USF Men's Basketball
USF vs. St. John's
Feb. 20, 2010
Postgame Quotes

USF Guard Mike Mercer

On the team seeming off balance…

“They played a great game; they were the better team today, and we just didn’t come with it. Last game we came with the defensive intensity, being with the mindset, just to lock our men down. Everyone has to look in the mirror; I personally take blame because I didn’t come out with the defensive intensity I should’ve come out with, I was getting driven by. You know you can’t start off games like that in the Big East because you get down big and it’s really hard to come back.”

On if this game is looked at as an opportunity lost…

“In the Big East you have to win home games because it’s so tough to win on the road. The home games are your bread and butter; you must win those. Like I said, we didn’t come with the defensive intensity like we were supposed to and I’m just trying to get the sour taste out of my mouth; I can’t wait for Wednesday.”

On if the team settled for outside shots too much…

“I think that’s what St. John’s game plan might have been, just to let us sit out there and shoot. They went zone a couple times and we’re all guilty of settling for outside shots. In the second half, I made a conscious effort to get to the basket more and it turned out good for me but by that time it was too late.”

On how this game has now changed the mindset…

“Like Coach Heath always says, the Big East is the Big East and you really can’t get too down on one loss. It’s in the past, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ve got Villanova on Wednesday and personally, I’m just going to make it a conscious effort to have my best defensive game on Wednesday.”

On going with a four guard- one post offense in the second half for a little bit…

“When we went with four guards I feel like we sped them up. We had a lot of quickness out there on the perimeter. And then we had Augustus or Jarrid in the post that would be able to bang with their big men. And you know, it worked for a little while, then St. John’s made another adjustment and they just went back up on us.”

On if it was frustrating that they made so many two-foot baskets…

“We let them get close to the basket too much, I think they shot 50 percent from three, like 58 percent from field goal. That’s not a winning formula for us. We’ve got to keep teams below their average on the field goal percentage. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

On St. John’s shooting today…

“They’re a great team. They got to the basket; they did what they had to do. We already knew they had a couple of shooters on the perimeter. They did their job; they knocked down shots when they got it, and we didn’t keep Malik Boothe out of the paint and that killed us.”

STJ Coach Norm Roberts

Opening statement…

I thought it was a terrific game. We knew it was going to be very tough coming in here to try to win. South Florida had really been playing well at home and the whole year. I thought our guys really showed a lot of focus and a lot of character after coming off a tough loss the other night, And then traveling out here right after. I was really proud of my guys, it was a great team effort. We shared the ball, we rebounded the ball and we knew that was going to be the big key in the game, and we were able to get that done.

On shooting a high percentage…

Well, I think what it comes from is we took shots that were in rhythm. We were confident in how we were shooting the ball. We were confident where we were getting the basketball, and when we play that way we shoot the ball well. Our guys just stepped up and made plays, and I thought the great thing about our team is that no one made excuses after the Seton Hall game. We just didn’t get it done, we just didn’t get it done as a team and we knew that we had let go of a great opportunity and we knew we had to come back stronger today.

On D.J. Kennedy…

I think he was very focused, but he was more relaxed than he had been in past situations that had happened. He was more relaxed, he knew that he didn’t play up to his potential and what he could do. He know that we look to him to do great things for us and everything, and he was just very very focused on us doing a good job today.

On if Kennedy was relaxed for a reason…

I think he was relaxed because he was more mature. He understood. And that’s how we hit it. When I  talked to the team and we had lost the game, the next day I had said to them this is what I’m going to do. I talked to the league office and I said this is what we’ll do. Since we had a really hard loss and I know everyone is down, why don’t we just forfeit the rest of our games, I talked to the league and the league said we could forfeit the rest of our games. And so of course they all turned to me and they said coach, I don’t know what your talking about. And I said, ok now im going to tell you how im really thinking. We played four games in nine days. That is extremely hard in this league, and two of those games were played at the furthest places in our league. We play those games and then in the end if I said to you that we are going to be three in one after those games everybody in here would be happy. Not totally happy but happy. Now we had a chance to be three in one in those games if we can beat South Florida at South Florida. So I think it relaxed the room and they were all fine and then we focused in on practice.

On  moving different people onto Jones defensively…

Try to wear him down, don’t let him get good looks off, make him have to be totally a jump shooter if you can. And it’s very hard because he’s so good at getting to the basket,  but the thing was is that its not just one guy. Its not one guy guarding him, it’s the whole team. So when he gets the ball a light goes on, Coach Casey talks about a light going on, and everybody pay attention to him because hes that good. He makes everybody on the floor better.

On the USF size advantage…

We just rebounded the ball, we gang rebounded. I thought Mason did a good job at rounding when we went small. Shawn did a good job at rebounding, but I thought our guards got in there and we kind of gang rebounded. And that was the most important thing. We have to when we play a little bit small. And they are a terrific rebounding team, they really are.

On USF scoring in the lane…

Well that’s kind of how we play. We want to attack the lane and we’ve done that on some games and in other games we haven’t. I thought our big guys did a good job of sprinting out to ball screens and changing their timing so they couldn’t trap us or hedge the way they probably would have liked. I thought Melike Boothe set the tone for the game. He got in the lane and made some tough layups and those layups we made tonight we missed them against Seton Hall. And that’s what you have to do, put the ball in the hoop, and we were able to do that today.