Additional Quotes >> U.S. Men 32, Central African Republic 28
Eric Flannery, U.S. Men's Head Coach
St. Edward High School, Ohio
What made it such a close game?
I think their style of play was a little bit different than any that we’ve faced. They have four athletes on their team that can all get to the hole, and they did a very good job of getting to the basket. Our guys had a hard time keeping their man in front of them, and we were allowing some easy baskets and also faced some foul trouble. Sterling Gibbs fouled out toward the end of the game, but he was playing with three or four fouls the whole game. I thought that Central Africa, they were the aggressors, and because they were the aggressors, they got us back on our heels. Then we’re missing free throws and they’re missing shots, and we’re looking at a five-, six-, seven-point deficit going into the second half. Now, I’m proud of our guys for understanding that they were in a tough position and turning it around. We ended up getting more aggressive in the second half and attacking on offense and on defense. What we can take away is that that’s the way we need to play the entire game, for 10 minutes, being the aggressor on both ends of the floor.
Does a game like this teach the players a lesson?
Yeah, it’s a positive on both ends. No. 1, we didn’t play great, and we were fortunate enough to come back. Knowing we can win a game like this, that builds some confidence. Now, we also understand that if we’re not focused for the entire 10 minutes, we can lose. And I think we’ve pulled both of those lessons from this game. I hope that helps us moving forward in the medal round.
Did you know much about the Central African Republic?
Their style wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before. We’d seen them play their first three games. They do a good job of spreading the floor and isolating players. And with this game it’s very hard to help off your man, because you leave a wide open guy on the weak side or allow for an offensive rebound. We just basically got spread out a little bit. They used their quickness to get to the basket, and we were either getting beat or fouling, and that took a toll as the game went on. I thought they did a great job of utilizing the advantage that they had.
All things considered, how do you feel about the team heading into the medal rounds?
I think to be 4-0 says a lot about where we are. We’re getting a better understanding of the style of play every day, and that’s good to see. But the mindset after today, I can see it a little bit now that they understand a lot more about the passion and focus we need to play with and the importance of being focused and prepared the whole game.
Brea Olinda H.S. / Brea, Calif.
Did you expect this kind of game out of this team?
We knew they were pretty good and that they like to attack basket. That’s what they did, and it was really physical game.
Had you faced a team in this tournament with their athletic ability?
Not really, no. They were definitely the best athletes that we’ve played.
Does a game like this teach you anything?
If definitely teaches us a lesson that we have to play a lot better if we want to come home with a gold medal.
What do you need to work on, still?
Defense, no question. We’re giving up way too many points to these teams that really shouldn’t be scoring that many. We need to focus on locking up our man better.
How would say the confidence is on the team right now?
We’re definitely still very confident. We know we need to play a lot better. We know we can win gold. We just know we need to play a lot better than we have been.
Herbert Hoover H.S. / San Diego, Calif.
How did the game go today?
We came off pretty slow. We should have just run right into them. Those guys are pretty good athletes, they got too many second shots, and we should have been rebounding.
What did you know about this team?
They told us they just like to spread out the floor and try to go by you 1-on-1. They were doing that, and they were getting fouls.
Is this the first really physical game you’ve had in this tournament?
It’s not the first one, but, like, they didn’t stop. They kept fighting until the end. It was a pretty close game.
What does the team need to improve on, then?
We just have to stop penetration and guards, that’s the most important thing. And rebound, not let the other team get second chances.