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November 23, 2011

Jim Boeheim

Kris Joseph

Brandon Triche



THE MODERATOR:  Coach will make an opening statement.  We'll take questions for the players and players for the coach.
JIM BOEHEIM:  I thought Virginia Tech did a great job against our defense, moving the ball and getting the right‑‑ we didn't recognize (Erick) Green in the first part of the game.  We left him open.  But I thought they did a great job of attacking our defense.  But the problem was on offense we just didn't get anything going on offense, and Kris kind of helped us in the first.  Then Kris got going and then Dion.  I thought Brandon really got us going.  I thought C.J. Fair was really good in the second half.
We've had four easy games, and when you get that first tough game, it's always going to be difficult.  And I thought that again we went with the veterans in the second half, guys that have been there, and I thought they did a tremendous job.
I think Virginia Tech is a pretty darn good basketball team.  We're happy to get this win.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the players, please?

Q.  For Kris and Brandon, can you talk about the lift Dion gave you off the bench‑‑ I think nine straight points in the second half ‑‑ and brought some energy in the second half.
KRIS JOSEPH:  I think Dion is capable of coming off the bench and providing that offensive and defensive spark.  He got a steal and a finish leading the second half.  He's a capable player.  And when guys, the veteran guys, aren't doing exactly what they're supposed to, he comes in and provides a great spark for us and he brings the atmosphere and the crowd got into it.  He did a great job for us off the bench tonight.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for the players?

Q.  For both guys.  You heard Coach say you guys had four relatively easy games.  Were you curious as how you would respond and how you feel you responded?
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think we need these tough games.  I think we responded pretty well.  First half was pretty tough.  But I think we're a team of runs.  In the second half we got it going a little bit.  I think C.J. played well, and I mentioned it was going to‑‑ our bench was going to get us these tough wins.  They definitely helped us today.
KRIS JOSEPH:  You know, like you said, we had relatively easy games.  This is our first real test.  This was a great start for us because from here on out no game is going to be that easy as soon as the BIG EAST starts which is the toughest conference in the country.  This is a great start, especially playing the Garden and this atmosphere to get the young guys ready for what's to come later on in the season.

Q.  After the first four games when you guys were playing all 20 guys, how did it feel to be out there for the entire second half?
KRIS JOSEPH:  It's the games going to have to be like that.  Where I'm going, Brandon was going pretty well.  He played a significant amount of minutes as well.  And Coach is really smart, he's going to play the five that's flowing offensively and defensively.  Tonight that's just the five that was doing well.  It could be any five on any given moment because we still have ten guys that can contribute at any given moment.

Q.  You guys have been scoring a lot of points those first games; was it frustrating if the first half?
BRANDON TRICHE:  It was frustrating offensively.  We couldn't get our offense going.  We struggled during the offense.  I think the biggest thing that got us going was our defense.  We were able to get out to the shooters, get a few steals, get a few tipped balls.  And actually stopped them from scoring.  Our biggest issue was offense.
We're going to work on that.

Q.  How do you feel you guys played defensively in the first half.  Seemed a lot of their shots came from the outside over the zone.
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think defensively we played pretty well.  I know for me I didn't get out to a few shooters, which I'll try to do that on Friday.  I think overall we played pretty well.  We rebounded pretty well.

Q.  Kris, how do you describe your style of play, because it's solid, sensational; spectacular, workman‑like?
KRIS JOSEPH:  I think I'm more of a playmaker.  I try to make plays for my teammates and myself.
JIM BOEHEIM:  Did somebody give you that question?
KRIS JOSEPH:  I just try to make plays.  I'm able to knock down open shots.  I'm able to drive to the basket.  I'm able to rebound.  So I just try to make plays offensively and defensively.

Q.  Coach, it seemed like defensively Melo was controlling the paint.  He had five blocks.
JIM BOEHEIM:  I thought he was really good for us.  He made a couple of really big plays, changed the game a little bit.  He's been getting better.  I think he's still got tremendous potential.  He has a chance to get better and better through the course of the year.  Right now if he can just do that, he needs to rebound a little bit better for us, but he can do that, that's very helpful.  We've got to do a better job of getting him moved around and finding him when we can.  That will come.

