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NIT POSTSEASON TOURNAMENT


March 31, 2015


Jim Larranaga

Sheldon McClellan

Davon Reed


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Miami ¬Ė 60
Temple - 57


Q.  For either one of you, first game, Madison Square Garden, NIT semifinal, comes down to the final shot and you guys come through?
SHELDON McCLELLAN:¬† That was a very fast‑paced game.¬† The first half we played kind of passive.¬† Wasn't being as aggressive as we normally are and second half we came out and played more aggressive I feel like, including myself.¬† Coach ran a couple things and got me going offensively.¬† We just fed off our defense and it kind of led to fast‑break baskets and getting to the free throw line.

Q.  Specifically dealing with the loss of Tonye, how did you overcome that today? 
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† We've been like a M.A.S.H. unit:¬† We've been playing without Angel Rodr√≠guez for a while against Richmond; Manu sprained his knee, and Ja'Quan pulled a ligament in his thumb; and then tonight, Tonye Jekiri got a concussion, so he won't be available to us.
But somehow, some way, these guys find a way to stick together, get some good defensive stops and then we got should very good fast break opportunities and made some shots in transition.
I thought Omar Sherman came in and gave us a huge lift in the second half.  I thought Sheldon's plays down the stretch when we went to him, we called a play and put him at the point guard position, and he was able to attack and score a couple of times and then also dish off to other guys.
And then we called a play for Deandre Burnett, 30 seconds left, or something a little more than that maybe, and we felt like we need he had to get something going back to the goal.  And Angel Rodríguez actually came to me and said, "Put Drey in, he's ready."  So we put Deandre Burnett in, gave him a chance to go to the basket; he went right to the rim and made a big shot.
But the whole key is we have got Davon Reed playing like five different positions, playing defense against all different guys.  But I thought our perimeter defense in the second half, especially, was very solid.

Q.  Can you talk about the job that Omar Sherman and guys like that did, especially once Tonye went down?
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† Tonye is the leading rebounder in the ACC.¬† He's not only our leading rebounder, but he's our defensive presence inside around the rim.¬† And we needed Ivan Cruz Uceda and Omar to kind of take up that slack.¬† I thought Ivan Cruz Uceda did a nice job, and then Omar just was great‑‑ I'm sorry?¬† Were you talking to me?¬† You talking to your producer?¬† Tell them to be quiet while I'm speaking‑‑

Q.  Inaudible.
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† (Laughter).

Q.  Can you talk about the series of runs you had?
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† Well, I thought the game kind of was in Temple's favor early on.¬† We were okay to start the game but I subbed and our subs were not quite juiced enough and ready to be in the attack mode and we fell behind immediately.¬† We were down 15‑9 and didn't look very good.
I went back with the starters, fought our way back, and we were only down five at the half and made a nice little run towards the end of the half with a small unit.
So we decided with Tonye out we would stick with that small unit with Ja'Quan Newton, Deandre Burnett, Sheldon, Davon and Ivan Cruz Uceda and that worked for a while.  But we still were trailing.  Then we brought in Omar; he gave us a huge lift and that got us the lead.

Q.  Can you tell us what his injury was and also can you talk about the lift Ja'Quan gave you guys.
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† The injury, I believe, but I didn't see it and I asked the referees and they said it was just an accident.¬† I believe one of the Temple players made a shot and turned around, and I don't know if his head banged into Tonye's nose and mouth.¬† But Tonye got a huge lip and bloody nose, and he sustained a concussion, so he's out.
Ja'Quan Newton has a torn ligament in his right hand.  And yet after the first few minutes when he was not very aggressive, for the remainder of the half and through the second half, he became much more aggressive and much like the point guard we need him to be.

Q.¬† When didthat happen ‑‑
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† In the Richmond game.¬† He drove to the basket, got clobbered, went to the ground, and when he landed, his thumb hit first.

Q.  Can you just elaborate a little more on what Davon brings to team, considering he came back from injury this year?
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† First of all, Davon had a sensational summer.¬† We took the team to Spain and he was our best perimeter defender, he was our second‑best rebounder, he was shooting the ball extremely well.¬† He got hurt in September and had to have knee surgery.
As a result, he didn't get to play for three months, and it's very hard coming back from that.¬† In fact, I told him:¬† If you're out for three months, it's going to take you three months actually to get back.¬† In the back of our minds, we thought, well, if he's not able to do it, we'll just red‑shirt him.
But his work ethic is nothing like I've ever seen before.  He was in that training room with the doctors with the trainers with our strength and conditioning coach, and the doctors told me in November, it's the fastest they have ever seen anybody recover.  And by the time he was allowed to play, his hurt knee was stronger than it was before he got hurt.
And then he worked his way‑‑ he came in off the bench initially.¬† He worked his way into the starting lineup, and he's been in the starting lineup ever since, and he's shot the ball well.¬† He's passed the ball well.¬† He's defended.¬† He's rebounded.¬† He's played multiple positions.
And late in the season, I decided that to give him even more responsibility, we have made him one of the team captains now along with Sheldon and Tonye.  Before that it was only Angel, and we felt like Angel just had too much weight on his shoulders.
But Davon has been an inspirational leader.  He and Sheldon have done a great job of taking on a bigger role, especially since Angel's been out.

Q.  What did it take defensively just to hold Temple to 30percent shooting especially after gentleman carry went out?
DAVON REED:¬† They were on fire in the beginning, hitting shots.¬† That was just a fast‑paced game, we weren't getting back and things like that.¬† Once Tonye went down, Coach said, "We need to do this for Tonye."¬† Everybody dug deep, did what they could and rebounded the ball and defended extremely well.

Q.  The Temple freshman had a big game for them, 17 points but also eight rebounds, five blocks.  How much attention did you pay to him in the days leading up to this and what were your thoughts on his performance?
COACH LARRA√ĎAGA:¬† We know Obi very well.¬† We watched him throughout his AAU and we recruited him.¬† During the game, I said, "We are making him look like an All‑American.¬† He's only a freshman.¬† We have got to be able to guard him."¬† But we weren't able to do it.¬† He did a tremendous job.
But our overall defensive effort, it's not about stopping one guy but stopping Temple.  And if you look at the stats they were 9 for 40 in the second half, 22 percent, and that should win the game.  Maybe only by three, but it's still pretty darned good defense.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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