POST GAME NOTES
Dec. 28, 2012
Memphis Postgame Quotes
Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner
“It was a good win for our team today. Obviously, we have great respect for coach (Shawn) Sutton and Oral Roberts. They’re a terrific program. He’s the winningest coach in the history of Oral Roberts, and they’ve got good players. I thought it was a good team win. We did some good things defensively. Warren Niles is a big-time player. Geron Johnson, Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson guarded him. Those three guys did an excellent job. They’re a good rebounding team so to have a plus five is good. We played really well.”
On Geron Johnson starting his first game at Memphis
“I think starting is overrated. We have a multitude of guys that could start. I thought Chris (Crawford) coming off the bench would take some pressure off of him to get his mojo back. Geron was really good defensively. He’s a big-time defender. If someone looks at the box score and says he might not have had a good game because he was 2-of-5. Anyone that watched the game would say he was a stud defensively. Warren Niles is a pro prospect, so for Geron to do that is some pretty good defense.”
On the play of the defense
“It’s sure darn near close to it if not the best defensive effort. To hold a team to under 40 percent and zero percent from three is not easy to do. Since we’ve been back, that was a point of emphasis is to get back to the basics defensively. Oral Roberts is going to end up winning their league and be an NCAA Tournament team so that’s a good win for us.”
Oral Roberts Head Coach Scott Sutton
On how Oral Roberts competed tonight
I thought we competed great. I told our guys in the locker room, I’m proud of how hard they played and how they competed. We didn’t play well, but we give Memphis a lot of credit. I can walk away and handle a loss a lot better with how we competed, how we played together and how hard we played compared to how we played in the second half against Tulsa on Saturday. We aren’t going to win very many games when Warren Niles goes 1-for-11, especially without Steven Roundtree. I thought our freshmen grew up a little bit tonight. A tough environment against a very good team, I thought Brandon [Conley] was really good. I thought D.J. [Jackson] and Korey [Billbury] both did a lot of good things out there tonight, so there were some bright spots.
On what Warren Niles went through tonight
I give all the credit to Memphis. Where Warren has struggled throughout his career is against big strong long athletes, and obviously Memphis had a whole team of them it seemed like. At the same time, I told him at halftime, he has to do a better job when we play tight games like this of working to get open, moving without the basketball, and the other guys have to do a better job of setting better screens. Because I don’t think he got a clean look at the basket until the second half, and then he finally hit one late in the game, but Brandon [Conley] was the same way. At one time I think those guys were a combined 3-for-20. They end up 6-for-24, and without Roundtree you’re not going to beat a good opponent.
About Memphis’ athleticism compared to Arizona
I think they’re deeper than Arizona, I don’t think they’re as good right now, but they’re going to continue to get better and better. Josh [Pastner] does a good job with that team, but as far as having a deep athletic team, we haven’t faced very many teams that can throw out that many guys at you. They switched on Warren [Niles] a few times. They put a fresh guy on him. They just did a good job all night. The other thing you look at against their length and athleticism, we turned the ball over eight times. This is the second game in a row; the only thing we did well on Saturday against Tulsa is we took care of the basketball. Tonight against this type of pressure defense and athleticism I thought we did a great job. We still didn’t do a good job, especially when we cut the lead to 10, and we had them get out in transition. But it was because they had some blocks on our end and they were able to get back in transition and get some easy baskets.