Nov. 23, 2010
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn
I said yesterday I knew coming into this game that this team would present some challenges for us because of how they played, and I think we saw that. I also think that our team took a step tonight. We won a game that was ugly when we were very poor offensively, but we got the defensive effort for 40 minutes. I think all the numbers show that: 25 percent from the field for them and 13 percent from the 3. We did a tremendous job on the glass, particularly the offensive glass. It was everybody, and that’s what we were looking for. That’s a real positive we can take from this game. Obviously we have a lot of work to do in a lot of areas, especially offensively. For us to hold them to 41 points and be able to win a game just because we grinded out and defended for 40 minutes is a real positive and something we can build on moving forward.
On how the press turned the game around
More than anything it was trying to get our energy level up. I think the strength of this team is going to be the team. Lakeem Jackson really started it in defense on the ball in the press. We had a bunch of guys flying around and making some plays. It seems like when we do that, especially in our pressure, it helps our team. It obviously created a few easy baskets and it changed the flow of the game, which I think was important. The energy level was just better in the second half. Johndre Jefferson came in off the bench. He’s a senior coming off the bench, but comes in a plays hard and is giving good energy and doing the little things. Stephen Spinella was the guy for a couple of games off the bench. Tonight he was basically non-productive, but Ramon Galloway was terrific and Eric Smith gave us good minutes. Those are the kind of things we’ll have to do moving forward. We won’t know who’s night it’s going to be exactly, but we’ll need people to come in, bring us energy and contribute.
On wanting the team to work through offensive problems
That was part of it. The other part was I wasn’t overly concerned about our offense tonight. For this team to be its best, we have to be committed to defending and rebounding no matter what happens. The fact that we did that for 40 minutes tonight was a step for our team without a question. We weren’t very good offensively, but we haven’t spent as much time on that as we have the other, so it’s going to be a little bit behind. I don’t know that it’s necessarily because we’re playing inexperienced guys. That’s probably part of it, but a bigger part is we just haven’t spent the time on it that we have the other.
On if fatigue played a difference for USC Upstate
They missed a lot of open shots late. I can’t speak for them, but it appeared they came up short. Hopefully our pressure and our depth – every single guy playing double-figure minutes – when you do that theoretically you’ll be fresher than the other team.
On playing at Western Kentucky this coming Saturday
The scary thing about their team is they have a lot of guys that can really play. They’re undersized but athletic. Those guys can put it on the perimeter and score on the floor. It’s a tough place to play. It has been for 50 years. It’s exactly the kind of challenge that we need right now for our team.