Quote Center: Creighton Postgame vs. Xavier
Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Xavier - 63, Creighton - 61
GREG McDERMOTT: Congrats, Xavier. Obviously, they made some big plays down the stretch, big offensive rebound on that last possession. Proud of the way our guys battled. We didn't have our A-game, certainly, today. Xavier's size and physicality certainly had something to do with that. But we kept fighting. We kept digging. We got ourselves back in the game and gave ourselves a chance to win it. Unfortunately, we didn't execute the last play very well. I saw something. I thought Davion had one more pass to tie for an open three. So elected not to take the time-out, obviously, in retrospect. I'd do it different next time. Still proud of my team, really have enjoyed coaching this group. Hopefully, there's some basketball left for us.
Q. The last play, Ty-Shon, just what did you see, and what were you trying to do with the final shot?
TY-SHON ALEXANDER: I was trying to create a play for one of my teammates to hopefully either get a wide open three or eventually just try to get a play down the stretch to get
"Teeny" a wide open look up in the paint, as well, but somehow they just didn't execute.
Q. Greg, you sort of mentioned you hoped that there's some basketball left. I guess what would your case be for Creighton to be included in the NCAA Tournament?
GREG McDERMOTT: We're -- I think we're 3-7 when we have -- when either Marcus was out or Damien Jefferson was out. Obviously, Damien Jefferson is still not totally back to normal and hasn't played a lot. 15-7 against a really good schedule on the year. It just depends. It depends if playing a good schedule is going to be rewarded. We played one of the better schedules, top ten schedule in the country, and if that's important, then we'll have a shot. If the committee decides that it's not that important, then we won't.
I don't think anybody really knows what this new NET means, how much they're going to use it. I think everybody had an idea in the past. If your RPI is terrible, you're probably not getting in. If your RPI's good, it doesn't necessarily mean you're in, but at least you're in the conversation. I just don't know that anybody understands exactly what's going to happen. So we'll wait and see. Hope we get in. If we don't, we'll give it everything we have in the NIT.
Q. Greg, early in the first half, you guys were playing a really good pace. You guys were making shots early. Did they do something to slow you down specifically, or was it more on you guys just not hitting looks after that?
GREG McDERMOTT: I think we had three turnovers in the last seven possessions of the first half, seven or eight possessions, and they scored on the last three. So, obviously, you're taking it out of the net, it's hard to have pace. But I thought we had some guys that maybe had the jitters a little bit. Obviously, it's -- besides our freshmen that we're playing and sophomores in a new role, really, this is Martin's first experience in the Garden. He didn't play much as a freshman. He was hurt last year. So it's the first time that, even though he's a fourth-year junior, first time he's experienced it, and I think until you've been there and done it, I think the enormity of it can maybe get to you. I think at times it did us today.
I just didn't think we were ourselves with our pace, with our ball movement at times, and then we have really been flying around defensively and forcing our opponents into errors, and today we weren't able to do that. Again, that's a credit to Xavier and their ball security.
Q. Coach, as the team went through some droughts throughout the game, what were some points of emphasis that you harped on to keep your team engaged in? As you saw, you guys were able to make a run at the end.
GREG McDERMOTT: We've been really good defensively really, and today, I think it was a 65-possession game, and they had 63 points. Over the last 10, 11 games, we've held teams, on average, below one point per possession. So we felt like our defense could be good enough to get us back in the game if we just stick to things. And we did, for the most part. Obviously, Hankins had a great night, or a great afternoon, and some of the guys that you would probably worry about a little bit more in Marshall and Scruggs and Goodin, you know, their numbers weren't great. The rest of the team, I think, was 15-45, and Hankins goes 11 of 15. We didn't have an answer for him. His offensive rebounds, it seemed like every one was a back breaker.
We were fine in the huddles. We had full confidence we could get back in the game and win the game defensively and then with our ball movement on the other end of the floor.
Q. Greg, just a couple of questions about the end. Did you consider going big at all knowing that offensive rebound was a possibility, I guess, on that last possession?
GREG McDERMOTT: Well, they had four guards in, so no. You know, like somebody would have had to guard a guard out on the perimeter. So we got him -- actually, Goodin took a long two, which is exactly the shot we wanted him to take. We just didn't clean up that back side on the boards. I didn't see what happened. I'd have to go look at it on film to see if he just made a great play or if we missed a blockout.
Q. And then your last possession, I would imagine, ideally, you wouldn't want to wait until the end, but was that the message to wait for the last shot?
GREG McDERMOTT: No. We had a play call that just didn't get executed. When it broke down, like I said, when Davion got it back, I felt like two guys ran at him and left Ty-Shon, and I thought he had the opportunity for one more pass to Ty-Shon. When Ty-Shon caught it, whether he didn't catch it clean, he decided not to shoot it on the catch, and by then, it was a little late to take a time-out.
Q. Coach, I'm looking at the board as we're looking at percentages. Free throws. You had eight free throws for the entire game, hit three of them, 3 of 8. That's five points right there. Is there -- you were happy with the shot that you got because he can hit it as far as the three-pointer is concerned, but driving to the hoop, was there a reason that the fear of going down low against Xavier?
GREG McDERMOTT: Obviously, they've got some length down there with Jones and Hankins. When we got in there, we missed some layups the first half. We had some really good opportunities close to the basket that we didn't finish. While we struggled shooting free throws in November and December, we've been a really good free-throw shooting team in conference play. Today we missed him. The good news is I think they only had 12. We haven't been a team that's fouled a lot, and as long as we're not putting them on the free-throw line a lot, we're good with that. We just missed our free throws and the opportunities we had today.
Q. Martin, just what, for you, was a difference in the second half? Obviously, you got going and made some buckets. What was the difference for you?
MARTIN KRAMPELJ: Just got more comfortable with the space around me, just like Coach Mac said, that's probably the first time for me playing in here. Just taking advantage of what they gave me and tried to take it to the hoop.