Pranav Ramasubramanian | December 10th, 2019
The NBA and NFL are in full swing, which means college sports have taken a backseat except for College Football because of the upcoming bowl season. Even though college basketball has taken a backseat it doesn’t mean that programs aren’t still playing hard. Here’s what select players and coaches had to say about the games they participated in at the Air Force Reserve Jerry Colangelo Classic on Sunday.
Trey Landers, Senior guard
Question: When the game was in the finishing stretch, it looked like the team was reeling a little bit. What helped the team regain mental focus to finish out the game strong?
Answer: I mean we know that basketball is a game of runs and like I earlier said Saint Mary’s is a very good team. Obviously, when you have a team like Saint Mary’s trailing they start playing desperate by driving the ball to get us in foul trouble and shooting three’s and they hit a lot of big shots to get back in the game because they have a lot of good players so we kinda anticipated that a little bit. I think our biggest thing was to just come back after the four-minute war and locking in defensively, which helped us win down the stretch.
Saint Louis Billikens
Head Coach: Travis Ford
Question: The team made a lot of three’s today. Was shooting a lot of three’s part of the gameplan or was that something that just happened within the flow of the game?
Answer: I don’t know if it’s part of the gameplan, I don’t think you ever go into a game thinking you will make all those three’s I mean you want to make shots, but when the ball is going in the basket it makes everything else that much better. It makes your defense better. No question today we shot the ball well.
Gibson Jimerson, Freshmen guard
Question: Just from the beginning of the game it seemed like you were shooting with a lot of confidence. What kinda sparked your confidence today?
Answer: Well you know I’ve always been labeled as a shooter and for me, confidence is the biggest thing because I know I can shoot. It’s just a matter of the mental part of it whether I’m making shots or missing shots kinda blocking out the mental aspect out of it and being able to keep shooting. Coach always emphasizes to keep shooting as even today he saw me miss a shot and told me I was gonna make the next shot, which I did so that helped. I mean like I said earlier it’s just the mental aspect for me staying locked in while holding my shot and everything.
Question: So defensively it seemed like the team locked down Tulane today. What was the plan on defense?
Answer: Yeah we knew they had four main guys, who were transfers that had played at big-time schools so for us we were just kinda playing against one on one ball screens because of how their offense is run. We knew if we matched up and we communicated on defense then we would be successful, which we did in this game turning out to be a big thing for us in the second half talking to each other while aptly switching to take advantage of certain matchups. The communication was the biggest part of the defense for us today.
Jordan Goodwin, Junior Guard
Question: So you had a lot of rebounds today. Was that to push the fastbreak on offense so that the team could get easy baskets?
Answer: That’s one reason why I go for the rebound especially on the defensive end because I can bring the ball up so getting the rebound is crucial to getting out on the fastbreak while looking up to see if any shooters are open to pass them the ball or just getting numbers out, that’s all it is.
Head Coach: Ritchie McKay
Question: What gaps in the defense as a team were you able to expose in the paint to close out the game in the second half?
Answer: Well Lever got in foul trouble so we decided to attack them with Myo down low because even though it was a difficult matchup because of the physicality, it was one we liked. We started to knock down a couple of shots, although we didn’t make free throws. A great game defensively as they had us a little off-balanced by switching between man and zone defense throughout the game. They have a very good team only going through some dry patches in games and when they have their full contingency of players they are gonna be a tough out.
Saint Mary’s Gaels
Head Coach: Randy Bennett
Question: The team went from shooting 33.3% in the first half to 55.6% in the second half. What are the good things you can take away from the second half?
Answer: There’s a lot we can take away from the second half as I was pleased with our bench because of the bench competing in the game. I felt like the starters didn’t compete at the level that they needed to in a game like this and as a team, we’ve kinda been doing that. It came back to haunt us today, which is why you play good teams in the non-conference games cause you can’t get away with that kinda play against Dayton even though we can get away with it in some of our other non-conference games. It won’t happen against these guys. There’s a lot to be gained from it and I got to see some players I wanted to see as far as trying to see who is gonna be a part of the nine-man rotation as I sort through the lineup. I got to see Logan today, who’s been hurt while Kristers and Menzies are playing well. We are a 50% field goal percentage team being a pretty good offensive team for us to shoot 33% I mean shame on us, but in the second half, we fixed it. It’s still unacceptable how we played in the first half and we can’t do that against this team.
Grand Canyon Antelopes
Head Coach: Dan Majerle
Question: Why do you think there were so many turnovers from the team today?
Answer: We are not very good. No, we had 3 turnovers going into the first media timeout and we ended up with 11. We tried to get 10 turnovers or less so to have 11 turnovers isn’t terrible. I think some of our turnovers were just mental mistakes with guys staying out of bounds a couple of times, and some bad entry passes, but that has to do with freshman guard Jovan. He had 4 turnovers and because of his inexperience when he is playing 36 minutes a game with 38 tonight while he is 5th in the nation in minutes we are asking a lot from the freshmen. Overall I thought we did a pretty good job of not turning the ball over. As long as they aren’t live-ball turnovers, I’m ok with that.
Unfortunately, the audio will be unavailable for the interviews as all audio rights have been reserved towards the Basketball Hall of Fame and NCAA. A special thanks to Nicole Taylor again for another wonderful opportunity helping to organize another great media event with grace. College Basketball has just started and there is still a lot of games to be played, but don’t be surprised if you see some of the teams that participated in this event on Sunday come March.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images