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 11, 2017

Will Wade

Mo Alie-Cox

JeQuan Lewis

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

VCU 87, Richmond 77

WILL WADE: Well, just another great game between VCU and Richmond. Thought the last eight minutes of regulation, really last six minutes of regulation, overtime, we post well in the paint. We out rebounded them by 16 and scored 56 points in the paint. That's our formula. I felt really good when it got to over time with Cline having four fouls, we knew there would not be a whole lot of resistance down there. Just made some plays when we needed to, so we were fortunate and made some plays and we'll take it. On to tomorrow.

Q. The three-point in overtime -- what was the play call?
JeQUAN LEWIS: Coach drew the play in the time-out. We actually run it a lot. But we just executed a little different, and I shot it.

Q. JeQuan, did you feel like you needed to get that shot off quickly, and Samir I thought played very well today, and sort of held you guys in the game for awhile. Could you talk about how he played?
JeQUAN LEWIS: Yeah, I had shooting in my mind before the play even started. I wanted to put that on my shoulders and my teammates, I felt like my teammates wanted me to, as well, and as for Samir, he's a great player, he's a great scorer. We're going to need that from him. He's able to do that -- he's capable of doing that every game, if he just comes out, play his game. He's a great driver, getting to the rim and finishing. He's great at rebounding his own misses. He's scrappy, you know, and if Samir keep playing like, we're going to do good things.

Q. Mo, yesterday against George Mason, you weren't able to score, but first half today, you had eight points. Was the game plan going in to get you started early?
MO ALIE-COX: That's always the game plan. Against Mason, I saw a lot of double team. I just affected the game different ways: I had four assists, a couple turnovers, but I just try to spray it out quick.

Today they didn't really double team me. So I knew I had one-on-one on the inside. Once I take my first shot, I'm probably feeling it, so I just kept going to the basket every time I got the ball and I had success today.

Q. Mo, looked like when Cline was in foul trouble and out of the game, y'all were still having a hard time scoring in time and looked like it got a little frustrating at times. What changed that allowed y'all to start getting engaged in there? And two, you had to guard Jones on the last shot. Talk about that switch a little bit.
MO ALIE-COX: Well, for the first question, we were getting good looks. I got to the front of the rim twice. I just faded away a little bit on it so I just came out real quick. Hamdy came in, gave us a big boost and scored six straight and got a big rebound and I just came back and finished it off.

The last shot, that's a situation we worked on for the past two weeks in practice on-switching out, Cline is at the screen, and I knew I had one-on-one. And I'm very confident in my foot speed and lateral movement to stay in front of the guards. I just tried to make it as difficult as possible and he couldn't get over me.

Q. How big was it to have the crowd involved as much as they were?
JeQUAN LEWIS: It's big time. We love Ram Nation. They love us, too. Their energy gives us a little energy when we're tired. We press a lot, and when we feel down, we look up to them, they are on their feet and they are cheering a lot, and we feed off that and we appreciate it.

Q. Other than Melvin and a couple other former players, this will be your fourth straight appearance in the A-10 championship game. Getting to the championship game over the past four years, was this one tougher than previous games, or is it just business as usual?
MO ALIE-COX: You mean, to get there? This game kind of felt like the Richmond game that we -- the year we won it. It was just a similar game just like this, came down to the wire. It was a similar paths, but we just tried to take it one game at a time. You know, every game is different, so we just try it come out and do what we do, and hopefully we'll end up with a good result.

JeQUAN LEWIS: Yeah, I'm with him. (Laughter).

Q. You guys just played at Rhode Island. Rhode Island seems to be playing pretty well right now. What are your thoughts on what the game will be like tomorrow?
JeQUAN LEWIS: I feel like it is going to be fun. It's going to be up and down. It's going to be physical. They have really good guards. We have really good guards and they have good posts and we have good posts. Should be a fun game.

MO ALIE-COX: It's just going to be a physical game. They play gritty. We play gritty. They out-toughed us the first time we played them. We've just got to match their physicality and keep them off the glass because they got the best of us the last time we played them. I think if we do well on the glass, it should be a good game.

