Memphis vs. SMU Postgame Quotes (Mar. 8)
March 8, 2014
I want to give credit to SMU head coach, Larry Brown. It was an extremely classy move there towards the end to allow me to get the seniors in the game. I am very thankful for that, and it shows why he is one of the best around. Our seniors made shots down the stretch, which allowed us to win the game. We were 0-6 for three pointers in the first half and 6-13 in the second half. Three-point shooting is why you win games. They (SMU) were 1-5 from behind the arc in the second half, which allowed us to pull away and win the game. The American is a fantastic league. Every game is tough and you cannot win them all. I think this league is easily one of the best leagues in the country this season. We found a way to get a win, even being down 30-26 at the half. Our offense in the first half was not there, and we could not make any shots. Our defense allowed us to stay in the game, unlike the Cincinnati game. In the second half, the senior guards would not let us be denied. This win will keep us in the top 25 for the entire season. This is a great feat in itself. Not too many programs stay in the top 25 the whole season.
On the team’s ability to win the game:
Nick King came in off the bench and gave us great minutes. He gave us great energy, and allowed our other players to feed off of that energy. Austin Nichols will be one great player. Other than our 18 turnovers, I was happy with the way we played down the stretch. Once again, when our senior guards make plays down the stretch, we win ball games. Michael Dixon, Jr. made a huge three towards the end of the game and Chris Crawford making three shots in a row was outstanding. Chris was struggling in the first half but big players make big plays in important times. We started the second half well and made Larry Brown call a timeout. From there on we were able to control the game. We played nine top 25 teams this year and won five of those games.
On halftime adjustments:
We talked about how we had to have a sense of urgency and we treated this one like it was our last game. After this game, we cannot make any mistakes. We will be back on this court this week [for the conference tournament] but it will not be the same. I am happy for our guys and how we played as a team. We have grown a lot over the course of the year, and I feel like we are moving in the right direction.
On preparing for the conference tournament:
This win showed our growth as a team and showed we have a dangerous team. Seeing so many different defenses over the year has prepared us for the road ahead. I was frustrated at halftime and wanted to play better for myself, and my teammates. I had to turn on an extra gear and get the game going. We had to run to speed the tempo up, which we did in the second half. We were able to get easy looks because we got the ball moving.
On senior day emotions:
I was a little slow out there but was able to contribute and help my teammates out. We weathered the storm there in the first half and were able to beat a team (SMU) that beat us earlier in the season. I have great support from my mother and my team. I will forever be a Memphis Tiger. We would like to make next Saturday another senior day and win the conference championship. Wednesday is a very important day for us, and it starts there. We have to have a sense of urgency, and the ability to make plays.
On SMU’s play in today’s game:
I thought that we didn’t match their energy. We had chances to stretch the lead that we didn’t take advantage of. It’s a great crowd here and a great atmosphere. They [Memphis Tigers] had every reason not to play well today after a tough loss at Cincinnati, a quick flight back, but they played well and that’s why they’re a great program.
On Memphis gaining momentum early in the second half:
We started the half off with a terrible shot, and then they [Memphis] got two offensive rebounds and a put back that we fouled on. Then we came back and turned it over quick, which set the tone early in the half. We’ve always competed at a high level and then all of a sudden stuff happens and we haven’t taken that next step to handle it. It’s being young and not being used to winning.
On getting ready for the conference tournament:
It’s hard to talk about that after a game like this. I’ve just got to get them to not worry about bad stuff happening, to fight through it. Mistakes happen, but you have to learn how to play through it.