Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale and guard Emmett Naar
Q: Did San Jose give you guys a better battle than you expected?
Landale: “We came here fully expecting they would bring their A-game – think they were going to be tough. We obviously didn’t come out and play our best defensive half, in the first half. But things really started to get in a groove for us offensively in the second half, and we started picking up the defense as well. Kyle Clark stepped up and played an unbelievable defensive game, and Joe, again. We had those guys which really picked us up. We never understate a team, but I think we were caught by surprise in the first half with our level of defense.”
Naar: “Yeah, same thing. We knew they were a good team. No team in college is really just going to roll over, we knew they were going to come out hard. And credit to them, they did mix up a few things, they gave us from different looks that we hadn’t seen, so that surprised us a bit. But like Jock said, we had to come out a bit harder in the second half and it was a good effort to turn it around.”
Guard Emmett Naar
Q: Emmett it seemed like they were able to drive the ball on you guys, especially in the first half, just kind of put the ball on the floor and go to the basket, was that something you were disappointed with?
Naar: “Yeah, obviously we try to pride ourselves on our defense, and that’s not letting people get to the rim. But again, they had some good guys. They played well in the first half. But in the second half, we did a better job of that and we made some adjustments.”
Q: Emmett, that technical foul, and four point swing there, that really set you guys up, that really set you guys up, I think it was an 18-2 run, what did that do for the momentum?
Naar: “That was great for us – we love free points. That definitely, that little four-point play, three or four points, build a bit of a gap, and you get that gap and that’s when you can sort of build confidence and put a team away. That did really help us, and then Stefan Gonzalez came in and made some big shots. That really helped as well.”
Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale and guard Emmett Naar
Q: Do you know what this guy (Landale) is shooting so far, in four games?
Naar: “Probably pretty bad, I would imagine. He’s not very good.”
Reporter: “75 percent”
Naar: “Yeah, we got to throw him the ball. He’s a beast in there.”
Landale: “It’s only because these guys are finding me on open lay ups. It’s drawing if anything, I’m kind of just there. These guys are doing all the hard work, so credit to them.”
Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett
Bennett: “32, he was good, he played really well to start. I don’t think we were alert on our coverage. I don’t think our starters came out and played as well as we need to defensively. We don’t give up 40-pointes in a half very often, and we did. The problem wasn’t their offense – we both played hard pretty consistent. Our deal is we are going to have to be consistent defensively. We were really good at Dayton. I don’t think we were sharp defensively guarding the three and four spots.”
Q: Jock looks like he may never miss another shot…
Bennett: “He’s shooting a pretty good percentage. But he shot a good percentage last year. He was our leading scorer per minute last year, and he’s getting more minutes now – he has a bigger focus of what were doing. It’s really fun to see to see a guy gain confidence like that, and improve.”
Q: When Jock’s shooting that way, it seems like some other guys are getting good looks, because you guys are shooting well as a team?
Bennett: “Absolutely, and he’s a good passer out of the post. He gets other guys good shots. We did a better job in the second half putting the ball inside the post to him. We need to be more determined to do that. We kind of built the thing on a low-post score, you can play out of that just like you play out of a point guards hands. He gets other guys good shots.”
Q: That technical was a huge swing for you guys.
Bennett: “It was, I don’t even know what happened. It gave us a little cushion. And we needed a cushion – we couldn’t get away from them. We started getting some stops in there. It’s hard to get a run if you don’t get stops.”
Q: It’s fun to see Stephen Holt and Yusef Smith and some of these guys who are regulars around here, right?
Bennett: “It’s great, it’s great. Good to see Stephen Holt and Yusef, coming back, loyal. Stephen got to come home for thanksgiving break; he’s over playing in Spain. It was good to see them.”
Q: Do you know anything about UAB yet?
Bennett: “No, I know they’re good. They were good last year and they returned a lot of those guys. I saw them play for about a minute on T.V. the other day against Kansas.”
Q: Is there anything in particular you want to focus on?
Bennett: “Defense. We’re not super quick, so we have to be super sound with what we’re doing – defending on the ball and defending on the post. This last little stretch we haven’t had much practice time. We have to get through these next to games, and then we should have some quality practice time. We need it. First six games we had it, and then we had Reno, right behind Prairie View, out to Dayton, fly back, play San Jose, going out to Vegas – it’s a tough little first six game stretch.”
Q: How hard is Jock going to be to defend this season if he can keep finishing this way? Can he keep finishing this way?
Bennett: “Yeah, I think what you see is what he is. I don’t think it’s some deal where he just caught a good streak. He’s pretty good there. It’s the same thing we see in practice. Now, we’re going to see different coverage’s. We’ll see how that effects us, how good of a job we do as a coaching staff. Making sure we still get the ball to him will be a factor.”