Jan. 25, 2005
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
January 25, 2005
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
You've had two frustrating losses in a row. How is this different because of the way it ended?
"I was pleased with the way we played. We played hard, and that's what you ask your players to do--at the end of the ballgame, put yourself in position to win. And we were in position to win this game."
"I thought we had the last shot defended pretty well. I told the guys that the one thing we can't afford to give up is a 3. We thought they were going to penetrate and attack the rim, and try to send it into overtime knowing that they're shooting in the penalty. I think that's what they were trying to do, and we defended that pretty well. The freshman made the shot and it went in."
What do you tell the team after this loss?
"We have to learn to stay focused. We can't have TJ Thompson throw a behind-the-head pass. You can't have Pops come out on the 5-man and give up a dunk. We have to clean up, and until we can do that--and I've said this all along--we can't be a Top 25 team and have all these mental breakdowns, particularly now when we have the bullseye on us. Our margin of error is real thin."
Why did you hold Pops and TJ out until the first time-out?
"They were banged up, and I wasn't sure TJ was even going to play today. I told him, `Warm up as hard as you can, then tell me if you think you can go.' Pops is still dealing with his injuries with his nose and face mask. I thought it'd be better to let both of those guys come off the bench."
Did the players get caught up in the Top 25 hype?
"I don't think so. We just have a lot of guys who have never won before, and aren't used to all the attention that comes with it. We're trying to teach these guys what it takes to be at that level. It's easy when there are no expectations. Now, they're finding out that it's tougher. That's the part we're struggling with a little bit from the mental standpoint."
How imporant is it to start hitting outside shots?
"We've played a month of basketball [since West Virginia], and the only team that's played us man-to-man is Richmond. All we've seen is zone, and I think we're going to continue to see it. We have to get better against it."
Did this game remind you of post-season intensity?
"To me, it was more like two teams desperately needed a win, two teams coming off a loss. Whoever won tonight would now be in a great position to chase Dayton... There was a lot of significance in this game tonight."
Xavier Coach Sean Miller
What were your thoughts as the last shot went in?
"I had a lot of thoughts, one of which was that we were due for one of these to go in. It's funny that in a 30-game season, we've been on the other end of this four times... I give our team tremendous credit because we came off of a very difficult loss to Temple at home. We responded with two very good days of practice, then came down here with a game plan. Our players did an outstanding job."
"I can't say enough about Stanley [Burrell], taking a shot like that as a freshman and making it. It goes without saying that he's going to make many more like that as his career goes on."
Who were you trying to get the ball to?
"We just had a `quick' because there were just 9 seconds to put the ball in Dedrick's [Finn] hands, and allow him to make a play. They did a good job defending it. Keith [Jackson] as a senior had the composure to flip it to Stan so he could hit about a 25-footer. But that's how it works. I just know we were due for one of these to go in."