March 31, 2007
COACH THOMPSON: I'm extremely proud of our group of guys. I'm extremely proud of the year that we had. We all are very disappointed at tonight's outcome. But, you know, we played against a very good team that played very well tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jeff, Roy or Jonathan, please.
Q. Looked like offensively you played probably about as well as you could against a really tough defender. Might have liked to play more in terms of foul trouble. Can you analyze how the game went for you against Greg in the post?
Roy Hibbert: I just had to make smarter decisions when I'm out there, whether it's -- I got in foul trouble a little early. I need to be an all-around better player when it comes to knowing when to foul and when not to foul, so...
Jonathan Wallace: That wasn't the case. We felt that we were able to get the shots that we wanted. We just took some tough breaks, you know, early on as far as calls and as far as making plays. But at times, yeah, we got a little careless with the ball. It's kind of uncharacteristic of us. We just had to fight through it. Kind of came up on the short end. Jeff Green: Well, John pretty much said it. You know, we got everything we wanted, but we didn't execute on the offensive end. You got to credit a lot to their defense. They played together. They made us turn the ball over. That's our mistakes.
Jeff Green: I mean, I wouldn't change anything. I mean, we played hard, you know. Just things wasn't going our way. I went four for five. You know, I didn't want to force anything, so I just took what they gave me. They played great help-side defense with the other guy helping on the weak side. It made it hard for my teammates to throw it down or try to find me. Like I say, you got to credit their defense. They played together. They had great weak-side defense. That made it tough on our teammates to try to throw the ball down to me. I didn't want to force anything. Wasn't expecting to get a lot of shots. Their defense, you know, played a major part in that.
Roy Hibbert: I don't really think so. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes. I just needed to make smarter decisions when I was out there. You know, there was a foul I got, you know, holding somebody. I just need to make better plays when I'm out there. I just need to play smarter.
Roy Hibbert: I mean, I have faith in my teammates. We've been in the situation before where, you know, I've been on the bench, I have to watch. I know -- I have faith they're going to pull through. We fought back. Ohio State played extremely good defense. They executed well on offense. They hit their free throws. I mean, it's frustrating a little bit, but I have total faith in my teammates. But we've done this all year where we had to fight back, so...
Jeff Green: Yeah, you have to. We had a great season, regular Big East champions, Big East champions of the tournament. To make it this far in this tournament, you know, it's hard to end it like this, but we had a great run. So, I mean, we can't hang our heads down. You know, we beat some of the top teams in the nation to make it to this point, but tonight wasn't our night. We lost to a great team in Ohio State. We can't hang our heads.
Jeff Green: Well, the blocking call, I thought I was there, but the ref made a decision that I wasn't. I'm not going to argue with that. The game's over. On the charging call, you know, he made a great call. I can't, you know, argue with that either. You know, it was just calls that the ref made. You know, I'm not going to sit here and wish they turned around. But I'm just going to live with it. You know, they made the calls. I'm just going to, you know, walk away and not say anything. THE MODERATOR: Jeff, Roy and Jonathan, thank you very much. We'll let you go. Questions for Coach Thompson, please.
COACH THOMPSON: As Jeff indicated, he probably articulated as well as I can. You know, their defense was very good in many ways. We had too many turnovers which didn't allow us to get shots at the basket, which didn't allow us to get into a rhythm. That just comes down to the defense that they played. I don't necessarily think it was so much offensive execution. We just, you know -- we turned the ball over at key times, you know, which is not indicative of how this team has played. So you have to give credit to them for causing that to happen.
COACH THOMPSON: Yeah, well, that -- the answer to that question is related to the question, the previous question. You know, he scored, and then I think we had - maybe I'm wrong - but I feel like we had two turnovers in a row which led to those transition baskets. That was key. Teams that play on Monday night in April find a way to make luck happen. You know, they made the plays when they needed them to be made.
