March 20, 2013
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COACH McCAFFERY: Mike wasn’t quite himself. Neither was Clemmons. Dev really had to do a lot to fight and he just keeps getting better. He’s playing as well as anybody in the country right now, without a doubt. Played with great confidence. And you know I think everyone is feeding off of that.
COACH McCAFFERY: You know, he was just in a mini slump at that time. He wasn’t making the shots he normally makes. We were playing really good teams. They were getting after him. They were targeting him and putting really good defenders on him and doubling him and running guys out and things of that nature, and sometimes you just have to go through that. He never stopped believing in himself. Even you guys kept asking me, I said, I’m going to keep going to him, he’s my guy and he’s going to come through for us and he’s continued to do that.
Q. Down eight in the first half, you finished the half on a 13 4 run and carried that over to the second half, a 19 4 run, what got you guys going?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, we got some transition. Gabe was involved with the big block with the two alley oop dunks. I thought Eric May and Aaron White’s defense, in particular, in that stretch, they were up really pressuring them and making it hard early on. Earlier on they were getting easier looks and they run really good stuff and they have really good players. So you have to be up into them, or they are going to score. And it was imperative that we continue to get up in pressure and essentially wear them down over the course of time. You know, to close the half with a lead, we had the opportunity up by four, we missed free throws. That was unfortunate.
Q. Talk about Zach’s contribution, especially early in the second half.
COACH McCAFFERY: Zach is a guy I’m going to keep going to, perfect foul shooter; that’s why I put him in there was to shoot the T’s. The great thing about him, before he made those threes, he missed a couple. He’s going to shoot. He’s going to have his hands and feet ready; he’s going to fire; he’s going to make them. He’s great at the other end, too.
Q. Why do you think this fan base has rallied around this team the way that they have?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think they love watching these kids play. They have enjoyed watching them work. There has been times when we haven’t been crisp, we haven’t been real good but we keep battling, we keep fighting and I think that’s what our fans appreciate. I think they also appreciate the unselfish nature of our team. You look at the number of assists, baskets, game in, game out. I think they enjoy watching the young guys get better. There’s going to be time like Clemmons tonight, he had a bad one. But he’s a good player; he’ll come back.
You never know with this team: Who are the guys tonight, what lineup is going to be on the floor. You think of the lineup that blew it open, again, Eric May, Oglesby, McCabe, Olaseni, different people on the floor, different times; Marble of course, and then Basabe relatively silent for 30 minutes and comes in and is just fabulous down the stretch showing the character that he has. I think when you look at that whole thing collectively, they really enjoy that.
Q. What do you think of the defense you put on Odum?
COACH McCAFFERY: Odum is a handful now. But that kid is as good a point guard as I’ve seen on film all year long. I mean that sincerely. I have not seen him turn it over as much as he turned it over tonight. We changed how we are playing ball screens with him. We pressed him a little; we played zone and man. We tried to take away his space, and you know, we got a little bit sideways. The other thing, we kept him off the free throw line. 24 percent of his points are free throws; he’s averaging 14 points a game. Keep them off the line, keep them under ten.
Q. How concerned are you about Mike?
COACH McCAFFERY: Very concerned. Very concerned. But we’ll see how it goes.
Q. Is the injury affecting him now or is it the time off?
COACH McCAFFERY: No, it’s the injury. Time off isn’t the problem.
Q. With a do you know about Stony Brook?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, I know they went to UMASS and won, I know that much. They have got Jameel Warney; he’s a guy we are familiar with. We offered him and tried to get him to come out here. He’s a kid from back east and wanted to stay back east. Player of the Year in the league, plays for a tremendous coach, phenomenal coach, and doing a great job building that program, so we have got our hands full with that one.
Q. Do you feel fortunate playing at home?
COACH McCAFFERY: Obviously we’d much rather be at home. Our crowds have been so terrific. The energy level in the building has been great, and we are excited to be back here at 8:30 on Friday night. Q. Mike’s situation, it’s almost in a way like Devyn is a security blanket, relying on him and the fact that he is so versatile, how important is that?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, it’s phenomenally important because the same time Mike is injured, Clemmons is struggling. So now I have my junior that steps up and look at his line: 34 minutes, 24, six assists, one turnover, four steals, 8 for 10 from the line. How great is that.
Q. You guys had eight or nine turnovers the first half, how impressed were you the second half, looks like they took care of the ball a little bit better.
COACH McCAFFERY: They did. I don’t think their defense was quite as intense. I mean, they came out and they came after us. I mean, you’ve got to give Greg credit with his team. They were ready and they were up into us. The first half we were playing side to side. We were not going north and south unless it was a transition opportunity. And in the second half it was much different. We mixed up our post feeds and we went a little more penetration and kick and got better looks at it.