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March 19, 2009
NIT Second Round Quotes
Penn State Head Coach Ed DeChellis
Q: Your general thoughts on the game.
A: Our focus was to push the basketball and to get it down there very quickly, and if we didn't have something, then it was to get it back out and run offense and make them guard. I think the kids did a pretty good job at that. I thought we played well tonight. I thought everyone came in and pitched in. The guys off the bench did a nice job. The guys starting the game did a nice job. It was a total team effort. The transition offense did pretty good for us. Stanley got some good looks and pull up jumpers. That is what Rhode Island is good at. We were really concerned about making them play half court on offense.
Q: Update on Talor Battle.
A: He hit his hip. He has a bad hip. He is going to be sore, I don't know to what extent, other than it is the same hip and he hit it pretty good. He will probably need a couple days off, and hopefully we don't play until next Wednesday here, which would really give him some time off.
Q: How much stress does it put on the rest of the team with him out?
A: Stanley did a good job. Chris came in, and Danny Morrissey did an unbelievable job making his free throws down the stretch. Again, I thought everyone did their part and role. With Jamelle out, the guys stepped up and did a good thing. With Talor out, other guys did good stuff, and that is what we were hoping for all year. We were hoping for a total team effort and production off the bench and the last few games, we are finally getting it. I am very, very proud of our team.
Q: How much have you learned about the fact that this team knows how to win?
A: They have been really resilient all year. When Talor went out, during time out, we said, here is what we need to do, and focus on taking care of the basketball and press offense. Here is what we are doing at half court. Stanley is really good with the basketball, pretty quick and athletics and he can handle that. I think guys go in and take over roles when other guys aren't there. It was very, very nice to see.
Q: What did you do different yesterday to prepare for this game than you usually do?
A: We shot what we normally shoot yesterday. We didn't practice; we had a walkthrough. Walked through all of Rhode Islands stuff, had a film session, shot free throws, 50, like we do before every game. I didn't change any routine, and tonight everyone stepped to the line and made them. I don't take any credit for that either.
Q: At the beginning of the second half, they started coming back. What did you have to do to adjust to that?
A: We knew they were going to press. They are long, they're athletic, they're strong. They are good at that, and they have long guys to throw over. We weren't getting the guy on the sideline, we weren't getting the guy in the middle quick enough, throwing back to the in-bounder too much, getting the ball to Stanley and just push it. We were kind of playing on our heels. Once we got comfortable with attacking it, I thought we were much better. After that little flurry early, we really didn't turn it over.
Q: Being a senior, do you feel more pressure to step up and lead this team?
A: Oh yeah, because he is a floor leader and he is always telling us that we can't lose on this home court. Obviously, we may still play at home Wednesday. But he just told us to go strong, and I felt like the coaches did a great job at scouting. We just used this game as motivation because they beat us the first time.
Q: Did you watch any of the NCAA today?
A: Yeah, I saw Michigan beat Clemson just now. I told myself I wasn't going to watch it when we didn't get in, but I'm over the fact that we didn't get in, so I guess I'm going to watch it.
Q: What is it like on a day like this, when you are preparing for a game, knowing the NCAA Tournament is going on?
A: It is in the back of our heads. It hurts; the fact that we didn't get in. But coach keeps emphasizing that we just need to put it behind us. We are still in the National Invitational Tournament, and there are some really tough teams in that. We use that as motivation to win this tournament.
Q: What is it like being younger, knowing that you still have a chance to bring this team to the NCAA Tournament?
A: Like Stanley said, it is always going to be in the back of our mind, but since we didn't get in, we need to take advantage of where we did get in and play hard with this no matter what.
Q: You guys did a good job rebounding tonight. Was the stressed before the game?
A: They are a long and athletics team, so one of the keys of the game was to try to get them off the glass. You saw with Delroy James were great on the offensive end as far as rebounding the basketball. We just tried to be physical and keep them off the glass.
Q: What did Jamelle say to you all before the game?
A: Honestly, he just said to go out and play. Obviously, he is our emotional leader. But he just said go out, play hard, and leave it all out there on the floor. We will see where we are there.
Q: What does it feel like for you knowing Jamelle is not out there? Do you feel more pressure to play well?
