Texas A&M-BYU Postgame Quotes
March 19, 2009
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Texas A&M student athletes and Coach Mark Turgeon. Coach, we'll ask you to make an opening statement, please.
COACH TURGEON: Well, obviously we played well. We started well. I thought offensively we shared the ball early. We exploited some matchup problems that they had and got ourselves going, got some confidence. Bryan made some tough shots early, got himself going. Then they missed a couple open looks in transition, missed a couple layups, and we built the lead way up. Since we played them last year in the first round, I think we were ahead 11 0, they came all the way back and took the lead in the first half, we really stayed on our guys about continuing to guard.
Defensively, that's probably the best 40 minutes we've played in a while. They're very hard to guard. They run good stuff. They have a lot of good players, a lot of good shooters. I just thought for the most part I told the guys probably 33, 34 minutes, we were as good defensively as we've been in a while. I think you advance in this tournament by playing great defense and rebounding, which we did, and then executing on offense and playing with poise, which I thought we did.
It was a good win. I have a lot of respect for BYU. For us to win the way we did means these guys really played well today.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for the student athletes.
Q. Donald, can you just talk about the first eight minutes of the game when y'all didn't miss a shot, just offensively how that felt.
DONALD SLOAN: Well, you know, coming into a game like this, it feels pretty good. I would hate for us to miss every shot we shot at the beginning of the game.
But shots fell. Guys pretty much have been working on our game pretty much since the end of the conference tournament. We knew this wasn't going to be an easy game. It was physical last year. It was a scrappy game. Luckily we didn't have a situation where we were down and had to come back.
Q. Josh, what was the difference between this year and last year? Did you notice a difference in the defense this year?
JOSH CARTER: Yeah, they played some zone this year. They just did a good job of shadowing me. My teammates were playing great early and getting all the looks; they were knocking 'em down.
I mean, I credit their defense and my teammates knocking down shots. I wasn't getting as many looks as they gave me last year.
Q. Bryan, when they got within 7 or 9 in the second half, you got a couple big baskets. Talk about being able to maintain the offensive pressure on them.
BRYAN DAVIS: We wanted to come out and make sure if they did have a run, we didn't let them come back too close. We also wanted to make sure we were disciplined enough to make sure we get defensive stop and finish on the offensive end.
Q. Donald, when you get an 18 point lead in eight minutes, is it tough to know you have 32 minutes you need to hold the lead?
DONALD SLOAN: Yeah, it really is tough because you never know what's going to happen next. The only thing you can do is make sure you play shots at the highest peak, stay help side, help your teammates out.
But we were out there shaking hands with guys, shots are falling in. That's really tough. It's tough for us to be up early and still have that much time to play in the game. We've seen it before. It's pretty scary. Luckily we were able to come out and just play solid, at least for 35, 36 minutes. They went on a little run. We had a four or five minute breakdown. I was just happy to see we didn't give it away.
Q. Bryan, given the way the second halves of your last two games went, how much did y'all focus on the second half today?
BRYAN DAVIS: We put a lot of focus on making sure that didn't happen. We also put more focus on just putting together 40 minutes of basketball, 40 minutes of good defense. All that would prevent them from coming back like that, what happened last game.
Q. Josh, could you talk about how this is y'all's fourth straight NCAA tournament, how that might help with any kind of pregame jitters?
JOSH CARTER: I mean, we're used to the situation, being in the tournament. I think we're always confident, so that usually takes the jitters away. I mean, you just try to stay relaxed and talk to your teammates, help 'em out.
I don't think too many people get nervous on our team.
Q. Bryan, coach talked about exploiting stuff against their defense. How much of it was an inside game or particularly you that he wanted to exploit against them?
BRYAN DAVIS: I don't think it was too much just me. It was mostly just the big men, period. We had an advantage down low. We wanted to play inside out. We started off getting a lot of buckets inside. We were able to kick it out to the guards and they were able to make shots, which they ended up in the zone, then we worked with that after they got into a zone.
