Postgame Quotes

Feb. 8, 2014

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Head Coach John Thompson III

On his help defense and defense in general in this game...

"You know Markel had the responsibility to guard 24 most of the night, and that's a big responsibility because Duhman's so active and they make a concerted effort to make sure they set screens for him so on an individual basis, I thought he did a good job at chasing him. The way they play - it is a team effort - and so our bigs have to be ready to jump out and show, the passer has to be ready to step down and show and to buy him seconds, or whoever was on but it was Markel who was on most of the night, and then even in doing that, I think we just had a stretch in the first half where he hit two in a row, or maybe three in a row, and he's a good player he's going to score points, but I thought collectively we did a good job at trying to keep him [Dunham] in front of us and corral him."

On Markel's responsibility in the game...

"Yeah and I thought - I have to check with whoever does our stats - I thought he had more than seven assists to tell you the truth. But no he's been playing well all year, I think that Markel is playing at a very high level right now at both ends of the court. Most night's he's going to have to guard someone who can get buckets, who can score, and so just to have that responsibility to work at one end, to work at the other end, get everyone else involved, and just with our team right now he's going to be out there for most of the time. We are on the same page, and usually when he gets tired he lets me know, and today he said he was fine so he stayed out there."

On how having a deeper bench has helped with ball security...

"That might be part of it - (laughs) we just talked about having someone play forty minutes - I think the guys understand what we're looking for and we're not forcing anything. I think that we had seven turnovers, and I think five of them were in the first half, I think we only had two in the second half - I'm not positive on that - but we understand, this group we can't turn the ball over, we have to find a way to get to the foul line, we have to find a way - which we didn't do a great job of today we have to do a better job of, oh we did okay - of us hitting the boards to help manufacture possessions, to manufacture points. The guys realize that we can't be careless with the ball. "

On how encouraging it is to see the offense perform so well (especially in the second half)...

Well I've said this several times, this team - unlike some teams we've had in the past - is not a 3-point shooting team - we've got guys that can make three's but we rely more on getting the ball into the post to various people, we rely more on drives, and if we get three's, we get three's, but it's not like some teams we've had in the past where we need to hit 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 three's to be in the game. This team can score different ways so as long as we're getting penetration, as long as we're getting the ball into the paint, as long as we're getting to the foul line we don't need to make a bunch of three's. And like I said we can't - we can't."

On at what point it becomes mental after having so many close games on the road...

"I don't know and, so you're going back to last week you can't move on from that? It's hell, it's hell. You know nothing in life goes well when that is going on so does it become mental? I know just individually, and definitely with these two (Markel and Nate) and everyone in that locker room it's just a time, okay what can we change, what do we need to change, what can we do better, what do we have to do differently, just because you're trying to get out of that hole, and we're still climbing out of it. We're still climbing out of it, but the guys, through it all, I think we've worked really hard and the composition of our team changed. You know you lose Josh, regardless of the points that he gets or doesn't get, when he's on the court he commands so much attention that you set systems up to take advantage of that and when you lose that unexpectedly in the middle of the season you have to make adjustments. At the same time Jabril gets a broken jaw, and then Moses gets a one-game suspension, so we just have to fight our way out of it."

On how good of a feeling it was knowing that you (as a team) had to get to the foul line and then doing it successfully in the second half...

"Well we know we have to do that. We have to get fouled, we have to get to the line and in the last couple of games I think - I might be having revisionist history - but I think we've been putting them in. You know we've been putting the ball in the basket, we've been making our foul shots which is key."

On how playing Markel Starks in the corners contributes to having him play all 40 minutes...

"So the answer to that question is: Markel Starks doesn't get tired. He - in terms of his physical condition, in terms of taking care of his body, in terms of preseason, fall, summer, spring, working hard and preparing his body - he does that, and has done that, more so and in a more diligent manner than probably any player I've ever coached and so 40 minutes is probably easy, right? (- "Very", responds Starks). But now to your point, you know when you have D'vauntes out there, you have Jabril out there, even we can put situation when the ball's in Nate or Mikael's hand, we do have other people that can make plays for him, and make plays for other people. He does not have to have the ball in his hands at all times but with that being said I think coming down the stretch we all want to have the ball in his hands."

On whether there was anything he (JT3) said to motivate the change after having Butler on them 8-and-1 early on in the game...

"Yes, yes I mean they - and I think one thing that should be said - is that you look at that team and it's one thing, you know and I think these guys understand we have to make sure everyone in the locker room understands - that you can look at their record and they've had so many close games. That's a really good team, that's a well coached team. You know I think the late person would just look at the numbers, look at the records and just say ehhh but you know just getting everyone to understand that they fight, they scrap, you know you're going to have to play for forty minutes to come out with a win, which we did today. And a large part of that is how hard they play, they get second shots and so you know we've talked about it, we went over it in the scouting report then we came out and weren't as attentive as we used to be and then we got a timeout, we reminded them that that's something that is important, and we took care of it."

On what he thought about the production today from Aaron and Jabril coming off the bench...

"No it's no doubt those two were key. I mean Markel's lefty floater, the long shot he made, the pass to Nate - Jabril's post-up was key, it was at a key point, maybe the biggest basket of the game to tell you the truth, we needed that. Those two, that's their job, those two their responsibility is to come in, to give us a boost, to give us energy, to make the hustle plays, and they both did a very good job of it - they have been doing a very good job of it - but today was no exception that's what their job is."

On whether or not he plans on keeping Jabril coming in off the bench...

"We'll see."

Senior Guard Markel Starks

On sensing this game would be special for him...

