Memphis Postgame Quotes vs Virginia
March 24, 2014
MODERATOR: We are now ready to begin the Memphis press conference. At this time, Coach Pastner, can you please give us an opening statement?
Josh Pastner: First and foremost, I want to say I want to give tons of credit to Virginia. They played great. They got a great team. Tony Bennett, I said this the other day, I think the job that he did at Washington State is one of the most undervalued, underrated jobs he did at Washington State. And the job he's doing at Virginia is just as remarkable. He's a tremendous coach, one of the best coaches in the entire country.
Secondly, I want to thank our seniors. I appreciate these guys so much. Especially for a guy like Joe and Chris, who have been here for all four years, and they you know, Joe and Chris helped keep the program at a very, very high level. Geron and Mike, Geron's been here two years, Mike one, they assisted Joe and Chris with keeping the program at a very, very high level, keeping it relevant, doing a lot of great things.
Because when we took over, there was a lot of uncertainty. And we were we had to almost, especially that second year, start from ground zero pretty much. And including that first year, we were just trying to hang on and if we were in the ocean, just trying to stay above water.
And through time, through these guys to my left have made the program not only stay above water, we were able to get to land and have a lot of success, a lot of wins. And I'm very, very proud of those guys.
Joe Jackson, to my left, has already graduated in three years. Chris Crawford, to my far left, graduated in three and a half years. Michael Dixon and Geron Johnson are going to graduate this spring. So I'm proud of these guys. I'm proud of the guys in the locker room. They're good young men who have done a lot of good things on the court, but most importantly they've represented the program and the name on the front of the jersey and the university extremely well. So very proud of them.
Tough loss. And that's that.
Q. Joe, can you just talk about your defense tonight? They were able to shoot well over 50 percent. Did you think they were just hitting tough shots, or was that something you guys were doing wrong?
Joe Jackson: Well, they just attacked. They've got some strong guards. They run great offense and every time that we lost them on the screen, they'd knock them down. That's what they work on every day, and they got a lot of weapons on offense too.
So they just did their job against us. They just went, they attacked and went through the people chest in the paint and made tough shots.
Q. Joe, any one of the guards, overall, would you say they were physically stronger than you guys were?
Joe Jackson: I'm not going to say that. A couple of their guards, they're pretty big, but they're a great defensive team overall, man. They're just probably they've got to be the best defensive team I've ever played against in college. The way they see the ball, never lose sight of the basketball. They help each other out every possession. You will never get an easy lay up on them.
Q. Joe, what did you think of the play of London Perrantes, especially for a freshman point guard, his composure during this game?
Joe Jackson: Actually, I think it's fairly easy for him because he played with so many good players, so many solid guys that don't make a lot of mistakes. And just the way they play, they slow it down, so he doesn't try to attack much. He just runs his sets and just takes what the defense gives him and they don't do much attacking you. They just wait until you make a mistake, and then they do what they do.
Q. Can you guys talk about just in the losses that you've had this season, several have been double digits, and you've taken that punch. You were great after losses in not losing two in a row. In games, when you got down, it just kind of all folded up. What was that?
MICHAEL DIXON: In losses, we kind of dug ourselves a hole. And when we get down, we obviously dig ourselves a hole and I guess we just I don't know lose focus on the defensive end. And I guess we just try to get it back on the offensive end instead of locking in even more defensively in trying to get stops. Because when you're down, you've got to get stops to stop the bleeding as far as the score.
Q. Geron, just talk about the two years playing with the three guys beside you. Obviously, you had Dixon for the one. But I know it's not ending how you would have wanted it to. But just sum it up.
Geron Johnson: These three guards next to me, great guys, great character. Before here, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I learned a lot from them, because in the past they don't make too many mistakes off the court. We have a guy that has, but Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford, great character guys. They just humble and work hard and do what they're supposed to do.
The season didn't end the way we wanted to. Coach Pastner did a great job. Much respect for him.
On a game note, we wasn't as disciplined as we were supposed to. I cut a couple screens and the freshman point guard hit a shot, Harris hit a shot on me. We weren't as disciplined as we was supposed. Late in the game we were trying to get an eight point shot and it's not that. Coach Pastner been preaching it the whole year.
I tip my hat. Life ain't over. It is what it is. We're going to keep fighting and Memphis is going to be a high level, elite program in the future.
MODERATOR: Any other questions? Gentlemen, thank you very much. You're excused.
We'll open the floor up for questions for Coach Pastner.
Q. The pack line defense, you obviously don't see it all the time. What were the chief components of them shutting you down tonight?
Josh Pastner: Obviously, we did miss a lot of short shots. We missed a lot of layups and we missed a lot of free throws. So that makes it tough, especially when you're missing some short shots.
We've been that team this year first of all, again, Tony does an amazing job and Virginia deserves all credit and I think they're as well coached of a team in the entire country offensively and defensively. They're just as good offensively as they are defensively.
That's just kind of been our just been our thing this year, where we've gone stretches where we've missed short shots or open shots and it's kind of snowed had just an avalanche effect on us. And it's actually drained us energy wise for the other end and that's just been a thing with us this year.
It's not just been the pack line. There's been some other games where it's avalanched where we've missed wide open shots or layups or free throws and it just kind of snow falls snow balls from there. And that's something we definitely have to get better at in the offseason.
Q. Given that they're so methodical on offense and tough on defense, how hard is it to change tempo on them and get this to do what you want to do instead of what they want to do?
Josh Pastner: We missed lot of opportunities to set up our press, because, one, to set up a press, you've got to score. You can't score or you can't press if you don't score. That's one.
Secondly is even on the free throws, you miss so many free throws, we didn't have a chance to get to set up. I think Virginia's just as good offensively as they are defensively. And that's a credit to Tony and his staff.
MODERATOR: Other questions for coach?
Q. Coach, what contributed to their high field goal percentage? Were you happy with the way you closed? Talking about coming under the screens, what did you see there?
Josh Pastner: We weren't that was the whole thing I spent for 40 hours, we do not cut screens. You go over the top on screens. You give them zero three point attempts. And it was 18 18, and we cut a screen, and Harris hit a three, and then we one of the other things we talked about is you cannot ball watch. You just can't. You cannot give them any threes. Let them shoot as many twos as they want. Do not give those three guards any threes.
Then it was 21 18 after Harris hits the three and they come right down and Perrantes. One of our guys watches the ball while Perrantes watches a flare screen. He goes underneath, three. Those two things.
Then we came down and missed a shot and they came down and hit an and 1 and that was the game. Literally, that stretch right there because we did not execute, we tried to cut a screen or ball watch. Those things, you do that against this team, you get dissected.
And just want to thank all the hospitality here in Raleigh and all the people at NC State and everyone's who part of the thing, tremendous people and tremendous you know, tremendous hospitality here throughout the week. So thank you for everyone who's been part of the tournament.
MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
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On tonight’s loss
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