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Penn State Basketball
Vs. Coppin State
December 30, 2017
Patrick Chambers | Head Coach
After three days and that tough loss, I feel like our kids responded. They were not pleased, they were not happy, and I feel like that’s what you saw today. That team just gave Georgia Tech everything it could handle. That team gave UConn everything it could handle. So I think we played that much better. And we were ready to compete. We had some great leadership out there. That was exciting for me to see, especially going into Big Ten play. I think we got a lot out of this nonconference (schedule) – A couple of peaks, a couple of valleys. We found out a little bit about ourselves after a tough loss, handling adversity and obstacles. How is the team going to respond? How are individuals going to respond? And I feel like we got it done on the defensive end, and rebounded well. I was pleased with the effort today, for the most part. I think it was the first time we played 40 minutes, so that was good.
Q: Tony said, that over Christmas, he was able to clear his mind, not think about the loss to Rider, is that what you envisioned for these guys, to forget about it. Was that the message when you sent them off?
PC: Yeah, I had practice scheduled for the next day. As coaches, we can get angry, and let the emotions get the best of us. And thankfully, I came to my better senses and said I think we need time off, not another practice. So we had almost four days off, until the 26th, and they weren’t back until 8 o’clock that night. We practiced the 27th. This was a group that was really prepared to practice and really prepared to get after it and
Q: Morgan, I think was their lead scorer coming in, what did you see in the scout of him to help you shut him down?
PC: Yeah, I want to say I think he had, 30 against UConn, he’s been amazing, and he played well against Georgia Tech. They had 12 threes as a team, so we were concerned, especially after Binghamton and Rider, you know they got nine each, so teams that put up 30 per game, like the last three teams we played, that was a major concern for me. So [Lamar] Morgan, you know, it was nice to see us do a really good job on him. And No. 5 [Cedric Council] was five for six at Georgia Tech, so, and that might not be Mike’s best perimeter defense, and I thought we guarded them as a team really well.
Q: Looking ahead to the Big Ten, what do you take from this game and what do you take from just the nonconference overall, just about your team and how they handled everything?
PC: I thought we did a good job, nonconference-wise in handling the schedule. You know we competed, we got better, we beat some teams pretty good, which is sometimes not our M.O. I felt like we’re starting to gain some leadership. I feel like we have a group that is connected and really likes each other. I’ll go back to the climb, you know, we’re climbing, and it’s never straight up, it’s going to go to the side – the right, the left, it’s going to go down, but we kept climbing, and that’s what we’ve been doing. So for us to be at 11-4 right now, I like the spot we’re in. I like the position we’re in because we can get a heck of a lot better. We have three sophomores playing critical minutes, one coming off the bench, along with a freshman, who are both playing 30-plus minutes. They understand that they are going to get better and continue to compete and play harder.
Tony Carr | SO. | G
Q: Tony, at what point today were you feeling like you were feeling it and you feeling like you were dialed in?
TC: I would say during walkthrough; I felt like I just needed to have a different approach going into this game. I felt like my approach last game was poor and I made that a focal point going into this game to have better practices, have better walkthroughs, and I felt like I was having it going through walkthroughs.
Q: How did you spend your Christmas break? I know you guys kind of left off on a bad note. Was that like getting back to practice?
TC: Once I left the BJC after that game was over, I went home and spent time with my family and basketball was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to go home and spend some time with my family, just make some memories with them.
Q: When did you guys get back?
TC: We got back on the 26th.
Q: You guys were able to hold [Lamar] Morgan, who was their leading scorer over the last five games, you were able to hold him to one point tonight, just one free throw in the second half. What was the key to slowing him down and keeping him off the scoresheet?
TC: Coaches came with a great scout report on him. He is a great three-point shooter. We just wanted to have high hands on him. I think Coach [Chambers] made a smart decision by putting me on him so I could lock him down. You know, with good players like that you are just trying to make things tough for him, and I think that is what we did that tonight.
Q: This feels pretty good getting ready to go into the Big Ten again?
TC: It felt great. Just to get that bad taste out of our mouth and get a win and go on the road and hopefully get a big road win.
Q: What do you take away from this game in terms of preparation for the Big Ten season?
TC: When we are locked in and dialed in as a team, we can beat anybody in the country, but when we are not, we can lose to anybody in the country as we saw in the game before last. We have great players on this team, Shep [Garner], Josh [Reaves], Mike [Watkins], and when we all play together and play the right way we can do special things.
Q: At the start tonight, Mike wins the opening tip and I think he won it back to you, flip it to Lamar [Stevens] and he gets the dunk three seconds in. Is that the ideal start to any basketball game?
TC: That is the ideal start, and it is funny because Coach [Chambers] actually drew that play up. That was definitely what we were looking for, and that was one of the first times we got it like that, but I think that set the tone for the game.
Q: What are you doing for New Years?