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Nov. 13, 2010
PENN STATE Coach DeChellis
Q: What did you say to the guys at half time?
A: We just weren't playing with any purpose. The first half guys that were seniors weren't really giving us much of anything. We have to have those guys play and do some things for us. They responded at half time and came out and played completely different. It was a tale of two different halves. The second half is where I think we can play and hopefully they've learned something. They have to come out and be aggressive.
Q: What did you think of Battle's leadership in the second half?
A: We weren't playing very well. He's been in a lot of tough games and close games and he wanted to take the thing by the horn and he did. The other two kids played better, Brooks and Jackson, played better. I thought Andrew Jones was tremendous on the glass all night. I thought he did a good job. I thought Battle did a good job with trying to get guys going. He made a big shot or two. When he plays with energy, he's pretty good.
Q: What kind of impact did D.J. make in the second half?
A: He was tremendous. He came out of the locker room and we challenged him at half time. We said you guys have to play the way you can play. We need to take some shots and be aggressive. We have to quit standing around and put the ball in the paint and drive it and pick and play. To their credit, they did what we asked them to.
Q: What happened when Talor went down with that injury?
A: He just tweaked his ankle he's fine.
Q: Can you talk about the freshmen, Tre and Taran?
A: I thought Tre didn't get enough minutes. It was such a tight game, we couldn't affored mistakes. He only got five minutes or so. I thought Taran was okay. He banked one in. I thought defensively, he's getting better and he's getting more solid. He's not taking as many chances and that's something that young players always revert back to. At this level, you can't take a chance. I think he was much more solid tonight with the basketball. Taran didn't turn it over one time and that's something we have been monitoring pretty close at practice. I thought it was a good night for him.
Q: What is it like to have three other players in double figures besides Talor?
A: We're going to need three guys in double figures to be successful. I thought Billy Oliver had a nice game off the bench for us. We had four guys in double figures. I thought Billy really came off and made some shots and had a couple of defensive plays. That was nice to see because this is really his first action. He's been out for two years with the concussions and I thought he was tremendous off the bench.
Q: How big was Talor's three at the buzzer?
A: It gave us a little bit of juice. It's kind of weird because I said we're playing like we did last week against Northwestern. Couldn't get anything going and all the sudden make a big play at the end of the half and we come out second half and we play well. Sometimes it takes one play to ignite you and get you going. He made a big shot for us.
Q: Can you talk about Jeff's five blocks?
A: He was very active the second half and that's the way he can play. But it should be, as a senior, he shouldn't have to come in there to me at halftime being vocal and getting in him. He has it in him and he can do that. That's what I said to him and all the guys at the end of the game. I told the them I can't come in here every game; I'll be on life support if I have to do this every game. I can't come in here and rip you every halftime. It's the first game. You have to bring it and you're older guys and it's on you. Unfortunately you're seniors and you've played and you have to respond. They did respond.
Q: Were you surprised by the lack of intensity in the first half?
A: It's just jitters. It's not wanting to make a mistake, it's not wanting to turn the ball over. You play, you're seniors, but you still have that first night out. Hopefully we have that behind us because we have to play better next Tuesday.
Q: What did you think about the Battle and the team defensively?
A: I thought Battle did a good job. I think team defense wise we did a nice job. C.J. McCollum got in early foul trouble. That kind of got him a little sideways. Then we came back. He's a smooth player. He's really good. We watched a lot of tape. I thought Battle did a good job. He takes it to the left all the time. Even when he shoots he brings it to the left and back. C.J. did a good job of scouting the thing and we didn't give him a lot of space to get threes. So I thought our team had a good night defensively.
Q: On a confidence level, how big is it to get a win on the first game at home?
A: You need to have all your homes games. You need to win them all at home. We've got a couple coming up and if we want to do something in March, you need to make sure you take care of business. I thought we made a good step tonight. It was positive. I told them they were down six at the half, let's come out and see what we've got. Let's try to get a basket early and get things going again and see if we can build on it. We were able to do that so that's a positive sign. I thought that was really good for us. If we had come out in the first five minutes and still were skating around and not do anything, I would have been concerned, but we didn't. We came out, threw a punch and got right back into it. So, all positive stuff.
Q: What did coach say to you at halftime?
