March 10, 2011
St. John’s: 73
An Interview With:
COACH BOEHEIM: I thought it was a great game. First half we got a little stationery against their defense and made some bad turnovers, turned it over 12 times in the first half, three turnovers in the second half and that is the difference between scoring 32 and scoring 47. I thought Chris and Scoop bounced back with a big second half and Brandon got us going and at the end Ricky and Fab made some great plays when we were one down. Ricky made a great play and C.J. made a play, in the out of bounds play, brilliant play we set it up for Ricky and Fab. So that's pure coaching again. Ricky made hitting that one to Chris coming down the lane for the lead was a difference maker but we made steals in transition during the course of the game when they had a chance to score we got the ball and we scored.
It was a big difference but it was not turning it over, St. John's is very good. Hardy is a terrific player. He made some shots that you almost don't want to take but he made 'em. He's a terrific player.
I thought their inside guys did a great job the whole game but I've said for two years now when you sit around till Thursday it's not good. I think it's difficult for the top seeds to do that. I'm glad we won so that everybody doesn't think I'm crying but it's I don't think it's a good way to do it. But this was a real good win and St. John's is a real good team.
Q. Coach, the (No microphone.)
COACH BOEHEIM: He has had good practices. He did play well against DePaul. I think he played him at Georgetown and he made a couple of big plays against Georgetown but having the ten days of practice that we've had in the last we played two games in 15 days, something like that, and I think those practices were huge for him. He's worked hard in practice, but, you know, he made a couple of really good plays out there.
Those were not easy plays. He ducked under the one and the other one he caught and finished. I mean, he made a couple of really good offensive plays out there.
Q. Talk about the overall improvement of Brandon and Scoop and how they're getting better and better this year?
COACH BOEHEIM: I think they've gotten better. It's their first year of really playing together. They both have point guard skills and turnover skills sometimes, too, but, you know, Brandon has stepped up his shooting and given us somebody to go to that we didn't have I don't think early in the year.
They played well together. I thought Dion did a good job for us in the first half tonight and I went with the veterans the second half and I think our backcourt has gotten better and been a big difference down the stretch.
Q. Last year at this time when you lost in Onawaku
COACH BOEHEIM: You think?
Q. You didn't have a bye.
COACH BOEHEIM: He's been on a bye his whole life, yes, sir.
Q. Last year you lost Onawaku and it looks like Kennedy might be gone for the season, can a team overcome that?
COACH BOEHEIM: Look at Georgetown. I don't think they have won a game since Wright went down. They went from a top 10 team to what is it, I think they've lost four in a row. You can't absorb a loss like that especially if you have three key guys. You can maybe lose a guy if you have great depth and he's not a key guy. Last year we had great depth so we were able to survive a little bit and win a couple of games and we could have won the third game in the tournament but it's difficult to lose a guy like that, there is no question about it.
Q. Coach, you said you didn't like waiting around until Thursday to play. Conversely Connecticut is going to be playing their fourth game in four days?
COACH BOEHEIM: They're a team that can do that. I think they really can, Kemba Walker can play eight nights in a row, and they play a lot of guys and I don't see that being a factor tomorrow night at all. I mean, the year we won four games we were playing six guys and it was a factor.
We got through it. We didn't have much left.
Q. Could you breakdown the Connecticut match up?
COACH BOEHEIM: I don't think Connecticut played well. It was like when we played St. John's the first time, I don't think St. John's played well so I didn't take anything out of the St. John's game and I don't take anything out of the Connecticut game. I don't think they played well, Kemba had probably his worst night of the year and we know that won't happen tomorrow night.
I watched the game today and I thought Pittsburgh played great. I don't know what they ended up shooting but they had to be shooting 60% from the field. I don't know what they ended up but it looked like they shot in the high 50s, and it looked like they played great and Connecticut played better. That's, you know, that's a tremendous team and for Connecticut to beat them says a lot about how they're playing, they played great today.
Q. When you guys lost the four straight during the regular season and it was revealed that Jim Boeheim can't coach, what did you learn during that spell?
SCOOP JARDINE: We learned our identity as a team, we were in the hole and had to dig ourselves out, Coach continued to coach us and keep us level headed throughout the whole losing streak and we knew what we had to do and the things we had to do to overcome that and I think that was the best thing that could have happen to our season because we found our identity and stayed together through the whole thing.
BRANDON TRICHE: We stayed together and Rick and Scoop as leaders they brought the whole brought the whole team together and it was mostly about efforts, the time we were losing we were having loose rebounds and loose balls and I think we were trying to make great offensive plays instead of concentrating on defense and now that we're moving we're hard to beat.
Q. Brandon on that out of bounds play did you see Fab all the way?
BRANDON TRICHE: No, I seen Scoop cutting and then I see Fab I get him a lot because he is really big, he used it and was able to make a great play.
Q. You guys handled St. John's pretty well, they played better today, what was better about St. John's today than what you saw them in Jan?
SCOOP JARDINE: They beat us up on the glass. They beat us with second chance points and hard did I had a great game today, and the first game like Coach said they didn't play too well and today they were click and go he was making shots for them and his other teammates and they did a great job of going off the rebound.
BRANDON TRICHE: I think they were being disruptive defensively, the first half we had turnovers, and they weren't getting too much action and movement off of those. They contained us, we got a few open shots and knocked 'em down but they were getting a lot of passes and things like that that we struggled with.
Q. Jim, there are seven ranked teams playing today, and a very good Marquette team, how do you see the Big East going forward from here into the NCAA?
