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Nov. 9, 2012
St. Francis University vs. Penn State
November 9, 2012
Penn State Head Coach Patrick Chambers
Q: Were you more concerned with how well they shot or how badly you guys shot?
A: We always prepare for nights like this. Obviously, they happened too often last year and I hope that it doesn't this year. I think our guys were a little nervous for the first game of the year. I hope it doesn't happen often, but in thefirst half, I was pretty proud of the way they defended. They did a pretty good job. Now late in the game, we were taking away threes, so they drove the basketball and got some layups. We need to be able to not make shots and continue to play hard. We had some mental lapses. It is Nov. 9, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. They (SFU) played great. They hit shots. Twenty-two made four threes. There were great shots by him. They are well coached. Coach Krimmel did a great job. Like I say to the team, sometimes it is going to be ugly and if you can win those ugly ones then you are on the right path. Am I concerned about 3-for-24? Yes. We had really, really good shots. They were smart and packed it in. We didn't make them, but it is okay. It is a learning experience and only game one. We aregoing to watch film tomorrow. We will get better and better for the next contest.
Q: Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill didn't shoot well from the field, but were 26-for-28 from the line. What does that present of mind to get it from the hoop and take it to the line?
A: When you are not making shots, you need to figure out what you are doing well. At halftime, I am seeing that we are shootinggood free throws, so I just told them to drive the basketball. We set some ball screens up early. We knew we would be able to get some fouls if we drove it at their hip. That is what we did. We got ourselves to the foul line early andoften. We shot 32 free throws, which is part of the game plan when you are not making threes. You have to do something well. I felt like that was the best thing we could do. I told D.J. and Tim to drive the basketball and get yourself to the foul line.
Q: Can you talk about Nick Colella's play toward the end of the game?
A: Awesome. That is Penn State basketball. Obviously, we are not where I want us to be. It is still early. But that is Penn State basketball. He did not shoot particularly well and I just want to see energy and effort. We saw energy and we saw effort. When the shots did not go down, I did not see poor body language. For Nick to do that after a miss, it was a crucial point for us. I think it inspired us and pushed us for that last three minutes and I think we needed it.
Q: How do you think Ross Travis played tonight?
A: I told you. I told you about Ross Travis, didn't I? I told you in media day. I had said that he was coming. He is shooting the ball well, although his three didn't go in tonight. He did some great things. He plays hard. He is athletic. He had 10 points, nine rebounds. He did some great things for us. The ball is going to start falling for him. He plays great. He did exactly what he was supposed to do for us, a near double-double.
Q: Midway through the second half, you guys changed up your defense, which caused their guards problems. What was that change you made to counteract what they were doing?
A: We just started to switch everything. In the beginning I wanted to work on ourfoundation and get better. My thought process going into every game is that we have to start out man-to-man and get better at it because if we don't we're in big trouble. It really is about the Big Ten and covering all those cuts that these coaches run, but I also need to win a game. So, I played small. I putRoss (Travis) at the five, switched everything and I think it slowed them down. I wanted to press them, trust me I wanted to, but their guards are quick and fast. You saw that. We pressed them once, they threw it up the floor, it went right by us and they laid it in. So that was a good indication that my instincts were right on not pressing them. So that's why we went small and that's why we switched everything up. I think it actually benefited us because we were 3-for-24 and that's not very good last time I checked.
Q: Coach you talked about D.J. (Newbill) being an outlet for Tim (Frazier) to open up this season. How versatile is he as a player? He had 16 points and sevenrebounds. Is that something we can get used to seeing?
A: It would be great if we could get that on a consistent night and for him to get some threes because he had some. But I'd like to see him get close to a double-double because he is a great rebounder. He has a big body and is extremely strong. He did some good things tonight. Overall, we have to do abetter job of taking care of the basketball. I think we tried to do a little show time tonight. We did not disrespect Saint Francis at all. We were prepared for them. We knew that they were going to make shots. It's just what it is. I was on that level once and you know what the mentality is like going into it. Three for 24 is bad but seventeen turnovers is atrocious. That's as bad as it gets. We have to do a much better job at taking care of the basketball because in the Big Ten if you turn over that's a duct and now you're down 20, especially on the road. We have to clean that up. This is Nov. 9.
