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November 8, 2013

CMU-Manchester postgame: Keno Davis

Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis addressed the media after his team's blowout win over Manchester. Davis talked about the offensive outburst, John Simons' career day and improvements in Austin Keel's game this season.

Opening Statement:

"I think coming out of our overtime victory against LSSU, we talked about how much that game would prepare us for today's game and I feel like you saw that. A little bit more disciplined in our half-court defense, our full-court defense and our fast-break on the offensive end. I think that will be a staple of our success this year. It was a great opportunity for us to start out at home as we talked about. Even though it was a 2:30 p.m. tip, it was nice to see the students that came out in full force. If we continue to have fan support like that at home, it's going to lead to good success here at home."

On the outburst on offense today (101 points):

"I think it shows what we are capable of offensively, even on a night where didn't shoot it well from three-point range. We were 7-of-28 from three (25 percent) and it's sort of unbelievable how we were able to put up 101 points. The video scoreboard didn't even believe it, it didn't go over 100, it said we had '01' point. I think our guys offensively have a lot of confidence in what they do. They are only going to get better, from outside and driving to the basket. We are going to be a tough team to defend."

On the seven minute-plus scoreless streak for Manchester:

"With the way we play; we need those kinds of streaks. I think there may have been two different times where we make a steal and a bucket, a steal and a bucket. We had a 7-8 point swing during that time and when you play, you look for those types of swings. You are looking for that one or two chances to get the momentum on your side. We've been working on those things every day. I think you saw some good glimpses of what it could look like in the future."

On any limit with anyone's minutes

"Yeah there is probably a minute-level at what I think they should be getting early on in the season. I think today, they played more than what they were supposed to. I don't see limiting Chris Fowler, Blake Hibbitts or John Simons to 19 minutes. I think being in for 25-27 minutes is ideally what they are set up for. Fortunately with the last seven minutes, we were able to go to our bench more and look at some other players. Some of those guys last year that weren't playing much at the beginning of the year, but at the end were playing some major minutes for us down the stretch. They understand that you get frustrated with not getting the minutes that you would like but, you have to come back to the practice court and make the most out of every opportunity."

On John Simons career day and his expectations for him this season:

"I expect him to step up into more of a leadership role than he had last year. He had a great freshman year and was comfortable with what he was doing. Now I think he looks like one of the leaders of this team. Chris Fowler is a leader for us, and that doesn't mean there isn't room for anyone else to step up into a leadership role. With his work ethic and what you seen on the court it makes things difficult for people trying to guard him."

On if the conditioning is where it needs to be

"Yeah I think they are fresh to play 19 minutes. Are they going to be fresh to play 25-30 minutes? Probably not at their peak. But it is our job to get them there. We are really cautious in the preseason to understand how long the season is, and not trying to play our best basketball on the first game of the year, but to be playing our best basketball at the end and try to win as many games as possible. I think we are in pretty good shape. I think we are in better shape at this point in the season than we were last year at this time. There is still room for improvement. We will do a good job at getting those guys who aren't getting very many minutes on the court more minutes on the practice court so they are ready when called upon."

On the improvements in Austin Keel's game this year:

"Not to put any words in his mouth, but I don't think Austin Keel felt too comfortable out there last year; forcing it a little bit because his shot wasn't going down. I think what you see this year in practice is that he is shooting the ball well, but his defense and his rebounding abilities are getting better too. When you don't shoot it well, you're not worried about it as much if you are helping the team out in other ways. I've seen him grow bit by bit and I think that's why he was able to crack this starting lineup."

On the team playing with so much drive while having such a big lead:

"We talk about it at timeouts regularly, that even though you might look at them at being the last minutes of the game, this is their opportunity to get better. This is their opportunity to audition to get more playing time. Even if there are 5-10 minutes left in the game clock, we can get more out of that in a game than in practice. I didn't want to see anyone taking any shots that they normally wouldn't take when the game is on the line. I didn't think you saw that. I didn't see any unselfishness or anything like that. That can help us down the road."

On the packed student section and future student involvement:

"It's two-fold. The quantity of students is the first part. Today was a great turnout for a 2:30 p.m. game. But I do have high expectations for how many students I want there. The other part is the quality. I think you saw them coming up with some creative things. I didn't get to see too much of it, but there were some times that they would do something that would catch my eye. I think if a team has to come in and deal with that, especially a crowd that does it in the right way, I think it will be a tough crowd to go against. I would like to continue to see increased number of students and increased organization, so that they are all on the same page on what they will do, because they can be a huge factor for us."

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