Wisconsin-Xavier Postgame Quotes
March 22, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and have an opening statement from Coach Ryan and then take questions for the student athletes.
COACH RYAN: I'd just like to say how proud I am of our guys, the effort, the grittiness, especially on defense, not just tonight but all year. What they have accomplished after we hit a rough stretch early in the Big 10 to be in the big dance and to last a couple days, that's pretty exciting.
But it's also, it makes a huge statement for the type of guys we have. We might have been a little short in some areas and not necessarily height, but just some areas of the game of basketball that we didn't particularly function well in during the year, that came back to bite us a little bit here.
But the fact that they were gritty enough and tough enough to be able to get to play a couple more games and represent the University of Wisconsin, I'm extremely proud of them, especially the seniors.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student athletes.
Q. If you guys can just talk about Xavier half court defense and how tough it was to score against them .
TREVON HUGHES: They long and athletic. They challenge every shot we had. We had to alter our shots. It made it a little difficult trying to get our shot off. They're very quick, so they collapse in the lane when we get in our driving position.
Q. Trevon Hughes, I guess along those lines, sure, Xavier is a good defensive team, but until the first couple minutes of the second half you guys were doing a pretty good job of penetrating and stuff. What changed after you guys got that seven point lead? What was different in terms of either how you guys were attacking or how they were defending you?
TREVON HUGHES: I want to say they went on a 5 0 run, gave them momentum and they took the momentum from us and they never looked back from there. At the same time we have to take care of the ball a little bit better. Even though we had seven turnovers, but that's second chances that we don't get at the basket.
Q. Marcus, talk about Xavier's size and just how they limited your chances to get offensive rebounds.
MARCUS LANDRY: They're big. They do a good job of really grabbing the rebounds and it helps that they're very athletic also. They just they did a good job really being on the boards. I think they out rebounded us by seven. And it was kind of difficult to get on an offensive glass, but as a player, you just have to have a desire to go after every ball regardless of size of the team.
Q. Xavier kind of thought maybe they wore you guys down a little bit. I guess I'm wondering just your thoughts on that . Do you think that defensively they were able to wear you guys down a little bit?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Yeah, well, we just got away from ourselves. We shots didn't go down and it ended up being an 11 point game because of free throws at the end. Really, they out rebounded us by seven. But that was we missed a lot of shots and they do a great job of checking out.
They are coached very well. The players are very disciplined on their box outs and that also made it tough for the offensive rebounds.
And I don't know if they really both teams were in the same position, second game and two, three days, so whatever it was. So I don't think it was anything that had to do with our legs, really. I think both teams were tired and playing their hearts out.
Q. Could you guys just kind of reflect on the season and how you view what this team was able to accomplish.
MARCUS LANDRY: After losing six in a row and finishing the way we did, just to get into the NCAA tournament was great. I never heard of any other team that has done that. And we went on a stretch where we lost six in a row and we still made the NCAA tournament. So we got a chance to live to fight another day after those six losses. And to get in the tournament, it was a great accomplishment for our team. We can always wish that we would have well, we wish that we were still playing, but that's not the case right now. But we can always look back and say we could have done this better or we could have done that better, but we're pretty happy just to get in and it was we had it in our hearts to just go out there and fight.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Just so proud to be part of this team and battle through a lot of tough times throughout the year and just kept on fighting back. We bounced back from a six game losing streak, and made a run and got our name called on selection Sunday, and we were proud of the fact that we did that. And then to come out and make a little noise here in Boise was a lot of fun and something I'll never forget.
And I'll never forget the coaches for all they have done for me and all my teammates. I just got so many people to thank and just so proud to wear this jersey.
Q. Marcus, toward the end of the first half I think maybe the final three and a half minutes of the first half, in the first three minutes of the second half, you guys were running some pretty good offense and having some success scoring. Can you talk about that stretch of the game and maybe what was the key at that point?
MARCUS LANDRY: We were really executing. Trevon was finding his way into the lane, kicking it out. Guys were making plays. And we were listening to the coaches doing what they wanted us to do and it worked. That was the outcome between those few minutes.
It worked for us at the time.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, guys. We'll take questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. Sean Miller talked about one of the changes he made in the second half was to crowd Hughes and Landry a little bit more. Can you just talk about how after your initial success in the first half that kind of worked on those two players in your offense?
COACH RYAN: Trevon still got shots. Marcus still got shots. I think if you take a look at it, Jason Bohannon, if they didn't squeeze him a little bit, he didn't shoot it particularly well. And really, no matter what the case, we needed to be getting to the free throw line early in that second half more than what we did. And by not making good pump fakes or kicking the ball out if we didn't have a shot.
