After yesterday's victory over the Wofford Terriers, Jon Leuer, Trevon Hughes, and coach Bo Ryan sat down to talk to the press about the pesky Terriers and the upcoming contest with Cornell.
Quotes courtesy of ASAPSports.com
Wisconsin defeated Wofford, 53-49.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you would please give us an opening statement.
COACH RYAN: Well, we feel pretty good about advancing, playing such a good team as Wofford. We knew what they had. We knew what they were going to try to do, and they did it for the most part. They finally hit some outside shots there in the second half, got it to where it was going to be a toe to toe, possession for possession game, and they're used to those, and I think our guys are used to those, too. Fortunately we had a few more than they did, but I give them a lot of credit. Mike has done an unbelievable job. That team, those guys are winners. They just win. And fortunately we were able to get one today on them.
Q. Jon and Trevon, can you talk about that last play that ended up being the game-winning play?
TREVON HUGHES: Basically I was looking to get into the paint, try to draw some guys in, and actually his guy sacked off into the paint. So he was open. I had to pit the open man, I can't be selfish, and he knocked the shot down.
JON LEUER: When Pop was dribbling up at the top, we kind of made eye contact and just kind of let me know if my guy hopped off he was going to be looking for me, so I was just fortunate to knock it down, and we get to advance.
Q. Jon, how close were you to making that a three-point shot? You were right there by the arc. Did you think about moving back a little bit?
JON LEUER: No, it really never occurred to me. I just kind of found a soft spot and Trevon made a good play, and that was that.
Q. Trevon, early you were able to penetration in the first half and really keep your team in the game when everybody else was struggling. Talk about that and talk about what maybe changed a little bit in the second half?
TREVON HUGHES: I felt like the driving lane was open a lot more in the first half. And in the second half, they made an adjustment and they sacked in the paint and they forced us some hit some jump shots.
Q. Jon, obviously you haven't had much time to think about your next round opponent with Cornell, but today you faced guys a little bit smaller at 6'6" going against you and you have a seven-footer coming in. Talk about the differences in what you've done this year that's going to help you prepare for that seven-footer?
JON LEUER: We've had a lot of different match ups and we've played a lot of different styles. We just focus on what we're going to do. We always want to get good shots and take care of the ball, and no matter who we're playing, how big they are or how small they are, it's about what we do.
Q. In looking at Cornell, the team that you're going up against, they are very confident in what they did. Your team has kind of been identified that way, as well. Talk about two teams that know their stuff and execute very well. Talk about that.
TREVON HUGHES: We don't know much about them, but we know they're a talented team. They gave Kansas early in the season a run for their money and Sherron Collins had to make a tough shot. Every team in the tournament is really tough, and they're flying high with their confidence.
JON LEUER: Yeah, he pretty much covered it. They're a fundamentally sound team. They don't make a lot of mistakes, and they got to watch them a little bit today, and obviously they have guys that can really shoot it. We're going to have to come prepared and ready to go.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, you can get out of here. Thank you very much. We'll open it for questions from the coach.
Q. Coach, there were a lot of upsets yesterday coming into this game. Were you worried at all and were you players worried at all, or were you excited to get into a toe to toe match-up like this and were you expecting such a close game?
COACH RYAN: Yeah, we were definitely expecting a possession by possession game, just watching them on tape. But the thing is, I really like the fact on Fridays watching teams play on Thursday. I think that helps. Because you find out in a hurry that the seeding, that—and how people can walk away from those scores yesterday and scores today and not go, there's a lot more teams out there that should qualify for this tournament—there are very, very good teams that maybe a Wofford or an Ohio U. Ohio U is 7 and 9 in conference, has to win four in a row, three in a row in their conference tournament. There's a lot of good teams out there, and that's one of the reasons I'd like to see the tournament expand, because I think you'd have more of this, because we know—I've coached at all levels. I know how many good programs there are that on a night with 40 minutes. Can you do it six nights? I don't know. But somebody made a statement to me, and this leads to Cornell being as good as they are. That means somebody else in that league is second to them. But somebody said, well, coach, why would we expand the tournament when those teams that are going to be added will have no chance to win it? And my comeback was, does all 64 or 65 right now have a chance to win it under your criteria? Does every volleyball tournament that gets in the NCAA tournament have the right—I don't want to turn this into a soap box, but look how many good programs there are. We know Wofford is very good. We know their heart is big. We know how hard they play. He's done an unbelievable job with that program. They are winners, and we beat a winning team today and a very good team.
