Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Creighton

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Greg McDermott

Marcus Foster

Creighton Bluejays

Providence -72, Creighton - 68 (OT)

COACH MCDERMOTT: I felt coming into this game that it was going to be kind of a rock fight. It usually is when we play Providence, and today certainly fit into that category.

You know, they went small. Our metric said they do it about 20, 22 percent of the time on the year. Probably wasn't anticipating 90 percent of the time today.

And I thought our guys adjusted to it pretty well. We had some lineups out there that have not been out there together all season. And we just kind of had to figure it out.

And as I told the team, there's some things in the game you can control. You can control your execution. Can't always control whether the shot goes in. And we executed some stuff great. Marcus got a great look at a 3 when we were down two in overtime.

Obviously Mitch got a wide-open look at the end to tie it. And we missed some free throws from guys that normally make them that are good foul shooters.

So obviously they bullied us a little bit right at the end of regulation with a couple of offensive rebounds that turned out to, end up being the difference in the game. But we were really small out there at that point.


Q. Alpha was a big matchup problem out in the second match against Providence and today with Ronnie a little kind of coming back and Mitch having to play the 4, how did you go about kind of trying to at least limit that as much as possible?
COACH MCDERMOTT: Well, we were trying to shrink the floor a little, at least make the driving lanes difficult. And at times we did a good job at that. At times we were a little bit late with our post front or a little late with the help, I think we got beat over the top one time for a layup.

He's a hard matchup. Hard matchup for anybody, especially hard matchup for us when we're forced to play five guards. Somebody has to guard Bullock. And obviously you don't ever want to let Cartwright get going, because when Cartwright gets going, they win. Period.

That's why when they made the change in the starting lineup, we went Taz on Cartwright and moved Marcus around and late, when we put Khyri on Bullock, Marcus did a great job on Cartwright. So defensively they thought 36 percent for the game. So we played well enough defensively to win.

Q. Could you go a little bit deeper in that, with five guards, obviously you might be giving up some size inside --

Q. Yeah. (Laughter). How did you work through that decision. Why did you feel the need to go five guards?
COACH MCDERMOTT: They really started to attack that matchup. They were driving Jake or Toby, kind of whoever was in there. And I didn't feel like we were -- the first half we got enough out of Jake on the offensive end to roll the dice on the defensive end.

Second half, they did a better job on some of their switches and some of their help. It was almost like we were trying too hard to get him a touch down there. As a result we turned it over a couple times.

I thought Davion was doing good things. I thought Ty-Shon made some great reads. We decided to go small so we could switch more stuff. If you're leaving Toby and Jake out there, obviously you're not switching the screen and putting them on Cartwright. So our options were limited if we stayed with that lineup.

Q. Marcus and Coach, the final couple of minutes, and especially, Marcus, the final try at the buzzer in regulation, can you go back through those last minute or two; you scored every point I think for Creighton, and also what you were trying to do on that last shot.
MARCUS FOSTER: Yeah, Coach has been telling us all week just keep driving, get in the paint, set our feet, and we could get what we wanted.

I was just focusing on getting in the paint, trying to hesitate them a little bit, just to get them off so they could rise on my shot and get the easy layup. The last play is something that I always work on. And I was doing too much, trying to dribble too much into my shot. But I was looking for the step-back 3 like I always do and I just lost it and we ended up going overtime.

COACH MCDERMOTT: Marcus made some really good plays to get us to that point. And if you take a timeout, you run the risk of them being able to keep the ball out of your best player's hands. When we're coming down with nine seconds left and the ball is in our best player's hands, that's about as comfortable as I can get in that situation.

He's made a lot of great plays during the course of the season and, frankly, during the course of his career in those situations.

Just a fluke deal. He lost the ball. Diallo is a good defender. But he didn't get a hand on it or anything. Marcus just lost it. And, like I said, sometimes that happens.

Q. Did either of you guys say anything to Mitch after the game. It seemed like he was, obviously, pretty -- understandably -- down about missing that shot?
COACH MCDERMOTT: All you can control is your preparation. I work in the same building where we practice. So I know how much time this guy spends in there working on those situations. And I know how much time Mitch spends in there. Usually because the music he plays is a little different than everybody else's, so I know it's him, him or Tyler Clement.

So they're in there, working at it, preparing themselves for that moment. As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and say: You know what, I prepared myself, I just missed it.

And I'm confident, I think Marcus would agree with me, that we're very comfortable with Mitch taking that shot in that situation. It was a great read. And we got the shot we wanted. We just missed it.

Q. Since you mentioned the music, what kind of music does he listen to?
COACH MCDERMOTT: His has a little bit more country flare to it maybe than what Marcus listens to. (Laughter). I actually enjoy Mitch's playlist a little bit more than Marcus'.


Joseph Jarzynka