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Patrick Chambers | Head Coach
Interesting game. I want to give Binghamton and Coach Dempsey a lot of credit. He’s got a good team. I feel like we’re very similar, you go in, you try to build something, and he’s building, he’s doing a great job. I told him that before and after the game. I enjoy watching his team on film. They do the little things well. They compete. They played really hard. His teams always play hard. But with Show leading them, they’re really going to play hard. That kid's a competitive young man. So I think they’re really going to do well in that league. I’m proud of our guys for the second half. We’re finding ways. This is such a difficult time for our kids, you've got Christmas, you want to go home, and no one is here. There are so many distractions on the outside with the holidays. I mean you saw upsets over the last few days. We just have to stay present. We have to stay dialed in. And get better tomorrow and Thursday and really compete against a very feisty team in Rider on Friday.
Q: How did you keep the momentum alive closing out the week?
PC: We have to stay present. We have to keep these guys here; we have to spend time with them because we can. Tomorrow, bring them back in, do some cold tubs, some lifting, and some stretching, some film work, and maybe shoot some free throws. We found a way to win tonight, but again, we have to smart about these next couple of days and keep these guys on task.
Q: Came out pretty hot though, did you see things?
PC: I think I understand this team pretty well, I have a good pulse of the team, and I thought our energy was good to start the game, but I knew we couldn’t sustain it. It just needed to be a little more disciplined. The energy - the pregame warm-up and things like that -- as coaches we’re a little bit nutty, we always look at that stuff, we always go out, we check out their body language, their energy, see where we are. I thought we’d come out strong, but I knew, because of the game the other night, we would hit some rough patches. And we were prepared for it. We put a lot of effort into this scout. We think Binghamton is a very good team.
Q: Shep gave you five threes, but I thought two, the last two that he had,
PC: Yes, because it can swing. Now it’s a ball game. Now there’s a little pressure. And that’s what seniors do. And I’m all over Shep [Garner]; I love him so much. Because he made big shots, but I want him to lead too. I’m looking for him to emerge and not let us miss a step here, to continue the process of getting better. Those are the shots we’ve seen him make in the past, and he’ll continue to make them for us. I want more. Coaches are greedy. I want more, and he’ll give it. He’s receptive, and he’ll respond.
Q: How do you handle these next few days, I’m sure this is when it gets really challenging, do you try to think outside of the box, do you do things differently, to you settle into a routine, what do you do?
PC: You know what we’re going to do, we’re going to have a Christmas party at my house tomorrow night. Reminding them, great job, good week, then get back to work on Thursday. Practice hard. Do our routine for Friday. And get prepared for a really good Rider team.
Q: How good is it to get back in
PC: We’re not where we need to be yet, and that’s why you play the nonconference. It was good to get the snapshot of the two Big Ten games in there. I think this team can get so much better - on both ends of the floor. When we share the ball, 17 assists, that’s fantastic. Defensively, I think we can get better, which is scary. We have to take care of the basketball. Penn State can’t hurt Penn State, and that’s the discipline I’m talking about. That’s where you have to be a little more disciplined. We don’t need the top 10 play; we just need simple and solid basketball. Because in the Big Ten, it’s going to be one possession game after these two nonconference games, it’s going to be one possession game, and we have to value the ball. So that’s where we are. There’s no doubt we’re playing good basketball, but we need to continue the process of getting better.
Q: Binghamton was hitting over 50% for threes for most of
PC: We knew J.C. [Show} was going to make shots, and I knew [Fard] Muhammad was going to make shots because he’s a great shooter. They’re going to get their two to three, but some of the other guys, they were on fire, and that’s why this win is a good win, because you’re playing a team, who’s on fire, who’s hitting shots, and sometimes that can deflate a team. I thought we withstood that and we did a nice job.
Josh Reaves | JR. | G
Q: Are you getting more comfortable from three-point range?
JR: Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable with my teammates. My teammates have just been harping on me to shoot the ball. During practice, Tony’s [Carr] been getting mad at me when I pass up an open three so, they’ve just been giving me the confidence to shoot the ball. They’ve been telling me to just keep working on it regardless of if it’s going in or not and it’s only going to get more consistent from there.
