Quote Center: St. John's Postgame vs. UCF



St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullin…

On battling through offensive struggles to claim the win over UCF:
"The most important thing is that we won, and that's all we kept talking about. I kept telling them about playing great defense, rebounding the ball well, and I thought early on we had half-court rhythm. We were just getting nothing out of those good stops…we had a few turnovers in the open floor and missed layups. We were up 10-0, but I thought it should have been much higher for the way we were playing. You have to give UCF a lot of credit…I know they were missing a few of their players, but they continued to battle and did what they had to do keep it a game. It really was a choppy, ugly game…they were switching defenses. From our standpoint, to hang in there and get the win was the only thing we really concerned ourselves with. It was probably as ugly of a game as you are going to see on both sides, but someone had to win. I'm glad it was us."

On what his message was throughout the game:
"Again, I liked our defensive effort. I thought we were getting stops plus there was some bad shooting, and from our standpoint I thought we didn't handle the ball that well…kind of lethargic and not with purpose. It seemed like we were doing that hard part…getting stops, getting the ball going, but the stuff we are good at like handling the ball, pushing it ahead, and making shots were a struggle. We didn't hang our heads, and just somehow gutted out a win."

On dealing with the size of UCF and 7'6" player Tacko Fall:
"We played three pretty big teams consecutively here, but obviously he [Fall] was just so much bigger than everybody. Very similar tactic that they were running with running high-low and him [Fall] sealing…a lot of times with bigs we try to not allow them to get a seal in the paint and try to get them off the block so we can keep everything in front of us. With him and his size, he didn't even have to recover if we tried to do that…where a lot of big guys would have trouble catching the ball, turning, and finishing. However, Fall can just catch everything at the rim. It was just a different dynamic…on defense as well. He had some nice blocks, and I think your inclination as a competitor is to go challenge him when the real play is to get in there and kick back out. I thought overall we want to play similar to how we always play…you don't want to change everything you do, but we had to be aware of him on both sides of the floor."

On his team's overall defensive play:
"I thought our activity was good. The part that was tough was that we were getting great stops…coming from the weak-side, getting those balls, getting out in the open floor, but almost every time we had a hard time getting from defense to offense which we are usually pretty good at. Probably not going to watch this film and be grateful that we are 6-1."

On what adjustments need to be made against a zone defense:
"Again, I think we struggled just overall. The struggle was just offensively. Even last game we converted at a high rate against the zone…it just looks a little different. I wouldn't look too much into it because we struggled offensively today. I don't think there was anything we did well on offense today."

On his takeaways from AdvoCare Invitational:
"I think we talked about how our defense has improved. Tonight we played good, solid defense, not perfect, but good. We stuck to our game plan, I thought we had good energy, and when you maintain that you can find ways to win. Usually your defense picks up when you are making shots off it, but we got nothing today to help our defense, but we stuck with it. I like this team, and that's a new addition to our package coming from this weekend. We couldn't win a game with defense before this weekend, and now we can."

Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds…

On his overall thoughts about Sunday's win over UCF:
"I felt like it was tough game…46-43 is an ugly game, but I'm glad we came up with a win."

On being held without a point at halftime:
"I'm pretty confident in my team, and feel like anyone can lead the way at any time when it comes to scoring. It doesn't matter who scores the most at halftime or at the end of the game because we are going to fill up the stat sheet."

On having an effective game despite the scoring issues:
"It's the little things, the plays that keep you on the court and don't show up on the stat sheet. I feel like those are important for this team moving forward if we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish."

On having offensive struggles throughout the game:
"I don't feel like they took me out of the game, I just couldn't find my rhythm from scoring…I was just trying to find whatever I can do to impact the game."

On grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring six points in the final minutes:
"Coach always tells me to remain confident because it's not always going to fall every night. I just stayed composed and stuck to my game."

Redshirt junior forward Marvin Clark II...

On his overall thoughts about Sunday's win over UCF:
"That was a great win for us…we need those kind of gut-wrenching wins. That's a tough team and we were able to pull it out. It wasn't the prettiest basketball, but I'm happy that we were able to win a game without making a bunch of shots or with our best scorer not having his best night. Sticking with it defensively, getting rebounds, and getting stops when we needed them."

On Coach Mullin's message during the game:
"He just told us that our rhythm is going to come and to keep defending, keep rebounding, and keep fighting. He just kept reassuring us that we were going to have a stretch where we make some shots, but to keep up our defensive intensity."

On having offensive struggles throughout the game:
"Just feels good to play more than 12 minutes, just tried to stay out of foul trouble. That's something that I need to focus on and keep getting better at; when I'm not on the floor, I'm hurting my team. Shooting the ball is something that I know I can do, but I haven't really had a chance to really show it, however since I had the ability to stay out on the floor today, I was able to show it a little bit."

On the importance of winning Sunday's game:
"It's very important. It's pivotal for our [mentality] and our team. We dropped one against Mizzou that we felt like we should have won, so it was very pivotal. During our day off yesterday, we talked about making sure that we left Orlando with a 6-1 record. I'm happy we got to accomplish that goal."

On different role players stepping up throughout the weekend:
"Everybody brought something this weekend, but the person who I'm most excited for is Amar Alibegovic. He's a player that can be very pivotal on our team, and I think that he's finding his role on the team. He's somebody who can come off the bench when other players are having struggles and bring something to the floor. He made a big three for us, got some big rebounds, but I'm definitely happy we were able to pull out a gut-wrenching win like that. We are going to have some days like that, but the fact that we are consistent on the other side of the floor, which is the defensive end, is definitely a good sign."

Joseph Jarzynka