Nov. 24, 2012
Coach Tom Herrion quotes, Nov. 24 vs Nevada
We beat a really good team tonight. I thought there were two things that were pretty certain this week: one, I thought our kids would respond and rally. You either rally or you run when you hit a little adversity. You rally or you run. I didn’t know how well we would play, but I knew they would compete at a high level, and our defensive effort the first 20 minutes might have been the best 20 minutes of defense we’ve played here. We didn’t sustain it, and I’ll get to that in a little bit. That was the first thing I thought was certain. And the second thing I thought was pretty certain is that we would have a great turnout by our Herd Nation, coming off the holiday. So I applaud our great fans.
Clearly, again I said it earlier, I have great respect for Coach (David) Carter’s club. They won the WAC last year and they are going to be right in the mix in the Mountain West. In my opinion, that’s as good a back court as we may play against all season. Clearly I would have liked to play better in the second half in stretches, but [Nevada] abandoned their offense. We took them out of any offensive flow. They just went to spread and drive, and they put it in Burton’s hands. He’s so hard to control and contain. And obviously, Story coming off those doubles. Those two guys, if my math is correct, were 17-for-31 and the rest of the team was 11-for-31.
We still have a long, long way to go. Our offensive efficiency is outstanding right now. You might chuckle or laugh because we’ve left so many points on the foul line, I understand that, but 19 assists on 33 baskets, seven turnovers. The shots we missed, we had great looks. Our ball movement is outstanding. We’re really sharing the basketball.
We’re not where we need to be, I understand that better than anybody. We’ve got a lot of things we need to continue to get better at as we continue to put the pieces together. A big win for us nonetheless, coming off a tough, tough week. Two tough losses up in New York. We had the incident in practice on Tuesday, with two of our guys being carted out on flat boards early in practice. Both of them in the hospital. One for an extended period of time, so we’re thrilled to have them out of the hospital and on a road to recovery, regardless of whether they play again this season, which it is a possibility.
On the team’s defense during the first 20 minutes
I honestly feel it could have been our best 20 minutes of defense since I’ve been here. We locked in and took them out of anything they wanted to run. Excellent attention to scout. We had a lot of time to get ready. Make no mistake about that. I thought we took advantage of that. And they’re a hard team to prepare for. They run a lot of stuff out of that spread, but we took them out of any of their options. I thought we bottled them up. What they hurt us on was straight transition. They just pushed it up our back with Burton, and they ran Story off those doubles in the second half which we didn’t guard particularly well. He hit some tough shots. He’s a great shooter. We were just locked in defensively. It was really nice to see.
When we defend like that, we rebound like that, we’re pretty good. In all honesty, if you leave 17 points on the foul line like that, that’s a 15-20 point win in most nights. But give them a lot of credit. They never laid down. I didn’t expect them to. Dave does a great job with his team.
On the differences between the first and second half
They got in transition a lot more in the second half, and we couldn’t control the dribble. They put so much pressure on you. Sometimes you don’t realize it when you’re watching the game, but it’s actually easier to run off a missed free throw. We have a shooter and two guys in the foul lane for rebounding. When we miss so many of them, there’s really already an advantage built in. A lot of their stuff came off missed free throws. They outscored us with way too many points in the second half. That’s unacceptable for us to give up that many points. But give our kids credit. I thought we did a really good job managing the game in the last three minutes. We grinded out some plays. Big play to Nigel on the dunk off the screen and roll with the late shot clock.
Again, 19 assists, seven turnovers. Our ball movement is really good. We got a lot of offensive weapons now. You’re seeing some of the guys have evolved, and we’re getting some good productivity from some different guys. I thought Spikes was really, really good today.
On the incident in practice and concern regarding the focus of the team
It was just a freak thing where they both kind of collided, and both fell out. One of them was split open in the forehead. You try to keep the other guys focused. We tried to keep going, but eventually I left to go to the hospital because they were both on flat boards.
I was at the hospital last night and have been over there two or three times a day each day checking on both of them, and then of course Yous who stayed until this afternoon. I walked into his room last night and there were seven or eight guys in his room.