COACH BOEHEIM: You know, the problem with the NCAA Tournament is you're going to have games just like today with whoever you play and if we don't make that one play where Rocky gets the rebound and hits Chris and they get the ball and score we loose. That's the way it's going to be in the tournament, it's you can't look ahead and say well in the tournament they won or lost, because any of the teams you're playing, they're all good teams around the country, there are so many good teams out there, our league, we have the most this year put all the teams you're going to play in the tournament they're all good teams. We played Michigan and beat 'em 3 points on a neutral point, we played Iona and they could have been a tournament team and we beat 'em 6 points at home. We played two or three other teams, you know, that are going to be in the tournament that we just barely snuck by.
The games are going to be just like this one. College basketball is equal. Everybody's got good players, there are good teams. They're not mediocre teams, they're good teams and there is a lot of them and when you play one of those teams in the first game if you don't play to a high level you can get beat and I mean any team I don't care what seed you are. The first game you play if you don't play at a high level you're going to get beat. The goal is you want to play at a high level but that's the way the tournament will be, and I think all our teams are ready but it's just like Pittsburgh today I thought they played great and it could have been a second or third round NCAA game and Walker hits a shot and beats you. That's college basketball. There is nothing you can do about it, you just got to get ready, give it your best shot and see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
March 10, 2011
St. John’s: 73
An Interview With:
COACH LAVIN: It was clearly a high level, you know, Big East conference tournament game between two teams who demonstrated a fierce competitive spirit. You know, hats off to Syracuse down the stretch they were able to get some interior looks, some high percentage shots at the rim, and got enough stops defensively to be able to get the victory. Really proud of our players, not only for the entire season but this game in particular losing D.J. Kennedy to an injury and having to step up and find a way to counter punch without one of our key contributors, speaks volumes about our players.
About their character and resiliency and their will to win, and that will serve us well next week in the NCAA Tournament.
Q. Sean, can you describe some of the frustration you feel going against a frontline that's that big and that physical? It looked like there was tons of contact in there but you guys did a good job of scoring in the paint.
SEAN EVANS: They got a big, long zone. They're one of the best in the country, it's always going to be tough going against a zone like that, we didn't come out with the a win but we're back to the drawing board, move on from there.
Q. They were right in the middle of that early run when they took the lead when D.J. got hurt and that's what you guys counter punched. What was your response internally, you've seen you're teammate carried off, what was the thought process that point?
SEAN EVANS: We had to take up have someone step up and D.J. brings a lot to the game, offensively, defensively, scoring, rebounding, so somebody has to step up, we had to do more work than we usually do but I think we did a pretty good job but didn't pull it out at the end.
DWIGHT HARDY: I was shocked. We lose one of our best players for the moment. This team, somebody is going to have to fill his shoes and I think Malik did a good job sparking for us and that's the thing about this team we're so deep that any given moment anybody can step up but to lose a player like him is crucial, and we're going to have to find a way to excel, that's it.
Q. Coach, after a game like yesterday, Rutgers and the fiasco how big was it for you guys to come out and step up today after what happened yesterday?
COACH LAVIN: I think our team has a maturity about them that has allowed us all year to persevere through tough stretches and to handle, you know, a big win or a tough loss with the same approach, just to come back and continue to work and try and elevate our level of play so we could reach our goals and operations, which was to play in the NCAA, which is what I focused on in the postgame talk, proud of the way they were able to overcome adverse it with the loss of D.J. and they responded with a great effort but Syracuse got enough stops and made enough buckets down the stretch to pull away but their approach and attitude is what we're going to need moving forward if we're going to have success in the NCAA Tournament.
Q. Steve, can you give us an update on D.J. and what you know now?
COACH LAVIN: I don't know I haven't spoken to our team doctors to have any definitive information on D.J. but I know it's a serious knee injury.
Q. How does it feel now that the coach has changed and how does it feel to be on the verge of playing in your first NCAA Tournament for the first time in many years?
DWIGHT HARDY: It feels good. Shows that the progress we made we're becoming a very good team this year and now we have a chance to make a magical run in this thing and we're all proud of each other and we want to finish the year strong.
SEAN EVANS: It's like Dwight said it going to be big for us, shows the hard work we put in but I don't think it's going to feel the same because we lost one of our brothers if he doesn't get to play.
D.J. is a big part of this team, this hurts me because we're close on and off the court, it's not many times you see D.J. you don't see me, you see me and don't see D.J., so it's going to be hurtful but I think it's going to be fuel to the fire and we're going to have to step up and I got my I'm worried, I'm going to play as hard for D.J. and for all my teammates.
Q. You guys have been seniors together and now one might be gone, Dwight, how do you think it will affect the team without D.J.?
DWIGHT HARDY: It's going to affect us a little bit because he's versatile, but now we have to pick up the slack, somebody else going to have to rebound a little more, somebody is going to have to score a little bit more, everybody on this team is going to have to add more value than what they've been adding and I think we have the potential to do that, we are a very skilled team and if he doesn't get to play with us, it's going to be devastating but we've got to play a basketball game at the end of the day and we're going to play as hard as we can for him.
Q. Coach Lavin, how gratifying is it for you to turn this program around so quickly and be able to have this match up against Syracuse in Madison Square Garden be the March key match up of the tournament?
COACH LAVIN: Right now it's difficult to put in perspective because it's after a tough loss, you know, but what I tried to focus on in the locker room with the kids was our objective and goals that we put on the board in our very first meeting in Taffner Field House we've reached and now we're not satisfied and we want to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament but I think when you get some distance down the line I would be able to put it in better perspective what type of year this has been.
I've enjoyed ever step of the way with this remarkable group of young men and they inspire our staff because of their fight and resiliency and their close NIT dimension of this team.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports