Postgame Quotes: Penn State 79, La Salle 72

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Nov. 19, 2013

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Penn State 79, La Salle 72
November 19, 2013
Bryce Jordan Center
Attendance: 4,240

Patrick Chambers, Penn State head coach
Q: Coach during the off season you talked about Donovan (Jack) being a stretch five, can you talk about how he displayed that tonight?

A: Nobody is happier for Donovan than his teammates are and our staff. He really sacrificed his summer. He was here both summer sessions and really worked on developing his body and his skill set and that's what he's got to do. He is a really good shooter and a very good passer, as you saw, and he's given off some twenty thirty pounds in some situations. I also think for us offensively now you have to deal with him being able to stretch it and pull a five man out of the paint because you really have to worry about Tim (Frazier) and DJ (Newbill). I thought La Salle did a really good job of building a wall doing some good things against us. Dr. G (John Giannini) is a great coach and some of the things they did against us we really had to dig deep there and Donovan really stepped up tonight and it was one day after his birthday, so I'm happy for him.

Q: John (Giannini) said, as well as he coached, that your outside shooting from the big guys forced them to go small. Then subsequently you guys were able to rebound better. How crucial was forcing them to go small?

A: No he makes a really good point. We said that in the timeout when they had five guards in. We figured they were worried and were going to switch everything. That's why we kind of spread them out and went away from ball screens. Because Donovan and Brandon Taylor, they can make shots and basically they were forcing us to put it inside and we actually did that a couple times, which was great because we do work on it. But those guys, they have earned the right to make shots. They have sacrificed their summers and nights during the seasons here to come in and get extra shots and that's why I think you see the ball going through the basket.

Q: Pat, it was a seesaw battle and you guys are able to win this game. From a confidence standpoint, what does it do for you guys as you continue the rest of the year?

A: I think, and I have said this from the beginning, we have a good team. And we have to continue to get better. It is obviously nice to win at home. La Salle's a great team, but it's one game and we have to keep it going now. We have a day off tomorrow, but we have to come back Thursday better. We have to talk to the guys about how to handle some successes, which will be a great conversation to have. Our mindsets are that we have to get better every single day, and that's what our focus is on.

Q: Coach from a defensive point of view, earlier in the game they were doing some high ball screens finding the big man on the low block wide open, what did you guys do to adjust?
A: They do a great job of throwing quick one handed bounce passes between the blitz to a man rolling hard, so we just went under the ball screen and stayed home. It was better, but it wasn't great. I mean their bigs are really good, Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack, really good. Strong, physical, big bodies. They block shots, rebound, do all the dirty work in there, I mean they're really talented and I thought just going under there, that minor adjustment helped us out. Now they did hit a couple threes there. Tyreek Duren hit a couple threes in the second half there because we were going under, but you have to pick your poison and really adjust in timeouts.

Q: In that 17 to 4 run you had late in the second half, what was clicking for you guys both offensively and defensively?

A: Chemistry. Those guys like to play with each other. We had our starters back in there and they played hard every single possession. As you can see from our assists we really shared the basketball and sometimes they were on the floor scrambling and I think that was the difference. On defense we all did our job. We got in the gaps, we built a wall, we gang rebounded, which was great to see. I think they had, I want to say ten rebounds at a certain point and we only gave up two in the last six or seven minutes, which was great because those bigs are dominant on the glass.

Q: Coach did you have a sense this would be a game of runs? And be able to punch back and how did you go about getting these guys back in the fight?

A: No question. You watch that tape from last year, I actually watched it, I had to I didn't want to, and then watching their games this year they go on spurts and runs. I told our guys before the game that they would go on a run and we would go on a run, don't worry about it, just keep playing Penn State basketball, we're going to be fine. I felt like they believed it and they had faith in it. In the timeouts it was all about attitude and to keep playing hard and to win this possession, great stuff. It wasn't coming from me it was coming from them. That's when you know your chemistry is getting where you want it to be.

Q: Pat in the second half they went into a zone defense, initially when they did you guys struggled a little bit. What does it say about your team that they were able to make those in-game adjustments?

A: We always prepare for missing shots. We are obviously scoring the ball the last couple games. We took too many threes when they went to their 2-3 zone. And then we started driving it and getting it into the paint a little bit more. The one or two threes we took were more in rhythm threes, rather than a stand still three. Great adjustment by him, like I said great coach. I felt like hey this is going to happen, you know you're going to go in a rut, you're not going to score a hundred points, just keep getting stops, keep sharing the basketball, do the little things. We had to do some things in the paint, get ourselves to the foul line, break this little drought and I think that's what we're doing a better job of this year than in years past.

Q: With this game in the rearview, looking ahead at this two game stretch, what kind of challenges will Longwood give you?

A: I'll be honest with you I'm thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home tonight. I'm going to watch film on our camera, then I'm going to watch film on ESPN's camera. I'm going to get up tomorrow and go over recruiting and then I'm going to think about Longwood on Thursday. But for right now we're going to enjoy this one.

Q: How important is to win? You win a game on the road, then you come home and play a team where neither team is obviously better than the other one, so how is it important to win this kind of toss up game when you are trying to build momentum going into the nonconference play and then into Big 10 play?

A: Obviously it's important for our confidence, our approach and for these guys to believe we are a good team. We have to continue to get better. To beat a team like La Salle should help these guys and their approach and their mindsets coming in on Thursday. One day at a time.

