Quote Center: St. John's Postgame vs. Sacred Heart (2017)
St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullinâ€¦
On what was said in the locker room at halftime:
"I don't really remember. I thought we were just participating and not competing. I just thought in the second half they brought some good energy. I don't think it was anything I said, and it was more of what they did."
On maintaining composure when things are going poorly on the floor:
"When you come into the game and you have matchups that are even or you feel that you can out-match your opponent, it's a big difference. Justin [Simon] and Marvin [Clark II] have made a huge difference both offensively and defensively, and then the guys who returned are building off those experiences from before. A lot of those things you can't teach. A lot of times you have to let the players go through those things. You obviously want to try and avoid them, but when you're playing freshman and young guys, those things can happen. The good thing is that I think they've learned from that, but more importantly their actions. You can watch film, practice, and do all those things, but you got to go play. We practice, we scout, but at some point you got to go play and compete. We did a better job of that in the second half, and we will keep pushing."
On forcing 25 turnovers in tonight's game:
"Our constant pressure has been a key. I've been on our guys to start pressuring the backcourt. We came out in a little zone press tonight to not only create turnovers but to also create energy for ourselves. I didn't like the way that we got up by eight points and then gave up two 3-pointers at the end of the half. To start the half, I just kind of went away from it and back to old fashion man-to-man. I think we are getting a little better at applying pressure over time to create turnovers. I think we're getting a lot better at applying pressure, but not gambling."
On holding Sacred Heart to 0-for-10 from 3-PT in the second half:
"I think we were very reactionary in the first half. We weren't up into the ball. We were there, but we weren't doing anything. We weren't very active across the board. I thought Justin [Simon] and Shamorie [Ponds] got much more aggressive in the second half. Coming in [Sacred Heart] didn't shoot the ball well, but I told our guys that they have the ability to shoot the ball. I thought we took more of an aggressive approach and we weren't counterpunching. We were pushing the ball and making them more uncomfortable. In turn, they didn't get as many of good lucks."
On overall performance through eight games:
"7-1 is good. I just see that there is a lot of improvement to be made. Defensively, we are doing much better, but we can be better. â€¦ I see the improvement in a lot of areas, but I tell everyone that I just see more there. It's not being overly-malicious, but I just see in each guy that we have a long way to go to maximize our talent. It's a good start for sure, but we have two tough games coming up for sure."
On upcoming games against Grand Canyon and Arizona State:
"They are two high-powered offensive teams. Our defense will be tested for sure. Our presentation, how we come out, is going to be important. I think we will match-up fine, but we have to go out there and play our game. I'm looking forward to it. We're going to get out there, get two good workouts in before our game on Tuesday, and be ready to go."
Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Simonâ€¦
On the pressure defensively:
"Just to get them to turn the ball over and eating up the ball, we do that with every team. Today, we just wanted to try something new and now we have to just get better. We tried just pressuring them as a collective group.
On what was said at halftime:
"It was just a group of everyone speaking up. We all come in as a group and talk about what we see out there. Of course Coach [Mullin] is going to say what he has to. He got us really fired up at halftime. At the beginning of the game we just came out a little flat, but in the second half everyone pitched in and talked. It all starts with defense. I think in all six games that we had won previously were off defense, and I think we were defending okay in the first half and picked it up in the second half."
On heading back to home state of California for game vs. Arizona State:
"I feel great. It's a West Coast trip so I have a lot of family who will get to see me play in person rather than on TV. That's a great feeling to come home and I'm excited."
Redshirt junior forward Marvin Clark II...
On tough first half as a team and regrouping in the second half:
"I'm sure that [rest] had something to do with it, but that's no excuse. We came out a little lax. Not totally lax, but just the 50/50 balls were a difference. We didn't make those plays in the first half."
On the difference defensively from this season compared to last:
"I think guys like Justin [Simon] and myself have played at different programs where defense is what they harp on and take pride in, so that's something that we've all bought into. At times in the first half, we kind of lost the 50/50 battles and we are never going to go out and play a team that we are bigger than. Like Coach [Mullin] always says, the 50/50 balls and the hustle plays are the ones that we are always going to have to make. Guys seeing the outcome of what happens when we defend, which we could have done last season but there was a lack of leadership, and the result ending in a win."
On playing Grand Canyon and nationally-ranked Arizona State:
"It's a huge opportunity. Both of these teams are both great scoring teams, so we are going to have to bring it defensively. We are going to have to bring a lot of grit. It's a great opportunity to knock off a top-25 team, and see how we rank among the top-25."
Sacred Heart Head Coach Anthony Latina...
On playing St. John's prepares team for conference play:
"I think that this team [St. John's] would easily be the best team in our league, and sometimes when you get the opportunity to play a team like this you either get exposure or get exposed and we got a little exposed today. It does magnify our weakness, so after playing high-majors, our weaknesses are clearly magnified. We did some positive things in the first half, but we couldn't sustain it. I think that can be humbling though sometimes. There are times when you play this game and get humbled. We needed that. Humility helps in the winning process and we were humbled today."