, and you have to contain the drive.