Q. Samir makes that baseline drive in the end, you're down six and he goes baseline for that, and when you turn, you gestured to the bench. What was the significance of that?
WILL WADE: I was gesturing because we have to drive the ball and get it in the paint, and we kept shooting all these mid-range jumpshots. We probably shot more mid-range jumpshots today than we've shot in the last month. We kept shooting all these terrible shots and I just -- if we just drive the ball in the paint, they will foul you or you will get a layup.

We scored 56 points in the paint. All you have to do is drive it in there. So that's one reason Samir was really successful today. He just put his head down and drove the ball in there. Johnny was really good for us, too, because he could get pieces of the paint and drive it in there.

So I was just explaining -- well, gesturing, explaining, however you want to -- I mean, get the ball inside. Whether it's off the -- we talk about feeding the post a lot, but you can drive it in there, too. I mean, Samir is good driving that thing in there.

Q. You talked about it a little bit earlier today about Cline getting into foul trouble with a little under six minutes left. Was that the turning point of the game? Is that where the momentum really shifts?
WILL WADE: They are a different team when they are in foul trouble, no doubt about it. Their whole offense runs through him. He's a point-center. Their whole offense runs through him. You know, no knock on their other guys, but it was a pretty significant drop off when you go from the Player of the Year in the league to some of their other guys.

But Coach Mooney did a good job managing again. He went really small on offense and we had to adjust a little bit and we had to play small, and then he took advantage of some of our mismatches. He posted Buckingham and Sherod -- he posted Buckingham twice and Sherod once on some of our smaller guys because we had to have our other big guy who was in the game locked up on somebody else on a shooter.

It was a little bit of a back and forth with all that. It was critical when he got in foul trouble.

Q. How big was Samir and Hamdy?
WILL WADE: They were both great. I mean, they both do their work in the paint. So when we need to get the ball in the paint, we need to play paint ball, you get that ball in there to those guys and let them go to work, and they are phenomenal.

And the other big point was we quit turning the ball over. We had 11 turnovers with I think seven and a half, eight minutes left; we only had two turnovers in the last eight minutes and overtime. So all we have to do, with the way we offensive rebound the ball and the way we play, if we just get the thing on the backboard, we are pretty good and we finally just got the ball in the paint and got the ball on the backboard. Oh, wow, I didn't realize Johnny had seven assists. That was good.

Q. You mentioned Samir would drive in there. He's an aggressive player and he's also a three-point shooter. Does he just instinctively drive the ball in there or did you have to tell him?
WILL WADE: No, he's a driver more than a shooter. He'll tell you that. He got mad at me when I was making him shoot all these shots all off-season. He said, "I'm not a shooter, you're not going to make me into a shooter."

I said, "Well, you've going to have to shoot because you're not going to be able to drive. This isn't high school basketball. People will play way off of you." His instincts are to drive it. I almost have to yell at him to shoot it when we want him to shoot. I thought the corner three to tie it was a big one, as well. He played at a high level for us.

It's good we are getting some contributions. Yesterday Derry (ph) really helped us and today Samir helped us, and you're going to need that as we go down the stretch here.

Q. Seemed to me like Samir not just helped you, sort of kept you in the game?
WILL WADE: Yeah, he went on a 6-0 run by himself when we got down six. Samir made many huge contributions for us. Really efficient game for him today.

Q. What do you feel like the biggest category is that you have to work on for tomorrow's game?
WILL WADE: They just punked us in Rhode Island now. They just absolutely punked us. They had our offense pushed out to halfcourt. They just obliterated us on the glass. I've forgotten what the final numbers were. It was ugly. It was bad. It was at least 12, 15 on the glass and we just got a Nile lighted. And we weren't strong in the paint. We didn't finish well in the paint. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We were the under four media -- we fouled them when we were down two and we tried to run through a pass and we fouled them. They hit the free throws and it was over from there. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We just didn't do enough. We've got to do a really good job on the glass. We have to do a really good job finishing in the paint. They are the one team in the league that is, you know, as or more physical than we are and as big and strong as we are down low, and that's the one team in the league, it's mono-a-mono tomorrow. I know JeQuan said the game is going to be up-and-down. I doubt that. It's going to be a tractor pull. It's going to be low-scoring and it's going to be a grind-it-out type of deal. It's on us, and so we'll need to be ready. They play a ton of zone.

