Postgame Comments: Charlotte at GW
Feb. 27, 2010
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
"We felt good coming into the game. We were very prepared. We spent a great deal of time going over their offensive sets. We told the team that we needed to force our will on Charlotte. They have a chance for an NCAA at-large bid, but we've got to focus on us, on playing hard, on playing with determination, and we did that."
"One of the keys to the game was [Joseph Katuka] because we really wanted to establish an inside presence and get their two big guys in foul trouble, particularly Spears. Last time we played them, he really hurt us. So we wanted to go after him early. We were able to accomplish that, and from that point on, we were able to dictate the pace of the game."
Did your 1-2-2 defense get them out of sorts?
"It did. One of the things we wanted to do was force them into spending some time getting the ball across half-court, then defend them for 20 seconds because they're a very deliberate team. They want to get the ball inside. We were able to do that with our extended pressure."
On the importance of getting off to a big lead early.
"It gave us great confidence. It got the students involved right away, because they were fantastic tonight. And again, Joe established us early. And more importantly, we got some of their key guys in foul trouble."
Talk about some of the other players who stepped up at key points today.
"I have to start with Tony [Taylor] because he gave us stability. He
does that all the time. But Aaron [Ware] made some big plays in the
first half, and some really big plays in the second half. His defense
was fantastic. We made a great run because of Bryan's [Bynes] defense,
and he was really explosive in transition. He turned the game around
for us in the second half."
What were you thinking when Charlotte made those last-second 3s?
"I jokingly said to the ref when I put those guys in, `why didn't you tackle me?' There were 20 seconds on the clock, I think we were up 12. And those guys work hard in practice, and the ref said, `Coach you've got a good heart.' And I said it's going to be a bad heart in a minute if they make another 3! [laughs] But I was just trying to get those guys in the game. I thought it was over, but we subbed our starters back in."
Along with clinching a berth in the A-10 tournament, you're assured a winning season, which has been another goal for you this year.
"When you look at what this team has accomplished, compare that with the team of Mike Hall, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, and Omar Williams when they were freshmen. They won 12 games for the year. I won't even talk about the number of games where they were blown out. This team's been in every single game, it has done a fantastic job in terms of turning the record around, and I don't think they've been given enough credit for what they've accomplished this year. This team paid the price for what's happened the last two years. But they've handled it with great class, and great character."
GW Soph. G Tony Taylor
You got more 3s than usual. Why so many open looks?
"The defense really keys on Lasan [Kromah] and [Damian] Hollis, but today they just left me open. I guess today was my day."
GW Soph. F Aaron Ware
How important was this win?
"It was a very important win. Coach talked about `putting ourselves in the room' for the tournament. Charlotte's a good team. They're an NCAA tournament team, but we wound up beating them today. It solidified our spot in Atlantic City, but we still have two more games to go. Hopefully we'll finish 8-8, get a good seed in the tournament, and maybe host a first-round game."
What was the most important factor in this game?
"The key in this game was containing [Derrio] Green. Last game he went 1-7, but the last shot he got was a 3, which was pretty much a back-breaker for us. So we wanted to contain him and make the other guys have to beat us
Charlotte Coach Bobby Lutz
"It's always difficult for us to win here. GW plays inspired, and I thought they did tonight. They got off to a great early start. We managed to get close, but they extended the lead the last 5 minutes of the first half. Then we didn't do a good job the first 4 minutes of the second half. Give them credit; they played well and deserved to win the game."
On the physical nature of the game
"It was obviously a physical game, and a lot of fouls were called--51 total. Most games are pretty physical, and this was certainly one of them."
Did having so many players in foul trouble early force you to alter your plan?
"Absolutely. [Shamari Spears] is the focal point of our offense. It impacted us, but all of our post guys had at least 2 fouls in the first half. I don't like to play guys with 2 fouls much, but I had to because it was the first time all year we had that many fouls in the first half. Our guys hung in there until that last 4 or 5 minute stretch of the first half."
You rely on the three, but you went 0-5 to start the game. "We missed a couple of great looks early, and did shoot a lot of them. But a lot of that is due to [Spears] not being in the game...When we're behind, we're obviously looking for the 3. But we did miss some early; some of that was their defense, and some of it was just part of the game. Because we were behind in the second half, we were looking for the 3 a lot down the stretch."
How does this game affect your standing in the A-10, and your chances for a first-round tournament bye?
"It's out of our hands. If we won out, we knew we had the bye as well, but Saint Louis needed to lose some games as well. I don't bother the team with any of that. We just try to win the next game."
Charlotte Junior C Shamari Spears
How did the early foul trouble affect you and your play in the second half?
"It affected me because I couldn't play. I had to sit and watch my team in the first half. It bothered me because I wasn't able to get out and help my guys. But now we just have to get ready for Wednesday."