March 9, 2011
An Interview With:
COACH CRONIN: First of all, we hoped that Anthony Crater is okay. Obviously he had a shoulder injury, that affected South Florida in the second half but our guys played extremely well and that limited any chance they had at a come back. But our guys, once again we played tremendous defense and that's our formula for success.
The thing we have been focusing on lately is playing better on the offensive end to try to become an elite team and both of these guys sitting here with me had great games, career high for Yancy and he got us off to a good start, and whenever you can play USF and be the better interior team, you're probably going to win the game because that is their strength and they did a great job all year with beating people up with their big guys, we've got good big guys but today we had the best big guy and it showed.
We made free throws in the second half we shot 65% we're going to be tough to beat when we do that because of how hard our kids play on the defensive end of the floor. It was a great win for us, we're looking forward to tomorrow night.
Q. You mentioned that you were focusing more on the offensive end. What are you getting execution wise on the offensive end?
COACH CRONIN: Our passing is better, 17 assists. The more I think the more we establish Yancy in the low post it really causes a dilemma for teams when he's in there scoring, we've got guys who can make shots we don't have a guy you can key on but our passing is the key.
We've gotten to a point where we have enough veteran guys we don't have to practice defense, you would be surprised if you watched us practice it's 80% offense for a team that's first in the Big East in defense. If you watched us practice you would be in shock. One of my close friends came to practice for the fist time and he was in shock at how much we practice offense versus defense.
Our walk throughs are defense but our pass and go play making ability is the key and trying to teach the guys that your future as a player is going to be based off your ability to make plays not just points and they've really bought into that and they're getting each other open.
Q. How big has Cash been with that?
COACH CRONIN: He's been big. Cash and Dion are the keys for us. We got a lot of options. If Yancy has a rough night you got Thomas, you got Biggie McClain who are seniors, you got Darnell Wilks is a senior, Justin Jackson, didn't get to play a lot tonight because he is in a numbers crunch. In the backboard for us Cash and Dion really have to play well. We don't have a lot of options at the point guard position and veteran guy. If Yancy gets in foul trouble it doesn't hurt our team but those two guys are important, the key to our team because our big guys are pretty consistent. We're going to get we're never going to get beat on the frontline for the most part and when our guards play good our offense becomes much better because they got the ball in their hands.
Q. Yancy can you talk about your growth over the last month or so and whether you recognized how important you were and how crucial you were going to be to making this push for the tournament bid?
YANCY GATES: It's been big. I've been going through a lot of things, meeting with the coaches and they've been talking me through a lot of stuff and I have great teammates talking to me and I knew my importance to make this stretch but it was figuring out the best way to do it and how to be effective and I think just talking to my coaches and teammates and, you know, working in practice harder, you know, has allowed me to be more effective down the last stretch we've been going through.
Q. What impact has he made on your success this season?
COACH CRONIN: It's great to have a guy that can be a double digit scorer off the bench, big luxury as a coach.
Obviously with Rashad Bishop graduating probably won't be a luxury next year, but this has been big for us. A guy that can get you double figures off the bench and he's done it numerous times this year for us especially if you get off to a slow start and you're struggling.
There are components to a good team and for us the bench is the big part of it, and Sean Kilpatrick has been really great for us.
Q. For both players. Do you think you are the most disrespected 25 win team in the country?
YANCY GATES: Yeah, that's all we talk about. We've been feeling like that for a long time but we'll take it. That drives us is, and that's what's keepin' us going right now. We beat teams but we turn on the TV and they talk about the team that we beat so that's just that just drove us when we're sitin' in our hotels and dorms, for everybody that does it keep doing it for us.
COACH CRONIN: Thank you, I don't have to worry about motivating. Whoever votes in the coaches pole, thank you, because you obviously don't pay attention. How we're not in the 25 is comical. Teams that we beat twice are ahead of us, teams we beat with double figures that have more losses than us are ahead of us. There are seven teams ranked ahead of us that have more losses than us. Going into the conference tournament, guys there were only 12 teams in the country with more wins than Cincinnati, teams we beat 20 points are ahead of us, multiple I say unbelievable. It's unfair and I told these guys, you know, they need to win now for them. They had a great regular season. It was great for the coaching staff, we've rebuilt the program. It's great for our fans and for them to get the attention and the respect they deserve they need to win in March and until our program wins in March we're not going to get that kind of respect.
So we have good players on this team. Our numbers aren't quality because we play a lot of guys it's our style. You see us shuttling guys in and out. We're a great defensive team because we don't play tired players. But because we share minutes and we share the ball. I guarantee it is the first time all year we had two guys with 20 or more points. That never happens for us, we're the only team in the Big East that finished in the top 12 that didn't have a guy in honorable mentioned or all league.
Q. For both players what did you think last night when you saw what south Florida did to Villanova?
DION DIXON: We wanted to come out and play hard on defense, and not let up on these guys.
