Postgame Comments: GW vs. No. 24/24 Temple
Feb. 26, 2011
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
February 26, 2011
No. 24/24 Temple 57 @ GW 41
GW coach Karl Hobbs
Were there times when you wished you could one or two more scorers today?
"It really felt that way. I thought we ran some pretty good sets, Nemanja had some pretty good looks. But you have to give some credit to Temple. Their defense was really outstanding in the second half. They made the necessary switches when they had to, they did a great job of communicating with each other. They're the best team we've played all year, just in terms of how sound they were defensively, particularly in the second half."
You jump out on them early, and then at 10:00 things come to a dead stop...
"No, things didn't come to a dead stop. I think we continued play very well throughout. Our defense was very good; we played against a Top-25 team and held them to 57 points in our building. Once again, you have to give credit to their defense. Our energy was superb throughout the game. We just really struggled making shots."
You're 0-5 against the top teams in the conference. Is that something that's on your mind as you head into post-season play?
"No. The only thing on my mind is figuring out a way to beat Rhode Island, getting us to a point where we can put more points on the scoreboard."
Coming down the stretch, did you want to shoot 2s or 3s?
"I wanted us to shoot layups. At the end, we were trying to get the best shot possible. I was hoping we'd get fouled, because it would allow the clock to stop and let us set up our pressure. But we wanted to try and get baskets any way we could."
You struggled again at the free-throw line. What are you doing to rectify that?
"Our last game we shot very well at the free-throw line, and we shot very well in the La Salle game. We have these moments, and today was one of those. We've been shooting free throws pretty consistent, and coming into today, as a team, we were close to 70 percent. Now we'll take a little dip. But that was one of the factors in this game today. Conversely, they made their free throws, and it didn't give us a chance to stay close and possibly get back into this game."
What positives do you take away from this game?
"Number 1, our students were just outstanding. And I thank President Knapp for coming, and the Honorable Mayor Gray was here today. It made me feel good as a coach to see that. That lets me know we're moving forward. As for the game, it's another learning experience; this is the best team we've played all year, and we were able to be in the game for the most part. We just didn't take care of some things from an offensive standpoint, but they're very, very good defensively. Also, we held them to 35-percent shooting, though they did shoot 55 percent in the second half. But the win was the most important thing today, but we didn't get it."
Talk about Temple's Lavoy Allen.
"He's my favorite player in this league. I told the team in shootaround that he's not going to waste a lot of energy. When he makes a good play, he's not going to pump his chest, he's not going to jump up and down, he's not going to waste any energy doing that. Everything he does is very efficient. He plays the game so easy, it looks like he's not playing that hard, though he does play extremely hard. He's a very, very smart basketball player. He must be a pleasure to have as a teammate and to coach....He never looks like he's in a hurry, but he's always quick to spots. At one point, he pretty much controlled the game from a defensive and offensive standpoint. He doesn't get enough credit for what he's done in this league, having to carry that team after they lose two players."
Talk about how Temple shut down Tony Taylor today, and its effect on your offense.
"Any time Tony has a 2-12 shooting night, chances are we're probably going to lose. Doesn't make a difference who the opponent is. It's important for us to have him score and shoot a lot better. I know that puts a lot of pressure on him, but he's handled it all year. He's entitled to have a game like this from time to time. Now it's up to us to go back to the drawing board and get ready for these last two games."
GW Sr. F Dwayne Smith
Were the guys frustrated that shots weren't falling?
"Yeah, we were frustrated, but you have to credit Temple. They're a Top-25 team, and they're known for playing well defensively. They did bother our shots; their defense worked."
GW Jr. G/F Aaron Ware
What's the carryover from a game like this?
"It's always tough to lose a game. Our Conference is one of the top conferences in the country. One team can beat another at any time; that's the parity we have. But at this point, we just have to move on to Rhode Island. Temple is a Top-25 team, and they're a very solid team of defense. They made us play at their speed; we wanted to play a little bit faster but they made the plays at the end to win the game."
Does this loss take anything from your momentum of the past few weeks?
"I don't think it's going to slow us down at all. With two games left, we're just going to fight for position and get a good seed. At worst, our goal was to get a home game for that first round. But we can still get a top-4 seed and get a bye. But our main focus now is Wednesday and beating Rhode Island at Rhode Island."
Did you feel like you were able to control the pace of the game early on?
"That's definitely what happened. Coming in to this game, we wanted to play very fast, and we did starting out. But what slowed us down was--we missed shots, and that slows down the tempo. Going into Rhode Island, we want to play at our speed, and we'll be OK."
Temple coach Fran Dunphy
Talk about how you were able to respond to that early deficit.
"I thought we showed a lot of toughness at that point because we were in a little bit of trouble. GW was playing great; we weren't playing so well. We really tightened up our defense in that stretch in the first half, and to get to 3 at the end of the half, we were really pleased. We obviously had the ball for the first possession for the start of the second half, but we didn't do a good job with it. But the rest of the second half was about as good as we can play."
Talk about the play of Lavoy Allen today.
"I don't think he can play any better. He's always in the right spot defensively, but his line today--he made jump shots, he made great plays running to the rim, he had two assists, he doesn't turn it over, he had three blocks--he was just terrific today. It's something that we're kind of used to, but today was an exceptional day across the board for him."
With his behind the back pass for a 3, is Juan Fernandez playing with more confidence?
"I'd rather say that when he knocks those two important 3s down, rather than the pass. I'm glad it was right on target...Had the ball landed in row two, I'm not sure how much confidence I'd have in him. But Juan stuck with it. He understood he didn't play great in the first half; he was 0-6. But he made those two great 3s down the stretch. We need him and everybody to play their best basketball. And after the 10:00 mark in the first half, our last 30 minutes are about as good as we can play."
With GW's crowd, was there any carryover from the Duke game?
"I was worried about it, but the enthusiasm of today's crowd--and we talked long and hard about how well GW has been playing recently--and they showed it early in the game. I don't think we were reeling by any stretch; I think we had to get our legs under us and understand what the task was. And certainly the defense was what we needed to hang our hat on."
What changed after the first 10 minutes to reel GW back in?
"Again, our defense is really solid. And it's anchored by a guy who's arguably the best defensive forward in our league. I'm sure there are others who are as good but nobody's better. I thought he was spectacular, and everybody just dug in and did the simple things like not let [Nemanja] Mikic out of our sight. That kid can get hot. And we did a good job on [Tony] Taylor; he's a real good player. So overall, I think we just dug in defensively and bought into that aspect of the game."
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