Dec. 8, 2005
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL
December 8, 2005
Florida Int. 45
at #19/20 GW 70
GW Coach Karl Hobbs
On getting Pops and the team off to a strong start.
"We wanted to get them off early so we could establish our inside presence. He was a little more relaxed, and wasn't rushing his shots. He's slowly getting himself back to game-ready. I thought his defense was really really good."
Do you feel the slow start was due to a let down from Monday's win over Maryland?
"Not really. We were a little bit anxious, and overpassed sometimes. That's why we had 20 turnovers. They certainly weren't pressuring us, they weren't in passing lanes...We were trying to do things a little too quick, and weren't as patient as we should have been. I was concerned about [a letdown], but we got that out of our system."
On the play of Mike Hall
"Whenever you challenge Mike and set goals for him, he really steps up. I purposely talked about [Ivan Almonte], how good he is, and the need to help Mike out because he's really going to do some things to Mike when he gets inside. I could see Mike just boiling in practice; I thought he was going to say something to me at some point. Then he steps up--10 big rebounds, 13 points--and he was really solid all night."
What was the gameplan against Almonte?
"Whenever he touched the ball, he was immediately double-teamed; that made him pass the ball out. And when the ball went up, it didn't matter if you didn't get the rebound; just make sure he doesn't get the rebound. It was a very simple strategy."
Is the December schedule getting you ready for conferencde play?
"I think every game is a challenge. It may not appear to be, but it's a mental and physical challenge. This game was a challenge because we could have easily come in here not mentally ready and struggled. Every game is different; we could have had a mental letdown after the Maryland game. We could have let Almonte come in and have a career night with 20 rebouds. Mike said it best--maturity, trying to have a special season, and stay focused."
GW senior F Omar Williams
On holding FIU to 31% from the field "This was one of the better performances on defense since I've been here at GW. Coach has stressed that we have to stop their passes before we even get the ball, and that's what we focused on."
GW senior F Mike Hall
On not having a letdown after the Maryland game. "I think it shows our maturity. We're an older team with our seniors, and we wouldn't allow ourselves to be in the same position as we were last year [at FIU] after our success in the BB&T. It was a major point for us to be ready because we knew they were a tough team."
What has helped you get off to a good start? "It started this summer with our trip to Australia. We formed a bond as a team, and we're working hard and we're working together. We carried it over to this season because we understand it's important. Omar and I want to go out the right way, and we can't take any games off, and can't take any days off in practice."
Florida International Coach Sergio Rouco
On the team's offensive problems "We shot 1 of 16 from the 3-point line.. our kids will say they had a bad day... When you have Ivan Almonte, the ball goes there first before they shoot 3s...I think [GW] figured it out."
"I can't believe they turned it over more than us; I thought we turned it over 40 times...10 for 21 in free throws; kids 11 and under make free throws. It's not about form, it's not about practice; it's about being mentally tough to go out there and make free throws..."
"I thought most of our 3-pointers were open; I thought we guarded them at the half court pretty hard. When you're shooting 3s, you get a long rebound and give the other team time to run. When they didn't allow us to get the ball inside to Ivan [Almonte], they got us out of our rhythm and we couuldn't run our sets."
"That's their whole gameplan--not to let people run their sets. I think they have a wonderful team. I wouldn't be surprised if they go far in the NCAA Tournament. They can play anybody in the country right now because they're hard to guard and they're fearless. I'm very happy for Coach Hobbs. He's a good guy, he works hard on this opportunity and it's paying off for him."
What was your strategy for defending Pops Mensah-Bonsu?
"We tried to make them lob it in and help from the weak side. Many times, we were caught asleep on the weak side and couldn't get there. If you press the ball hard enough, it's hard to get it in there. My kid who started the game didn't want any physical play with Pops. He's a big man."
"Pops has gotten much better from last year offensively. He's finishing around the basket his cuts offensively; he was a little awkward last year. His footwork is better. Obviously, they've worked hard with him."
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