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March 7, 2018

Maurice Joseph

Jair Bolden

Bo Zeigler

Washington, D.C.

George Washington 78, Fordham 72

MAURICE JOSEPH: I credit my guys now for staying the course, going down 12 in the first half and being able to come back and take a lead and go into halftime with a one-point lead is special, and Jair was a huge part of that. Bo got into foul trouble in the first half and wasn't able to play too many minutes. Not sure how many minutes he played. He ended up with 16 points, and I think all of those were in the second half if I'm not mistaken.

Really proud of our guys and how spirited they played. A lot of credit goes to Fordham for making us a little stagnant there for the majority of the game, but really happy with this win and happy to be moving on and now we have to get back and prepare for Saint Louis.

Q. Jair, you guys were tied for quite a bit of the game and going back and forth, lots of lead changes. What do you think in the end allowed you to pull ahead?
JAIR BOLDEN: We paid attention to the game plan better. We knew Coach on the sideline always yells when it's time like that, it's winning time. We know when it gets to crunch time, we have to pay more attention to the game plan and get stops because that's ultimately what won us the game. We were able to string together some stops.

Q. Like Coach mentioned, first half, only a couple minutes there. How did you stick with the game and kind of keep the mindset you needed to do what you did there in the second half?
BO ZEIGLER: I knew I had foul trouble in the first half. So I just told myself, second half, I'm going to try to get every rebound that I can, and I think just things started going well for me. I ended up in the right place at the right time. Mazzulla started finding me, Jair started finding me and I started getting my rhythm and my energy carried on to the rest of the team.

Q. Jair, after losing to Saint Louis on the road, playing them tomorrow, what are you looking forward to in the game or trying to focus on to try to win this time?
JAIR BOLDEN: This time, we had a lot of turnovers. I had a lot of turnovers in that game. There were a couple times we weren't ready -- or I wasn't ready for their 1-3-1 defense, their junk defense, the way they play. This game, we're looking forward to executing more on offense and then getting those hustle play that is we missed in the first game, those offensive rebounds that they got late, just kind of the -- a little bit out-working us and we don't really like when teams, as anyone does, when teams out work you.

So this time around, looking to just play a lot harder and pay attention to little details that win us the game.

Q. Bo, difference in the second half, what do you feel you were able it take advantage of? You had eight straight points.
BO ZEIGLER: They were downing me. The way they play, they usually try to key in on the major guys and then leave the other guys to just basically say, these guys have to beat us. So I took it personal and tried to drive the ball every time I got a chance to, things went well for me.

Q. Jair, when it was a 12-point game there in the first half, you kind of stepped up and were taking some shots and making some shots. Just what were you feeling in that stretch and what you sort of needed to do to get back in the game?
JAIR BOLDEN: Well I knew the way they played, they were trying to take Yuta off the game and Yuta is our leading scorer. When they keyed on Yuta and were denying him the ball, I knew that someone had to step up.

I was just, you know, just being aggressive at any chance I get and when I have the ball, I'm always trying to be aggressive. The guys, our game plan was good. Guys were setting really good screens up top and I was just able to get open.

Q. Were you surprised at what Fordham was able to do against Yuta and make it a little more difficult for him than obviously the last time you met?
MAURICE JOSEPH: No. The first game, we were able to get out in transition a great deal and Yuta was playing on his senior night. He had an extra jolt of adrenaline and emotion and was playing like a man possessed. We knew that they were going to be able to make adjustments going into this game and how they played, and they did. They played top-sided, doubled him some. They really didn't give him any daylight for the majority of the game. He got some open looks, but they were very seldom.

So they play a tough style of defense with their two-man zone and they deny guys, and SO it's hard to make entry passes to the wings and sometimes they will double-team ball screens and they will play topside in the post, and sometimes it feels like you just don't have any ability to just make a pass. You know, they really junk it up and they make it tough on teams to score. We were able to find some holes, and Bo was able to take advantage of how they play, and we executed the game plan in that regard. So I was really, really happy about that.

