March 11, 2010
Georgetown - 91
Syracuse - 84
Q. Coach, you've lost to this team twice over this year. What in this game did you have in mind that you know that you were confident to take over and win this game today?
COACH John Thompson III: I don't know that there's any one particular thing, you know, against them. They had runs against us in the previous two games. I think we did a very good job today, with the exception of the last minute or two, of not turning the ball over. Normally we turn the ball over against them. They do a great job of creating your turnovers into easy baskets. And I thought our guys did a pretty good job, very good job, actually, of just trying to hunt and peck and make the right decisions against their zone.
There are no holes in it. You get no easy baskets. We just wanted basically to get the ball into the middle. Get the ball either to Greg or off penetration and then make decisions from there.
Q. Coach, could you speak specifically about the defensive job Syracuse did against Greg in limiting his shots, and then Greg's ability to be effective in other regards rebounding, assists?
COACH John Thompson III: They played a zone. And that's all that they do. And they're great at it. They're not just good at it, they're great at it. The last time we played them, Greg was extremely effective scoring once he got the ball our big comeback, we fell short at home but we basically threw it into him and he was able to score just about every time. It was clear that one of the judgments they made was they didn't want him to score. He was still able to catch it. Then they crowded him more, they put more bodies at him, they sent guys at him, and so it was hard for him to get shots.
We're fine because he did a good job of finding his teammates for open shots, open lay ups, open cuts. So I think that's what they did. They didn't want him to get shots like he did the last game. And everyone knows Greg is an unselfish player. Had a terrific game without getting a lot of shots. I'm not sure how many points he ended up with. 15, 10 and 7. That's pretty damn good.
Q. Greg, talk about the defensive effort. It was at a high level for you. Talk about especially with certain people being not able to move well.
Greg Monroe: Talking about our defense?
Q. Your individual defense.
Greg Monroe: It was trying to take away both their big men's strong hands. That was one thing we as a team thought we could do coming into the game. Just more or less about the scouting report; it wasn't anything special I was doing.
I just went with the information my coaches gave me and it was effective.
Q. Can you talk about that 1 3 1 offense where you were getting the ball down to the baseline. It was very effective.
COACH John Thompson III: Is that what it was?
Jason Clark: No.
COACH John Thompson III: We just wanted to as I said the last answer and the last question, they do a good job of knowing what you're going to do and taking it away and giving you even though the zone looks the same, they make adjustments that make it difficult to run anything consistently once they see you're having some success with something, they take the next thing away. I think our guys did a good job of being patient and trying to figure out, ok, can we get it to the short corner? Can we get it to the middle of the zone? Do we need to get it you have to get penetration against that zone. You can't just swing it around the perimeter. Our guys did a good job of varying between off the pass and off the dribble.
Q. Chris, Coach said one of the keys is penetrating the zone. Can you talk about where you were able to find those gaps today?
Jason Clark: Well, myself and Jason we just wanted to try to be aggressive on the zone and try to get to the force the issue and try to get to the middle of the paint, and we'd get wide open shots. As you see when we got the ball in the middle, Jason hit a couple of threes and Austin hit a couple of lay ups and Greg was very effective in the high post. It was just a matter of us trying to get the ball to the middle and trying to create off that.
Q. Chris, to beat the No. 1 seed, No. 2 team in the country, a team that's beaten you twice this year, what does it do for this team's confidence heading into next week and this week?
Jason Clark: Next week seems like a long way away. We have to worry about whoever we play tomorrow, whatever draw we get. It's definitely a confidence boost. I don't think this team lacks confidence. I just think we're ready to play. And fatigue is not going to be an issue. We're just going to be ready to play whoever we play tomorrow.
Q. How did your offense expand or whatever when Arinze Onuaku went out with about five minutes left? Were you able to do anything extra?
COACH John Thompson III: No, I don't think we changed anything. They're just as effective when Arinze is in there or not in there. I don't think we needed to tweak or adjust anything. At the other end you had to change when they did go with Jackson. They do different stuff at the offensive end when they go smaller. So I think that was the biggest thing where we had to pay attention and be aware of that, when they had one big in. They do totally different things when they have one of those guys in as opposed to both of them.
Q. Can you talk about Austin Freeman's game. He had four big foul shots at the end. How is he doing with his medical condition and playing?
COACH John Thompson III: Last week I'm forgetting the time frame. The last ten days or so they've been trying for Austin and his family. I said this yesterday. Physically he's at a point where as long as we're monitoring and he's monitoring his levels, he's fine. And I think we're fortunate because we have specialists with us sitting right on the bench behind the bench at every practice, every game. So you may have noticed even with the time outs, they are always monitoring him. As long as he keeps and we keep his levels fine, he will be able to perform. So we're glad to have him back.