Q. Donald, talk about advancing and getting the first game underway and moving on to the second round. How good does it feel for you guys?
DONALD SLOAN: Well, you know, like coach said, we came here to win two. It's all fine and dandy that we do have one right now. But we won't lose our focus. Just to get one, that's not good enough. That's not what we came here for. You know, we know the next game, either way it's going to be a hard one because nobody wants to go home, you know, nobody wants their season to end right now.
As of right now, we're just getting our mind right getting ready for Saturday.
Q. Chin, big rebounding edge today. How important was it to beat them on the glass?
CHINEMELU ELONU: I mean, it was pretty important. We knew we needed to get all the rebounds, defensive and offensive. Coach let me and Bryan know that it was going to be a big part of game, that we could win, if we dominated the boards.
Q. Donald, looking ahead to your next game, when you're an 8 or 9 seed, you know if you win, you hit No. 1 right away. Do you welcome that opportunity to get somebody possibly that good in your second game?
DONALD SLOAN: Well, it doesn't really matter to us. In order to win this tournament, you're going to have to play tough teams anyway. Why not try to, you know, play the hard ones early on, have whatever kind of the way the rest of the way.
We're pretty confident in our guys. We know whoever we play, we're going to play our hardest. We're going to scrap. We're going to do everything we need to do in order to win that game.
We welcome anyone.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. We'll continue with questions for Coach Turgeon.
Q. Was the second half of your last two games in your mind today at all?
COACH TURGEON: Well, you know, it was in our mind. I'm tired of talking about 'em. Missouri is a heck of a team. They made a run at us, made a lot of shots, but never felt really threatened. The last game helped us concentrate. Of all the grief we've had to take over the last seven, 8 9 days, I think it definitely helped us. We still weren't great the whole second half, but we were much better than we'd been.
I do think that as humbling as it was, as tough as it was, the Texas Tech loss helped us today.
Q. Coach, your big guys were credited with six blocks today. It seemed like they changed a lot of other shots, too. Did you put a lot of emphasis on being physical down low with the smaller BYU guys?
COACH TURGEON: Well, we definitely wanted to be more physical defensively. They spread you offensively so it's kind of hard to be physical. And then whenever we were posting up against Tavernari or their big guys, Tavernari we were trying to be physical, Miles we were trying to use our speed against him. So our guys took the game plan and listened and did a nice job with it. I thought we used our muscle against Tavernari. I thought we used our quickness against Miles. They brought in Hartsock, who is going to be a good player for them.
I think getting Tavernari in foul trouble, never letting him get going was big. But we play physical. Good teams do. We don't play football, but we play physical. So I think it helped us.
Q. I was curious to know if you had talked to Coach Brown in recent days, any advice he may have given?
COACH TURGEON: I actually haven't talked to him since we were selected to play in the tournament. I talked to him before. He's one of those guys when things aren't going well, he'll call me. We were 3 7 in the league. It was a great call. He says, Just get them to do what you believe in. I think since that point, we've been able to do that with these guys. Not all the time, but most of the time.
Obviously I wouldn't be where I am without Coach Brown, Roy Williams. They mean a lot to me. I'm happy his team is starting to win now, too. So he's feeling better.
Q. Can you give me your thoughts on your fast start? Twice in a row you put BYU in a big hole.
COACH TURGEON: They saw the best of us today. We were pretty good for 40 minutes. Now, we've had some good games down the stretch. We had Texas down 19 at home. We had Iowa State 26. We had Missouri 26. So we've been playing better. But they saw a more complete defensive game than we've played in a while.
The hot start, I can't tell you. We made a couple tough shots. They missed a couple ones they normally make. I didn't want to say it publicly before the game, but I felt like there was more pressure on them because they hadn't won an NCAA tournament game. Sometimes when you're trying to get over the hump, it puts more pressure. We've won games. We know how to win tournament games. I just thought maybe we were a little bit more relaxed going into it. I tried to look at some of their comments. There was a lot of pressure on those kids to finally win one.