Q: How about the total team success from three tonight, shooting 59-percent?
JR: We were feeling good in warmups. I knew that my teammates were just feeling it so, trying to find them in transition, find them in the half-court sets, and try to get them open shots.
Q: Do you have to create your own energy without the student section over the break?
JR: Yeah, coach always says it starts with the first five players on the court, and we try to bring as much energy as we can. The bench helps us. Just having those personalities on the bench, so willing and so eager to do whatever they can to help. Just hearing how loud they are and how much they want to be a part of what we’re doing and them cheering and everything. All of that gives us a lot of energy and helps us out a lot.
Q: Where does that knack of always finding the open man come from?
JR: From me doing it. Coach has been getting on Lamar [Stevens] and Naz [Nazeer Bostick] and people like that to just cut to the basket and when I get into the paint, I try to stop and see and think where I would be cutting from. Most of the time, Lamar or Mike [Watkins], those are the people that have been open so, when we drive to the paint, we just jump stop and take our time and people cut, everything works out.
Q: How is it having that break in conference play after those first two Big Ten games?
JR: It was weird, definitely a new experience. My first two years, we just played nonconference and went straight into conference play so, it’s weird. We have to stay focused and keep playing every game like it’s a Big Ten game and if we do that, we’re going to keep finding success, and we’re going to keep playing as hard as we can, playing Penn State basketball and try to build the culture. We’ve got to keep going at that and coach keeps harping on that so, we’ve just got to set the standard.
Q: How do you keep the momentum alive now?
JR: It’s difficult knowing that break is coming up and people are trying to go home for the holidays and finals are over, and people are just so relieved of the stress and everything, so, I feel that it’s time to lock in more. I try to tell my teammates, I know that we’re off of school and we have a break, but basketball is not over. We still have games to play, practices to do, treatments to go to so, it’s definitely difficult, but as a team, all we want to do is play basketball. That, and academics is why we’re here so; we just got to keep going strong.
Tommy Dempsey | Binghamton Head Coach
I am proud of the way our kids played. I thought we came to fight tonight, and we felt that we had a lot on the line. We came in on a seven-game winning streak, and we had an opportunity to go after a Big Ten team, and we embraced it. I felt that we came after them; we showed up for the fight, and they wore us down, made some big shots late, and put us away.
Q: [Mike] Watkins' athleticism and length have given teams a lot of different problems. Is there anything you can do to try and slow that down? What is that game plan?
TD: You know, I thought when we attacked the paint we did a good job of playing off two feet, and not serving up blocks to Watkins. I know he probably had a few; I think he blocked two jump shots. I thought when we got to the rim, we were disciplined on how we attacked them, and again I thought they got out and got after us a bit, but we were able to spread them out and get quality shots. We shot a better percentage in the first half, but overall I thought we did our job. We needed to play a really good game tonight to beat them on their home floor, and I thought we played hard. I don't believe we were at our best, but we needed to be at our best tonight.
Q: You guys have played that zone all year. Was the idea to try to force them to beat you with three's?
TD: Well, we had to protect the paint. They are built, and they drive it relentlessly into the paint, and when they drive it you have to help, and they will lob it to [Mike] Watkins or drop it down, and you don't really have an answer for that, so we matched up in our zone. We tried to stay with Watkins along the baseline and not give him space to really be free, and he can jump, and they can throw it to the rim. If they see any space, they just throw it up, and that's a game changer. We play a lot of
Q: What did you say to the guys in the locker room? What can they take away from this tonight?
TD: I said that there are no moral victories. We came, and we fought, and we played against a good team. We played tight for pretty much the entire game, and they put us away in the last couple of minutes. I want us feeling like we can win these games because eventually, we're going to be able to. I also didn't want them to lose their confidence because we are on a good streak and we are playing good basketball. We played good basketball tonight. I just want them to quickly get refocused for our game at home on Friday against LIU. I think that's one we have to take care of. We already started talking about turning the page.