courtesy of Jack Alden
|"I do think they got off to a big start, and we were down 10, 12, 14. I broke my string the last two games. I haven't looked at the score a single time in the first half, but it didn't feel like it was going very good, so I looked up one time and we were down 12 at that point, so I knew it wasn't very good. I talked to the kids about still just trying to hold our poise and do what we'd asked them to do. I told them it didn't take anything outlandish, just if we call a play, do what you're supposed to do, and good things will happen. We needed a little better balance of inside scoring and outside shooting, and we wanted to try to push the ball up the floor a little bit more against them. We got a couple of baskets, even Scot Pollard out running on the break. We got a couple of easy ones there, and BJ gave us a lift, so we got right back into the basketball game before the half.
"We tried to run a set play the last play of the first half, and we got lucky. Jerod broke it off and made a basket and gave us the lead.
"We went back to the same thing at the half and talked about getting better balance, but we could defend a lot better. They (AU) were turning it over some. But I wasn't sure it was our defense being fundamentally sound or if we were just close and they were not as sharp as they wanted to be.
"We really played well there for a stretch, and BJ was sensational. I promised him he didn't have to come to this press conference, because he's gotta do the one tomorrow. And I told him as hard as he played and as well as he played, he only had to talk once in the next 24 hours. But he was really sensational for us because Raef was really struggling. We weren't getting anything from Raef inside and the matchups were bad for us and for Raef at the other end, because he was having to guard a perimeter player. BJ gave us the defense on the other end and was giving us great offense as well.
"Then they made a sensational run. Dickerson killed us in the second half. He made seven straight points in one stretch, and we weren't getting Paul or Raef either one out to guard him. I told the kids at the two-minute mark to have faith and do what we ask you to do again, and just implored them, pleaded with them, begged them, whatever, to just have faith that it'll work out if you do what you're supposed to do.
"Scot made the two free throws, and we said we gotta have one big defensive stop. After the free throws to cut it to one, they missed and we came down and called a high screen for Scot and Jacque. And Jacque made a great penetration and hit Jerod. I thought that was very fitting, because the youngster has put himself through a lot of misery this year because his shots haven't gone down. But that was big. And then they go down and miss again. We get the rebound, and Jacque makes two big free throws. Then it got a little bizarre those last four or five seconds, but we were able to get of there."
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