We got a little discombobulated there in the first half at Rhode Island, but we will be ready. We'll go back and rest and prepare as best we can. This tournament, all the teams we've played, we've played them recently. We played George Mason last game of the regular season, and played Rhode Island their to last game of the regular season. And Richmond we're familiar; we played them twice this year. So it has made it a little bit easier.

Q. How big is depth coming into this tournament? Do you feel like they are as deep as your deep?
WILL WADE: Oh, they are deep. They are bringing the kid, Christion Thompson, and Leviton (ph), he's a man down there. He's a freshman. Akele, they played him a lot more. They didn't play him when we played him the first time but they played him a lot more today. They are deep and good.

I'll say this, if I'm going to rant -- not going to get you into all my numbers but they are an NCAA Tournament team whether or not they win or lose tomorrow, I'm telling you, and they can beat somebody when they get there. So they need to be in win, lose or draw tomorrow. They are big, they are physical. When you get to the tournament, when you get to the Tournament, this is why Rhode Island could win games in the Tournament. You get to the Tournament, the biggest difference between the so-called power five and the so-called Atlantic 10 is the big guys. You've got to have good bigs. You've got to have good bigs and we have got good bigs, and they have got good bigs, and that's why they can win when they get there. You're physical and you've got good big guys and you can block shots and affect things around the rim, you're pretty good. You're pretty good and that's why when Rhode Island gets in, they can make a run.

Q. VCU has a tournament title appearance streak that predates the move to the Atlantic 10. What does it say about VCU as a program where they can go from a CAA where they are consistently --
WILL WADE: This is their fourth straight won in the Atlantic 10, fifth overall. They have been in the Atlantic 10 five years -- how many is this overall, five in a row? Seven in a row in the championship game? Wow.

Well, pretty good. We're consistent. We're consistent. You know, I do want to say this. I told our players this. But we appreciate all our fans coming. I told our guys this morning. I said, guys, I said we've got blue collar hard-working folks. These people sacrificed a lot to come here and watch us play. There's people that don't take summer vacations to come here and watch us play in the conference tournament. And so we owe it to them. There's nothing more they would like than to sweep Richmond, I know that. I know that. It's good, good for everybody in town. Food tastes a little better.

So I told them, I said, we owe it to these guys to give them all-out effort. There are people that have sacrificed to come here and help us, and it helped us. It's like a home game in there. It's like a home game in there. You have 3,000 or 4,000 of your own people there, and I'm sure we'll have even more tomorrow. But those people sacrificed to come here and watch us play. The least we can do is lay it on the line for them and show them how much we appreciate them and care about winning and getting it back to the championship.

We're happy to be in it. This is our fifth time in the Atlantic 10, as you told me. We only won it once, so it would be nice to cut the Nets down again.

Q. It was such an emotional game, especially down the stretch there. What did you say to start the overtime, to not let a letdown happen?
WILL WADE: I felt good ones it gets to over time. The team who forces over time wins 72 percent of the time. So I felt good when I got to over time. I liked our chances. I liked our chances in overtime because of their foul trouble, and you know, quite frankly, that three just kind of -- you could see it. You could see it. You knew they were going to have to hit a crazy shot in regulation to beat us, and they didn't hit a circus shot in regulation, I felt good. Mo didn't score the other day -- Mo helps us so much defensively. How many other five men can you switch on to a guard who is, what was he, second-team, all league, guard, Jones, something like that? All-league guard and just bottled up, shoot a fadeaway, 18-foot contested jumpshot over somebody like that -- he's a freak of nature. That's why he's going to play in the NFL or wherever he wants to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
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