November 28, 2012
Davis: 'Their physical play bothered us'
Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis addressed the media following his teams 82-65 loss to the Bradley Braves.
Head Coach Keno Davis
"You have to give Bradley a ton of credit. What you saw from Bradley was a very well coached team, an up and coming team in the Missouri valley conference and an experienced team. When you look at the seven guys in their rotation they are all seniors and juniors and only one sophomore. You could see that bothered us. Their experience and physical play took us out of some of the things that were successful with before. But I like our team, even though we did not execute like we need to execute. I thought the effort was there. Being able to out rebound an upperclassmen team in Bradley is something positive we can take away and we can go back to the practice court and try to improve on some of our deficiencies from this game."
On if turnovers and interior defense were the biggest reasons for the loss
"Yes, I think the first half turnovers really hurt us. That surprised me. Coming out of Utah that wasn't a problem for us. We really controlled the pressure from a Wright State team that was physical. The Idaho State game was the third game for us in four days and we handled it. Interior defense is something to not make any excuses, but everyone knows that we are a little thin in the interior. When (Zach) Saylor went down, that's when we got really thin. I was amazed that we out rebounded them, but they still got way to many easy buckets inside. When you look at the 54% shooting, especially in the 2nd half when they shot 67%, when Saylor wasn't in there, and so we ran out of gas of front court players that could match Bradley's physical play and size."
On what happened to Zach Saylor
"I don't know. It looked like he was holding his knee, and as a coach you never try to guess injuries because you are usually wrong. Obviously Zach has been important for us and has been something this young team needs. Not only with his veteran leadership but someone that is an anchor down low and can rebound and defend. He actually has been a decent scorer for us and everyone has been pleased with him, so we hope he is well, if not our younger guys will get more of an opportunity to step up there and get better."
On only forcing two turnovers in the first half
"I would give credit to Bradley. They were so successful in scoring that we had to turn down the pressure in the first half and just try to regroup. We felt our half-court defense was pretty good in the first half, we were just not getting to it enough. It wasn't our game plan to take pressure off, but they were so good with breaking us down, which a veteran team will do. I think that was a big key on how they handled our pressure. They were able to break the press and also score out of it."
On the reasoning for the low scoring first half
"I think we had a low scoring first half because we turned the ball over. Bradley shot thirteen more shots than we did. We got 27 shots up and they got up 40. You usually are going to have a lot less points if you are giving up that many more shots. We usually have more shots than our opponents because we have been rebounding so well. And again we rebounded solidly when I look at bright spots, but when you give up that high of a FG% and shoot a low FG% yourself, usually those rebounding numbers really skew the other way. So for our young group to show that we have something to build upon and yet the turnovers, interior defense and penetration defense, are things that I look at as a positive because if we came out and said we played pretty good and get beat by 17, I would worry about how good we can be. When I see the deficiencies in all the area's I say, 'Wow there are a lot of things we can work at.' If we played our best basketball and got beat by that much you would worry about what the season can be, but I think we can keep improving and I know this team will continue to work hard and its been good coaching them."
On Austin Keel's struggles
"I think anyone that has been a shooter has gone through a slump. I know its even more frustrating for him because it's at the start of the season. When its in the middle of the season you have better memories of how you were shooting, and for him I know he feels the weight of the team needing him to shoot the ball well. When he struggles and Blake Hibbits struggles on open shots, it's frustrating for a coach, its more frustrating for those guys. They will be the ones back in the gym tonight and be here early in the morning shooting until their arms are sore because it's that important to them. I know it's not bad shots that we are taking, but we are taking open good three point shots, we maybe forced a couple late when we were down, but I think those percentages will continue to increase because our guys work so hard and that they are young."
On the reasons for the high turnover numbers
"One thing is when you are learning to play this game at a high level and at the speed we play with offensively, you are going to make mistakes. We ran the break as hard as I could have envisioned out in Utah. Part of the thing being a young team is that you need to learn how to compete, how to play at home and learn how to win in tough stretches because sometimes our guys were trying so hard in certain areas, that it was actually hurting, they would score and all of a sudden you are on a fast break and throw to soon and try to thread that pass or make to tough of a move and its things as a coach you can live with. As long as they come to the practice court, come to the games and are doing there best, then as a coach, you know you will get better. If you have guys that start hanging their head and don't bring it everyday, then you have to go with the guys that are working hard. I like our group and we will continue to improve."
On what he thought of the players that stepped in for Zach Saylor
"I was really pleased with our guys in trying to step up and trying to work. I didn't see any selflessness come out of our team. But Zach is our only true center. OV, Blake and John they are step out four men. They are not centers, so we have to go out and recruit some centers. We have to continue to build Simons, Hibbits and OV, especially John and Blake as freshmen, so they can play in that spot if necessary. We are not there yet and we understand that this season that our room for error isn't great and that even though we are a deep team, we need Zach Saylor, we need Kyle Randall and Chris Fowler. When a guy like Chris Fowler gets in foul trouble tonight at sits the bench we struggle. So as we keep going along and maturing we can do something about the foul trouble and injuries. It's a part of the game and we will have to fight through it."
On how he thinks Bradley will match up with Michigan
"I haven't seen Michigan this season. Obviously I am familiar with Michigan and Bradley's program, but the thing I like about Bradley is that they really competed. I think as a coach you are always looking for your team to continue to improve and yes, that's granted but, you want to continue to compete harder and harder, and watching the tape on Bradley and to what I saw today, they competed as hard as they have all year. When you compete you always have a chance. With the level of talent that they have there is nobody on their schedule that they wont be able to compete with, but Michigan is a top five team so you will have to shoot the ball well and play at a high level. I don't see any reason why they cant compete against Michigan."
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