Feb. 15, 2006
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
February 15, 2006
@ #7/8 GW 69
UMass didn't handle the ball well, and GW didn't shoot the ball well...
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
"Good teams try to find ways to win. Tonight, our offense, particularly our 3-point shooting wasn't there, but our defensive traps and our turnovers were there. We were able to make some plays down the stretch to beat a ball team that I've said all along is very talented. I think they're the second-most talented team in the league. They certainly showed it tonight."
You had a chance to put them away with an 11-point lead, and what happened next set up the rest of the game.
"We didn't finish off some plays in terms of layups, we didn't finish off some free throws, and that allowed the momentum to shift. When they got their half-court offense set, I thought they were terrific. They executed, they maintained their poise. As you watch this team play, it was a matter of time before they broke out."
Did you ever feel like GW was in control?
"Never. Only because we weren't finishing plays, particularly plays that we normally make. We didn't shoot well from the perimeter. Their zone was very effective. It slowed us up and kept us playing at a pace that they wanted to play at."
In the last few minutes you forced a shot clock violation and scored to go up by 5.
"I thought that was the difference right there. But the two plays that signified our will to win were at the end of the half when [Danilo] tipped the ball in--that was an amazing play--and when Maureece missed the two free throws. What an effort to get back to that ball and knock it off their player... We're very, very happy about this win."
Do games like this tell you more about your team than routinely winning by 20, especially as you get close to the tournament?
"This game [and Saint Joe's] are what NCAA tournament games will be like. I'm hoping that we can correct these things; I've said all along that we're still not playing our best basketball."
GW hasn't won at Richmond since the `79-80 season. How special would it be to win there Saturday?
"It'd be special because it'd mean the seniors had accomplished another goal for this season. The problem we've had there is that we haven't been able to put together two good halves of basketball together there. Hopefully we can do that and beat a team whose style is very difficult to play against."
GW junior G Danilo Pinnock
Are you happy with the way the team played?
"You're never unhappy with a W. UMass is a great team, a great program with a lot of history. They played a great game. I'm definitely happy getting out of here with a victory."
UMass had 28 turnovers. How may were their fault, and how many were due to your defense?
"That's something that we try to do. Maybe if we had converted on some of those turnovers, it wouldn't have been that close of a game. But even though they turned the ball over, the fact that it was such a close game shows how good UMass is."
On the team's display of character by winning two close games in a row.
"A year ago, we had no chance to win games like this. This game shows how much we've grown together. Having lost close games taught us what we have to do to win games like this. It shows that a lot of guys don't want to lose."
Coach Hobbs says he's having fun this season. How about you?
"I never dreamed that I'd come to George Washington and be on a team that was ranked number 7 in the country. And to wake up and see my teammates and my coach on `Cold Pizza'! It's crazy; I'm loving every minute of it."
UMass Coach Travis Ford
"It was a hard-fought game. Both teams competed. We didn't get too many shots to fall in the first half; we did better in the second half. I'm excited about how we played hard. But when you're playing one of the best teams in the country at their place, you almost have to be perfect. We didn't play perfect, and GW hung in there to the end. That's why they're one of the best teams in the country."
At the end of the game, were you looking to foul someone or were you comfortable letting the clock run down?
"I was comfortable with getting the ball back. I figured we'd get it back at about six seconds left by the time they took a shot. I did not want to foul."
Was it difficult to win with 29 turnovers?
"It's very difficult. Getting in serious foul trouble didn't help us; shooting 1-for-9 from the 3-point line in the first half didn't help us. But they're a scrappy basketball team. That's what we saw on film. They play in those spurts and that's what makes them good. They can afford not to play well in 2- or 3-minute segments. We can't. We're not that good of a basketball team to do that."
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