Feb. 18, 2004
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
February 18, 2004
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
[Did you trust TJ to take the last shot?]
"I had the play written up in my mind, I knew exactly what I was going to run; I had the play. And this guy [TJ] gives me the 'Coach Hobbs...don't try to be a coach right now.' I just looked into his eyes and saw the confidence....The worst thing that happens is if he misses, it, we have the opportunity to get a tip. He just made a terrific play. It was as good a play as a guy could make."
"It's a good win for our program [because] we've come a long way. To have that kind of student support and have the student really rallying around these guys. When [Dayton] made a run, the students wouldn't let us lose tonight. I could hear them in the background yelling at the players...yelling at me. It was just a thrilling victory for us."
[is this a defining win for the program?]
"[Dayton] is clearly the second-best team in the league by far. For us to hold them to 38 percent shooting, to keep them under their average, which is about 69 points per game, and then for us to 54 percent against them...now we have to go out and win on the road. That's the true test."
[on the team's maturity when Dayton was up 57-50]
"I thought that was a sign of growth because we really had a chance to fall apart. We looked a little bit hesitant, especially on the offensive end. We started getting tentative. But they really dug down and played defense. And that's the way we're going to have to be. If we can't score, our mentality has to be, 'we can't let the other team score.' I thought that for the first time, we did that against an excellent basketball team."
GW junior G TJ Thompson
[Describe the final play]
"Coach called timeout and was ready to draw up a play. I looked him in the eyes and told him 'Don't bother. Just let me take the ball and create something on my own.' And he said OK, as long as I shot it under 4 seconds to go. I told my teammates that if I missed it, we'd win it in overtime. Fortunately, it went in."
"In that situation, most teams don't want to foul. The smartest thing to do is attack them because they're going to try and get out of the way. So I decided to go full speed and there was a little opening. I'm small, and because there were some big guys there, I had to duck under and go behind them, and I got the layup."
[on being mobbed by students]
"It was great. It had felt terrible when it happened to us down at Richmond. As long as I've been here, we'd never experienced that. It fell hard on us when we first saw it. So to finally get it at home, it's like the best feeling."
GW sophomore F Mike Hall
[on the student support]
"It was by far the best thing I've ever been a part of. My heart is still racing right now. For the week we've heard that this is the biggest game, we need to play well, and people were going to come out to support us. I'm just glad we came out with the win."
"I won't say this is the biggest game we'll play, because hopefully we have some bigger games ahead. But it's like you said, a turning point in our season. We came together, we persevered, we didn't give up when they made their runs, we executed and paid attention to detail. I hope we can continue to play that way."
Dayton Coach Brian Gregory
[Did you expect the game-winning play?]
"Yes, they were going to dribble-drive to the basket. That had hurt us during the game so we knew whoever got it was just going to go. That really wasn't a play; he just took it to the basket. We made him take a tough run so he didn't get to the rim, and he made a tough shot."
[Was the game lost in the first half?]
"No doubt...We didn't play with the poise we needed, and we didn't defend anybody....The three keys were transition defense, dribble penetration, and defensive rebounding. We didn't do any of them in the first half. In the second half, we did a little better job."
"They won the game on the possession before [the last play], on the offensive tip. If we get a stop, score tied. We've got to come up with that rebound. [If] you do, you probably win the game."
"You can't play like this on the road and expect to win against good teams. George Washington is a very good team, an athletically talented team that at times plays on their emotion, and they're good at it. Where we tend to lean on our experience, they lean on their emotion because they're younger, and that carried them through. They didn't let up when we were up 7 points."
Maurice Joseph took a glance at the box score in his hand and cracked a grin.
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