Jan. 29, 2004
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
January 28, 2004
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
"I thought the defense was terrific. The thing we wanted to do was put pressure on them the entire game...We wanted to keep full-court pressure on them, we wanted them to really work getting the ball inbounds, and then we wanted to deny them the ball once they got it over half-court."
"TJ [Thompson], Carl [Elliott], and Mike [Hall], and the guys did a terrific job of communicating and switching when they needed to. And Pops, this was one of his better games defensively. He did a terrific job of clogging the middle when they did penetrate."
[on the importance of the win]
"We're so young right now, we're just taking it one game at a time. We're not good enough yet to look behind us or beside us. We can't even look ahead of us. We just have to take it one game at a time."
[on dominating the transition game]
"That's due to the vision, the basketball intelligence, and decision-making of TJ. That makes the whole thing work...This year, when I see him with the ball going 90 miles an hour, I can just sit back and enjoy what's going to happen because he's really making terrific decisions."
[on how Carl Elliott's growing confidence is helping the team]
"I never want a point guard to come into the program without there being another point guard he can learn from. Carl has a 'big brother' in TJ. So when he starts to go a little crazy, he's got TJ there to say 'Whoa-slow down there, tough guy.' I always tell TJ to share the stories with Carl about how I used to go nuts on him, about those early morning meetings after TJ had 9 turnovers. Let Carl know this is what's going to happen when we go to play at Saint Joe's and Richmond because he hasn't experienced those things." TJ talked about Carl taking pressure off of him; I think TJ takes more pressure off of Carl as well and makes Carl's game a little easier."
[Was he concerned the team would lose intensity with a big lead?]
"I wasn't worried. I'm concerned about this team maturing so they feel like they can't get comfortable and relax because we're up 20...In college basketball, no lead is safe because of the 3-point line. It's so easy to make that shot. So I'm never comfortable until there's about 10 seconds left and we're up 30."
G T.J. Thompson
[on the importance of the conference win, particularly since it's Xavier] "It has a little more meaning because of the way it ended last year. We played hard down at their place for 40 minutes, and to lose with a tenth of a second left really hurt. So we had a lot of fire coming in to today's game."
[on how Carl Elliott's growing confidence is helping the team]
"As the year goes on, he's getting more and more confident playing his game. I enjoy playing with him because it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I can bring it up or he can bring it up. His creative ability is exceptional."
C Pops Mensah-Bonsu
[Was it easier playing Xavier without David West?]
"He was a great player and it was easier operating without him in there. That may have helped us a little bit. But we played an excellent game and the guards helped us out. Like Coach said, every time they got me the ball, I was able to do my job and finish it."
G Carl Elliott
[on the team's confidence level]
"We're very confident now, and we should be. That was a very good team and we played them hard for 40 minutes."
Xavier Coach Thad Matta
"This is one of those games that as a coach you dread, you have nightmares about. Basketball is a game of runs, and we were never able to generate much of a run. GW did a great job of ending our runs in the first half. We'd cut it a little bit and they'd get it right back up to 9 points."
"We're a team that prides itself on not fouling, and we fouled too much in the first half. We just couldn't get it headed in the right direction. That's a credit to George Washington."
[Did the team lose its energy when GW built its lead in the second half?]
"There was a stretch [in the second half] where the transition just killed us. For whatever reason it happens; you just don't want it to happen to your team."
"When you play a team like GW, you have to finish and do it in ways you're not accustomed to. We weren't able to put the ball in the basket."
[Are A-10 teams saving their best effort for Xavier?]
"There's no doubt about that. Our guys have to understand and respect that. Saint Joe's will experience a little of that next year with the run they're having."
[on what it will take to motivate the team]
"We need to find five guys who are willing to compete. I don't know what five guys it will be. I never ask our guys to play perfect. I can live with a couple of mistakes here and there, but you've got to compete."
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