Q.  Either of you, what do you know about Stanford?
JIM BOEHEIM:  They don't know anything.  They didn't watch the game.
KRIS JOSEPH:  Thanks, Coach.

Q.  For Brandon or Kris, you guys played a lot of second half with C.J. and Dion.  Do you want to talk about how comfortable you are with them even though they're not the starting five working together with that second team?
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think our chemistry is pretty well.  In practice we mix and match a lot of guys.  So we kind of get the rhythm on each other.  It's pretty easy.  For a coach just trying to find the right match, and I think that was the right match today.
KRIS JOSEPH:  Like he said, in practice we‑‑ it just becomes second nature.  Every lineup we throw out there, we're very capable and very comfortable playing with them just because in practice any lineup can be thrown out there.  We work well together.  We work hard.  And we compete.  So working hard in practice definitely helps us in the games.

Q.  Being that you were down by a bucket‑and‑a‑half, do you feel that has the Garden crowd‑‑ a lot of fans coming from Syracuse, do you feel that gave you a spark that you carried over into the second half that ultimately helped you win the game?
KRIS JOSEPH:  Our fans are very faithful.  We go to Florida and there's more Syracuse fans than fans South Florida.  We definitely feel when we come out to play at the Garden, we call this our second home.  We feel we're not only playing for ourselves and coaches, we're playing for our Syracuse fans.  They're they're loyal to us and we want to play well for them.

Q.  For both of the players, you guys have done the whole come‑into‑the‑Garden and it's‑packed‑with‑orange thing before.  I'm curious, the program is being surrounded by a lot of tough stuff the last five days.  Does it feel exactly like it usually does or any differences you noticed?
BRANDON TRICHE:  I think we're always comfortable.  We're doing some of the same things.  We're not changing up any formats.  We are trying to make it as normal as possible.  I think coming down here we had the same energy.  The lights are bright.  I think we just try to stick to what we've been doing for the last couple of years.  That's what we've been doing the last couple of games.

Q.  Anything different for you the last few days?
KRIS JOSEPH:  Not at all.  We're here to play basketball.  We're here to win basketball games, two basketball games.  We got the first one out the way.  We're just looking forward to playing Stanford on Friday.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, gentlemen.  Take questions for the coach.

Q.  Coach, you mentioned you had the veterans there in the second half.  Are you at a point with Dion and C.J. where you're comfortable in terms of don't look at them as younger players making mistakes and starting to look at them as veterans?
JIM BOEHEIM:  Yeah, these guys have been through a whole season.  That's a veteran now.  You play one full year, you're more of a veteran in today's world.  Those two guys are good players.  They played well, really, as freshmen.  I think Dion has improved his defense tremendously.  He's much better this year.  And C.J. is a steady player.  He hit the big shot.  They went through‑‑ I think it was a box or a triangle, and I don't think they even knew what it was.  I don't think we knew‑‑ the players knew what it was.  But C.J. got in the perimeter.  He's worked very hard.  That shot was probably the shot, the big shot of the game, I thought.
He can hit that shot now.  But he's a very steady player.  Very good defensively, very good rebounder.  He just plays‑‑ he's a very talented young player.  The first play of the game they got the pass down low on his side and they got a dunk.  He's just got to learn how to do some things.

Q.  You've done this lots of years.  How good could this team be?
JIM BOEHEIM:  We've still got a long ways to go, I believe.  I like what we're doing.  I think we can become a better team.  But we're not there for sure.  I think you have to take into consideration that we didn't play all that well last year in the BIG EAST tournament the last part of the season.  Didn't play well in the NCAA tournament.  We're depending now on these young guys like C.J. and Dion and Fab and Baye.  Those guys are still four sophomores.  They're going to have to get better.  And it's going to take some time.
We've got a lot of work to do.  We do have the potential, but as we saw out there tonight, we have got a lot of work to do yet.  You don't get a lot better by beating people by 30 points.  I'm glad we played well.  We really played pretty well.  But you don't get better in those games.  We learned some stuff from tonight.  Just what I saw of Stanford, they're very, very impressive team.  That will be a great game Friday night.