A: With him being gone, like Drew said he is one of our leaders. Without him there, someone has to step up and do the extra things that he would normally do. Fortunately, the whole bench and the starters stepped up.
Q: You were very emotional tonight. Did you feel the need to step it up with Jamelle out?
A: That is part of it. I have always played the game with energy and passion. We were getting into it, we were banging, and it was the nature of the game. A little smack talk here and there.
Rhode Island Coach Jim Baron
We knew it was going to be a hard fought battle coming in. I thought Penn State played great; they made shots. I thought other guys stepped up when the big fellow was injured. You have to give them credit, they stepped up. I mean I can go down the line. Chris Babb played a tremendous game, you know Jones stepped up, and their guards are two of the top guards we've played against all year. Anytime you try to beat a team the second time it's always a greater challenge, but they did what they needed to do in the first half, they out rebounded us in the second half. They did a great job on the boards and the crowd got into it. They made shots and held us to 43%. I just thought they made great plays, they made great shots and Battle really gets them going. He made some big shots and I thought Pringle played as good as I've seen him play all year from watching the tapes. He made some big plays and made guys better. I was real proud of our guys showing the tenacity and the courage of coming back. After we lost two tough games at the end of the year and do what we did up in Niagara and I thought Niagara was a hostile environment. We came down here and these guys look like they're playing with a lot of confidence from winning that game against George Mason. They beat a good George Mason team and to come in to do that on another night you've got to give them credit. I'm just really proud of our guys to win 23 games. We're picked 9th the last week of the season and the last game we could have been tied, we could have been co-champs if we won that last game. That says a lot about our team and our upperclassmen and to really overachieve we've really had a great year.
Q: What was the biggest difference between Penn State this time and the first time you played them?
A: I think they were more physical this time and their guards seemed like they were more focused. They stepped up and made some big shots, especially early on when we got ourselves in a hole. It seems like they made some big plays and the crowd got into it. I thought the student body was great coming out and being a part of this atmosphere.
Q: Were you surprised at the physical presence of your players?
A: No, I think they wanted to do that. We tried to press, but I thought it was a tough trip from Buffalo coming down here and I think we got a little tired. We wanted to play solid and they hit some big shots. Every time we tried to make a run back it seemed like they made some big plays and big shots. Like I said our seniors really stepped up. Seawright, Baron, and Francis really lead us the whole way. I'm real proud of our guys. The way we played hard, played together.
Q: You said they played more physical, Andrew Jones didn't have any rebounds the first time around, but he had a ton tonight can you talk about that?
A: Yeah, like I said he was real physical inside and he was a big reason why they played with a lot of tenacity inside; really physical, really aggressive. Got a lot of loose balls, he had 13 offensive rebounds. They also made their free-throws too. Every time we tried to get close, to take 31 free-throws, we took 10. Again they got a lot of opportunities to get second shots and put backs and they made their free-throws.
Q: More guys for Penn State stepped up tonight how much harder is it to get a read from them when the scoring isn't only coming from Battle?
A: Well that makes a good team. When guys can step up who haven't stepped up, guess what? That's when you want them to step up. You want them to step up at this particular time and they did and I have to give them credit
Q: Talk about the press and why you had to back off after Penn State started to pull away?
A: That was something that we wanted to do but I think it took a lot out of us to maintain. They got a couple of quick buckets in transition and then we got a little more calculated as far as playing them. I've got to give them credit they stepped up, they made plays and they made shots. They really weren't affected by Cornley being out, and I thought him being down was going to be a big loss but they didn't miss a beat. It was a lot about the other players because they really stepped up for the team big time.
Q: This being the last game of Jimmy's career how much fun have you had coaching him and seeing him develop?
A: It's been incredible. He works so hard and every where he plays he's got a target on his back and they're relentless on him. I think his next career he's going to be free and he's going to be able to flourish and play with guys where he doesn't have a target. But, for four years he's had a target on his back and for instance today, I think they had two or three guys guarding him at particular times. He's a great young man and I can't be more proud not only as his father and as his coach. He's also a dean's list student and second team academic All-American. I love him and I love the rest of the players and this has been a year of tremendous reward for me, not only as a father but as a coach. Whenever you're picked that low to achieve what we achieved and again the way we played and the schedule we played to come back and be still playing is tremendous.