Quote Center: St. John's Postgame vs. Iona (MSG Holiday Festival)
COURTESY OF ST. JOHN’S RED STORM ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullinâ€¦
On the overall performance:
"We didn't play that well in the first half, but I don't think it had anything to do with our opponent. I thought we got good looks, missed a lot of easy shots, and I think when you do that, no matter who you are playing against, it keeps that team in the game. At halftime I was thinking, 'What should I even be changing,' but I didn't know because we couldn't get any better shots than we were getting. I thought we played with a little more energy and moved our bodies in the second half. We were very lethargic, even coming across half court we were laboring. Just put some energy into the game, into our cuts, moved the ball a little better, and as crazy as it may sound, we made about three-or-four layups and created some separation. When we made that little separation, we made two-or-three wide-open layups and it helped us get a little separation."
On not making a 3-pointer in the win:
"Our defense has been great. Again tonight, I thought we were really, really good. Tariq [Owens] was incredible by blocking shots and cutting off the basket. We wanted to get [Iona] off the three, and have them try and finish over our length. So, defense has been good and we just have to keep plugging away. Like I've said, sometimes you wonder if we are getting back looks, but I thought we were getting good looks. At halftime, I thought if I should change something, but I don't think we could've gotten much better than that. We just started making some shots, but the good thing is that even though we are struggling on offense, it hasn't taken away from our defensive effort."
On adjustments without Marcus LoVett:
"With Marcus being out, we don't really emphasize just the backcourt. We start Tariq, which gives us a whole-new dynamic. We just carry on. It's not like we are having someone trying to imitate Marcus. He is a great player, and when he's not there we just play our next man up. Tariq has done a great job, Marvin [Clark II] is playing well, we may have Justin [Simon] try and handle the ball more than usual, but nothing really changes drastically."
On relationship with Iona head coach Tim Cluess and his family:
"I've known Timmy [Cluess] since I first went to St. John's. It was 1981 when I first met him. His family is a legendary family name at St. John's. His brother, Kevin, was someone that I got to know very well, and he took very good care of me. There's a lot of respect. Time flies, but the impact the Cluess family has had on St. John's is everlasting."
On playing Iona for the first time in 22 years:
"A lot had to do with Tim Cluess and his connection to St. John's. When you schedule a game, dates have to match up and things like that, so it's not as easy as just saying that you want to play this team. It was a good experience and there's a connection there that goes way back. Overall, it wasn't an artistic game or a pretty game. I didn't know it had been that long [22 years]."
On consistently playing much better in the second half of games:
"Maybe they need a little sweat or something to get going. I don't know. We don't do a whole lot differently preparation wise as far as eating our meals at the same time and things like that. I wouldn't say we played so well in the second half today, but we played better."
On preparing for BIG EAST play:
"Maintain our preparation. We have a game Wednesday against Saint Joe's, who is a really good team. We will prep for that and then take a few days off. I think all of our preparation we have done up until now is for the BIG EAST. If we can make some three's, rebound the ball better, come out with some energy in the first half, and these are all things that I think we are going to do. We don't carry this game over into the next one, but we'll keep working on it."
Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Simonâ€¦
On playing at Madison Square Garden:
"You could just feel the energy from the crowd. It was a great environment that we had tonight, hopefully the next time we play we will have the entire place packed out. You could feel the energy in there and I think that really just motivated us a lot to just play hard, play our game and have fun."
On getting ready for BIG EAST play:
"I think we can use St. Joseph's as a prep game to get ready for the BIG EAST, they are a scrappy team. We will watch more film tomorrow, we are looking forward to playing them and we are going to just take it game-by-game and we are excited with what we have going on."
On today's performance:
"Throughout the whole game we had a lot of missed layups. We should have looked to attack more; we were shooting a lot of threes. We know what we have to do, we have to pick it up defensively and offensively we have to make the easy plays down the stretch, but we play to win so anytime we get a win we're happy."
Senior guard/forward Bashir Ahmedâ€¦
On the second half performance:
"We kept on attacking. We played against a small team. They do a good job on defense but they don't really have a shot blocker. Our coaches just told us to keep attacking and get to the line. The start of the second half that's what we did, we came in attacking and we got into the bonus."
On the defensive performance:
"I take pride in playing defense and scoring. When my shots aren't falling I just try to do whatever I can to help my team. We have a lot of athletic guys on our team and we do a great job at playing defense and staying in front of our men."
Iona Head Coach Tim Cluess
On the game:
"I want to congratulate St. John's on the win. They played a really good game, very tough, very athletic, very good at getting deflections and steals and capitalizing on those. I thought our guys fought, we didn't have one of our best nights, but I thought our guys fought to the end so I'm proud of their effort."