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Clemson vs. Illinois Post-Game Coaches’ Quotes

Dec. 2, 2009

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Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell

Overall Thoughts: “It was certainly a tale of two halves. We couldn’t play much better in the first half. At halftime, we talked about the fact that Illinois would give us everything we had in the first five minutes. We gave up some threes that allowed them to get back into the game. Illinois just kept coming. Having said that, we still had a chance to win at the end.”

On what allowed Illinois to get back into the game: “I think we relaxed and let a good team with capable players get going. Give them credit. They hung in there and kept going. They hit some shots, and we stopped contesting shots.”

On Illinois’ defense: “They went from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man and a little three-quarter-court pressure. They made us a little uncomfortable because it was tough to get the ball inside.”

On where the blame lies: “We’ve got to take a good portion of blame. We didn’t play with the defensive mentality we needed. The first half was a thing of beauty. That was Clemson basketball. We just didn’t maintain that.”

Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber

Overall Thoughts: “I just can’t say enough about Clemson. It was the exact same score as last year. They just came off a tough road trip and maybe that affected them. I am just amazed. At the half I told them to at least compete. They took it to us in the first, and then came out slow in the second and we were able to take advantage. Demetri (McCamey) was the key for us. He did so many things well. Our defense was better in the second half. I have to give the kids credit for coming back. We made so many big plays and we tied it up quickly. Now we just have to be consistent.”

On the second half: “We took care of the ball and moved it. Once we did that we were able to score. They didn’t seem to have any zip in the second and today we took advantage.”

On the team’s play in Las Vegas: “We needed leadership and to play hard after that trip. We didn’t in the first half, and as a coach I was embarrassed. Hopefully this road win will pull the team together.”

On this being the team’s first true road game: “In the first half I felt like that affected us. We had a lot of turnovers. We couldn’t move or pass or cut, but in the second we scored more points in the paint and the kids just executed.”

On the play of Mike Tisdale: “He stepped up as a leader. I think he and Demetri were leaders tonight and the guys just stepped up. Now we will see if we can continue rising.”

On Clemson: “Last year they had more experience with their depth and this year they have a lot of young kids. Once the freshmen get in, they have to play because Oliver Purnell is going to play them. Last year, they won because they wore us out and this time maybe we were able to do that to them. I think (Andre) Young has really improved and (Demontez) Stitt is a great player. Then Tanner Smith is a guy I love. He is the glue guy that you hate to play, but love to have as a coach.”