2010 NCAA Tournament Second Round, Old Domion vs. Baylor Post-Game Press Conference
By ODU Athletics
March 20, 2010
MODERATOR: Coach, your thoughts on the game.
COACH TAYLOR: (No microphone.) I thought we were good enough. I believed we were good enough. I think what they did, and I go, boy, they had to do a lot to escape.
My guys were valiant all year. Tremendous ride. There wasn't anybody that touched this group that wasn't better for the ware. It's been really fun.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. You didn't play well in the first half, you were down ten. Did you feel like similar situations you've been in maybe with Notre Dame and you guys were within striking distance? Seemed like you couldn't have played much worse than you did. How did you feel about
COACH TAYLOR: Wait a second. Much worse than we did?
Q. I just meant it looked like you didn't play well, and you were still within striking distance?
Frank Hassell: Yeah, basketball game of runs, they had their little run, and we knew that we were going to come back. Wasn't playing defense like ourselves and we picked it up. We just started having fun playing our basketball. And we fought back. We're a team with a lot of heart, and we showed our heart. We just fought back a couple plays here and there that we wish we could have back, but I guess we can't.
Q. Can you just talk about it seemed like down the stretch there their 7 footer was just he's seven feet. What were you trying to do and how was he able to get some key rebounds there at the end?
Frank Hassell: I mean, he's 7 foot. You can't teach that. He was pretty heavy. I was trying to box him out and push him out. But I guess I didn't get low enough and all that, I guess.
The little plays he had, they were pretty good plays. I mean, we should have gotten the rebounds and we should have stopped better. It was all us. He didn't do nothing too extraordinary. But they've got a good team, and that's why they won.
Gerald Lee: Like Frank said, our game plan was to push him out and we didn't do a very good job at it. He got a lot of easy rebounds and putbacks.
Q. Can you just talk about you guys, you know, as far as getting punched in the mouth goes, that's what happened to you to start with in the first half. You're down 10 1, and you had some big threes there in the second half and come back. How are you guys once again able to pick yourselves up and fight back?
Ben Finney: I mean, we've been in that situation before. We were down home 12 at VCU. We were down against Notre Dame the other day. And, I mean, we just stuck with it and did the things that we knew we had to do to get back in it. It was the little things. It was defending and rebounding and just the little things. And we were able to get back in.
Q. Defensive adjustments, what did you guys do? They would turn it over in the second half. You guys looked like you really picked it up and played well there.
Gerald Lee: I think the biggest thing we changed was our attitude about defense. All season long we've been one of the better defensive teams in the country. And today they just came out shooting shots and making all of them.
But I think it was because of our bad defense in the first half. They almost shot 60 percent. Then we changed our attitude a little bit, and we started getting stops.
Q. How did you feel at the half? At Notre Dame you were down. You felt you could get it back. You opened the second half and cut it, and erased it in a matter of three minutes, it was a one point game. From there it was anybody's game?
COACH TAYLOR: Well, at halftime they made a bunch of three pointers. You can go out there and stand by yourself with no other team out there. It's hard to make 6 out of 9. But they were hot.
That gave them an edge early, and it gave them an edge at halftime. But this team has had a tremendous heart, lot of character, come from behind over and over. You know, stood toe to toe, over and over. So you've got to give them credit.
You look at the performance, without even looking down, you know, an eight assist, zero turnover game out of their point guards. Look at their off guard scoring 26. You look at kind of an unsung hero in Lomers, going 6 of 7 from the floor, and it was just barely enough. So you've got to give them credit. They escaped and moved on. It's the old survive and advance theory.
But it hurts particularly sometimes you can get along in a season. When the journey ends, it ends, and somebody's better. You've kind of hit the wall. But I really felt this team could have won this game and moved on and still been a threat to cause problems. So that's why it hurts particularly bad.
As a coach, your seniors have come a long ways the last three or four years. So it's hard to see what could be beyond this.
Q. How much does that got to gall you to see Northern Iowa now get the attention and Washington get the attention when you guys were right there?
COACH TAYLOR: Oh, I don't jealousy's an ugly thing, I guess. I mean, those guys are good teams that are, you know, doing good things. I'd play either of them tomorrow, but we're not going to get that chance. You know, you've got 64 teams in this tournament. 63 of them are going to be sitting there wondering what happened, and if they could have done more. It's particularly tough when you're good. They can do everything they've got and it still ain't almost enough, and that's what's particularly hard for me at this moment. Thank you.
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