YANCY GATES: It's the Big East tournament. It's not surprising. Last year we lost on a bank shot. It's not surprising. Anything can happen in the Big East tournament. That's why it's the greatest tournament in the country. I wasn't shocked.
Q. The last time you guys played Notre Dame you shut Hansbrough down, how did you guys force him into a tough shooting night and
YANCY GATES: We lost so we
COACH CRONIN: Yeah, that's all we were thinking about, we lost.
YANCY GATES: That's all we was thinking about.
COACH CRONIN: We didn't have the confidence back then that we have now. We're a different team. We had to take some punches, the way the Big East schedule shakes out we had a lot of tough early road games against the best teams in the conference and he got down. We charged back once we really stopped worrying about the score we matured as a team, it's a great opportunity for us, Hansbrough I voted him player of the year. Ben is a great player. He gives them belief and confidence that they're a great team and it's permeated down through the rest of their roster. They think they're supposed to win every game. So every time is a great challenge in life, every challenge in life is a great opportunity and tomorrow is a great opportunity for us, for our team, our players want more respect. You beat Notre Dame you'll get it.
Q. Dion the last time you were here you had a rough ending
COACH CRONIN: Thanks for reminding him.
Q. Now you scored 21 points tonight how did that feel?
DION DIXON: That was last year. I'm not thinking about that, I'm just I had a great season so far, I'm just trying to play aggressive, shutting down a great player, playing defense.
Q. Did you think about it on the floor tonight at all?
DION DIXON: No, it's erased.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys.
An Interview With:
COACH HEATH: Today just wasn't our day and Cincinnati had a lot to do with it. Yancy Gates was phenomenal. I know our defense wasn't great but it not easy to go 10 for 11, either. We didn't have an answer and probably should have done more double teaming, things like that to slow him down. Their team came to play. They made shots. They were balanced. They were inside, they were outside. I thought at halftime we were still in striking range, 8 points. I did not think we had played very well.
Unfortunately, coming out of the locker room without our point guard, we were a little bit in disarray. We never seemed to maybe capitalize and really get things together in the second half. You know, I'm proud of this group. We showed resiliency. We showed resolve. We showed character. You know, winning a huge game yesterday. Today we just didn't have enough fuel in the tank, but we got a lot to build on. We're going to miss this guy to my right, Jarrid Famous, my only senior. He's had a terrific two years for us and has done a lot and I'm proud of him and he's got a bright future ahead of him and my other guys are going to spend the off season getting better in the a lot of areas and we will add more pieces to help our basketball program, too.
Q. Stan, is there an update on Anthony's injury and can you talk about how tough it is to overcome losing a player at that position considering it was probably the one position you could not afford to have a guy go down in?
COACH HEATH: I don't have the total answer of where he is. He definitely was a no go. He couldn't raise his arm all the way up. We think he subluxed it, he got x rays, we'll know more tonight or later on tomorrow, but it's a huge loss.
We have guys that are extremely valuable. Gus or the way Shaun has been playing or Jawanza but that's probably the one position I can rotate front court guys but that's the one position where he's been 36 minutes per night and I probably haven't done the best job at preparing the other guys so when he went out that was the leadership from that position and he was probably the guy playing a little better and the engine that makes us go a little bit.
Q. How did he hurt himself?
COACH HEATH: He got two steals like on our bench on the far side of the court and on the second one he said as he was as he got the steal he planted the arm and he said it just subluxed in, he heard something pop and that was it. It happened right before halftime, I mean right before halftime. He made a couple of great steals to save a couple of baskets from Cincinnati.
Q. Stan, just to follow up this is the second year you guys have played a second night here and stuck around, how much has that helped to set the bar for where you expect things to be a year from now?
COACH HEATH: I think it means a lot. We tasted success here in the tournament. We beat a very strong team in Villanova, and a strong program and I think that they gave us it gave us and will give us some confidence in the future in terms of winning against tough teams.
This team, this team, we have leftover parts from last year in Gus and Jarrid and a couple of other guys but that perimeter was basically brand new guys and that group never really experienced success beating a very good team.
So that was, I think, a big win and something we can build on in the future.
Q. For either of you, can you talk about what happened in the second half after Anthony went down and the struggles that you had going up against Cincinnati?
JARRID FAMOUS: Just dealing with Anthony not being on the court is a big loss to us, going out there we need him. We had turnovers, back to back to start of the half and we didn't start of half off the way we wanted to.
AUGUSTUS GILCHRIST: Like he said, it was a different pace. Anthony has tremendous speed. He knows who to hit in the offense and it was a different thing, it was getting through the break, it was good for us, and just finding open guys. It was just a big loss for us.
Q. Jarrid, can you talk about Gates and what he did to let him be that much more in control of the post than he was the previous times?
JARRID FAMOUS: Tonight he had a tremendous game like Coach said, 10 for 11 from the field. Not much we really could do to stop him tonight. Like Coach said, we didn't have the answer, maybe we should have doubled him from the beginning or whatever, but he had a great game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.