BIG EAST CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT
March 13, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
CINCINNATI – 61 PROVIDENCE – 44
COACH CRONIN: Obviously, the Providence team won 8 of their last 10 playing extremely good basketball. They had our attention. But great effort by our guys on the defensive end of the floor. I thought pressure defense. Although we didn't force a lot of turnovers, we tried to take them out of their rhythm so they couldn't get Kadeem Batts the ball wherever they wanted. He does such a good job of dissecting you with the set plays that we tried to make sure we committed to not let them get comfortable to where they could just pick us apart with getting Batts the ball deep in the low post and trying to get us into a full court mode of attack mode. We're just a better team when we play that way. So proud of the way the guys?? we're not a very big team, and we've got Justin Jackson back today, and he gave us a lot of energy, I thought. We out rebound people despite our lack of size, and so credit to the kids in the uniforms. They've got great toughness, and they're really committed to winning.
Q. Mick, what about the job Shaq did again today? COACH CRONIN: He's playing?? that's the thing about some of the international guys, the sad part about it is they don't play enough growing up. Like for Adam Hyranciuk, he is on the Polish national team now. Last season with us he couldn't make a layup. He started to get comfortable, I think. We're all trying to give him more confidence on the offensive end. But production is key. He gives us eight, seven, and five. It's huge. We're not going to be able to win, you know, S.K. and Kad we can't play three on five, these guys sitting up here with Cash. I thought Shaq Thomas was tremendous. He had eight rebounds. Best game he's ever played for us.
Q. You used him early tonight. COACH CRONIN: We just tried to evaluate some things how we're going to play our best in the postseason.
Q. Why does he give you an advantage? COACH CRONIN: Just trying to be a faster, more athletic team. It is nothing against Dave or Kelvin. I'm sure there's a time they're going to be able to help us. The problem with playing so many guys on the wing, somebody gets left out. So playing four guards with Jermaine and Titus at the four gives you only two subs on the perimeter, which would be Ge' and Shaq. Gives me a chance to get Shaq more minutes, playing Justin at the five for the most part with Shaq.
Q. It seemed as if you pressed up on them a little more right from the start. Could you talk about that. COACH CRONIN: That was our game plan. A couple things strategy?wise, they lost to DePaul, who pressed them. I've got to say they only turned it over seven times. It's not like we were stealing the ball. We were just trying to throw body blows and wear them down. I don't know, you would know where they rank in minutes played in the Big East, but one of them's got to be the leader. We were trying to take their legs. We're just a better team when we play that way regardless of our opponent. Against them, they don't have quite the depth that Ed's going to have once he gets to his third and fourth year rebuilding the program.
Q. Sean and JaQuon both, was it that defense that got you going? Your offense was so efficient early in the game when you built that big lead. Is that what did it? SEAN KILPATRICK: Yeah. We're a great team when we play like that. When we're up on everyone and when we're just playing like with a lot of energy on the defensive end. That's something that we spoke about all week, you could say. I mean, that was just a game plan, and everyone bought into it, and I guess that's what happens when we play that way. You come out big, and that's something that we need.
Q. JaQuon, you made some shots early. How important is it for you to get your game going? JAQUON PARKER: It was cool. It was cool. I'm glad I took the shots I took, and I made them. It kind of got me going on the defensive end. Just when you make a shot, you just want to play on. As a senior, you know, no matter whether you make your shots or not, you've still got to play hard. It was good for me.
Q. S.K., can you talk about playing Georgetown tomorrow. Obviously, they're the number one seed. You played them once this year, and just your thoughts on that. SEAN KILPATRICK: We know they're a great team, but like we talked about earlier, we're a great team as well. Especially the way we're playing defense the way we are. We're a team that's hungry. We're a team that's not going to back down from anyone, and we're going to come out and give our best fight every night. That's something that we look forward to.
Q. For Mick, there was a point there where you had an eight?point lead, but you weren't getting much done on offense, and I counted 6 out of 7 shots, Providence shots, that didn't reach the rim. Do you think that was kind of the key there, holding them at bay when you had them 41?33? COACH CRONIN: That's where, I think, our pressure affected them, no doubt. Their lack of depth probably and our pressure defense. You'd like to think that had something to do with it. But, yeah, I think a lot is made in our case, people talking about scoring or lack of scoring. The defense is so good and the coaching is so good and the kids play so hard in the Big East, you're going to have lots of scoring droughts, and you've got to make sure you hold yourself in there when you struggle to score. I think that's where veteran players come in, and that's the team?? those are the teams that are going to play on Friday and Saturday in this tournament, teams that can fight through that because it happens to everybody. You've got to be able?? your defense has to be able to hold you in there when it happens.
Q. Mick, can you talk about the matchup with Georgetown and what happened the first game. COACH CRONIN: Well, it was a great game. Obviously, it was 51?51, and we missed two free throws. We had plenty of chances in our place. Obviously, they've had a great year. The development of Markel Starks and Otto Porter. Obviously, I know D'Vauntes, we recruited him, so he's made a huge difference in their team. Gives them another point ball and more ball production since he's developed into a scorer and he heard us scoring. Because they're so good defensively, if they can get to 60 points on you, you're in trouble because they rarely give it up. I think the first ranked defense in points allowed, I'm pretty sure. So it's going to be a great challenge.
Q. For the players, what did you think of the uniforms? SEAN KILPATRICK: We love them.
Q. Do they feel better than they look? COACH CRONIN: You notice, if you guys were going to go out tonight, they wouldn't dress like you either. They think they look good. And most important thing is the recruits think they look great. That's the most important thing. So we're appreciative that Adidas includes us in their league program in the postseason.
Q. Mick, going back to the defensive effort, to see Providence go 9 of 32 in the first half and same thing in the second half. To get a consistent effort like this given how the last month has gone, how important was that? COACH CRONIN: It's big for us. I think something was big. Shaq Thomas, 19 minutes. Justin, 14. Jermaine, 17. Get a good team effort. We had bench production?? they helped us in scoring. They helped us in rebounding. That's something that I try to evaluate what we're doing and what we got to do differently in the postseason. As a coach, I think sometimes you can blame players, and you got to look at yourself. What can you do? So I try to look at what can I do to change this? We made?? so our biggest adjustment was playing Justin Jackson at the five and getting more perimeter guys off the bench, like Shaq Thomas. Gee had foul trouble, but Shaq and Jermaine and Ge'Lawn more minutes. Make it a faster game. Make it a full?court game, and hopefully it will play in our favor. If you slug it out, it's going to be 50?48, and we've lost six games in the last minute, 9?9. We lost six Big East games in the last minute. We also lost to New Mexico in the last seconds by one. It's not a situation?? we're not built to play that way. We're not as big and strong as the Cincinnati teams of the past. We're more faster, quicker, more athletic. But like I said, Georgetown again, speeding them up is going to be hard obviously because it's all about a challenge. It's hard to speed them up. JOHN PAQUETTE: Cincinnati, thank you.