Additional Quotes >> USA 77, Dominican Republic 76
Oct. 26, 2011 • Guadalajara, Mexico
USA head coach
First one under your belt, talk about pressure:
(chuckling) That’s what I told Blake (Ahearn) with 1.4 to go; we were sitting on the side after the timeout and I said ‘well we didn’t come in here and get an easy one.’ We made it interesting, but that’s a really good team but I was just really proud of how our guys just kept battling, battling. We weren’t great in the first half but we just stayed with it.
Marcus Lewis’ two blocks were key plays. He was in foul trouble but still made two incredible blocks.
That’s one of the reasons he’s here. He’s a little bit overlooked because he’s undersized, but you can’t measure the size of that guy’s heart. He’s just a competitor, he’s a winner and we’re extremely excited he’s here and he made some big plays down the stretch for us tonight.
How about Lance Thomas’ rebounding tonight?
Whew, that guy was active tonight. He was extremely active. We talked to him about trying to be the Dennis Rodman of our team and the way he was going and getting some of those rebounds, that was big time.
The offense seemed to struggle in the first half, after halftime you seemed to get your guards better spaced and going to the basket. Was that something you discussed at halftime?
I think we were just trying to get them to attack the rim. I thought we settled for shots a lot in the first half and the other thing too, and we hadn’t done this all camp, and that’s no pass - shot, one pass - shot, and the way we’re going to be successful is playing the right way – sharing the basketball and I thought in the second half we did that.
You seemed to hurt yourself at the end of the second quarter with three consecutive turnovers.
Yeah, I don’t know how many turnovers we had in the second half but we had 12 in the first half and that’s way too many. We have to take care of the basketball because these teams execute. But if we get stops we’ve got to use our speed as an advantage and I think you saw it tonight and we’ve got to continue with that.
Did you get a chance to see Brazil, and if so, what did you think?
Brazil is a good team. They’re extremely well coached and they got some big guys and we’re just going to have to battle. We’re going to have to be a little bit more sharp defensively and after we watch some film I think we’ll be prepared.
(Texas Legends / Washington '09)
Seemed like in the second half the USA guards took over and started penetrating and getting to the rim, was that the plan?
Yeah, we were shooting too many jumpers in the first half so we figured if we attack the basket they would close in and leave open shots for our shooters and more rebound opportunities for our bigs.
Rebounding was key in the second half which led to a lot of second chance opportunities.
We really need that. Lance (Thomas) and Marcus (Lewis) both rebounded hard, they got us second opportunities and better opportunities at the basket.
What does this win mean?
It means a lot. You’re better off to experience a close win now than when you’re in the gold medal round – we’re just pumped!
Coach has preached from day one it is important to continue to improve each day.
Right, continue to improve and continue to look for each other.
(Tulsa 66ers / Oral Roberts '09)
Talk about your two blocks atthe end of the game.
Well we had just turned the ball over, and I just wanted to get back on defense. I took like three steps and the next thing I knew I was like ‘oh man, he’s right next to me.’ So I decided that I was going to go ahead and try get it and the next thing I knew I got the block. I didn’t think I was going to get it that easy, but it was pretty easy to get. It was a clean block. I heard the crowd complain but I didn’t touch him, I got all ball. I just wanted to get back and help my team and I know that’s why I mostly here, for defense.
Talk about that last play; you had to know they we’re going to go to #15 (Yack Michael Martinez).
Yeah I knew they were going to 15 (Martinez) and I knew he was either going to use a pump fake or try and shake me off one way. So he went right and I stayed down, he turned the other way and at first I just kept my hand up there and when he jumped for the jumper I got all ball. That was a pretty big play.
I think it says we can stick together through adversity because some of us play overseas, but we haven’t all played together, we’ve only been together two weeks, so it says through good times and bad times we can stay together and get through some adversity. It’s a big win. It’s always good to get your first win in a competition, so it’s a big win for us and we have to just build on it. Now we know what we’ve got to do and how we have to play from t he get go.
(Austin Toros / Duke '10)
You had a huge rebounding night:
I saw plays that were there and I just tried to make them. That’s just the way I’ve always played the game. I know no other way but to play hard and if there was a rebound to be made or a play to be made on the hustle at the end of the game that’s the play I made.
What about Marcus Lewis’ two blocks at the end of the game?
Those were big time blocks, game winning blocks, and he was in foul trouble and for him to still have that mentality of ‘I’m not giving up a shot’ or ‘I’m not going to give up a layup’, those two big blocks won the game for us.
What does this win say about the team coming together in a short period of time and preserving through an incredibly pressurized game?
It says a lot about us because now that we have that game out of the way, I’d rather have us experience that in our first game as opposed to experiencing later on in the tournament and not know what to do. So now that we have that experience under our belt as far as being able to stick together at the end of the game and make the plays to win it will definitely help us throughout the rest of the tournament.