Dec. 19, 2011
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What pleased you the most?
Fran McCaffery: I think 32 assists on 42 field goals. I think that pleased me the most.
Marble’s foul shooting, he really struggled last year and he’s really come along in that area.
Fran McCaffery: He keeps getting better. I thought he was absolutely fabulous tonight. He’s rebounding, he drove and found people, he scored it, he hit jumpers. He just kept coming. What a game by him. He just keeps getting better. Proud of him.
Are you to the point now where you pretty much expect this from him now?
Fran McCaffery: Yeah, I do, absolutely. You know, and I think more importantly, I think he sort of expects it from himself. That’s the critical part that I think every player has to get to at some point.
Gabe Olaseni had eight points, three blocks. Would you talk a little bit about his development?
Fran McCaffery: He’s really coming. He’s been doing it in practice. I really regretted not getting him in the other night. It was a different kind of game. You see when I first put him in, it takes him a little time to get settled down, and once he gets settled down, he impacts the game. How many players that are that big with that kind of reach play with that kind of energy level and speed and quickness? That’s why I think he has a chance to be special, because he accepts coaching and he works hard. He just has to overcome he hasn’t played as much basketball as Devyn Marble and some of the other guys, Matt Gatens. He just hasn’t. Everything is coming 100 miles an hour hitting him right in the face, and he just has to settle down and we have to coach him up and be careful when we yell at him, how much we yell at him.
You know, I got on him right away when he missed the rebound off the missed free throw. This is a team that typically shoots 50 percent, so you’re expecting misses. First miss, pops right out of his hand, he tries to rebound with one hand. Those kinds of things. Get it with two hands and then outlet the ball, and in the second half he did that, and I’m really proud of him.
Aaron White really came off the bench in the first half and kept things moving.
Fran McCaffery: He’s a really good player. He just is a really good player. He knows how to play, he knows what we need him to do, he locks into the game plan. I mean, the only time he really struggles is due to fatigue, I think. As long as he’s feeling good, we make sure we rest him appropriately, he impacts the game in a positive way pretty much every time we put him in.
The second half you guys started off real sharp after, kind of sluggish ending to the first half. What was that or was it just refocusing?
Fran McCaffery: One of the things, we’re not expecting Clayborn to go 5 for 5. That wasn’t in the numbers, but the disappointing thing was after he made his first and then after he made his second, then we give him three more. That was a disappointing thing, so we talked about that, getting after him a little bit more. Harks hurt us, driving the ball. He had seven offensive rebounds, 15 rebounds; that’s too many. Give the kid credit. He just worked, worked, worked. He was a guy we had talked about coming in as a guy we had to focus on. So that was disappointing. We talked about that, and we talked about decision making.
We thought in the second half with a 13 point deficit they were going to come out and press us more in the second half, which they did. They pressed a lot. And the key then was to handle the pressure, how we’re going to handle the pressure and decision making and intelligent shot selection was going to be required to extend that lead, and once we felt like we could extend it we’d be in good shape.
Your team had nine dunks. Was it nice to see them have a little fun doing that?
Fran McCaffery: Yeah, but you don’t want to show anybody up, but when they’re pressing up like that, they’re giving up two on ones, so then you’ve got to go score and you’ve got to go score with a dunk.
You talked before about how Melsahn sometimes struggles. When he picked up the two quick fouls, how nice was it to see him come back out in the second half?
Fran McCaffery: He was terrific, and I was ready to go back to him in the first half, which I normally don’t do, but I felt like we could get by without putting him back in. We still had a reasonably comfortable lead.
But I thought in the second half he was tremendous. It was great to see him come back like that, and now he’s got to continue to do that. I think that’s a big step as he moves forward for him.
A couple weeks ago you said on ball defense was one area you really wanted to see the team improve. How has it come along the last couple games?
Fran McCaffery: It’s been much better. This is a unique team. They’re a driving team. Clayborn goes six for eight from three, but it’s a driving team so it’s a little bit easier when you’ve got everybody in there. It’s much harder when you have to focus on, okay, who are the three point shooters, where are they, how many do they have on the floor at one time. If we’re in a zone where is he, where are they. That’s more of a thought process, a decision making situation where you have to recognize, all right, how are they spaced.
We had multiple breakdowns in the UNI game. They had so many three point shooters spreading the floor, and we didn’t handle it the right way. But we had subsequently made adjustments and I think done a better job in that type of action, because a lot of people run the same kind of action.
Tonight was a little bit easier but still a step in the right direction.
Where is Bryce right now in terms of health and confidence?
Fran McCaffery: You know, I think he’s close. I thought he had some great passes on the break. He handled the pressure well. He’s got eight assists. He wants to score the ball, I want him to score the ball. A couple times he held onto it a little bit longer than he should have. But when he just is making plays for other people, we’re so much more of a explosive and effective offensive team, especially when he’s out there with Dev, as well, because now we’ve got driving kick guys and two guys that can score. So his jumper is right there. His offense will come. He’ll have his double figure games. But eight assists in three turns, we’ll take that.