Postgame Comments: GW vs. Dayton
March 5, 2011
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
A couple of months ago, this team might not have been able to win a game like this. Talk about the progression they've made.
"This team has been going through a lot of different transitions....They've been able to stick together, work hard, take one game at a time, and most importantly--they've been able to believe in one another....They've watched each other grow up, and it's given me a lot of pleasure as a coach to watch that development and see them win these types of games."
Just like the fans, the team came out with a lot of energy today.
"Dayton's a high-energy basketball team. They play 90 miles an hour. If you're not ready to handle their speed, it can run away with you. The students and fans were just terrific. Our guys fed off of that. It gave them a tremendous amount of energy when we needed a stop. And how `bout those students getting on the officials! It was fantastic."
Talk about the improvement in rebounding between the first and second halves.
"We talked about that at halftime. Our top keys were to keep them off the offensive glass, and get back on defense because of the transition...If they get 5 or more offensive rebounds, they're going to win the game...Pellam made the difference because he got some offensive rebounds. He was the difference in the ballgame."
Along with jump shots, you did a lot more driving to the basket. Was that a focus too?
"I thought we just needed to settle down...It's like we were trying to throw a knock-out punch in the first 10 minutes of the game. Once we settle down and execute more, we were fine. Dayton's a very good defensive team. They really guard you out there, and baskets by both teams were tough to come by."
Talk about the importance of your big men, Jabari and Joseph Katuka. "Those two guys have been phenomenal. They have really completely changed us defensively. We're pressing more, putting more pressure on the ball. We're almost forcing teams to drive the ball to the basket. The guys have so much confidence knowing that if a guy gets past them, Joe or Jabari will be there."
Does your strategy change now that you're looking at the tournament?
"For us to finish 10-6 and tied for the 4th spot in this league is a great accomplishment for these guys...Our focus is really on St. Joe's. They've always come here and played well. You're playing against a team that has nothing to lose, so they'll be nice and loose. We just have to stay focused on our principles, and we'll take whatever the results are from there. But we're excited about playing another game at home, but we have to play our best basketball on Tuesday."
GW senior F Jabari Edwards
Take us through the final seconds and that blocked shot.
"It felt great. It's all part of college basketball. I knew it was going to happen; I knew that guy was going to the basket. Tony played great d, and I was there to help out....The point guard for Dayton--his game is really attacking the basket. Once he came off that screen, I knew somebody was going to go for the foul. I just stood straight up, jumped second, and got the block."
Talk about your confidence as you go into the tournament.
"We've always been confident in ourselves as a team. But as the season's gone on, getting some big wins on the road has only helped it. Everybody's excited about the chance to go to Atlantic City. We've won a couple of games in a row, but we have to take it one game at a time, and just focus on St. Joe's on Tuesday."
What did your `Senior Day' feel like?
"It felt great out there. I've made a lot of good friends here, I've met a lot of people at the university. It was good to go out the right way."
GW junior G Tony Taylor
What's helped the team make so much progress from the slow start?
"I think this team has shown a lot of character throughout the year. Just staying poised and always believing in ourselves. The coaches every day in practice have been giving us the confidence that we can do it. Everybody's trusting each other. We're playing harder, and using our athleticism."
You were the key to staying in the game early on. Talk about your mentality during that stretch.
"I want to say it was on me, but I can't. Jabari's been setting great screens the whole year; Joseph too. It allowed me to have mismatches...Everybody on the team can shoot, and that's helping me be a lot more open."
Talk about those clutch free throws when the game was tied with 10 seconds left.
"I was really nervous, but we got into a huddle and my teammates helped me out. They pushed me through it. They said `Tony, you do this all the time, make free throws.' That gave me the confidence to just step up, relax, and shoot the shot."
GW junior F Aaron Ware
Talk about getting a chance to play one more game at home, in the first round of the A-10 tournament.
"We're excited. Dayton was a good team to play. They came out with a lot of energy and played well. As for Tuesday, St. Joe's gave us a hard-fought game up there back in January. We're expecting them to come in with that Tuesday night. It comes down to one game. We've been talking about Atlantic City all year, and I think we can take it after that. But our focus is on St. Joe's on Tuesday."
Talk about the team's growth from the beginning of the season to now.
"Before conference play, I don't think we could've won games like this. In conference play, we thrive on opportunities like this....I think we got a little confidence once we went 3-0. Tony was the catalyst who sparked us in a sense, and we're going to use that confidence to carry us into the tournament."
Dayton Coach Brian Gregory
Talk about that last 10 seconds.
"I thought in the last two minutes, we executed the game plan extremely well. Juwan was aggressive with the ball. We were able to space the court and get either him at the basket, or Paul with an open 3. In that situation, you probably have to take the open shot. GW has very good shot-blockers. They have great size inside. To be honest, the ref is not going to call that at the end, nor should he."
"I thought we did a great job of executing our pressure, and follow the guys we wanted to follow. Unfortunately, there was a six-minute stretch in the 2nd half where we did a poor job of taking care of the ball and rebounding the ball. And that's when the back-and-forth lead changes turned into a 5-, 6-, 7-point lead."
"Give Karl credit. He's done a great job with that team. They're playing with a lot of confidence. They've still got the core values of George Washington--they do a great job on the glass, and they do a great job with their pressure defense. That team started 2-5 for the year, but they stuck together and hung in there, and obviously have played well in our league."
Talk about the progress GW's made since you saw them last year.
"Today was another game that goes into the last two minutes. In the history of GW and Dayton, we've had a ton of those games. We've been fortunate in the last couple of years to come out on the positive end. They have their pillars of how they play--they play with great pressure, they rebound the ball, and they share the ball extremely well. That hasn't changed...You look at that team with Kromah coming back, and that's a team that's going to challenge for the A-10 championship. They've done a great job."
Talk about how difficult Tony Taylor made things for you.
"He has greatly improved his ability to score off the ball screen, meaning he has the dual threat--he can shoot behind it or drive off of it and score. He has 4 turnovers, but he didn't distribute as well today as he has in the past. That's the next phase in his development off the ball screen."