You can make all the changes you want as a coach, the things that I saw were simply execution on a finish, using the ball fakes, if somebody's closing out on you, you got to pump fake, those are the things where we actually could have taken a much bigger advantage of and we didn't.
Q. You just look, outside of Marcus, your shooting, the rest of the team was 8 42. Pretty uncharacteristic. What were you trying to do to get someone going? Did you do any kind of strategy change to try to get someone who could put the ball in the basket for you?
COACH RYAN: Well, other than burning incense and doing a couple dances over there on the sideline, you know, this has happened to us a few times. The two starting guards, when they can get decent looks now the percentages go down as we're taking quick shots at the end playing from behind. Two or three of those shots are shots maybe that you're not normally going to take. But you put yourself in that position and you live with it.
Streaky, they have been like that all year, when shots are going down we could beat anybody. Defensively, if you really think about where they are physically and where we were physically, to do what we did defensively, I thought our guys did a great job.
We put ourselves in position on the defensive end to be able to be on the left hand side. Offensively, it wasn't because of turnovers, it wasn't because it was basically because of being a little too quick with the trigger and times not using good pump fakes. With some of the guys it's experience, but with the two guards, they have been through a lot, they have been you know somebody asked me on the way in, hey, why did they make you guys play the early game? Why did you you guys played the late game on Friday and you do this, you do that.
Hey, again, guys got to be ready to play. It doesn't matter. We had a bunch of guys with double digit minutes and so did they. So it's a whole different story if guys knock down just a few shots. If we just shoot 35 percent we hold them under 40, and in those kind of games you're supposed to be able to get it done, but watching games this year, other teams play, other conferences, I've seen games like this where defensively a team plays really well, they don't have anybody that's knocking down shots, and you come up on the short end. I'm sure it will, it's happened in the past and it will happen in the future.
Q. Despite your offensive struggles it was still a three point game with about four, four and a half minutes left. I'm curious your thoughts on your offense from that point in the game and whether you liked the kind of shots you were getting at that stage?
COACH RYAN: Well, J Bo had some good looks. Marcus a couple around the basket. He finished on some. But in order to beat a team like that you're going to have to be much more efficient. Then when you're playing from behind, it gets, you know, unless you've ever been in the arena, and know what it's like, you do, it's everything speeds up a little bit and some guys handle that a little better than others. And we have had some times where guys stepped up in there and made some big shots and meaning shots playing from behind putting in position, just like we did against Florida State. This afternoon it didn't happen.
Q. When you look back on the season I know Marcus kind of touched on it a little bit about losing six in a row and still hearing your name called on Selection Sunday, is there anything in particular that you're going to remember about this year that stands out in your mind?
COACH RYAN: I've been through so many, it never gets old, but a lot of grit with this group. Knowing that we were going to be a little rough around some edges, based on what we had back, we needed some help. And the fact that Keaton Nankivil has taken two charges in the last two games, next year people better look out. Because he has become a defensive player. And when Jon Leuer gets stronger, by next year you see a coach is already thinking I don't think Trevon and J Bo next year are going to have shooting nights like this. Just things that you got to learn.
Some things that so when I look back I just keep, a coach, he looks back and says, man, the seniors, they were great, a hundred wins. How would you like to be a graduating college student and have 25 wins a year under your belt and had a chance to play in some pretty good venues. That's not all bad.
So everybody wants to be the last team standing. But the fact that we got a chance to and rightfully so we were in the NCAA tournament.
You can't take the RPI, the strength of schedule, the way we finished, I didn't hear a whole lot of question about that from people who were intelligent about basketball. We were never really in that conversation.
Some of the games that you let get away, if you can learn how to manage that a little bit better on the court, and I always say watch us grow next year. We can get something out of this trip here. That's for sure.
Q. Subpar offensive stretches have happened so much. In the middle portion of the second half, did you sense some frustration from an maybe some quick shots or people trying to do too much?
COACH RYAN: When I lack at other teams and you look at box scores, yesterday, in every game at some point or another the announcers going, they have gone seven minutes without a bucket. And I'm thinking to myself, man, I know it either it's happening more and more to a lot of teams, or they're just talking about it more because you get the running scores and they have quicker information that announcers use and everything. But you have to avoid those if you want to be consistent. But if a player gets frustrated, I can't get inside their head and push a button and say, okay, you don't get frustrated.