Today's game was just a fun game. Obviously down the stretch we have to be smarter, I think we all understand that, but today's game was just a fun game. Right now, I'm just having fun playing the game. We dug ourselves in a hole, and as coached mentioned, we are fighting to get out of it.

On a couple-game winning streak for he and Nate...

First of all, outstanding game today Nate, seriously. For Nate and me as seniors, it's time to turn the corner. There's no tomorrow for he and I and all of the other seniors. We all have a sense of urgency as a program

On dish to Nate for the dunk later in the game and what that means with the crowd behind him...

It was a big momentum change. I know nine times out of ten that when I'm driving, Nate is going to be there. Not to take away from any of the other players, but we just made a play. I saw an opportunity to drive, he stepped up, dunked it, and the crowd went wild.

On first half hesitation move and pull up and how that made him feel...

I mean I've been doing that ever since I've been playing. "It still was nice though" (Coach).

On what changed between the rough start and the rhythm that they eventually got into...

Enough is enough and that was enough. We do have a game today, I mean it's the Gray Out. Coach kind of looked at me like `C'mon it's time to go'. Eventually, a light switch when off and we just got off-road.

Senior Forward Nate Lubick:

On winning streak and what it does for the team...

It's big, obviously the timing of it is the only timing it could be really. Three is great but we don't have any losses left in us; let's go on an eight-game winning streak.

On what the team took away from tough times in January in order to help them in the future...

It was terrible. Markel and I came together a bunch and were always trying to figure out how to get out of it, but that wasn't working. Once we got everyone on the same page, we were able to overcome it. Just stressing the importance of keeping our heads up, working hard, and being diligent with us winning.

On backcourt playing well and taking good care of the ball and how that makes playing more enjoyable and them harder to stop...

We are very hard to stop. That just puts more emphasis on the front court. Our guys are making plays for other people and scoring, and we have to get the rebounds. If we rebound, teams are not going to beat us.

Butler Head Coach Brandon Miller

Opening Statement...

Give a lot credit to Georgetown. I think they are a very good basketball team. They are playing well right. This is their third win in a row. They had a number of different guys step up, especially in the second half of the game and we weren't detailed enough to give us a better chance to win tonight.

At the start of the first half, we needed to play better. We made too many mistakes. And when you make as many mistakes as we made tonight against a good Georgetown, you are not going to come out on top.

Regarding the team's tendency of mistakes

When you have a small room for error and you make mistakes, you set yourself up to not have the result that you want. We went into halftime and said `Good news, bad news. Good news is that we're only down four, but that is also the bad news.' Because we didn't play very well in the first half. We needed to play better in the first half of the game.

I do give our guys a lot of credit, we were down 11. The game could have slipped away, got away from us. We stayed in it. We battled. We got it to within four on two different occasions. But when you give Georgetown that kind of a lead, you put the wrong guys on the free throw line, they are too good of foul shooters to end the game.

Regarding lack of scoring from the perimeter outside of Kellen Dunham...

We struggled to score the ball tonight in the first half, but I thought we were pretty good on the offensive end in the second. But we needed more guys to step up tonight. Obviously Kellen [Dunham] had it going, Andrew [Chrabascz] had it going in terms of scoring the basketball, but we needed more guys to step up on the offensive end.

Regarding Kellen Dunham facing so much pressure and focus...

There is no doubt that teams are game-planning to guard Kellen. He's our leading scorer. Every game he is facing the other team's best defender, every game he is facing the other team's defensive pressure. And he does a terrific job. He comes out and is double teamed, teams are hedging out on him and he finds ways to scores. We've run a lot of stuff through him. The reason other guys are scoring is because of him. So he has a great approach, but we need to find a way where other guys are better on the offensive end of the floor.

Regarding team's lack of second-half execution...

I think tonight, when we are down 11 down the stretch, we actually executed pretty well. Our percentages were better in the second half of the game. It was a four point game, six point game, we run a set and we just don't catch the ball and the ball just goes out of bounds. But we fought. We were actually good enough on the offensive end tonight down the stretch. Georgetown's second half percentage was 54% from the field. If the other team is going to shoot 54% from the field, you are in for a long night.

Regarding Georgetown's second half play...

They put the ball in the guards' hands. They came off of a number of different ball screens. They made shots. They attacked the paint. I think they stopped settling. In the first half of the game they had a number of different guys shoot some perimeter jump shots. In the second half, they got the ball to the paint and they made shots.

Regarding Markel Starks and Georgetown's backcourt...

I think that Georgetown has one of the best backcourts in the BIG EAST and [Starks] leads the way. He's a competitor. When you watch him you can tell he's a leader on their team vocally. He comes out and he competes every game. Sometimes he might shoot the ball better than others. But the amount of games you watch Georgetown on film, and how he takes over the game late in the game and how he makes big shots, you can tell he's a senior and he's a very good basketball player.

Regarding Butler's game plan on Starks and Smith-Rivera...

We tried to stay as tight as we could on them. We helped from their bigs. Our bigs were constantly looking to help. We tried to stay tight to their guards and tried to make it as hard as possible for them to get any type of a good look. I think we did a good job taking away the three. We forced them to drive the ball and we tried to help and make them pass it. Unfortunately, they make pickups, they made 17-foot jump shots and shot the ball well from the floor.

Junior Forward Andrew Chrabascz

Regarding two good scoring efforts this season against Georgetown...

It's just teammates finding me in the right places. They're very aggressive on defense and so it was great passes from [Alex] Barlow, all the guards and stuff like that. Just right place, right time type of deal. But of course we wish we could of pulled this one off.

What can Butler learn from all of these close games...

We are a pretty young team. We are still progressively learning. We are continuing to make mistakes, but less and less we are trying to do each game. Hopefully just keep on getting better each day.



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