Q: Coach you talked about (Ross) Travis earlier, but can you talk about how important those second chances were tonight?
A: They were huge because when you're not shooting the ball well and you're not making the threes to get another opportunity because they ran the clock down, we had to defend thirty to fifteen, lower than that on almost every possession because they weren't taking too many quick shots. They were trying to wear us down, which was good because it shows our conditioning is there. But for him to get us extra possessions, extra chances, extra shots it was really big for our team.
Q: Coach at media day we talked about learning how to win close games. Saint Francis played it close and you guys had to make a couple plays, can you talk a little bit about that?
A: Again the fact that we won tonight even with 3-of-24 and 17 turnovers says a lot about where we're headed. Last year we would have probably lost this game. This year we have a different mentality that we're never out of games. We keep a great attitude, keep grinding, and keep making plays whether that be a defensive play or an offensive play. They took the lead; they went up and came right back down with a couple good possessions and got to the free throw line. Tim (Frazier) shot 17-for-18, which is phenomenal. I was proud of the way that we didn't fold. This is a different Penn State team. It really is. We're not going to fold. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep grinding. We're going to keep playing. Good things are going to happen if we keep that mentality because we prepare for the worst case scenarios, like tonight with17 turnovers, 3-for-24.
Q: When St. Francis took the lead early in the second half it looked like a switch went off with Tim Frazier and he felt like he needed to do something. Is that automatic, or do you have to get in his face?
A: He has a little of that. That's a good question. He has a little of that, but I still have to - I don't yell at him like I did last year. I might put my arm around him and say, "Look this is what we need, and this is where you have to contribute." I think we just need to make simple solid plays. But that spurt by Tim was a one-man spurt, which was great. I don't want to rely on that every night. We can't rely on that every night. We need the five guys on the floor to play together and play hard, share the basketball and make plays so we don't have to rely on Tim Frazier like that. Because again just like last year, that's a lot of weight on one man's shoulders, and he's only 22 years old. He's a young adult, I use that term, "man" loosely. He is on his way though.
Q: Is D.J. comfortable on the block and can you expect to get points from him on the block against a smaller guard?
A: I think we can. We ran a little split action and I just felt like they were switching and Tim's man was much smaller. We got the switch that we wanted and he posted up and did a good job. I told him in the huddle, "Make sure you H-up, make sure you don't put your arm down or they'll call a foul." I thought it was a good solid move, but the ref made a call and what are you going to do? I'd like to post him up because I think he can get us to the foul line or get us an and-one. Again we're not making threes so we've got to mix it up and do some different things.
Q: What did you think about D.J.'s performance tonight?
A: The rust is slowly coming off. He got winded out there a few times, but for the most part I think he did a pretty good job. It's got to get better though. He needs to be able to defend his position a little bit better. I'd like to see him shoot a little bit more, I'm talking about practice, shoot his threes a little bit more, but for the most part he was pretty good.
Q: Did you like what you saw from Brandon Taylor?
A: Yeah, again they played so small they were almost playing with five guards out there, four guards. I couldn't find good minutes for our bigs because they were shooting the ball so well. So I adjusted. We had to make adjustments. He's got courage, he's not afraid. That's why I like to put him out there, and I need to get him more minutes because he has that confidence we need.
Q: What do you need better from your big men?
A: It was difficult for them, the speed of the game. When you play mid-majors they're a lot faster, they play more guards. Jon Graham got in foul trouble; he had three fouls right away early in the second half, so that's why he came out. Then you adjust and play a little bit smaller and it's starting to work and that's the only reason for that. Jon plays so hard. We need to get him the ball more. We'll get more production from him, I'm very confident in him and Sasa (Borovnjak). They'll get there. Again this is one of those games that maybe doesn't fit their style because they're smaller.
