Post-Game Quotes - MBB vs. Elon

Dec. 18, 2013

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Georgetown 85, Elon 76
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Verizon Center
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Georgetown Men's Basketball Head Coach John Thompson III

On getting the ball inside during the second half...
It was very important. Once we got Josh going a little bit, everything was easier. Not to say it was ever easy, but it was easier. (Elon) is a very good team. They're one of those teams that you put on the schedule and I had a couple of my assistants say, "Coach, do you really want to do that?" We knew it would be a game like this, that's a veteran team, a tough team, a well-coached team that's going to play until the end. They shoot the ball so well, they share the game so well, so we knew we would have to play well to win. They're one of the better shooting teams in the country and they hit eight threes in the first half and in doing that, the ones that they missed, they got a few long rebounds that we had to come up with...I'm glad at the end of the day we had more points than them.

On playing zone in the second half...
They were in a rhythm offensively, so we went to a zone and then our zone was better than our man. It slowed them down a little bit, so that's what we stuck with.

On staying with the starters more in the second half...
The group that was out there was doing fine and they weren't tired. Sometimes you go through games and start subbing for the sake of subbing, but I thought the group we had out there was the most productive group, so I kept them out there.

On Markel Starks shooting performance and if it opened the game for the Hoyas...
I don't know that the game was ever open, to tell you the truth it gave us a slight cushion. It was good to see Markel make those shots. He's been talking to himself a little bit, so it's good for him to put the ball in the basket.

On the team's play against Elon...
In general, we have to play much smarter than we did. We made several key mental mistakes that on a different night can cost you a game, so we have to be much smarter.

On surviving Elon and moving on to Kansas...
That's a good win. That's a tournament team. So we have a difficult first half, we get up a little bit and then they make a run at us, so that game played out almost like a conference game a lot of times, where there's an ebb and flow and both teams are right there. Hopefully we won't make the same mental mistakes that I alluded to and hopefully we do a better job of helping each other to stop what is coming.

On what he knows about Georgetown after the three-game homestand...
I think we're figuring out, as a group, how to skin the cat. We're figuring out what to look for, what not to look for, what we do and what we don't do well.

On being concerned about being out-rebounded by Elon...
We have to do a much better job. You talk about deflating plays - and we talked about that leading up to today and we talked about it at halftime - they're one of those teams that you have to guard for the whole shot clock. They only take good shots, so sometimes that comes in two seconds, sometimes that comes after 32 seconds. It's deflating a lot of times where you guard for 32 seconds, then they shoot and get an offensive rebound. That happened too much today, so we have to do a much better job than we did.

On shooting just 11 three-pointers vs. Elon...
We want to play from the inside out. With that being said, we have guys that can make shots. If we kick it, (Josh Smith) is getting so much attention and he's a good passer, that then we're going to get easier shots when we throw it out. We didn't go in (to today's game) and say, "let's not shoot open threes," but I think the guys made good decisions knowing when to take them and when not to take them and when to penetrate.

Senior Guard Markel Starks

On his scoring and the team's scoring...
There are going to be times we I have to score the ball. Tonight was one of those nights. When you look at the stat sheet, the scoring was spread out. I thought we did a very good job of sharing the ball. And when it came time to make shots, we made shots.

On limiting breakdowns in play...
At the end of the game, we made plays down the stretch that we cannot make. On the negative side. Mental breakdowns. When we start to talk about tournament play, we cannot have those mental lapses. It's too vital for our team not to have those breakdowns. Because when you have those breakdowns, they turn into something bigger down the road. We came out with the win tonight, but we cannot make those mistakes. These mistakes are collective mistakes. When we did not take care of certain things, those can start to cost us when you start talking about the tournament, especially when you are playing against high level teams. Those can hurt.

On when teams are isolating Joshua Smith on the three point line on defensive side...
We have to help him, but at the same time, he can get out there. We are not going to tell him that when players on the three point line he only has to put a hand up. No, play defense. He just needs to move his feet and at times tonight, he did that. Especially when you look at his play in the final eight minutes, he did a very good job. He forced [Lucas Troutman] to take some tough shots. Some of them went in, but at the same time he forced him to make tough shots. And as we move forward, [Joshua] is going to be put in situations where the other team has a smaller lineup and while we are going to take advantage offensively, defensively, he can move his feet. He can play defense. He's agile.