You just have to play through that and because the other teams have those spells too. Xavier's had them, every team that's playing, every team that has played. But overall percentage wise, that is, that's a struggle, some of it as I said came from, you drop from 30 some percent to 20 some percent when you're forcing shots at the end. But, well, then don't get behind. And you'll shoot a better percentage.
Q. Just talk about the role both benches played. They had three guys come in and get 20 points and some big rebounds and make some big impact plays and you never got that contribution. How difficult was that?
COACH RYAN: Well we're always looking for something from the bench.
But defense first and then rebounding and then play making and sometimes your bench brings in scoring because of your rotation, sometimes your bench brings in defense, sometimes your bench brings in power for rebounding. In different years there's different ways you go about it.
Last year Bohannon was coming in off the bench and he would add some offensive spark. Tim Jarmusz, you know, he's not a bad shooter at all.
He can knock it down. He's, he can add some offense. Keaton, he didn't shoot it obviously as well as he did against Florida State, but it was like his freshman year, basically, and he and Leuer and Jarmusz and Jordan Taylor and Rob who just played a little bit, but those guys, they seemed in the locker room, like they can't wait to get back, go to work, and get ready for next year.
Q. You mentioned on two occasions that you came up short in a few areas this year. Could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by that?
COACH RYAN: Well, I thought defensively even though our numbers show we were a really good defensive team. Again, that's based on guys buying in and working at things. But I thought we could have been even better. On rotation, on taking charges, on it's not like the way you guys started the press conference about Xavier on the offensive rebounds, you must have had a different stat sheet than I have. I think we had seven, they had seven. With that team, to keep them to seven when they got three on one possession and I pulled both our bigs on that, just figuring they might have been a little tired, so other than that one possession, they had four offensive rebounds. And that's a team that's really good on the glass.
But that's an area but towards the end of the year we were getting better in that area. And then shooting percentage wise with just being so inconsistent percentage wise. And tonight was we have had two or three of those where between the two guards they didn't shoot a very high percentage. But we played 30 some games. Coaches are always looking at how the ones that got away. Like the fishermen. They don't care about all the nice fish that they catch, they always think about the big ones that got off the hook because they want to go you know defeated. Well we all want to go you know defeated and catch them all.
But we don't get to do that.
Q. Can you just talk about Xavier's ability to get to the line down that stretch that and ability to get those what would be three point plays?
COACH RYAN: Well again when you're playing from behind a lot of those free throws came when we were trying to get a strip, get a turnover, trying to go after the ball in a way to create an opportunity for us. A couple of those reaches. But that's, you know, what happens. Again, you play from behind, the other team's going to get more free throws if that's what you have to go to.
And we're not we're not a long, athletic type team to press and jump and run and do those types of things. We have guys that work hard on defense, but some teams are better at pressuring than others.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, coach.
COACH RYAN: Sure.
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THE MODERATOR: We'll get started and have an opening statement by Coach Miller and then take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH MILLER: We obviously beat a very good team today in Wisconsin. The respect that we have for their coach, Bo Ryan, and his staff and the Big-10 Conference and what they stand for, Wisconsin, is really immense. And for us to be able to beat that type of team and program, it makes us obviously feel very good.
Today's game was very much, it was very much about who we are as a team. Terrific half court defense that can wear you down. We do it with depth, we do it with size. I thought some of the guys off the bench, Kenny Frease and Jamel McLean in particular came in the game and really made a difference. They not only played but they changed the outcome in our favor. Any time you can have depth, it's clearly to your advantage.
Also thought a key moment in today's win was we started the second half in a really tough way. We missed some layups, missed a free throw, allowed them to get a quick lead on us. And once again, the resiliency of our team, we were able to respond from that key moment and even the game back up as opposed to playing behind the whole second half, which is very hard to do against Wisconsin.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.
Q. B.J., you guys were down by seven points and you came out of a timeout and went on a 10-0 run. What happened in that timeout? What did Coach tell you and was that the turning point for you?
B.J. RAYMOND: Well, it's a thing that we do all the time. We have been there before. Last year we were down to Georgia by 10 points at the half and we just needed to calm down and do what we do. We came out and we focused on the right end of the floor, on the defensive end of the floor, and that's what got us back in the game.
Q. Wondering if one of you players can be more specific about that stretch there, because it seemed like it was the turning point in the game. What did you do specifically on defense that made things so tough for Wisconsin? They went on a nine-minute run without scoring a bucket there.
DERRICK BROWN: Well, defense, that's our identity. We're not going to score 90 points and outshoot people. And we realize that we didn't want this to be B.J. and C.J.'s last game. And collectively as a group we came out and we gave it all we had on the defensive end. Because that's where our identity is.