Then you know, we were able to -- like Jair said, string together stops late. We didn't do a very good job throughout the course of the game of getting consecutive stops with you we got some late and we were able to pull it out.

So that was a tough win, tough team to play against. Tough style defensively to pay against, and again a lot of credit to those guys because they played really, really well. Chartouny's was making all kind of finishes, looking like James Harden out there and Slanina came out of the gate and three straight threes. They played really, really well, so a lot of credit to Fordham.

Q. Terry Nolan, Jr. didn't play much tonight and he's been a pretty key part of your starting lineup. What was it like having to adjust without him?
MAURICE JOSEPH: Well, he brings a lot to our team, deflection, steals, rebounds, he gets a lot of assists. In this game last time, I think he only had two or four points but he had nine rebounds and six assists in this game against Fordham so we needed him to come out in transition, so I'm glad Maceo Jack was able to come in and soften that blow a little bit. He got ten points and played really well. Shot three-for-four, hit two huge, huge threes. So situation like that, we have to have the next-man-up mentality and Maceo did just that; Bo did just that and the guys stayed the course and we were able to come out with a huge win against a team that's really tough to play against.

Q. You guys won the battle of the boards tonight by 17. What was the key in consistency getting those second chances offensively and then denying them to one-and-done?
MAURICE JOSEPH: Well, that was a big part of our game plan. You know, a lot of times, for us, our best offense is the glass. And Toro does a tremendous job on the glass. He had 15 rebounds tonight, five of them on the offensive end and then Bo came in, he had seven rebounds it seemed like in a span of ten minutes there, had seven rebounds and four on the offensive glass. That was part of the game plan.

It's going to be tough for us to score. We're going to have to take some tough contested shots because of the way they played, but we knew we would get some opportunities on the glass if we were diligent about pursuing second chance opportunities. On the other end we had to make sure our ball screen coverage was sharp. It wasn't in the first half. We had to make some adjustments, a few adjustments throughout the game because we were struggling with Slanina initially picking and popping, and then when we did a better job on that and limited him shooting, they got some things off their own penetration.

So we didn't do a great job there, but once we started to hunker down, we were able to get some stops, and they shot 12-for-27 in the second half; so really didn't defend at a high clip but we did when we needed to late. Again, sometimes that's what you need to do. Sometimes it's going to be ugly. You're going to get scored on, you make your adjustments and when it counts, your guys have to bite down and gets stops and be gritty and we were able to do that. Yuta had a huge stop; Toro had a huge rebound.

That play that Mazz made on the free throw line, when I think Bo, missed the front end of a one-on-one, that's a huge winning play. That's probably the play of the game where we brought it back out and able to eat more clock and get fouled. Our guys were able to make winning plays late, and that's what it's about. That's what we do to in order to win.

Q. Lessons learned against Saint Louis the last time you faced them?
MAURICE JOSEPH: The glass. You know, sometimes in the scouting reports, it's not always going to be X's and O's, it's not going to be schemes and all that kind of stuff and what you can do offensively and defensively. Sometimes you've got to play tougher. They got 15 offensive rebounds in the game in our gym last time and they were getting stops, our defense wasn't bad.

We were getting stops, we were forcing them to take tough shots but French was a monster on the glass. Johnson got on the glass. Best got some on the glass. So we have to do a much better job on the glass than the first time around and we have to be able to run our offense with some fluidity. They play the 1-3-1 and they switch to man and they play some three-two zones and some two-three zones and switch up their defenses as well. We have to make sure we are not stagnant and we are playing with some fluidity, as opposed to playing stagnant trying to figure what they are in, because that's what he they want. They kind of take the air out of the ball that way and they do a tremendous job at it and that's why they are one of the best defensive teams in the conference. We have to be better on the glass and we have to be sharper executing on offense against their switching defenses, and if we do that, we give ourselves a shot to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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