Dec. 21, 2011
South Carolina Head Coach Darrin Horn
Our focus coming into this game was making sure that we got off to a good start and to play with energy, especially as it relates to our defensive energy and on the offensive glass. These are always dangerous games when it’s the game before Christmas with the break, or on the other side of it, especially coming off an emotional game against the number two team in the country at home. We really wanted to focus on being active defensively early and getting to the offensive glass. I thought our guys did a terrific job with that. We forced 26 turnovers. I think there were six or seven early. We did a phenomenal job on the glass. At one point, I think we were getting 80 percent of our misses back. The things that we wanted to focus on, to our guys’ credit, we came out and did well. We challenged a couple of individuals specifically about rebounding the basketball. Damontre Harris and Lakeem Jackson were terrific on the glass going for seven and six and three offensive rebounds each. There were some bright spots with some of those things. Offensively, for the most part, in terms of our movement and some of those things, it was really good. The first half we missed some layups again. Anthony Gill goes 0-for-5. We missed some free throws. We’ve been shooting the ball very well from the free throw line as a whole and we missed some free throws. If some of those go in and a couple layups, you really feel like you had a great offensive half. In the second half, we continued to move the ball well, we played inside out and had a couple 3s go down, which I think was important. All in all, it was a collective team effort and the things that we wanted to do well and focus on happened. That’s been a thing for this team, we want to make sure that we’re getting better. We’re able to go out and focus on some specific things for particular games. From that standpoint it was positive and progress tonight.
On the team’s youth….
I thought they did (handle it well). I told them after the game I was proud of them. We challenged them to get off to a good start and the best way to do that is to make sure that you’re active defensively and get to the offensive glass. You can play great offensively in terms of getting good shots and that type of thing. You can control your defensive activity and your efforts on the glass and we harped on that for the last few days. For them to go out and do that is progress for this team. Those are things you maybe don’t have to harp on as much with a group of veterans. With this group it’s something that we have to preach and come back to and hammer. To their credit, they responded and did the things that they needed to to get off to a good start and play well.
SE Louisiana Head Coach Jim Yarbrough
There were a couple of good things. First of all, I got to meet a childhood hero of mine in Mike Gminski, who did the broadcast tonight. That was a good thing. He came over and we got to talk. He played in the 1978 finals with Duke. That was exciting. There aren’t many highlights after that. It was good to see Todd (Nelson) and Elgin (Bailey). We got some nice production off the bench from Todd Nelson and Elgin Bailey continued to get himself back into game shape. It was good to see that we out-rebounded a second SEC opponent 35-34. I love the fact that we held them to 36 percent from the floor. I think our field goal percentage defense is pretty good, but you can’t turn the ball over 26 times. We actually had the lead with 10:56 left to go down to twelve. I called a timeout to try to make sure that we could kind of keep going and get Bailey out. He was tired, and we turned the ball over two times in a row and now all of the sudden the lead goes back to 16 or 17, and we never recovered from that. All we were trying to do was keep this thing around 10 as we got below the 10-minute mark. Give them credit. Their press perhaps we underestimated how active it was, but boy, we have some guys we need to get better as far as nonchalant passes. When we focused and concentrated we were able to do a pretty good job. Of the 11 turnovers we had at halftime, seven or eight of them came in the opening four minutes. The next 16 minutes were pretty good.