Saint Mary's 85, VCU 77
COACH RANDY BENNETT: We beat a good team tonight. They have a good program. They've been good for many years. They have a lot of tradition and they're hard to put away. So we couldn't put them away, we were up 15, they cut it back to two, four minutes, five minutes.
We're happy to get this one done. I was pleased with how we rebounded. That was the key. We did a good job there. We didn't do a good job on their guard Lewis, and we didn't do a good job stopping their transition. But fortunately we did a good job rebounding.
Q. You alluded to they cut it down, a 15-point lead at halftime, cut it down to two points. What happened after that that helped weather that storm?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: Nothing, really. Our guys -- we have good leadership, our guards have great composure, Calvin did a good job, Jock made some plays there. There was nothing specific that was said, we just knew we had to take care of the ball and do a better job defensively. And we were able to get a little separation again. And then we pretty much kept it there.
I thought we did a really good job handling their pressure. I don't know what the turnover count was, we had 8 in the first half. But second half we did a pretty good job. They just kept coming. They're quick. They're aggressive. We had to hang on to the ball and make free throws and try to execute against a change in defenses.
Q. Did you have to convince coach in the second half to put you back in, four fouls with about 11 minutes left?
JOE RAHON: I tried to convince him to not take me out in the first place.
But, yeah, it was kind of hectic. You kind of pick up the fourth foul and the offensive foul and you go right into a media timeout, I think, and I think half of us didn't even know that was my fourth foul. It was a little hectic.
And being a fifth-year senior you've been through a bunch of situations. I didn't say anything to him. He threw me back in there. He trusted me. And as a player that's the greatest compliment you can have from your coach is they have faith in you to go out there and play smart and play the right way and get it done. I was itching to get back out there. And my experience helped me out with how to play with foul fouls. I was able to do that. My teammates helped me out a ton on the defensive end and just tried to be smart.
Q. You had a double-double tonight. Can you talk about how important the rebounding was and talk about the success you had on the boards?
JOCK LANDALE: That was one of my big focuses going into tonight. Their two bigs are huge on the offensive rebounding. And that was a huge focus was keeping them off the offensive glass. And the ball just kind of dropped my way for most of the night. And they did a good job of keeping us off the O boards, as well. That was definitely a huge focus going into tonight. We knew the majority of their points came from transition and offensive rebounding. We just had to cut that out and we did.
Q. How were you guys able to handle that pressure so well for most of the game? I know it got slippery at the end. What did you guys do to be able to do that?
CALVIN HERMANSON: I'd say our team is just so tight. And in situations like that even Coach was talking about, they cut it to two, there wasn't a lot said. We just got tougher, tighter together. We play so well together and it's another example of under pressure we just got tight and make sure we take care of the ball. And we had great leadership, great talk, and did a good job to close out the game.
JOE RAHON: It's something we work on every day. Every day in practice we work on our press breaks. You're engrained to be in the right spot and read and react. Having everyone back from last year had really experience, really tight playing together, like Calvin said. And that kind of helped us through it. We've been through situations like this before. It was like earlier in the year when we were at Dayton, the same thing happened and we learned from that. They cut it to two and we used our experience and responded. In terms of breaking the pressure, the press break we do in practice every day helps with that a lot.
Q. You had those eight straight points, the last one was the dunk, that was your plan going in?
CALVIN HERMANSON: Yeah, I saw Emmett and we made eye contact. He threw the ball up to me in that situation. I saw the open court in front of me. I thought I've got to get up there and put it down as quick as I could, because the shot blocker was coming. He couldn't catch up and it turned out to be a nice play.
Q. Can you talk about Jock and making the double-double and specifically the job he did on the boards tonight?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: Jock was huge on the boards. They're very good. If they can tip it loose, if they can get a tip-out, they're so quick to the ball, they get those. We knew that going in. Jock is a good rebounder himself and he's able to get those clean in a crowd and that took care of that.
He did a good job defensively, too. We eliminated their starting bigs. A total eight or nine points in the game between them. He was a huge factor in the game. He never came off the court. Fortunately the time outs are long, so you can play more minutes in these games. He was good. And he was good in the post, too, especially early he got us a lead. And then -- but throughout the whole game he just kept pulling the boards. He was key in that game.
Q. What was going through your mind when Joe was out of the game, what were you seeing out there?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: I was seeing Joe wasn't out there, so that was a problem. And I was just trying to figure out how long we could go before I had to put him back in. So I rolled the dice, and Joe is a really smart player. I knew he made a dumb foul. We were able to move him off Lewis. And that's what we had to do. We tried to put him on whoever we thought was the least likely to try to make a player draw a foul. It ended up working. And he and Emmett did a pretty good job controlling the game. Although I was about to strangle Emmett when he threw the one out of bounds. I don't know what he was thinking. But anyhow, they're good. That's hard to play against. That pressure is hard to play against.
Q. Can you just talk about the play of your bench, particularly Krebs in the first half, he had a career high?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: Krebs was huge. He played really well. We had foul trouble. Joe had two, Dane had two, and Calvin had two. And Tanner came in, and he was outstanding in his free throws, made shots. I thought he helped us defensively. He's a good defender. We didn't play -- it was tight with our rotations. But he was key.
Dane was key off the bench, and I played him most the second half just because of defense. I thought that we started him. I thought it would be hard for them to make a run on us with him in there. And actually the 16-minute mark we were still up 15 so we were doing all right. And Joe got that quick third and fourth foul and it threw us off a little bit. But fortunately those guys are really experienced, mature, good leaders, and they're able to hang in there and keep their composure.
Q. Will you prepare a lot differently with the quick turnaround? Will there be much difference in your preparation for the next game?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: It will be just like conference. You're pretty much on the clock. You have about 48 hours. Just like conference. Our guys are used to it. Obviously we want more time. But it's just the way it is. You play Thursday, Saturday. So we should be good. We'll go watch see who wins this game, most likely Arizona, and as soon as we find out we'll start preparing for them.
Q. How was the ebb and flow of the offense a little bit with Calvin?
COACH RANDY BENNETT: Calvin didn't get off to a good start I didn't think right away. He got in foul trouble so he didn't play a lot. But he eventually gets aggressive in a game, like sometimes it's right away -- I think he kind of -- he's got a good feel there and he let's the game come to him. But, I don't know, he's just a basket maker. He was key for us in that stretch in the second half, and we were able to extend the lead again.
I kind of leave him alone. I just try and stay on him about playing hard and rebounding. I didn't think he rebounded well tonight. Offensively we let him get his feel as far as when he can -- has opportunities and when he doesn't.
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