But we were good early. We were really good. I mean, they made a run at us, which we knew they would. I think playing them last year really helped us. We had a good feel for their personnel, their offense. It showed.
We've changed a lot. If you get a film out from last year and watch us this year, we're different. We're faster. We're scoring more. We're running more motion. We're a lot different team. They've kind of stayed the same, which is good, because they continue to win.
Q. Could you talk about Bryan's contributions. You know you're going to get toughness and rebounding, but 21 points.
COACH TURGEON: He had it going. I thought both our posts really played well.
I told Bryan before the game, I said, I want you to play with energy, but I want you to play with poise. I thought in the Big 12 he was too hyped up, technical, just didn't play very smart. I just thought today he played smarter. He made a couple shots, I think his eyes were closed and they went in.
It was one of those days for him. It's good to see. Bryan hasn't had the best year offensively. But I think it's the way we're playing now. We're sharing the ball more. We have more movement in our offense. It's helped a lot of people. We're running more. It helped him today. It's good to see him, rebounding, he and Chin did a great job on the boards.
Q. You talked about your team being in this position before, maybe not having the same kind of pressure. Did you get a sense last couple of days that your guys were ready?
COACH TURGEON: I tried to kill 'em, I'm not sure what day it was, Friday, maybe it was Friday we practiced. It was Saturday. 'Cause we played Wednesday, right, the Big 12? I gave them two days off. We practiced Saturday. We've had unbelievable practices for four days. Then yesterday we just rested them. We walked through their stuff, we shot here. We knew it was an early game.
You've heard this term are a lot, being around me. When our guys are dialled in, which they were today, we're pretty good. NCAA tournament game, I expect them to be dialed in. But we've had great practices. We've added some things. Losing sometimes going into a tournament is good because you can get their attention again. We were kind of caught up in ourselves winning six straight. It's helped me.
But, yeah, I had a feeling we were going to play well. I didn't expect us to get off to the start we got off to. I didn't expect that. 'Cause I really have a lot of respect for BYU and their coaching staff and their players. We thought it was going to be a much, much tougher game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by BYU student athletes and Coach Dave Rose. Coach, we'll ask you to make an opening statement.
COACH ROSE: Well, I think, first of all, I'd like to give a lot of credit to Texas A&M. It's a very good basketball team. And they came out and really got a great start to the game, especially offensively, which made it very difficult for us on both ends of the floor.
But I thought that our players recovered from that and we were able to get into a zone a little bit, a little zone defense, get some misses. And then we had an opportunity there in the second half to cut it to 5 or 6. We had a couple threes. I thought that was a being turning point in the game, if we could have got one of those two shots to go in, we could have made a run at the end.
But it wasn't to be and Texas A&M finished the game well, deserved to win.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Lee, you got into a hole and were playing catch up. There were a couple times in the game where you had two or three possessions in the row where you missed shots that were open or had turnovers. Talk about that kind of uphill battle where you couldn't get over the hump.
LEE CUMMARD: Yeah, we had some chances, especially in the second half. I think we had two or three possessions to cut it below 10 and then cut it again. And we were just unable to make shots.
Q. Lee, can you talk about their start. Was it a matter of energy or focus or what happened there where they were hitting everything and you guys were missing everything?
LEE CUMMARD: Yeah, I think we had a little bit of well, not a little, but too much energy. Just got out there and we were rushed a little bit offensively. Then defensively they were getting after it. I think we knew what they were doing, but we were giving them a little bit too much space early on. I believe they hit, you know, eight or ten in a row.
That's just hard to crawl back from.
Q. Jimmer, your thoughts about the hole you got into and the efforts had you to come back. Lee, this is your last game for BYU. Some thoughts on that.
JIMMER FREDETTE: We got off to a really good start again. It was kind of the same thing as last year. We made our first shot, they went on and made their next 10 shots in a row I think it was. You know, that's a credit to them. They did a good job of getting open shots and their big guys were making, you know, tough shots in the beginning of the game. You know, they just continued to play from there.
