Jan. 25, 2003
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL January 25, 2003
UMass 75 GW 70
UMass Coach Steve Lappas "The only thing I told the kids before the game was, 'let's just battle. Whatever happens, happens. Let's be able to say when the game's over, we battled.' And that's what we did tonight. I've never had a team get outrebounded so badly and say that they battled."
"We played hard tonight, and so did GW. It was a hard-fought battle. Jackie Rogers doesn't play, basically, and three freshmen did a great job. Anthony Anderson controlled the game. He was tremendous."
"I'm very happy [for the team]. They needed this. They were so happy in that locker room, you'd think we were going to the NCAAs, which we're not obviously... well, at least not until the Atlantic 10 tournament. It was good for our guys; it was good for everybody."
"I told the guys before the game that I wasn't going to say a word about what they do on offense any more. I want you to shoot; I don't care if you make a mistake on a shot. Just go play. But I'm going to be on them about defense....But I think we learned something about winning tonight."
GW Coach Karl Hobbs [on losing the lead down the stretch] "I don't know if it's kids concerned about losing the lead. Down the stretch, we didn't execute. More importantly, we had some critical turnovers where we'd throw it to them under their basket and they'd put it in. Those plays really took the momentum away from us."
"Down the stretch, we got the ball inside a few times and I thought fatigue caught up with our guys. We have to finish those plays. The game came down to our inability to take care of the basketball. When we needed critical stops, we didn't get them. Those things were real tough to overcome."
[on Chris Monroe's 2,000th point]
"It's an incredible accomplishment. When he came here as a freshman, if someone had said he was going to score 2,000 points, you wouldn't have believed him. I'm really proud of Chris and especially of the way he played. He played with a lot of energy and heart; he made shots when he had to. I feel very honored to have been the one to coach him."
[on the play of Mike Hall and Pops Mensha-Bonsu] "Those guys played terrific. Their effort was very good; both looked good on the offensive glass, which was very encouraging to see. Those guys are growing as a team."
[on the play of T.J. Thompson] "He played a pretty good game. He has to get better at decision-making, particularly down the stretch and taking care of the ball a little bit better. It's tough; the guy has to play 39 minutes and he really wears down. I was concerned about what point playing 40 minutes was going to catch up with him. And it's starting to catch up with him. We need to find a way to rest him for longer stretches because fatigue has hurt his focus at times."
"We have to continue to play hard and finish plays, and maintain our consistency on defense. We have to do a better job of not letting guys who don't score much come in and have a great day against us. That's been our problem all year."
"We have a young team that's still learning how to play aggressive man-to-man defense, and they're playing a lot of minutes. Mike Hall played 30, Pops played 26, Chris played 37--we have to play some zone to rest these guys. We have three freshmen playing 25-plus minutes. I'd prefer that a freshman play only about 15 minutes, unless he's special. We have to get the program to that point."
Chris Monroe [on scoring his 2,000th point] "It's good that I got it, but it would've been sweet if we had the win too."
[on being unable to score down the stretch] "Basically it came down to who wanted it more. We came in and gave it our all, but so many times, the ball didn't bounce our way. That's not taking away from UMass. They're a good team with a lot of veterans. They've been in more situations like that."
Pops Mensha-Bonsu [on the effect of the loss on the younger players' confidence] "After a loss, your confidence is always down. But like Coach says, we just have to keep our heads up, bounce back, and be a little more persistent, and think about the next game."