Postgame Quotes: UNC Asheville 72, St. John's 65

Dec. 22, 2012

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Head Coach Steve Lavin

Opening Statement

“I give credit to UNC Asheville for coming from 17 down, on the road, after the stretch that they’ve had. They showed a lot of maturity, a lot of grit and poise to accomplish that, so we start by tipping the cap to UNC Asheville. We knew that we had our hands full tonight. The one surprise is that we built a 17-point lead; we didn’t think we’d be in a position to do that. We didn’t handle prosperity well. Once we had the lead, we weren’t able to sustain it the way you have to if you’re going to finish off an opponent and that really was the theme of the postgame talk: finishing and sustaining. I though there were some stretches where we played brilliantly and did some really good things. I think Jamal Branch was a positive; other than the four turnovers he showed some flashes of what he could do. I thought our full-court pressure was effective in stretches and Marco Bourgault had some good contributions, but at the end of it, as a group we didn’t finish. No one particular aspect of play and no particular player is responsible for it, just as a group we didn’t sustain or finish the game.”

On learning from this game:

“If you look at our games, we were up nine on Baylor, up 13 on Murray State and up 17 tonight, so if we sustain, we’d probably be 11-1 and ranked 15th in the country. We’d be the same group of players, with the same flaws and deficiencies as the team that’s 8-4. That’s why as a coach you don’t get too carried away with the prosperity when you’re doing well or the adversity when you’re not doing well, but instead just keep focused on improvement, especially when you have this young of a team. They’re the same group of kids that built leads in those games that gave up those leads, and the same group that fought back in some big games that we won, like Detroit and Holy Cross. They’re learning about how to sustain, about maturity, about how to finish and every day it’s another lesson. Today was a valuable lesson.”

On playing 10 young players:

“With our style of play, we need to rotate bodies, similar to the way we did my first year when we went nine deep. With our full-court pressure, our trapping and our rotations, we need to rotate bodies. I think we’re doing a better job of that than we did before, but there isn’t an aspect of play that we don’t need to improve upon. From offensive execution to defensive rotation to understanding time and score, there really isn’t one aspect of play from A-to-Z that we don’t need to work on and improve upon. I’m happy that we have the depth that we have, the challenge now is how we use those ten.”

On the team’s long-term goals:

“I really like this team and I like where we are. Obviously if we were 12-0, 11-1 or 10-2 it would be nice, but we’re not, we’re 8-4, but the experiences we’ve had and we’ve gained are valuable. Even tonight, even though it was disappointing to lose the game, there were stretches of really good basketball. Using Bourgault as an example, that’s a weapon for us that wasn’t there a month ago and you can start to see him emerging, playing with confidence and stretching the defense. School is in session every day with this group. I came into the year knowing this. I didn’t have any illusions of this being anything other than a really challenging season. You know as a coach, when you’ve been in this business that when you have that degree of youth, it’s going to be a challenge, but one that you want. I love their attitude and I love their upside. I like the group and I like their chemistry. Obviously we’d love to be 12-0, 11-1 or 10-2 and be ranked 15th in the country, but we’re 8-4 and we’ve learned a lot through the non-conference portion of our schedule and we have a much better sense of who we are.”

Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison

On the mood in the locker room after the game:

“We were definitely frustrated because we had a 15-point lead in the second half. We should have capitalized on that but they did a good job coming back. We have to learn from it, watch film, and get better.”

On how this affects postseason tournament aspirations:

“We know we can beat some of the top teams to overcome these losses, so it really shouldn’t matter. We have to do a better job of rebounding and finishing layups, and if we take care of those two things we feel like we can be great.”

On getting a rhythm with the new rotation:

“With Jamal coming back, we have ten legit guys who can play starters’ minutes. The coaches will get the right rotation, that’s not up to us, and we’ll play hard.

On Jamal Branch’s impact:

“It makes it easier for me to score. He played good minutes. I’ve known him for a long time, and he knows where I’m at on the court. We have good chemistry, and he has good chemistry with the rest of the guys so he’s only going to get better from here.”

On having a long layoff after the loss:

“It’s definitely going to hurt. After winning six out of our last seven, dropping this one hurts. We’re going to get back to the drawing board. We have Villanova next, so our job is take care of them.”

Sophomore guard Phil Greene IV

On the second half of the game:

“We weren’t finishing possessions, weren’t rebounding, missing assignments, leaving guys open and basically just didn’t finish the game. We were up by 15, and we needed to come together to put those guys away.”

On getting a rhythm with the new rotation:

“It’s a new team and everyone is still getting adjusted, but coach wants to rotate fresh bodies so we can keep the pressure up. We are going to get used to it and time will tell.”

On UNC Asheville’s comeback:

“We had them down, but we just didn’t put it away. We missed those key stops and key rebounds, lost our man and not communicating. All the little things that it takes to win we didn’t do.”

On Jamal Branch’s first game:

“He came in right away and played well in the time that he had. He threw some nice passes and played some good defense. Once he gets some more time and gets adjusted he’ll be fine.”


Head Coach Eddie Biedenbach

Thoughts on the game

"With 10 minutes to go, we were still down 10 points. We started to really battle the last half of the first half and the beginning of the second half. We did some dumb things out there, offensively and defensively, and we didn't stay consistent. But I'm going to have to live with that a little bit this year. We have a bunch of good players, but the inconsistency drives me nuts. The effort was there all night long. We're getting better and better each game. I couldn't be prouder of this team. We had a rough start to the season with some games we should have and could have won. But tonight, we battled through a lot of adversity with fouls and everything else, and all the guys really played well. "




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