Additional Quotes >> USA 108, Mexico 67
Aug. 13, 2011 ē Shenzhen, China
Matt Painter, USA head coach
On tonightís game:
For the first game, I thought we had some jitters. We had guys who just werenít quick to the basketball. Mexico played a little bit harder than we did. Then, once we kind of got into the flow of things, we did a little better in the second quarter. Then, obviously we picked it up in the second half.
On the USAís depth:
The team we played today, thereís a big difference between their starters and their subs. When they had to sub, I thought our depth really wore them out because thereís not a lot of difference when we sub. We tried to keep things balanced with the starting five, then the next five, then Ray McCallum and (Greg) Mangano, I thought both those guys did a great job of coming in and giving us some energy. I thought it was a total team effort. Thatís something thatís really going to help us, especially in pool play, is using all those guys.
What did you talk to the team about at halftime?
We just didnít feel, as a staff, that we were ready to play. It was more important for us to come out and be ready to play and do a better job on the glass in the second half. We had some breakdowns defensively on some basic things that we tried our best to correct. I thought we had better energy and our guys were more ready to play in the second half.
How hard is it to play a team youíve never seen?
Itís the same for both teams. Mexico was better than us in the first half, then obviously we were better than them in the second half. They were quicker to the basketball, but thatís going to happen some when you play and youíre not real familiar. You try your best in that first pool play game to keep your focus on yourself.
Marcus Denmon (University of Missouri)
On tonightís game:
I felt like we got our first game jitters out. We came out a little slow. But, that comes from having 12 new guys coming together. We went in (at halftime) and talked about some things. In the second half we came out and executed better than Mexico. They came out and played hard, but in the end I felt that our strength in numbers took over.
It looked like you all were having fun when you really started clicking in the second half:
It was really fun. When you have as talented of a team we have, the game should be fun. We put in the hard work and now the games should be fun. In the second half we started putting the pressure on them. We started getting some layups and dunks and that always makes the games fun. All the games are going to be like that. Youíve gotta be able to still have fun in the close games and not just the ones that are easy.
Ashton Gibbs (University of Pittsburgh)
On tonightís game:
We started off a little slow. Mexico started off strong and they really executed. But, once we started going strong and beating the zone, in the second half, we added to the lead and were able to win the game.
You were really distributing the ball well, how did you feel on the floor tonight?
I felt good. There are a lot of great players on this team. Iím a fan of some of these players as well. Iím just trying to distribute the ball and take open shots when need be, thatís what Iím going to do, be unselfish. At the same time, if the defense gives me a shot, Iím going to take it.
How were you able to run away in the second half?
Defense. Basically our defense and rebounding. That led to transition buckets and a lot of open shots as well. As long as we do that to start the game and really carry it through to the end of the game, I think weíll be fine the rest of the tournament.
Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara)
On playing in his first official World University Games contest:
Definitely got the nerves out. It took us a little while to get going. Mexico got out to a good start, though. They played tough. Over the course of the game we started getting into our zone, started picking it up on defense and communicating. At the beginning of the game we didnít really talk too much and thatís where we were getting caught up and they were getting easy baskets. But towards late in the second quarter we started fixing that.
The team also started off slow in its exhibition game. Does that make you nervous that this is another slow start?
It doesnít make us nervous, it probably worries us a little bit, but we need to not let this happen anymore. I think weíre getting enough players in it. We have enough respect for each other to get on each other to let us know that we canít have games like that. Thereís going to be teams thatís going to be able to get a lead and keep that lead. We donít want to be in a position like that again.
What about foul trouble, are you adjusting to that?
Weíre definitely adjusting. Itís just different from the States. Weíre going to have to put it in our minds that we canít talk to the refs. Thatís going to be a technical. Weíre just going to have to play the game and I think weíre smart enough to do that.
Trevor Mbakwe (University of Minnesota)
On tonightís game:
It was a tough start. We didnít start out like we should have. Coach was saying it seemed like they were more into the game. Thatís something that we have to get better at. We have to respect our opponents at all times. They came out with way more energy than we did.
After the second half we started to actually play our way. We started playing good defense again, getting out on transition and making shots.
What did coach Painter talk to you about at halftime?
Just about us playing hard. We didnít do a good job defensively in the first half. They were getting a lot of easy layups, a lot of easy and-ones. We just werenít being smart. Weíre also going to have to adjust to the officiating. Itís different than back home. There are a lot of different calls, they call a lot of fouls that weíre not used to. Coach told us we just have to play hard, play our style and bring a lot of effort, really.
Your team hasnít been together very long, do you see improvement daily?
Definitely. We just started playing with each other yesterday. A lot of these teams have been playing together for a long time. I think the chemistry is there. Weíre a very balanced team and weíre very deep, too. Thatís going to help us. We have 12 guys who can play and at some point each of us could win the game for us. Weíre all comfortable with each other. Weíre like a family. The two weeks that weíve had, weíve come together and weíre all excited to play with one another.
Comments on last nightís Opening Ceremonies:
It was great. Everything since weíve been here has been fantastic. The facilities are great. Seeing all the countries, seeing all the people who came to support all of us athletes, it was remarkable and something weíre going to remember for the rest of our lives.
Have you gotten into the pin trading?
I havenít really had the chance yet. I just found out we had the pins a couple of days ago. Iím definitely going to trade some pins before I leave.