We're glad to know what the issue is. And now it's a big adjustment. I said this yesterday, a lot of people talk about what Austin and his family are going through almost like it's a sprained ankle or something. "When is he going to be back?" Or "when is he going to play? How is he going to play?" This is something that's changed his life and will change his life. It's much bigger and much more important than how is Austin doing and how does he feel out on the court.
Q. Are you surprised at the level he's playing at considering that?
COACH John Thompson III: No.
Q. Coach, kind of like with Austin being back, your team seems to have a new pep in their step even though he might not be giving you the same things he did before the diabetes. But are they feeding off of his return?
COACH John Thompson III: To a certain extent. I guess we can say yes to that. In many regards I don't think that anyone ever felt that Austin was gone. And so I just think in general our team's health is at a much better place now than it was two weeks ago. And so that's it.
Q. Coach, despite the outcome today, do you expect Syracuse to be a dangerous team in the tournament?
COACH John Thompson III: A dangerous team? That's an understatement. That team is still one of the best, if not the best, team in the country in spite today's outcome.
Do I expect them to be a dangerous team in the tournament? Absolutely.
Q. For Jason: There had been games this season where you guys have not come out as aggressively as with so much intensity. But today you know you guys seemed to scrap and fight the whole game. Was there any different conversation leading into this? Can you account for the mind set at noon, the tempo you guys brought to the court?
Jason Clark: I don't think there was anything different. We knew the games that we didn't come out and play our best, we knew what happened. They weren't such good turnouts. So we knew that we had to come out yesterday and today, come out from the jump and be ready to play.
THE MODERATOR: Georgetown, thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Jim Boeheim, Scoop Jardine and Andy Rautins.
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: Yeah, I thought that Georgetown really played well tonight. The first game we controlled the game. The second game we controlled about 30 minutes. And then they started to get the ball into Monroe and they did that tonight from the beginning we had difficulty with it. We just couldn't get enough stops. And I think we made some bad turnovers throughout the course of the game. But I told the players I think Georgetown is capable of beating anybody any night. They've proven that this year. I thought they played extremely well. I thought we played well on offense. We just didn't get any stops defensively when we needed to. I thought we battled as hard as we could and it just wasn't our day.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Jim, what do you know at this point on Arinze?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: He has a strain. We don't know for sure if it's any more than that. We'll find out Monday. We'll try to find out tomorrow when we get home and get an MRI tomorrow.
Q. Jim, how does him being out of the lineup really change your team?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: Well, he's a key part of our team. I mean, he's had a great year. And he's a tremendous player. We hope that he'll be fine. We don't know.
Q. The turnovers, especially in the first half, was it sometimes from overpassing?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: No. Post people did not have good games. We had ten turnovers in the post. We haven't done that really all year. That was part of it, but it was more I think on the defensive end. We didn't get some stops that we needed to. But again, Georgetown attacks zones very well. Teams in our league at this stage of the year know how to attack us. We're looking forward to get out and play somebody that hasn't seen us.
Q. Jim, when Georgetown is trying to attack that zone, how important is Monroe and what he's able to do in the middle?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: He's the best inside passer in college basketball easily. And he can score in there. I thought overall we didn't do a bad job with him. I think Chris Wright had a big night. He really had a great game. I thought when he plays like that, that's when they beat people.
Q. For Andy and Scoop, Wes (Johnson) really had another great game. Something we haven't really seen from him since he got hurt. How much easier is it playing with a guy who is able to let you guys take some of that pressure off?
SCOOP JARDINE: It's an honor to play with a guy like Wes, and his capabilities that he brings to our team. But I think Wes was playing good for us all year even when he was hurt. So tonight he just showed what he can do offensively. He's been playing good defensively and offensively all year.
Q. Is it easier though to play when you guys don't have to take as many shots and you've got a guy who can go out and put up 25?
SCOOP JARDINE: Yeah, it's a lot easier. I think I have to do a better job of getting him the ball more when he's hot like that.
Q. Andy, can you talk about what you saw against you defensively between the first and second half?
ANDY RAUTINS: I mean they penetrated the gaps in the second half. They did a good job of finding Monroe. Like Coach said, he's one of the best inside passers in college basketball. So he's dangerous whenever he gets a lot of post touches. I don't think we did a good job of keeping them out. They did a good job of spreading us out in the second half, too.
Like I said, Georgetown is a great team. Just going to have to pick our heads up and move forward from here.
Q. For each of the players, and your opinions may be different, but do you prefer having games closer together in terms of number of days apart?
ANDY RAUTINS: I mean I don't think it matters to us. I think we're a focused team. We just want to focus on the next game. That's what our motto has been all season. Regardless of if we have games back to back or a week apart. If not, we have great practices in between. Our team is excellent at focusing and going hard in practice. And we're also good at playing back to back games. I don't think we have any preference. We just come to play.
SCOOP JARDINE: Same thing.
Q. For all three, please: Does this outcome do anything to diminish your optimism into the Tournament?
COACH JIM BOEHEIM: No, not at all.
SCOOP JARDINE: No.