Q. You had only four turnovers the entire game. They had 11 including one very crucial one in the last two minutes there. Is that the key statistic in this game?
COACH RYAN: Is that a New York accent? Okay, we've got a guy from Queens who did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball. I thought Trevon Hughes and Jordan Taylor—and I'm glad you pointed that out. To a coach, four is probably too many, but in a game like that against a team in this environment on the NCAA stage, I'm very proud of our guys that they took care of the ball. That's the only way we had a chance to shoot 37, 38 percent and win a ballgame.
Q. How much of a concern is it to you that your team, despite having the major height advantage, got out rebounded 37 to 30 in this game?
COACH RYAN: Not unusual. I've coached teams that were undersized and out rebounded bigger teams a lot. You can say sometimes it's the way the ball bounces. You can say sometimes it's the angles that guys get. You don't have to be huge to be a really good rebounder. So we'll look at the tape, we'll talk to guys about not taking away certain things, getting bumped off, not having a wide base. We'll make our teaching points. But we're not going to fret. What you do is you make those points and see if guys understand that they've got to do a little better job of getting their hands up. A couple rebounds went—guys had their hands down too long. You can work a skirmish for so long and then you've got to get your hands ready. We always talk about the greatest at that was Bill Walton. His hands were always up and ready. I know today we saw some things where guys' hands were down, so that's one part of it. So we'll make teaching points. We won't get gray hairs. That's not how I got mine; I got them other ways. But we'll make teaching points, and hopefully we can rebound a little bit better.
Q. I know that Coach Donahue is a little older than you, but I was wondering if you all had any history together.
COACH RYAN: Oh, yeah, he knows a lot of the guys that I know, a lot of playgrounds around the Philly Ridley area he's played on, I've played on. That guy is a tough sucker. I'm hoping somebody would say I fell in that category every once in a while.
We've got the utmost respect for each other. I hope he does for me. I do for him, obviously. But it'll be two teams trying to impose their will. And I know he's a competitor. I know he'll have them ready.
Q. Have you all had much time to spend in one another's company in recent years?
COACH RYAN: A little. He had a chance to coach with me in the World University Games, so he called me and says, I can't learn anything from you, so I'm not going to go. That's not what he said, but he couldn't do it. So then it was last minute because another coach had to take a pass, so I ended up taking the head coach at UWM because Steve couldn't go. We've talked some. Never as much as you would like to. I had very little time at the Jersey Shore, so I didn't get to run into Jay Wright, Phil Martelli, Fran, Steve, any of the guys that hang down at the shore. So it was kind of a bad summer for me that way, but a good summer in that I had a chance to coach internationally, and that was a good experience.
Q. I was wondering how much you've had a chance to watch Cornell this season and what do you think the keys are to the match up on Sunday?
COACH RYAN: I'm fortunate to have very good assistants, and an assistant was tagged with Cornell, an assistant was tagged with Temple, and Coach Gard had a Wofford today. They've looked at enough -- if you look at their eyes, they've looked at every game we can get our hands on, whoever has the scout for that team. That's what assistants do and they do a great job of that. But it's still about their execution. A lot of times people say, well, we know what you're going to do, but our guys just did it better. We'll say that about other teams. We knew what you were going to try to do, but we couldn't stop it. They've got size, they've got shooters, a great penetrator. I know they have a good team and can do it in different ways. That's how you advance in the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.