Q. Derrick, you didn't allow an offensive rebound in the second half until there was about a minute left in the game. Can you just talk about the significance of your rebounding today and keeping them from getting any second chance points?
DERRICK BROWN: Like I said, Coach puts us in a position where we do it every day. If we give up offensive rebounds to the other team, it's going to be a problem with him. And we just wanted to give it all we had, especially on the defensive end. And defense rebounding is part of defense.
So I think we did a pretty good job in that area. We should have got a couple more offensive rebounds as Coach pointed out, but at the end of the day I think we did a decent job on keeping them off the glass.
Q. Trevon Hughes was hurting you guys, getting to the foul line and beating you to the basket. What change did you make to keep him off the line? What did you guys do differently?
DANTE JACKSON: I think our ball pressure, me and Terrell's ball pressure, helped a little bit and then the guys who were jumping the ball screens did a good job also. Our defense is set so we can help each other and I think we just started helping each other a little bit better.
Q. B.J., you had three points in the first half and then really picked it up, I thought, in the start of that run there. What were you looking to do in the second half?
B.J. RAYMOND: Well, I always get myself in trouble when I try to force things, and I try to force the action. I just wanted to make sure that I let the game come to me, but also be aggressive at the same time.
Also, when we got down a little bit, as being a senior and leader of the team, sometimes you got to take it upon your shoulders to get one bucket. Because sometimes the other teammates on the team need to just see one go in. And from that point on everything will be okay.
Q. B.J., you guys haven't won a game by a score this low in output since November. Talk a little bit about what this says for you guys going forward in the tournament in that you were able to win a real grinder tonight.
B.J. RAYMOND: It means a lot. But Wisconsin is a great defensive team as well. And they did a good job of defending us and we did a good job of defending them. We just wanted to make sure today that we were who we were. We played fast, but also we played on the right side of the ball, which is our defense. We didn't want to just turn it into just try to rush it up the floor and shoot the first shot we got.
Q. B.J., can you talk about the guys that Coach mentioned who came off the bench and changed the game and what it means to have younger players make that kind of an impact.
B.J. RAYMOND: It means a lot. I say this all the time, but there's a time in the season where freshman become sophomores and sophomores become juniors and juniors become seniors. And it's that time of the season where all the games and all the practices and everything that Coach has said to us in the past, it comes into play.
And Ken Frease tonight, he hadn't been playing his best basketball, but I said to him before the game, You know, this is a time where everybody's watching. And this is the time where you need to be at your best. And I think he responded in a great way today. And Jamel McLean, you know he's a monster, he's a freak athlete and he showed the nation what he had today.
Q. For Derrick or B.J., just your thoughts about being back in the Sweet 16.
DERRICK BROWN: It feels good. Real good. It's a total team effort, like I said. We're a family. We care about each other. Probably more than a lot of different teams out there because it's off the court, on the court. But being at the Sweet 16, that's something that you can't -- everybody can't say.
B.J. RAYMOND: I'd like to second that. We worked so hard. It's just so good to see our hard work come to pass. In the summer we stay around all summer and we just work on our weaknesses and try to make them better. And it's just so good to see the practices, the hard times, the tears, the scratches, the blood, the time that Coach is yelling at us, just to see that it is all for a good cause. It just makes us put our faith in Coach a lot higher.
COACH MILLER: I would just say that Dante Jackson, a lot was made coming into this tournament about our inexperience at the point guard. In large part we went to the Sweet 16 today because of his efforts. He had a terrific game on both sides of the ball and also against Portland State. And to me, Terrell and Dante combined this weekend to allow us to advance. They did an absolutely terrific job at the point guard position.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll congratulate Xavier student-athletes, thank them and excuse them and take questions for Coach Miller.
Q. Same question that I asked the guys: What happened in that timeout right before the 10-0 run? Can you kind of go through that?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, I think sometimes timeouts are made almost like a coach changes completely what he's doing or it's something that I say that triggers it. And 90 percent of the time it's just everyone taking a deep breath, going back out on the court and really trying to play the style of basketball that we practice, make sure that we're in tune with the things that are going to allow us to be successful.
We didn't change a whole lot as much as when we went back out on the court, guys made plays, we defended like they said, and we didn't lose faith in what got us here. And that is hard-nosed, tough, man-to-man defense, and trying to be as unselfish as we can on offense. Like I mentioned, two or three of the best shots we got all game happened in that first three minutes, we just missed them. We missed a dunk, we missed two long putts.
And I was very proud of our team in terms of being able to go from that timeout and forget about what just happened and move on, the next play, as opposed to worrying about what we just did wrong. And that's what we did well in that timeout more than going to a different defense or running a different play.