COACH THOMPSON: That was an out-of-bounds play, correct? The way they were playing defense on out of bounds, they were trapping in the corner. So, you know, we popped one guy to the foul line, extended. I thought that if we dive, we were trying to have Roy just go right to the rim. I thought we had that. If not, Jeff just make a decision. What happened was when Roy went to the rim their whole defense sucked in with him, which opened up a little alley for Jeff, which we told him, Either Roy is going to be open or you should be open. Then, you know, he just stepped in. The kid -- I was blocked. I didn't see -- I didn't see the block charge. You know, the referee called a charge, so it was a charge.
COACH THOMPSON: Not really. I've said all year in many ways it's about us and how we go about things and what's best for our group. I know there might have been one point where I wanted to get him in because Greg was out. But for the most part there's no set pattern or rules to how I do things, it's just a feel and flow of things.
COACH THOMPSON: I said this yesterday or two days ago, I forget when it was. His poise is terrific. I mean, he just has an uncanny feel for the game and how to manage the game, how to manage his teammates. That's advanced for a freshman, for a sophomore. You don't need to put a year behind his name. He has a very good feel for the game. He was terrific in that regard and understanding when the opportunities were there for -- when his opportunities were there and then how to help his teammates. I mean, that's such a key part of their success this year, just his terrific poise.
COACH THOMPSON: It was just one of those things. It's not like during the course of the game I'm looking at the stat sheet saying, We don't have any bench points. As I said leading up to this, we have played many, many games where Roy has played - how many minutes did he play?
COACH THOMPSON: 24 or less minutes. They have played many, many games where either Greg didn't play or Greg was in foul trouble. I think the buildup between those two going head-to-head is natural. It's understandable because they are, you know, two of the best, if not the two best, big guys, low-post center out there. At the same time, I know we prepared and thought and knew that they were going to play significant chunks without him. They probably did the same thing. You know, relative to bench points, it just didn't happen today. It happened in the past. It didn't happen today.
COACH THOMPSON: You know, you can sit here -- when you lose a game, you can sit here and find a million things you wish you did differently, could have done differently, should have done differently. That's the nature of this. That's the nature of athletics. That's the nature of sport. When you lose, can you start to go back and start to pick everything apart. What I do think is important is our guys did compete. We got down, they hung on, we clawed back. We fought and scrapped the whole time. The ball didn't bounce our way. It happens. We lost to a very, very good team.
COACH THOMPSON: Obviously they throw the ball to the block a little more when he's in the game than they do when he's out of the game. But I can't say it any other way: they are a very good team with or without him in the game. They have shown that all year. So, you know, clearly he is a presence; he's a force at both ends. He does make them different just because you have to be a attentive to where he is. When he's not in the game they're a terrific team. They've shown that all year.
COACH THOMPSON: I know exactly what you're talking about. I had sent DaJuan to the table to get Roy. I don't remember exactly how long he was sitting at the table before there was a stop in play. But from the time when I told him to get Roy to when there was a stop in play, I think Roy scored like six or eight points, got a couple of rebounds. I made a decision to leave him in there.
COACH THOMPSON: Had we had turnover problems?
COACH THOMPSON: Really? Okay. That's a yes (laughter). You know, if your question is going into this game did I think we would have a lot of turnovers or there would be turnover problems? No, just because we have done a fairly good job of taking care of the ball. You know, did I put a game plan together anticipating turnovers? No. You know, it happened. That's because of their defense. That's because you have to give them all the credit in the world for that.
COACH THOMPSON: It's easy to say yes to that right now. You look at the stat sheet, that's an easy yes. I mean, yeah. We made efforts -- I've said for three years now I trust Jeff Green's instincts. He made the decisions when to pass it out, when to shoot. It's not a situation -- we go through a game early in the year, a couple games maybe, I'm sitting here and I'm asking questions about touches, post touches. It's not a question where he didn't have the ball. He just made decisions. As I said, Jeff Green usually makes the right decision. I trust his instincts and I trust the decisions. The kid is an extremely intelligent player. We put the ball in his hands and he decided not to shoot. As I said, I'll live and die with Jeff Green's ability to make decisions.
COACH THOMPSON: Thank you.