Head Coach Chris Walker and sophomore Jordan Tolbert
January 26, 2013
Interim Head Coach Chris Walker
I would like to congratulate Texas. I thought they played great - they got their first conference win. We knew it was going to be tough coming into here and they certainly made it tough for us; they played physical and made shots when they needed to. We did not make a couple of defensive plays, tough plays that I thought would have been every beneficial for us. If we could have made a couple of those defensive plays, it would have gone a long way to what our scheme was. I don't think our scheme was bad. 19 turnovers leading to 22 points, it is impossible to win when you do that. With a team like ours, that tends to struggle at times on the road, if you are going make 19 turnovers, it is going to be hard to win. I was happy that we out rebounded them. We came to play but it comes down to playing for 40 minutes. We have to continue to grind and putting together a game that we can fight through adversity, on the road. I give them credit; they did a great job at adjusting.
On the trapping in the full court:
They got a couple of turnovers off that, but that was not the jest of it. It was our turnovers on offensive, trying to get offensive and not making smart plays. They got a couple of plays off that that may have gotten them going but I do not think that is the main reason why things did not go our way. It was a mater of when a couple of things do not go our way, when a couple of things make it hard for you to score, the things start to compound and the game gets tough. We have to learn how to play from behind.
Texas has lost some tough games, you cannot look at their record, they have played Michigan State, UCLA, and others. They have played some good teams and they have played them tough. They have lost some games in conference, but you cannot look at their record and say anything negative about them but they are bunch of young guys. I knew that coming into the game that we wanted to take Felix and McClellon out of the game, so we had to reply on our guys in the inside to be physical and hopefully those guys would not get a lot of points, but they got a lot of shots in the paint. That was the risk that we took but the other Texas players made some plays early in the game.
Head Coach Rick Barnes
On Cam Ridley's performance today:
Cam [Ridley] definitely set the tone that we wanted early, with his effort and his intensity inside. We kept talking about putting the ball inside and putting pressure on people and in some ways. I told Javan [Felix] this after the game - this was his best game since he got here. He did what we wanted him to do defensively, even though he picked up a foul early. I thought he was out there really trying to defend. Demarcus [Holland] came in and was really good. I think what helps Demarcus in that situation is having Papi [Ioannis Papapetrou] back there, who handles the ball and can help bring it down. Papi had a great game. He had five assists. He didn't have any turnovers. He had two steals. He shot the ball well. The only three he missed, he shouldn't have shot the ball at that point in time. Defensively, we kind of game him the green light to let him go double and do some of those things. Really, the best part was when we were up 13 and they cut it to eight and we hadn't in the past responded the way we'd like, but tonight we did. It was good. They were changing defenses. We stayed with it. It's the most points we've scored off our defense and I know we should have scored two more.
On Ridley racing from the offensive to defensive end in transition:
We told him he was going to have to run because if he scored, he was going to be responsible for whoever ran that lane. You know what? He has had a hard week. On Tuesday, he and Prince [Ibeh] had the hardest individual workouts that they have ever had after practice. I liked the way they responded and the way they came back on Thursday and worked at it again. The best part is that he's worked all year. He has worked on getting his weight down. It is a whole new game for him. He has done a much better job with his balance, which has been the reason why he hasn't been able to finish some of those shots. I'm happy for him because of the effort he has put in.
On whether his young team has now surpassed a mental block against winning conference games:
That's a good question. I don't know. We haven't harped on that as much as we've harped on why we're not winning. I don't think these guys have ever thought they weren't good enough. I don't think that was ever there. I think that they look at the way that we have lost. I told Sheldon [McClellan] that I didn't think he was as aggressive as he should be. In the last four or five minutes I told him that he needs to get some bite and that he's got to want to ball. He got back to the free-throw line. At the end of the game, other than Papi shooting a three, we managed it pretty well. Again, putting Papi in that position, I thought we would get better offensively really quickly because of him being able to handle the ball. He lets the play develop.
On how important it was for his team to get their first conference win:
I think that when you're 0-5, it's important. I was surprised no one asked me this week if it was a must-win situation. I would have said, when you're 0-5, it's a pretty obvious must-win situation. It is and there is a lot of basketball left to play. We have just got to continue to build. When the season started, what we really felt and what we'd worked on was extending our defense and getting back to doing a lot of things like that. We wanted to create offense with our defense. With all the things that happened, we had to get away from that because we started having to do other things with guys. What we did tonight is how we envisioned ourselves playing. So we spent this past week not only doing some individual stuff, but also a lot of time on extending our defense and getting down the floor. I'm glad to see it happened. Some guys that we can count on didn't particularly score a lot of points, but other guys made some things happen.
On what he was looking for out of Julien Lewis in terms of attacking:
More and early. That's why I took him out. We wanted to attack early. He's looking for some certain things. We've talked about it long enough now. When someone pressures you, you have got to drive the ball. He needs to know that when he drives it, they are going to collapse. Even against a zone, when we move the ball and shift a little bit, we're able to create some driving lanes. We came out of a couple of timeouts wanting to go right back to Cam. And when that happens, that is when Juice [Lewis] holds it too long. The fact is, he is very unselfish and he is trying to get other guys involved, regardless of what we have going on.
On how his post players compensated in Jonathan Holmes' absence:
We've been through so many different things this year. I don't think they flinched. They came to practice and found a way to work through it. I think the hardest part is that we really appreciate Holmes' effort every single day. Any coach in the country would want to have Holmes. I think they watch what he is doing on his own, down at the other end. There is a chance he might get back. He is down there getting after it - working really hard. But overall, Cam did some things with Papi and Connor Lammert. It was a physical game. I would like to see Prince do more. I thought Jaylen [Bond] did some good things as he continues to play himself back into shape. We have got enough there to compensate for that until we get Holmes back.