Jeff: Coach always at halftime comes in and either writes something on the board or tells something we can work on for the second half or tells an interesting stat about rebounds or something, but today he just came in and said a couple words and he talked about me and D.J. He said we aren't playing aggressive enough on offense. He said we were just out there doing a good job on defense rebounding, but offensively we weren't anywhere to be found. That was the thing that just kicked me and D.J. into overdrive. We just felt like in the second half we just have to take over. We have to start scoring a couple buckets here and there. We had to continue getting rebounds and playing defense as well. D.J.: Basically he came out and challenged us because he knew we weren't playing up to our potential. Jeff is very talked and I can do some things and in the first half we were pretty much nonexistent. He really challenged us in the second half to do something and I think Jeff responded well and I responded pretty well. It can't be one of those things where we go through a whole half and hide. It needs to be like that from the beginning.
Q: Do you seniors still get opening night jitters?
Jeff: I'm not going to life, I do. I was nervous Sunday when we played East Stroudsburg. I think it just comes with the game. It was out last opening night here at the BJC, so I was a little nervous. But, throughout the course of the game, it got a little better.
Q: There were a lot of guys out there that you never played an actual game with, how do you think everything flowed together with the new members that have only had limited court time up until tonight?
D.J.: It was a little bit different. You have a lot of guys making their first appearances. We have our freshmen, Jermaine, Cam, getting some more playing time. I think they responded very well. They were pretty calm out there. It's a little different. You're throwing in a different dynamic. It's just all of us getting used to how guys are going to do certain things in the game. That's going to take a little bit of time, but as vets we have to set the tone. As we go, they're going to go.
Q: How do you think Taran did tonight?
D.J.: Taran is a very talented kid. He can play and he can score. He's really showed us he can defend and find people as well. He's a guy who has a lot of confidence and you can really see that in his game. He's going to be special. He still has some things to learn, but once he puts it al together, he's going to be really good for us and he's going to help us out.
Q: Do the blocked shots give you confidence?
Jeff: That was something that actually came into my college career, being able to attack shots. Coach D came up to me and said some stuff in practice the other day, saying that was something I can do, coming weak side and blocking shots. Tonight, that was something I felt I needed to do, especially in the second half. I felt like I wasn't attacking any shots, so as soon as I caught my first one, I just got a little more confidence and the second, third, fourth, fifth, there it was.
Q: D.J., how much do blocked shots give you guys energy and confidence?
D.J.: It gives us a lot of energy and confidence. More importantly, it's taking away shots from the other team. That's five extra shots at the basket the other team couldn't get because Jeff is weak side coming in and blocking. It really helps our defense because if you can stay in front of your guy towards the baseline, you know Jeff is going to come from somewhere and block it. It's really going to help us become a better defensive team as long as we have a presence on the weak side and were able to block shots.
Q: Can you talk about Billy Oliver coming off the bench tonight, he did pretty good out there?
Jeff: Bill has been stepping up. He's been doing the same thing in practice, too. We all felt like Billy was going to come out and have a great season this year. He's had those two years where injuries and the migraines and the headaches didn't let him play. Now all that's away and I think Billy's very confident. He's just ready to step up and he stepped up tonight. Ten points off the bench is very exciting for us because now me and D.J. know if we get tired or if we get or something like that, Billy can step right in and fill in the spot and just play his game.
Q: How significant is it getting the first win of the season, especially at home?
D.J.: It's definitely big. We had a very good student turnout today and they just build the excitement. It's big to get wins in our building. That was one of our goals, to really protect our home court. I think we have about 18 home games and if we can really win a majority of those or even all of them, it's really going to put us in a good position to get in the NCAA tournament. We really feel that we have a lot of games at home and we need to take advantage of it and get wins and really feed off of the crowd's energy.
Q: Is that an ultimate goal, to get in the NCAA tournament?
D.J.: That's definitely the goal. That's been a goal since the season ended last year. Me, Jeff, Steve, Drew and Talor, with this being our last year and not having played in the NCAA tournament, it's really driving us. We go out there everyday and that's our goal, to get to the NCAA tournament. That's really what's driving us as a team and that's our ultimate goal.
Q: You have another game on Tuesday, how important is it to carry over the momentum from tonight?
