Postgame Comments: (5) GW vs. (12) Saint Joseph's
March 8, 2011
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
(12) Saint Joseph's 71
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
Did you feel that after fighting back in the second half, the team had nothing left for overtime?
"That definitely was a factor. We obviously expended a great deal of energy to put ourselves in position to win the game at the end. We had one costly turnover that led to an easy basket by them, and it was an uphill battle from that point on."
What was the message at halftime that helped the defense in the second half?
"We wanted to not face the half-court offense. They were basically spreading us out and running the shot clock down. And they did a very good job of attacking the basket, and we wanted to take that away from them by going to our zone traps, which got us back into the ball game."
Did running such an aggressive defense fatigue Tony Taylor in the second half?
"I think the whole team was fatigued by that point. We exerted so much energy. We put the ball in Tony's hands and he did a great job, making some good plays to put us in position to win the game."
Did the emotional exertion have as much effect as the physical exertion?
"I think so, to some degree. At that point, you have to regroup and refocus, and you have to execute. And we didn't execute down the stretch on a couple of possessions."
You told the team to remember this game. What do you want them to remember? "Just the emotion of the game itself, and know what it feels like to lose this kind of ballgame."
GW junior G Tony Taylor
Can you speak the disappointment of tonight's loss after playing so well for the past month?
"I think the whole team is disappointed at not coming up with the win. We worked hard to get ourselves in this position, and also to advance. It's just really sad that we couldn't get our seniors to Atlantic City."
What was going through your mind near the end when you realized the game was essentially over?
"I was just disappointed that we had to let them shoot free-throws. It got to the point where he had to foul, and that whole segment was just disappointing."
GW junior G Aaron Ware
Did you think the momentum swing would help you win the game?
"I thought we had some momentum. I told the guys in the huddle that as long as we cut the lead to 4 in those last few minutes and kept the shot going, we could avoid overtime and win the game. Worst case scenario was going into overtime. Unfortunately, that shot didn't go down. Every loss is disappointing; we wanted the senior to go to Atlantic City, but it didn't work out this way. Coach told us to remember this game so that we'll work hard this off season and not be in this position next year."
What have you been thinking about during the games that has helped you improve?
"I'm not really thinking about anything. I'm just listening to what Coach is telling me--to attack more--and spending some extra time after practice putting up shots. And it's a credit to my teammates tonight; they found me when I was open."
Saint Joseph's Coach Phil Martelli
"The credit here goes to these players. I gave them the coaching cliché after Saturday--`now, everybody is 0-0. Let's see what we can do.' After watching GW and the accomplishments that Karl and his staff have had with this young group--6-2 in the second half of the season, really playing with a fervor--we were obviously concerned. I was concerned about two things: rebounding the ball, particularly defensively because we haven't been great at it this year....and ball possession. So for us to come out with 10 turnovers, and obviously their fan support, their student support when they made that run in the second half got us a few times. We played a little bit not to lose, not as free and easy. The overtime steal by Tai Jones kind of relieved everybody, and we made our free throws on the road, which is what you need to do to spring what some people would call an upset."
Talk about losing a big lead, and having to win the gave in overtime.
"Well again, the players deserve the credit. There were certainly some learning moments out there for everybody. The defense that GW gives you is so unusual that you can't run anything...We had a freshman who could have made a layup at the end of the game to win it, and he dribbled away from the basket. We had another play where a kid jumped in the air in the middle of the game. But I'll take this experience to have the chance to practice another two days with this group. Let's see if we can shore those things up. We haven't had that many double-digit leads all year long, and against that style of play, it's harder to just keep everybody calm and make a play."
It looked like you struggled with GW's zone.
"Their zone is a 1-3-1. It's a very aggressive trapping zone, and you have to make basketball plays against that...Against that kind of zone, our concept is all hands on deck; be ready for that next pass. We didn't do that on some occasions."
Was it your plan to slow the game down and run out the clock throughout the game?
"That's been our plan for the last 10 games...We've tried to play defense on offense. We have the ball and take it 27 seconds into the shot clock. But the biggest number that gave me encouragement was knowing GW plays a certain style, they still score only 65 points a game. My target in this game was to get to 63 before they got to 63. And I thought we could win the game that way. For us, it has to be where we control possessions."
When GW got back into the game and made that run in the second half, were you worried that you might not have anything left for the overtime?
"I really didn't have time to think about it. What I wanted to do was come up with a plan. In the timeout [before overtime] one of the bench players said, `the most important play in the game is that jump ball.' And C.J. Aiken got the jumpball and we got to the foul like right away in overtime."