home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 21, 2015

Larry Davis

Jermaine Sanders

Shaq Thomas



COACH DAVIS: First of all, I want to say I'm just as proud of our guys and the fight they had in them tonight than I was last night when they beat Purdue -- or the night before last, when they beat Purdue. We got off the bus today, every guy that walked into that locker room expected to beat Kentucky, and that's not just talk, that's the truth. They didn't go out and play with fear. Had we finished a little better down the stretch with some point-blank shots that we had, had we made some free throws, we'd have made it very, very interesting. But I'm so proud of these guys because of what they've done this whole entire year. In a very difficult situation when we lost our leader, these guys rallied. They're a young team with really one guy with starting experience back, five or six new guys, two sophomores, one of which played a lot and one of which played very little. For them to accomplish what they've accomplished this year has been no short feat. I'm one of the luckiest coaches in the world to have the chance to have coached them this year because they're not only really good players, they're also great kids, represent the University of Cincinnati, in an outstanding way. And the great thing we've got -- I hate it for Jermaine (Sanders) because he won't be back with us, but we've got everybody else back. Next year it's our plan to be a much higher seed, and come into this tournament and be one of the favorites in this tournament because of who we have returning and the grit and the determination that these guys have shown. Again, I'm extremely proud of them. I hope that the fans out there appreciate their effort and what they did today. Again, we came to this arena to win today, expecting to win, not just play close or have some moral victory. We're not into moral victories at Cincinnati. We're into beating whoever we show up to play, and that was what we thought when we walked on the floor today.

Q. For both players, part of the game plan was to be as physical and tough with them as you could be. How do you think they responded to that?
SHAQ THOMAS: I think we did a good job in the first half, and I think we were in the game, and we just made a couple mental errors that we need to fix. I think we played real physical with them, and we're going to be back here next year.

JERMAINE SANDERS: I don't think they handled our physicality very well throughout the game. Mental lapses that happened on the offensive end was why we lost the game. It wasn't nothing that they did.

Q. I'm curious, everybody seems to be running man-to-man versus running a zone. What do you all feel that that works better than running a 1-3-1 or a 2-3 or something like that. It just confuses me. I'm a former coach. I'm just curious, running man-to-man, does that prove to be more difficult or no?
SHAQ THOMAS: The game plan was keep them out of the paint, pretty much. It's like a matchup zone we play. Pretty much just try to keep them out of the paint and don't let them get lobs and stuff like that.

Q. What was it like, especially in the second half, just trying to get off a shot against that defense?
SHAQ THOMAS: It was pretty tough. They got a lot of 7-footers, so our shot blockers. I think if we execute a little bit more, it would be smart on the offensive end. We'll be ready for next year. We've got a lot of young guys. I think we're going to be good.

JERMAINE SANDERS: I don't think it was tough at all. We got point blank shots that we just missed. It wasn't anything they did defensively that made it tough for us to score. We got shots we wanted, but it just didn't go down. Sometimes it happens like that.

Q. This question is for Jermaine. As a senior, what does it feel like to go out at such a big stage in such a big game?
JERMAINE SANDERS: It hurts that we lost the game, but I'm glad that we gave our best effort. We didn't ever let down, and we kept our guard up the whole game. I'm proud of the guys and the way they played. I know next year, with the group of guys we've got, they're going to make a good run in the tournament next year.

Q. For both Jermaine and Shaq, do you think Kentucky can go unbeaten? Or do you think future opponents should look at what you guys did today and take some lessons from it?
SHAQ THOMAS: I definitely think they're beatable. It's just you have to execute for 40 minutes and you can't let up for 40 minutes because, as soon as the crowd gets into it, they obviously feed off of that. I think they're not unbeatable, but we're going to see coming up.

JERMAINE SANDERS: I think they're a very beatable team. You just can't give them anything easy. They feed off of transition buckets and easy like layups and things like that. So you just can't give them anything easy. Make it tough for their big guys to score around the rim.

Q. Did you gentlemen sense that Kentucky was rattled and feed off of that if you did? And do you think Kentucky took you lightly?
SHAQ THOMAS: I think through the first half they were a little rattled. They went on a little run, a 7-0 run, and I think that kind of changed the game right there. I think they were definitely a little rattled.

JERMAINE SANDERS: I think that we rattled them with our physicality. I don't think they were ready for it. Usually, they go against teams that back down, and I think that we were ready for the fight from beginning to end. That kind of got them a little rattled. I think they held their composure well and overcame it.

Q. Coach, do you expect to be a head coach somewhere next year?
COACH DAVIS: We'll see what happens. If I get a heck of an opportunity, it will have to be a really good opportunity in order for me to leave, I will consider it, but I can tell you I'll be just as happy if I come back and be the associate head coach to Mick Cronin next year. I got the best of both worlds. If something comes along, great, I'll look at it. If not, I'm happy as can be to be at Cincinnati and be alongside Mick.

Q. Coach Davis, in the first half, it seemed like we played about 17 minutes of great basketball, and then we let up a little bit. Was the (Willie) Cauley-Stein dunk, do you think, a big momentum swing in the game?
COACH DAVIS: I think our turnovers, we had a couple of turnovers in a row, that was the big momentum swing in the game. They had a few dunks. Not what they normally have, but I think the turnovers deflated us more than the dunk did. We knew that they're big, they're going to get a dunk or two. We got a dunk or two. But I don't think the dunk deflated us as much as the two turnovers that we had during that stretch and that cost us, it cost us because we were right there, and we could have kept a little more pressure on them going into halftime.

Q. Coach, I'm sorry if you've been asked before, but did you talk to your team about the physicality coming into this game and how you guys need to be that over a physical team?
COACH DAVIS: The Bearcats are always physical. That's how we play. We don't play dirty, but we use our bodies, and we play very, very physical. I've been telling them they've got to play physical from the moment I took over, and Mick has been telling them we've got to play physical from the day we put this group together, in the very first practice, because that's how we play. We're not going to give you an inch. If you don't play that way, you've got no chance to win. If you're going to run up against somebody that plays physical and you're not ready to meet that every time out, then you're not going to win. Obviously, their size is a problem. So we knew we had to get bodies on bodies and try to block them out. We outrebounded them and held them to 37 percent. The difference in the game is they shot 28 free throws, and we shot 14. That was the difference in the game. We outrebounded them. We held them to 37 percent. And they shot 28 free throws, and we shot 20. We shot four or five of those late in the game too. So physically, we matched them. We hung with them. But, again, the difference in the game is the free-throw line.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297