POSTGAME QUOTES: St. John’s vs. Butler

March 1, 2018

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St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin

On the win:
“Shoot, Amar [Alibegovic] hadn’t played in how long, but he played 43 minutes [tonight] and played great defense. Bashir [Ahmed] played one of his better games, so I was happy for those guys. It was their last game at home being seniors, and I thought the other guys played for them [the seniors]. It was nice to see. Just kind of hung in there, we got down, and like you said, there were a lot of swings where we kind of just made the next play. We had that next-play mentality. I think we were down five with 17 seconds left, and Marvin [Clark II] hit a three. We made some plays obviously. We’ve played in a lot of games like this and haven’t gotten that shot to go or made those stops at the end of the game. Again, another one of those times where Amar fouled a three-point shooter. We’ve done that before and it’s crushed us, but we went onto the next play and made something happen. Told them I was obviously proud of them. I’m so happy for them. With Shamorie [Ponds] not playing, we all work hard in practice, even those guys who don’t play, they are always in shape, and are dedicated guys. Amar is one of the best teammates I’ve been around, and I’ve had a lot of good teammates. His attitude, his work ethic, and dedication to the team are top-notch.”

On Justin Simon’s performance:
“When you are shorthanded, you go into the game trying to figure out if he can play 40 minutes. Call some timeouts and get some natural rest as the game goes on, but for him to play 50 minutes and to be as efficient as he was. He made some big shots, obviously, but that pass back to Marvin [Clark II] was a big-time play. … He went to his pivots, made a nice read, and Marvin trailed to hit that nice three. When he’s going like that, he’s pretty dynamic. He’s fun to watch, and he stepped up when we need him the most. I thought there was a part of the game where he got a little fatigued, which is understandable, but towards the end of the overtimes he was really, really aggressive and made some big plays. Like a lot of our wins, he’s usually in the middle of it all doing good things.”

On getting winning performances from the rest of the team:
“I thought it was big for them. I know they can do it, and I tell them all the time. In practice we like to put them in different positions. They have all played in those spots before. … We do it in practice that way just in case things like this happen. I like my guys to be versatile anyway. For them to do it against a really good Butler team in double overtime, that’s where you gain your confidence and all the talk, becomes reality. I’ve always said that, you can work hard in practice, feel good, your coach can love you, and all that, but doing it in the game, especially at the end of the game, are steps you have to take as a player. People can say otherwise, but until you do it yourself, there’s always a little doubt. For that group there, I think that was really important. That was one of the reasons why I was really happy and proud of them.”

 

Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Simon

On the final moments of regulation and the overtimes:
”My coaches and teammates told me to stay aggressive, keep getting to the basket, and draw attention on you. With that last play, Coach [Mullin] told me stay aggressive, get to the rim, no shot blocks, and just finish. In double overtime it was whatever to win for these guys [the seniors]. Whatever it took, I was a little winded out there, but whatever it took to get a W.”

On playing all 50 minutes:
“Just like I said, my coaches kept me into it. They were on me, they challenged me during one of the timeouts, and I came out and stepped up. My teammates did a wonderful job keeping me motivated and keeping me in it. I had all those turnovers and was a little sloppy, but they kept me in it.”

On playing without Shamorie Ponds:
“It is hard playing without, in my opinion, one of the best guards in the country [Shamorie Ponds]. He does a lot for us, he initiates the offense and he scores with the best of them, so it’s tough playing without a guard like that. We were real versatile and have a lot of depth. On any given night when we play together and play defense, anything can happen.”

On using the momentum to build towards March:
“It gives us another spark to continue to keep it going into Providence. They came in here and beat us pretty good, so we’re gonna go in there with what we did well this game and just stay on it. Keep attacking, be aggressive, and go over there and try and get a win.”

 

Senior forward Bashir Ahmed

On winning his final regular season game at Carnesecca Arena:
“This feeling is amazing; I am just very happy and very excited to play in front of our family and our St. John’s crowd. I am just real honored to be here. It was a wonderful two years and we went out with a bang.”

On playing without Shamorie Ponds:
“I just wanted to come out and be more aggressive. With Shamorie [Ponds] being out, he averaged the most points on this team and has done a great job for us this year, so with him being out I just knew I had to step up today.”


 

 

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