Tim Frazier, graduate guard

Q: Tim, when Donovan is shooting like that what kind of options does it give you that you haven't always had?
A: It's great, he had a tremendous game. People don't know that it was his birthday yesterday so its kind of like a birthday present in itself for him, but he was shooting the lights out today and that gives us a lot of options because not a lot of fives across the country can step out and make threes and also post up down low. He's a great option to have when he's knocking down threes and I feel like we have a great team and hard team to beat.

Q: Tim, to kind of go off of that, you've been a distributor for a long time, but to get 11 assists that means guys are making their shots. How much easier does that make it for you because you weren't in double digits until the last couple minutes?
A: Oh, it's easy. To be able to stand there and, you know our offense is made for a lot of pick and rolls and getting guys open. For these two to be able to knock down threes, it clears up a lot of space especially for myself, and it just makes us harder to guard. It's harder for teams to guard us because not only do they have to stop the ball, but they also have to worry about these guys popping and rolling for threes. So, it makes the game easier and it just keeps us going on a roll.

Q: This was like an up and down game, a seesaw battle, but you guys finally took control at the end. Can you talk about that and what that gave you guys offensively and your confidence on offense?
A: We just kept battling, our staple was attitude, if you could sit in on the huddles guys were talking about attitude. We have to defend and rebound, and eventually we ended up doing that. We eliminated their offensive rebounds, we started grabbing rebounds, get out in the break and push it, guys started knocking down shots, we made big plays, big stops, guys diving on the floor. I think at one point we had all five guys on the ground. That is the thing Coach Chambers has instilled in us to be a great team and have a great attitude, and I think that's just what we played throughout the whole game. Saying just have a great attitude, keep a great attitude no matter what was going on for us.

Q: Tim, what does it say about this group when you have all five starters in double figures?
A: Oh, it was a great job. We shared the ball, and our attitude sheets will have a lot guys in attitude club. Something that is our staple and is what we believe in, and its not all about points, it was the all-around rebound game, distributing the ball. I think there were a lot of assists in this game as well, and it was just a great overall team game. Our staple today was to keep the guards out of the paint and get five guys against the ball, and I think we did that in enough spurts in order to get the win.

Donovon Jack, sophomore forward
Q: Donovon, you had a career high in points by the end of the first half. Did you feel your confidence growing as the game went on?
A: I just wanted to play a great game. Coach always says play with great confidence, and I got open looks, so my job was to just shoot it and knock it down. I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates.

Brandon Taylor, sophomore forward
Q: Brandon, you probably had your best all around game since you've come here. It seems like you only had two fouls the entire game while you were able to get four blocks and a lot of boards. How important is it for you to be able to stay out of foul trouble, and has anything changed since the last game?
A: Yeah, I'm definitely trying to keep my hands off guys, and I'm a lot more effective when I'm not sitting on the bench next to the coaches, so I just try to stay out of foul trouble so I can stay on the court and help my teammates.

John Giannini, La Salle head coach

Opening Statement:
I don't think there was anything mysterious about the second half, I think they defended better, shot better and passed the ball better in the second half. They're a veteran team, we are too and that's why we're disappointed in how we played. I think we're going to be fine, we do have to get a little bit better but we have good players, good attitudes. We've lost before and found our stride and that's what we have to do again.

Q: Coach, can you talk about Ty (Garland), he kind of had a rough start to the year shooting the ball. Has it been shot selection for him? Has it just been that they're not falling? What's it been?
A: The last thing I'm worried about with Tyrone Garland is his offense. That's the last thing I'm worried about and I think he needs to get better defensively. Were not winning the way we want to because of our defense not our offense.

Q: Does Khalid (Lewis) picking up those fouls early mean anything?
A: It's a team thing. It really is. I hate to sound how coaches speak but we just have to get better defensively and every single person on our team has to do that. I mean Tyrone's going to take shots, he's always had. He's going to miss some shots; he's going to make some shots but our defense is what needs to get better. Offensively, we did have some bad possessions that hurt our defense because that allowed them to get out on the break and that's something we have to look at.

Q: What specifically do you think went wrong when Penn State had that 17-4 run in the second half?
A: Like I said, I think it was everything. I think we struggled to score, we struggled to stop them. I don't think it was any one thing. I think they really outplayed us in that stretch. I wish I could pin it on one thing, we didn't get stops, we didn't score and I just think they deserve credit for that. We have to look at the tape and figure out how to get better.

Q: Their big guy, Donovon Jack, showed that much from the arc, how much more difficult are they offensively when he's on the floor?
A: Anytime you add another three-point shooter to your team, it dramatically changes it especially when it's a big guy. He'll be open all year long. Big guys really struggle to cover the arc. Again, I don't know if he'll shoot 4-6 every night but he's clearly a good shooter. Their three point shooting was a huge part of the game, the fact that their big guys can shoot really forces us to play smaller late in the game and they hurt us on the glass. So they're a hard to matchup to because they have decent size but their big guys are more shooters than back to the basket guys. But that's very hard to defend.

Q: You have played them two years in a row now, how have you seen the program grow under Pat from when you played them last year to now? Where do you project them in the future?
A: I just think they lost Frazier last year. They lost a great player and everyone else is a year older and better. But you don't lose a player like that without feeling it. I think that's a dramatic loss and his stats today were fine and it wasn't one of his best games. Well, you look at eleven assists, one turnover. And when he's out there, they're very difficult to pressure. I think the program keeps getting better and they just had a bad break last year.



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