Jeff: It's big. I think some days what we have to do to mature as a team, is enjoy your win for a little bit, the next three-four hours. Tomorrow we come in, we focus on the next team. I forget what coach says, but he says after a win, it's the 24-hour rule. You get the win, you celebrate, and then the next day that win is over. You can't play back. You have to go get the next one. I think if we can mature as a team and do the things like that, that will just make us so much better going into the non-conference play and the Big Ten play as well.
Q: D.J., personally are you going to try to come out stronger in the first half?
D.J.: Definitely. There is no excuse for the way I played in the first half. I apologized to my team already and I'm going to do my best to not let that happen again. I'm going to come out with energy from the start. As far as being a senior and a captain, I need to set the tone and bring energy and that won't happen again.
Lehigh Head Coach Brett Reed
I believe this game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, our Lehigh team played with a great deal of intensity, focus, and determination. We pulled together and we attempted to slow down a pretty explosive Penn State team for us by really trying to stay focused with our defensive game plan, be active. We got hurt on the glass in the first half, but they were not able to convert quite as nearly as in the second half where that really contributed to them really solidifying their offense. I feel that in the second half our focus was a little bit off in the interior they had some immediate post-up opportunities. Also, on the glass and obviously credit [Talor] Battle for being such a tremendous player and finding opportunities especially to extend the game during a critical time in the second half.
Q: How much of an impact did D.J. [David] Jackson make for Penn State in the second half?
A: I thought [David] Jackson did a really nice job. He was consistently on the glass. If I were to look at the difference between the first half as far as his point total and his contributions in the second half, he was finding open opportunities in the defense. He was effective from the post, the high post area and also, just seemed to turn it on a little bit. I think he had two second half offensive rebounds. I believe he converted on both of those. He was able to attack us and almost play from behind our zone defense and create some easy opportunities for the Penn State team.
Q: Penn State had four players scoring in double figures. How tough is it to key in on Talor [Battle] while having other players to worry about out there?
A: Well, they made it really difficult for us because unfortunately during that stretch in the second half our wheels fell off a little bit on defense and we lost our focus. To allow them to shoot really 60 percent and score 49 points in the second half is not necessarily what we need to accomplish on our defensive end. Obviously, credit Penn State for finding the right type of opportunities. They utilize their size and are able to take advantage of that. They utilize perimeter shooting as well and were able to knock down some shots, but I also thought penetration was a bit of a key in the game as well to ultimately open up things and create. I believe [Tim] Frazier had six assists. He was getting into the middle of the paint which sucked in the defensive and created some easy kick out opportunities for jump shots and ultimately just set the tone a little bit against our defense.
Q: Were you surprised by the lack of intensity or urgency the Lions came out with in the first half as opposed to the second half?
A: Not necessarily. Both teams were trying to feel their way out a little bit. It is the first game of the year. They are a team that has some senior leadership. They are trying to kind of find their way. I will credit our intensity and our defense in trying to be in the right spots. They had some decent looks, but for the most part they were pretty well contested. We had to scrap and battle and get on the glass as much as we could to get some loose balls.
Q: Talk about what Anthony [D'Orazio] gave you in the first half with his outside shooting.
A: I thought that was a big spark for us without a doubt. When C.J. [McCollum] picked up his second foul, you know putting an unproven players as a freshman in at that moment it really can go two ways; perhaps not being ready for the moment but Anthony [D'Orazio] really stepped up. He was able to get into a groove. He found some easy shots really and then from there kind of fed the fire a little bit. I was pleased with his contributions. He brought energy in terms of scoring for us in that first half. We had other players who brought energy coming off the bench and playing hard and taking charges and diving on the floor, which complemented that extremely well.
Q: Aside from some foul shooting, do you have any idea why C.J. [McCollum] was not able to get himself into a groove?
A: Well, I credit Penn State for their defense and their focus on him. That is going to be a little bit of a common theme. I think a lot of our opponents make sure that they game plan for C.J. [McCollum] and try to limit his opportunities. He is in a new lineup from where we were last year, where we won the championship with a lot of new faces. In fact, going into that, you can see just how many new faces there are in the starting lineup. So that is a feeling out process and for a scorer, he knows where some of his looks are going to get, but he needs to rely on his teammates and they need to rely on him in order for him to get his opportunities through screening, through cutting and through everything we try to accomplish. Sometimes we got bogged down, especially when things got rough and almost looked to him a little too much to do it independently.