Q. Wisconsin is a tough matchup especially on one day's break. Going to the Sweet 16, how satisfying is it to go there by beating a team like Wisconsin that requires you to play the way that you did today?
COACH MILLER: Like I said, we give Wisconsin's program and their coach and their staff tremendous credit. We knew that we would have to play a great game to advance. But in this tournament, make no mistake, whoever is on that line above or below you is going to be a very good team. That's the great part about the NCAA tournament. Everybody earns their way into it and it happened most of the time through six months worth of work.
They have some very good seniors, very experienced team, and an excellent program. But for us to advance to the Sweet 16, it's clearly more about our performance today than it really was whether we had played Florida State or Wisconsin.
Q. What did you stress to your guys yesterday in playing a team with the style that plays like Wisconsin?
COACH MILLER: Knowing that a lot of possessions are going to go towards the end of the clock, both when we're on defense and also when we're on offense, that's unavoidable.
You really look at the score with ten minutes in the half or eight minutes left in the first half and I don't know if it was single digits, but it felt that way. The thing we really tried to emphasize is, That's okay. It's going to be that type of game.
One thing that we rely on a lot is our schedule. I really believe St. Louis in our own conference plays similar to Wisconsin, very disciplined, tough-minded, half court basketball. Same thing with Miami. Charlie Coles is an excellent coach, we play them every year, they make you earn it at the end of the possessions and we reminded our team that we have been in against styles like that and it requires a lot of tough-mindedness and patience. And I also want to emphasize that we scored more points in transition than you realize today.
That's the other thing we emphasized, that when we had the opportunity to be that, a team that was looking for transition baskets, not play Wisconsin basketball, and just rely exclusively on our half court, which they're great at, we're certainly not going to be nearly as good.
Q. Your players talked about increasing their effort on the defensive end in the second half. But what kind of adjustments did you make? What did you try to do after seeing them for a half?
COACH MILLER: Two parts: We tried to crowd the court more on Trevon Hughes. He's really a physical guard. I didn't realize how he could get to the basket. And he is strong and tough. Tried to use the other four players to make it harder for him to get to the basket, as opposed to just letting the player on our team that was guarding him be on an island.
And the second one is Landry, he's a handful in and around the basket and tried to provide that player with a little bit more of a crowded court as opposed to letting him just play one-on-one against our post player. And as the game wore on in the second half, our team did a better job of doing both of those things.
Q. You talk about defending those two guys, but really, you didn't let anyone else from Wisconsin hurt you. How important was that and what was the key to that happening?
COACH MILLER: They're really good at driving the pass. They're really good at when the ball goes to the low post, that if you crowd them too much, they make you pay with threes. We did a real good job defending the ball other than Trevon Hughes and Landry at times. As they get by you on the dribble, that really leads to open threes and being able to get our defense set where the guy on the ball defended the ball the right way, that puts more pressure on Wisconsin to score. And you can't do that unless you have depth. You can wear yourself out if you don't.
And I go back to our bench, Terrell Holloway, Brad Redford, Jamel McLean and Ken Frease in particular inside, those four players off our bench, we have counted on them all year. Did an excellent job at both ends and allowed us, I think, to wear Wisconsin down a little bit in the second half.
Q. It's just fresh in the books, but Pitt won, so that's who you're facing. Do you have any thoughts about going against your alma mater?
COACH MILLER: I really don't because, number one, this is really about our team and our players. It's about C.J. and B.J. having an opportunity to continue to play and move past the Sweet 16. And regardless of who we play, we know every level you jump it becomes increasingly difficult, more difficult because the teams that are still alive are even better and stronger deeper. And clearly, I always have one eye on them because they're such a terrific program, more so than when I went to school there.
Q. What's your feeling about this team as you head into the Sweet 16, differences From last year?
COACH MILLER: Well, we had a unique team on offense last year. We had a fifth-year senior, Drew Lavender, a dynamic little guard who could get his own shot and really was great at the end of the shot clock. We had an experienced front court player, Josh Duncan, who was a nightmare for the other team, because he was our best 3-point shooter. And we had Stanley Burrell, who had one of the best defensive seasons that we have ever seen a player have and he too is in his fifth year. Those three guys could really lead us.
This year the torch has been passed to B.J., C.J., and Derrick, and I think they're different as a group than last year.
We're bigger, we're more physical, we have to really be good on defense to win. Last year we could cut little corners on defense and still be okay. This year that has to be in place for us to advance. And I would say that's the big difference.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Coach.
COACH MILLER: Thank you.