Q.  Virginia Tech Dorian and Smith only had two points and three shots and yet double‑doubles in the first three games.  What were you guys able to do early to make it tough for him down in low where he couldn't get the ball?
JIM BOEHEIM:  Well, I think defensively we just did a good job.  I think they were very patient.  But our defense we made‑‑ our kids made some adjustments in what they were getting earlier they didn't get.  And then they started to spread out a little bit and they had to take some shots at the end of the clock.  And they did start to try to get back in there.
Our defense was good.  It's not that easy to score inside against us.  I thought they attacked us very well.  They shot 42% from the three.  That's more than almost anybody shoots against us.  They shot 42 from the field.  They shot 83 from the free‑throw line.  I think we forced some turnovers.  We won that battle.  But they moved the ball, they were very patient, and they shot pretty well.  That can lead to an upset.

Q.  I have another question that somebody wrote for me.
JIM BOEHEIM:  Somebody gave you a question?

Q.  Yes, it's kind of good.  I think in the first half they shot 47% from the field, thereabouts.  And I think 37% in the second half.  Or thereabouts.  Am I close?
JIM BOEHEIM:  You're right on.  Your usual rapier wit.  You've got it just about exactly right.  They improved their three‑point shooting from 40 to 44.

Q.  The question is do you see something subtly in your zone that leads you to believe that it's going to take a toll as the game goes on?  Do you see something early the way you're moving, maybe the way Fab is talking?
JIM BOEHEIM:  We adjusted.  We try to figure out where they're going and try to take away stuff, took away the high post for a while.  That hurt them a little bit.  Then we went back out on the shooters a little bit.  They didn't get it back into the high post until we established the lead there.
We try to adjust it a little bit, just like you do if you're a man‑to‑man team.  But teams aren't getting a lot of stuff against us.  We don't change our defense because our offense is bad.  Our offense was bad in the first half.  That's why we were behind.  We scored 42 points in the second half.  If we had a better first half‑‑ but we didn't.  We didn't have a good offensive first half.  The interesting thing is they shot it pretty well.  They made a lot of pretty good shots with people up on them, and they still weren't able to capitalize on it in terms of the game.
Our defense has been good.  It needs to get better.  I'm more concerned about probably about our offense, getting our offense going.  We've got a lot of work to do on that.  The first games were just too easy.  We didn't get any work on it.  We didn't have to do much.  We had a lot of open shots, and we can make those.
I think this will help us.  This game will definitely help us.

Q.  C.J. and Dion didn't really get going in the first half; was it them being more aggressive in the second half or what was the difference?
JIM BOEHEIM:  Dion had four easy shots in the first half and he missed them all.  That's not going to happen too much with him.  They made a couple of really‑‑ he made a couple of tough drives and got going, hit that three.  He did get going.  He's a good offensive player.  He's going to get going.
Brandon Triche is a big key for us.  He's a lot better player than anybody knows.  He's a lot better player than he knows.  He's got‑‑ he can play better than he played tonight.  He played pretty good, but he can play better.  That's what he's got to do for us.  The good news is we won and we can play better.  So I think that's a good thing.
THE MODERATOR:  Last question.

Q.  What did you like about Stanford?  You said this could be a great game.
JIM BOEHEIM:  I didn't see enough about them to give you an accurate‑‑ they moved the ball well, they shot it well, they defended.  They looked very, very good.  I only got to watch a little bit, because the game wasn't on early.  And by the time they got on, we were on a bus.  So I didn't get to see it and I didn't talk to my coaches.  But I know‑‑ I saw them play once on TV in this tournament, I think, earlier.  They got really good young players that learned a lot last year.  Now they've learned from those lessons.  They're a good team.  They've got guys that can shoot it, handle it.  They're a really good basketball team.  That's what we need.  We need another‑‑ it will be another tough game for us.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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