Dec. 28, 2013
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"It was a good win out there today. We did not play the entire game well, but I am happy for the win. We were up by 19 points early on in the game, and then we just coasted there in the end. As a coach, that is something that you are not entirely proud of, and you have to give Jackson State credit. We are going to make three's, and I promise we will. Chris Crawford started out the game with two straight three's and then we went ice cold. They were open shots and they will fall with time.
"I do like how we did on the glass with rebounding but too many turnovers. Chris had five turnovers in the first half and we gave Jackson State too many offensive rebounds. Shaq Goodwin did not have a good first half but came alive in the second and was a monster. We will be better.
"Nick King and Kuran Iverson gave us good minutes when they were out there especially on the glass. Overall, a good win coming off Christmas break when basketball has not been on our minds. We will be ready for the start of American conference play when we play South Florida next Tuesday."
On Memphis turnovers
"Chris Crawford was a bit sloppy out there and he was trying to make the home run plays and he was throwing the basketball to the wrong places. He has got to stop trying to make the home runs plays and just make singles. We are a better team when we just make singles. We will get there. We go from just 16 turnovers in the last 80 minutes of basketball to 19 today. We have got to fix that especially with conference play coming up."
On the grade for the team throughout the first third of the season
"I love our team and where we are headed. Yes, we do need to improve and make some course corrections. We have come a long way from where we were when we got our butts kicked the second game of the season versus Oklahoma State. We have made a lot of strides since then and I know we will continue to get better. We will make shots and continue to get better and to trust the process. I did not like the way we got sloppy there towards the end but we will be ready to play next Tuesday."
About the Jackson State game
"Started off the first half and coach said we were up by I believe 19. We ended up coasting a little bit going into the second half but came out strong at the end and got the win."
What is the mindset needed as you head into conference play?
"I just want me and my teammates to come out 100 percent both halves, the whole 40 minutes. Not just to try and play well the second half."
Is there is a sense of excitement with this team knowing that you are going into a conference where you know you will be tested every game?
"There definitely is. There are not going to be any games where you win by 20 or are down by 20. It is definitely going to come down to the last shot most games. I think everyone is getting excited. It is a big conference. You have Louisville, UConn, Cincinnati, UCF, USF and us. I think we can be the best team in the conference but you got to play 40 minutes of basketball each night."
What is the importance of starting a season strong, especially with the season opener on the road?
"It is very important. Being an older guy I have noticed in the past the first game, definitely a road game, you have to make a statement for yourself."
About the Jackson State game
"Jackson State is a very good team. We got a big lead at the beginning of the game and then got just a little loosy-goosy. We just have to put 40 minutes together as a team. We can't be turning the ball over like that at all. Almost 20 turnovers, that is just a bad look for us."
|| Jackson State Head Coach Wayne Brent
Overall thoughts on the game
"I thought Memphis had a really good team. I thought they were well-coached, big, strong and athletic. They trapped us with some guys that had great size. We had cut it to nine, and I thought we were in decent shape to maybe have a chance to get it to six or five. You never know what can happen at about the three-minute mark, but we turned it over twice. That was a credit to them because they stayed in the press."
On Jackson State's push at the beginning of the second half
"We were out there on the floor trying to scrap and claw and cut into their lead. We wanted to allow 30 points at the half. We knew coming in they were averaging 82 or 83 points. We got to halftime and they had 40. When we came back out in the second half, we told our guys the first four minutes were going to be key because it could go either way. We knew we were right on the verge of being in the game or out of the game. The kids kept fighting. That's a top-15 team."