March 9, 2012
Box Score |
Josh Pastner-Head Coach
"Good win, we did some good things defensively. I have the utmost respect for Donnie Jones and their program. He's a dear friend; I think he does an unbelievable job. We had some good shots, but the biggest thing for us was on the defensive end. We played some good defense."
Is there any extra emphasis on winning decisively and margin of victory in regards to seeding?
"No, I just want us to play well and I wanted towards the end to get Adonis Thomas and Antonio Barton as much time as we could, because they have not had much practice. I understand how hard this profession is, I never take a win for granted, ever. So if it is one point more than the other team I'm a happy camper."
How does this game compare to others in the six-game win streak?
"The bottom line is that we have gotten better and I keep saying that and I sound like a broken record. We got better from our first year to our second year, second year to the third year, from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. Every one of the players has improved and that's a credit to those young men in the locker room and the coaches. Those guys do such a great job. That's our job we are suppose to make sure that happens and it's the player's responsibility, so it goes hand in hand and we've gotten better. A lot of it comes down to the defensive end, so it has to be about defense."
Are you worried about the team's focus against Marshall?
"Marshall is a really good team. At the beginning of the year, I said Marshall should be picked to win the league. Tommy Herrion wanted to strangle me when I said that, he said, "Don't say that." I believe they are as talented as anyone in the league. We have great respect for Marshall, we know they are very well coached and we know if we want to have an opportunity to win tomorrow we have to play a great game. I don't think it's about pressure; we have to continue to move forward. We've won 19-of-22 games in tough situations, to be able to do that is not easy. We're in the tournament no matter what, it's not as much about anything, as continuing to move forward and win as many as we can. At this time of the year it's all about survive and advance."
Tarik Black- Sophomore/Forward
What did you do defensively to keep UCF's Josh Crittle and Keith Clanton pushed out and settling for jumpers rather than letting them in down low?
We made them up throw up jumpers any way possible. Any way it comes, whether it be standing in front, playing three-quarter or just all trying to scoot them up the line. Just how ever we can do it, we do it."
The team had good balance in scoring; do you feel like you guys were communicating better in this game than in previous games?
"The communication was there, but we also ran through our plays more crisply this game. In the first game we were all anxious because it was our first time out. You could see it early in that game as we saw on film. This game we calmed down and we played Memphis basketball."
What's the mind-set going into tomorrow?
"The mind set is just go in and get a win. The way we broke down in the locker room after coach talked to us we said "one more". That's our mind set. We have to come in the gym tomorrow morning and be focused, locked in and ready to play with some energy and get one more."
Will, how did it feel to see that three pointer go in?
"It felt really good. It felt like I had not been hitting anything lately. Any time I can see it go in, it just feels like it's a giant weight off of my shoulders.
The team had good balance in scoring, do you feel like you guys were communicating better in this game that in previous?
"During this streak I feel like we have been moving the ball pretty well the whole time and having a lot of balance. We have a lot of weapons on offense and a lot of guys who can get points in a bunch of different ways. We just expect it.
UCF beat you by one two months ago, talk about the differences you guys have made and the strides you have made in the last two months.
"All of the games we've lost in conference, I think we lost by a combined six points. We just felt like we did not come out focused in those games and did not come out with a lot of energy. No disrespect to the teams we played, because they are all good teams, they made it a long way and they played us tough. We just feel like when we are on our game and when we are locked in, we can beat anybody and we've been showing that throughout this streak. When we play our game, we're focused, playing good defense, rebounding and doing the little things, it's pretty hard to beat us."
What's the mind-set going into tomorrow?
Winning our conference is a goal we set at the start of the season. We just have to go in there like we have been with a lot of energy, and just win. It's a big game and I think we are up to the challenge.
UCF Head Coach Donnie Jones
"Congratulations to Memphis. I thought that it was a well-deserved win. They played very well, tonight, and for the last month. Josh (Pastner) is doing a great job with his team. Tonight, they (Memphis) had a lot to do with why we didn't play so well. I thought that we didn't have a great night. That doesn't really define who we are and how we played, all year. I am proud of this team and what they have accomplished, this year. Hopefully, we will have an opportunity for some type of postseason play, I'm not really sure what that will be, at this point. I am very proud of the seniors, A.J. Rompza and P.J. Gaynor, and what they have given to our program, here, this year, and the way that they have led our team."
How much did Memphis' athletic style hurt you all?
"It does. We are not deep and our guard play gets exposed. We had to play Rompza the entire game. We didn't have another ball-handler to put into the game. We knew that their pressure was wearing us down. Their length was tough on us, and we were trying to control the tempo by taking good shots. But, you have got to play with great emotion, and we weren't able to do either. That is a credit to Memphis."
How do you explain UCF's technical and reach in fouls?
"You can't (explain them); you just have to be more disciplined. We didn't make some good decisions, there. Obviously, when things are not going well for you, you can get caught up in it. Guys want to play hard and they want to win. We will continue to learn from that and, hopefully, we will have the opportunity to play, again."
Is Memphis better than an eight or nine seed in the NCAA tournament?
"I think that they are. I haven't seen all of the teams across the country, but from what I have seen, they are. The way that they have been playing here, lately, they are. I know that they had some early losses that will probably hurt their seeding, but they have played very well in their league. Based on the way that they have played in the last 10-11 games, they are playing as well as anyone in the league."
Do you feel as though you all have made a strong enough case for the NIT?
"I do. We came into today with a 50 RPI, and as I say, this game doesn't define who we are. We have had 22 wins, two top 50 wins and, obviously, we have won 11 games in this league. Hopefully, that will be enough to get an NIT bid."
On the toughness of Isaiah Sykes:
"I am really proud of Isaiah. I thought that he had a really good year. His hand is really injured and he played with incredible toughness, tonight. As a sophomore, he has improved as much as anyone on our team. It will be another big summer for him. I am just looking forward to his progress."