GW 63, Saint Louis 55
Graduate Student Forward Tyler Cavanaugh
On what changed offensively in the second half
We just stayed with it. Our defense leads to our offense. We started getting stops and Jordan Roland made some shots, Pat was huge down the stretch wheeling and dealing in the paint, and Jaren made a huge three. We knocked down shots when it counted and that's a testament to our resiliency. It was a huge win for us.
On being a veteran and leading the team defensively
It's huge. It's what coach preaches every day, continuing to build. Besides a few of us veterans, we're very young. Allowing them to see the fruits of our labor and how we're really focusing on our defense, and how it relates to winning games, that's huge for them. They can continue to understand the importance of each defensive possession and how we need to battle in this league to win games.
Graduate Student Guard/Forward Patrick Steeves
On having back-to-back double digit games after coming back from his injury
I've been through it before. I dealt with adversity at Harvard, so it's nothing new really. I just stay with it, trust the process and keep moving forward. Keep trying to get Ws.
On being a veteran and leading the team defensively
It's not easy for some of the young guys to be expected to contribute as much their first year. So at the beginning, there's a bit of confusion or they don't know exactly what it takes to win, not only in college, but in conference it's even harder. But they want to learn. They want to get better. Our jobs as veterans are to really make it easier for them. Guys like Jair and Collin really want to get better, especially defensively, which has helped us in the past few games.
Interim Head Coach Maurice Joseph
On the defensive play
Well they came out unbelievably hot, credit to them, they were ready to play from the jump, and we just weren't defensively for whatever reason. We challenged them defensively, we challenged them to pick it up, and we did a better job as a team at the end of the first half. They still ended up shooting 46 percent from the field in the first half -- so not a good enough job. But when we picked it up in the second half, it was evident that we can guard, and if we're not hitting shots, we can still stay in the game with our defense. We knew they would kind of cool off a little bit, at some point. At one point I thought it was getting kind of dicey there, Welmer, we kept losing him and hitting shots. But, overall, great defensive performance. They ended up shooting 38 percent, and one of our goals is to keep teams under 40. If we can do that, I think we'll have a pretty good chance of winning any game. Shooting 38 percent and only allowing 55 points is pretty good. Happy with the defensive effort in terms of how we picked it up, just not happy with the start. But we picked it up, and that's the reason why we won. Obviously we hit some shots, but what we did defensively was the difference in the game.
On if it feels like a clean slate, being even in conference play
It doesn't feel like a clean slate. I don't really look at our record, I don't really look at what the league is doing, standings or anything like that. Standings are for March. We're still in January, every game is its own entity and every game we treat like its own, like its own Super Bowl. We're just really focused on getting better on a day-to-day basis. There's a lot of basketball left to play. I'm really not looking at standings or records or whatever. I honestly don't care. I just want to play every game like it's our last, and compete, and I thought we competed today, which is why we won the game.
On Patrick Steeves' value both on and off the court
Well on the court he gives us a player who has tremendous savvy. He's a good passer, who can post up, but can also play on the perimeter some. We don't have that outside of Tyler, really, who can do all those things at an extremely high level. But Pat's a different dimension to our big guy. Arnaldo Toro is rock solid. Collin Smith is athletic and all that kind of stuff. Marfo's a high motor, high-energy kind of guy. Pat kind of complements Tyler in the sense that he can do some of those things, in terms of passing ball and being able to read double teams and play with some poise and understand what he can do offensively. So he adds a different dimension to us on the court. Obviously off the court, him just being around a winning program at Harvard and understanding what it takes to win helps our young guys understand what level we need to work, what level we need to practice on a daily basis and for us to win a lot of games. He's been instrumental in helping the young guys along. Even when he was hurt, he was a loud voice at practice, he rehabbed his tail off, and to see him healthy and contributing not just from a production status but from a leadership standpoint, using his voice and using the huddles as a time to rally the troops. Guys like him and Tyler grab their jersey and rev them up and all that kind of stuff, so letting them do that is tremendous. They have to do that, being veterans, being older, being around the block a little bit, so they've got to do that in order for us to win. They did that tonight, and we were able to rally the troops. So I'm very proud of these two guys and the rest of the team in general.
On having less turnovers and holding onto the ball better
Having two ball handlers and two play makers with the ball in their hands for the majority of our possessions has helped with our turnovers. I still thought we had some loopy ones. That pass that Yuta made to the guy on the sideline in the leather seats, that was a crazy play. But we made up for it. We still had some crazy ones, but we are doing a better job of holding onto the ball and understanding what we need to accomplish in our offense and not rushing. We can play it fast and we can play hard, but we don't need to hurry through things, and that's what we're understanding better. Jair is doing a much better job and Jaren is doing a rock solid job.
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