“Our guys played well today. I hate that it ended in regulation the way it ended. Our first 20 minutes we played very well. The first 12-14 minutes we played great. Unbelievable energy, we made shots, Demarcus made a couple threes early, we were really aggressive. We really played well in the first half, and I talked to our guys about the last time we had a big lead at Virginia Tech and I really got on them at halftime because I could sense that we weren’t going to approach the second half the way we needed to. They came out in the second half and built momentum. We played reasonably well in the middle part of the half, down the stretch we didn’t play well. Our guys showed good guts today.
“We needed to regroup. I tried to encourage them. We played well, we just had a bad spell at the end. I tried to get Donte to wake up, that’s the second time this season he’s done that. He’s too good for that. It frustrates me. I need to watch some film and sit him down. Give credit, he made a big shot in overtime. He was aggressive and snapped out of it. But he got the deer in the headlights look at the end.”
Last play in regulation:
“I was going to call timeout. I watched it unfold and the clock wind down and I just thought we’d do the exact same thing anyway. Why risk throwing the ball in bounds, why risk them changing defenses, why let him talk to his players? I just decided to let him go.
On Rod Hall:
“He’s going to fight, that’s what he does. He’s not the most talented, not the fastest, not the strongest, but he does compete. They tried to wear him down today with two guards on him, but he was solid. Both of those guards played well today.”
“Obviously a tale of two halves. Give Clemson credit for coming out and playing extremely well. And then give our guys credit for playing extremely well in the second half. And then Tadric (Jackson) had a couple good looks to start the overtime. I think the first two possessions had four or five shots at the rim. They did a good job of protecting the rim in those situations. It’s difficult to bounce back from that deficit, and our guys showed a lot in terms of doing that, and on the road it’s going to be hard, even when you come back for that to have enough juice at the end to continue that.
“And so, I think we maybe had one or two turnovers in the whole second half, because I think we might’ve had two in overtime, we had nine at halftime. A bitter defeat. If you don’t play the first 20 minutes, which we didn’t do, and they had a lot to do with it, believe me, they played well and they got into us and we didn’t respond to the physicality of the game early.”
“You know, again, I’m not sure we need to, obviously that’s a great character trait. But you’re supposed to have that. Now, I think everyday would agree in this day and age, not everybody has that. You know, collectively, we do, I thought we had some guys really step up in terms of that. I thought our point guard play (Josh Heath and Travis Jorgenson) set the tone defensively for us in the second half, thought they did a great job. The two smallest guys on the court that aren’t the most physical guys, really did a good job of kind of initiating the intensity and energy we played with in the second half.”
On what he told team during comeback:
“The one thing I remember saying at timeout is we have to get two straight stops. Because once we get it around 10 (the deficit), it’s a different ball game. It was hovering between 14 and 16 and 13, you know what I mean? And we got those, and that was the difference. We made a couple of shots, made a couple of threes. I believe that when we evaluate the film we made just as many mistakes in the second half as we did in the first half. It was just a different competitive level we played at. And when you play at that competitive level, you’re able to make up and cover up your mistakes. And we didn’t match Clemson’s in the first half by any stretch. And so, those things happen. First five shots we had in the game were all good shots right around the basket, and I think that was the storyline of the game, our inability at times to finish around the basket. And then, our inability at crucial times, when we got fouled, to be able to step up to the free throw line and cut that 17-point lead to 15 or 15 to 13. We weren’t able to capitalize on some of those fouls. Tadric has a chance to be a very good player in this league, but as a guard you can’t shoot 2-7 from the free throw line. That’s inexcusable because he’s a power guard, an athletic guard and he’s going to get fouled, and it’s an area we have to help him dramatically improve in.”
March 15, 2023
March 14, 2023