Nov. 28, 2004
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
November 28, 2004
GW Head Coach Karl Hobbs
How important was your defensive pressure in the first half?
"Without question, the first half was clearly where we won the game--the quick substitutions, the fact that we kept pressure on them. And I really felt that they got tired."
How did it disrupt Fairfield's gameplan?
"We wanted to deny their guards [the ball] and prevent them from making plays. They like to play a slow-paced game. This is the most points they've scored all year...We wanted to make sure they played fast, and that the game would be a high-scoring game."
How did Pops contribute defensively?
"We tell Pops that he has to focus more on getting rebounds for us. Today, he played a guy that required him to stay home. He did a good job of staying focused and staying on the backboard."
Did last year's loss at Fairfield influence what you did today?
"We didn't talk about it at all. That game was a learning experience for us. We were really young at that time. And right after that we played our best basketball for the rest of the year. I felt we learned a great deal from that game. Our whole focus on this game was playing defense, and not allowing it to be their kind of game."
What's the status of Mike Hall?
"I'm hoping that he'll be ready by Wednesday. The trainer tells me there's a chance. But I'm hoping because we can't go too much longer without him."
GW junior F Omar Williams
on the team's first half defense:
"We wanted to come out with energy and not let them get off to a good start because they're kind of a streaky team. We let our defensive presence be known early, and that set the tone for the whole game."
Is it hard to stay focused when you build such a big first-half lead?
"It is in a way. You never intentionally do it, but you tend to let up a little and get too comfortable. Then after they make their run, it's hard to slow them down. That's something we have to work on as a team as the season progresses--when we jump on somebody, we have to stay on them and keep them down, especially teams like this."
GW junior F Pops Mensah-Bonsu
Do you focus more on your defensive than offense in a game like this?
"That's the way we approach every game. The type of defense we play sparks our offense. If we play up-tempo defense, obviously we'll got a lot of fast breaks and easy buckets. If we get good solid defense, that determines how we score."
How did you control Deng Gai?
"We knew going in that if he wasn't a factor offensively and defensively, we would have a much better chance of winning the game. I took it on myself to play as good defense as I could on him. And we played great team defense on the rest of their guards."
Do you get more pumped playing highly-touted opponents like him?
"Just more determined, because I know there's going to be people watching him. It makes me play a little better and harder, and show that I can play defense also."
Fairfield Coach Tim O'Toole
"They were great. We got our tails kicked all over this gym. We wanted to try and control the tempo, and slow it down. That didn't happen. They didn't allow it. Defensively...they put pressure on you all over the place. They broke when they had the opportunity. We were down 30 in the first half, and I don't think we're that bad of a team...They shot, they scored, they did everything."
What adjustments did you make at halftime?
"We knew we had to be more aggressive. I believe we were tentative, and when you go 4 for 24 in the first half--I believe that may be a record...By that point in time, they had everything under control."
"We tried to fight back, and we did. But that's a very, very good basketball team across the board. And that's the thing--they've got numbers, they throw waves at you."
"I'm very impressed with them, and we knew it too. They were great last year, and we were fortunate to beat them at our place."