They, you know, kept putting it on us. And every time that we would come back, they would make a big shot and get it back into double figures. We had a couple chances, got it down to six points or so, and the game turned from there.
LEE CUMMARD: Just on my time here, it's been a great experience. Had a lot of success. You know, when the time comes, when this game it put me behind me, it will be a much better time to reflect on my time here.
Q. Jimmer, Coach Rose alluded to the situation with a couple three pointers. What do you recall about that sequence? Did the ball feel good coming out of your hand at that point?
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, it felt good coming out of my hand. I think it just drew back iron and we got another shot with Jackson. Tipped it back and Jackson shot it. Just both of them didn't go in and they got a tough rebound and came back down and scored. So it kind of changed from there.
Q. Jimmer, Lee is really the only player in the lineup that's not going to be back next year. Can you talk about some of the positives you can build on going on from here?
JIMMER FREDETTE: Yeah, you know, Lee was a great player for this program. He was our leader. Whenever we got into a tough spot, we could just get the ball to him and he'd go make a play for us. That's something that obviously we're going to be missing next year. So we're going to have to have guys come back and step up and play and lead the team.
So, you know, we got four guys that are returning starters, then we got a lot of guys that had some experience this year coming off the bench. It's good to have that experience for the whole team. So we just need to go out and be able to fill that leadership role.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. We'll continue with questions for Coach Rose.
Q. What kind of thoughts were going through your mind watching that start?
COACH ROSE: Well, a couple things. We were trying to figure out different things we could do to try to get them into a tough shot. I thought a couple of shots they made were very difficult shots, actually shots that we probably going into the game would want them to shoot.
But they came out with a lot of confidence and made those shots.
Then the other thing that kind of went through my mind was the fact that, you know, we've we've been able to deal with a lot of things. We can come back if we could just get going, get some positive energy.
Q. It was the seventh straight time you've been behind at halftime. Obviously you know that. What did you say, what did you talk about in the locker room? What was the feeling? Was there a thought you could come back on them?
COACH ROSE: Yeah, I think our guys were really positive about opportunities that we had missed in the first half. We had a lot of opportunities. We needed to just capitalize on those opportunities. And I think we came out in the second half, you know, with a good attitude and got ourselves in a position to where we could have cut that down. It didn't happen. They made a couple two quick plays that really kind of deflated us and took us a while to recover from that.
But there's no quit in this team, and they continue to fight. Although we weren't as successful as we wanted to be offensively, and defensively it was a tough assignment trying to guard them, they made some big plays.
Q. It's been all these consecutive years of losing in the first round of the tournament. What does the program need to get over that hump?
COACH ROSE: Well, I think that we need to play better. I think that we played a really good team tonight, Texas A&M. I think we had opportunities this game like we've had in, you know, past NCAA games, and we just didn't make enough take advantage of those opportunities and ended up on the short end of the stick.
Q. You're going to be the guy that's going to take this on with so many guys coming back. What positives do you take from this to try to build on for next time?
COACH ROSE: Well, these are tough losses. I mean, when you get beat in the tournament [oops]. You want to look towards all the good things that the team has accomplished. But it will take a little while to recover from because our expectation was to come here and win, to advance. That's the next step for us and for this group returning, is, first of all, to qualify for the tournament, and then to advance.
Q. In the past sometimes you talked about opposing team's guards speeding things up. Did their big men do some things to force some shots tonight?
COACH ROSE: Well, I think where they were really good, especially early, is protecting the basket because we had opportunities where we would drive, which we wanted to do, and get to the rim and try to finish, maybe get fouled, get to the free throw line, and not just rely on perimeter shots.
I think they had two or three different times where they rotated over and got a foul called on us, an offensive foul. So I think those are big, long, athletic guys. They make you think really quick. You've got to make quick decisions and then be able to finish. You know, I thought they made some really good defensive plays in the first half.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH ROSE: Thank you.
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