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November 16, 2012

Olivet College postgame: Keno Davis

Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis addressed the media after his team's 76-62 win over Olivet College on Wednesday night.

Opening Statement:

"I want to give a ton of credit to Olivet. I told our guys, what you saw in Olivet was the same type of attitude, focus and intensity that our team had when we went down to Iowa City. They were extremely well-coached, which I knew they would be, and did some things that bothered us, especially in the second half with their zone-looks. It definitely bothered us, but I think it's something we can build off of in the future. I think it was good we got some game experience with that and it's always better to build off of wins, instead of losses. The number one goal for us tonight was to come out on the right end of the scoreboard and we could have changed some defense and a few things, but with their strength being their three-point shooting, I just didn't want to get in a three-point contest with them. I thought that's how they could come in here and win. But credit them for making some plays and staying within an arms-length where they were close to making it a game at the end."

On playing teams with "nothing to lose"

"You know, I think you would have your team ready to play every game. It like sounds like a simple concept 'to have your team ready to play from one night to the next,' but with a young team, it's just not reality. And I don't want to take anything away from Olivet, because they played a great game, but our guys have to learn. They have to the same rebounding focus they had at Iowa, and they can't take anyone for granted because we're not good enough to take anyone for granted. We've got to make sure we keep improving and to do that, we have to keep giving full effort in everything we do."

On being outrebounded 44-33 (by a smaller team)

"I think when we were in that first half against Iowa, when we were down one and that was our max-rebounding. We were going about as hard as we could. I want to give [Olivet] all the credit; they outworked us on the boards."

On starting out down 9-0

"I think we just had some bad plays. They made some a shot on their first four or five possessions. We didn't capitalize on any mistakes, missed some shots and missed some free throws. We were out of sorts a little bit. Not sure what to point out about that. I thought we rebounded from that very well. We went on a big run there. We made a big run because of our defense. Then they got on a tear there, where they bothered us offensively and defensively. I give them all the credit. We will get better from it, we'll continue to work."

On his team's press

We're just scratching the surface with it, really. It's something that each year, each month, and each week you will get better at it. When you have guys who get into the system and they're freshmen, they start learning the reads and the sets, and how to fake, trap and put teams in bad positions. When I look at what we were able to do, with our full-court press and our three-quarter court press, against a really well coached team and against players who know how to break the press, I think we can be very successful sooner, rather than later with it."

On Zach Saylor

"I think Zach Saylor, when you look at his point-production, and everyone on our team, it wouldn't surprise me if Zach's our leading scorer one night or if it's somebody else another night. I don't expect him to be our leading scorer every night. But he is a leader in the aspect that he's a senior out there; he's been through it all. He's been there with the down-years and understands what it feels like to have an opportunity on the court. He gets the most out of each chance. I look at Zach Saylor and I look at him like a freshman; he's getting his first real opportunity to play. His opportunity to improve is a lot greater than most other seniors would be. I wouldn't be surprised to see his best basketball yet to come in front of me."

On Chris Fowler and being 100 percent from the field at home

"Now why do you have to jinx that (laughs)? I'm not aware that he hasn't missed. The thing about Chris is that he's a smart point guard; I think you can see that with his assist-turnover ratio (7:1) and his high field goal percentage. To do that you have to play smart. He would rather lead the conference in assists than scoring and it's nice to have a point guard like that. He really makes the team run and it's going to be really nice to have him in our program, right now and in the future."

On the importance of re-recruiting Zach Saylor

"Well it looks like a pretty good move now. I knew what kind of impact that he would have with us. I think we will be an ever-improving three-point shooting team. To have a body like Zach, inside, I thought he was going to be able to score for us. And if he wasn't, I knew he was going to rebound and defend, and play hard for us, while our younger guys developed. Not only has he been a great addition for us, I think you won't be able to measure the impact he has on this program for the young players who get to learn from him. Every good team has a 'Zach Saylor' on it."

On spending Thanksgiving in Utah (at the Utah Thanksgiving Tournament)

"I've never spent Thanksgiving in Utah. I think there is an opportunity for this team to grow. When we play Olivet and win, we have a chance to learn from it. When we play three games in four days, we'll have a change to learn from it. How do you play a Pac-12 team? How do you play a zone-team? How do you play against a man-pressure team? And to be able to do it three times in four days, I think our guys are looking forward to it. They are looking for the opportunity to travel; everything is a "first" for this team. I think being able to go out [to Utah] is an opportunity for us to build for now and the future."

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