Junior Center Joshua Smith

On his technical foul...
All me. I just lost focus; that's it.

On starting the second half on a 14-5 run...
We had to play defense. They had 40 points in the first half and that's a lot. We were doing stuff well on offense, but when we are playing good teams, we have to play defense. We cannot give up 40 points in the first half. So we had to chase them out from the three point line to force more two pointers.

Elon Head Coach Matt Matheny

Opening Statement...
Congratulations to Coach Thompson, who I have a lot of respect for not only as a basketball coach, I think he is a tremendous person. And congratulations to Georgetown. We are in the process of trying to improve as a team. We played Friday night in Boulder against Colorado and I just told our players after the game our performance tonight was a sign of marked improvement. I thought we competed and the number that stands out to me to show that is the rebounding number. It's been an Achilles heel for us. We rebounded the ball better tonight. When we play Georgetown, our margin for error is ever so slight and so free throw percentage, missing a couple of free throws, a couple of untimely turnovers are not good for us. And then we had trouble stopping [Joshua] Smith. He was a force inside and we tried multiple defenses and we were unable to consistently stop him as well as Georgetown.

On shooting better from three-point range in the first half compared to the second half...
I thought we attacked the different defense Georgetown played well and I thought we did it from the start of the game. They used some pressure early and we got some open looks. They played man and zone in the first half and we were able to get a flow offensively and really get some open looks. In the second half we didn't have as many open looks. Their zone - which is typically something we enjoy playing against because we have so many shooters - they have a lot of length in their zone and they really stretched out in their zone. It was almost like a Syracuse-type of zone as far out as they were stretched. We kept thinking `Man, we'll get them on a three' and we needed to get inside and attack the belly a little bit more. To Georgetown's credit, they didn't give us as many open looks in the second half.

On how much zone defense Elon played tonight...
We are playing more zone this year than we ever have. We've had some success with it. I think our guys are playing zone well. Yes, we thought we were going to play some zone in both halves. We intended to. We probably played it a few more possessions then I planned coming in but it was pretty effective for us.

On what Elon learns in playing teams like Georgetown...
It exposes us. We're in a very competitive conference and we want to be successful in our conference and in order to be most successful in our conference we need to be battle-tested by the time conference play starts. Our philosophy is that we want to challenge, in this case, a veteran team that we have, the best we can. That our intention in playing Georgetown and Colorado and Duke, etc.

On strategy against Georgetown's man-to-man defense...
Georgetown is really, really good in how much they switch and how much they contest shots. I've played against them a few times and they are very good at it. We really tried to move him [D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera] as much as we could. I thought he did a really good job.

On getting more players involved from beyond the arc...
Austin [Hamilton] has really worked. Here is a guy from Herndon, Va., right in the neighborhood here. He has worked. He has faced some injuries in his time with us. He has gotten in the gym and he has really worked on his game. And it shows. He is shooting a very good percentage this year. Jack [Isenbarger] is coming off of an injury and he is just now getting back in the flow. But I think we have several guys that can shoot the three and it was great to have four guys that were able to hit multiple threes.

On Hamilton controlling the tempo in the first half, but struggling in the second half...
I haven't thought much about that. I don't know. I thought he did a really good job in the first half and Georgetown went zone in the second half and that changed the complexity of the game.

On message at halftime with Elon holding a one-point lead...
Our intention coming into this game was to play aggressively for 40 minutes. Georgetown actually got into a lead at the beginning of the game as well and so I thought that start of the second half was similar to the start of the first half. It was just a little bit more of a spread. Georgetown played well to start the second half. We were aggressive for 40 minutes though so I am encouraged by the way we played.

On [Lucas] Troutman's ability to impact a game without scoring...
Lucas [Troutman] is having a very good beginning to his senior year. He does do some things. He scores in the low post. It was very difficult to score tonight in the low post. He can do that, but he is also a good defender. Boy tonight it was tough to defend [Joshua] Smith.

On potential concern with free-throw shooting...
I am a coach. Everything is a concern. Yes, it is a concern. We were third in the country, what was it, two games ago? We have very good free-throw shooters. We will continue to work on foul shots. But it makes it tough to win this game when you are 9 of 18. It makes it tough. And it was not good out at Colorado either, so, maybe we will shoot a little better at home on Thursday night.



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