Saint Francis Head Coach Rob Krimmel Quotes
We knew coming into the game, in a place like this, that our margin for error was not going to be very big. We had to execute for 40 minutes, and give Penn State credit. There was a stretch there in the second half where they took us out of some things that we were trying to run. The flip side of that is that they executed. Looking at the stats, I think we went about seven minutes and only scored two points. When you do that in an environment like this, against a team that is more talented, you can't make those mistakes. We knew that they were going to be more physical than we were. I think the rebounding numbers indicated that. I thought our guys battled for 40 minutes. I think the difference for us tonight was that we didn't execute in stretches. That's something that we need to get better at. We were playing some young guys and giving them an opportunity to get their feet wet, but we can't make some of these mistakes in any environment, but especially in a place like this where you're playing against a team that's more talented, physical and athletic.
Q: You guys shot well in the first half, what happened in the second half? Was it the Penn State defense?
A: I thought we got a couple open looks early in the game that we didn't make. Then in the second half when they started to make their run they were switching a little bit. That was something that was differentfrom the first 20 minutes and the first part of the second half. I thought we got good looks. One of our strengths is in transition, but in that stretch you can look at the free throw numbers. When you're shooting free throws, and they shot them at a high percentage, it's hard for us to transition and get shots and guys in long closeout situations where your shoulders are square and you're stepping into an uncontested jump shot. It's hard to do that when you're running back off of made free throws. We need to stop the stretches where we went dry for a little bit. Penn State's defense gave us some problems, but then not being able to get out and transition really hurt us.
Q: Can you talk about what Ollie Jackson and what your other guards did tonight?
A: I thought Ollie did a great job. He's been consistent all preseason for us, and is a kid that we're going to rely on heavily this year to score the ball. He's made a commitment on the defensive side of the basketball. He had a few lapses tonight, but I thought he played well for 30 minutes. His size and ability to shoot the ball is something that we're going to have to rely on going forward. Some of our sets that we run, he's really good off the ball. We have to do a better job finding a way to get him a few more good shots and good looks. We were trying to the second half, but some of the things Penn State did defensively gave our guards some fits.
Q: What was theapproach to trying to defend Frazier and Newbill?
A: We knew one guy couldn't stop them. Tim (Frazier) proved that he's one of the best guards in the country tonight. He was only 3-of-9 from the field, but had the smarts to get to the free throw line 18 times and make 17 of them. I thought he did a great job all night controlling the tempo of the game. Even when we made a little bit of a run, he doesn't get rattled. We knew that Newbill was going to be a challenge for us especially because of his size on the wing, and his ability to drive the ball. Those are two really good guards, and two of the better players we'll see all year. We knew it couldn't be a one-man show and we tried to provide help for whoever was guarding those guys. A few times on some of the ball screens we probably got too aggressive and put Tim on the free throw line, where obviously with 17-of-18 he's pretty good.
Q: Can you talk about Ross Travis' five offensive rebounds?
A: He did exactly what we told our guys he was going to do. He was going to play with energy, get them multiple possessions. I thought he had a couple of big shots just as we were about maybe to make a run he madesome key plays, especially in the second half. He plays with a lot of energy, he's a great kid. Five offensive rebounds is a tremendous number. He kept the ball alive and gave them five extra possessions. He's a good player.
Q: Can you talk about the emotions in your first game as head coach and doing it here in your hometown?
A: It was a lot of fun. I grew up in this town cheering for the Nittany Lions. It's a special place for my family. Both of my parents worked here. I had a brother that played on the Sweet 16 team. It was a special opportunity. I was happy the game started. When the clock hit zero and they put 20 minutes up for the first time, I think all the emotion settled down and it was time to play.