Big East Tournament Quotes - Xavier
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Xavier.
COACH STEELE: Obviously first, congrats to DePaul. Obviously a really tough loss for us. I feel bad for our guys. I thought we played hard. Thought we competed. But obviously we weren't good enough today to defeat DePaul. Obviously I thought Paul Reed and Charlie Moore, they dominated the game on the offensive end for them. Charlie Moore had 18 points, nine assists. Obviously Paul Reed had 23 and 12. Paul Reed is an all-league player. That's what he does. But, again, we just came up short. Again I feel really, really bad for our guys.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Travis, particularly in the second half, once you guys were able to make a run and get back in the game, I think you took a five- or six-point lead. What was the difference closing why you guys weren't able to finish this one?
COACH STEELE: I think it was a game of runs, I mean, it was one possession here, two possessions there. Again, whether it was a turnover or they got a lot of points out in transition, which really hurt us. And it allowed them to go on their runs. They went on a couple of 6-0 runs there when we were up by six. So, again we have to give ourselves a chance on the defensive end to get our half-court defense set. We didn't do that in the second half.
Q. The 3s weren't really falling there in the second half. KyKy put up two towards the end, in under two minutes. Did you want him to take those shots? Is that what you were looking for or are you just looking to get points? Or what were your thoughts on that?
COACH STEELE: He had a couple of good looks. He's one of our better shooters. He has been all year. Thought he had a couple of clean looks. We'll live with those. He probably wish he had the one back that he drove the ball into the guy but nobody's perfect. I thought he had a couple of really nice looks. And, again, we'll take those shots.
Q. The nature of being on the bubble was this was a game that you guys needed to win tonight. Where do you think that this puts you guys in the NCAA Tournament landscape? Do you feel like you did enough in the regular season?
COACH STEELE: I don't know. That's up to the people on the committee, obviously. I think we play in the toughest league in the entire country. You look at our strength of schedule, I think it was fifth heading into the Big East in the entire country. And we've beaten some good teams. Again, I think we deserve to be in there. But, again, at the same time it's not up to us.
Q. One of the points of emphasis was rebounding coming into this game. They won that battle. Why do you think that was? Where were you guys coming up short?
COACH STEELE: I thought we got a little tired. They had one offensive rebound in the first half. I thought we did a really, really good job. I thought they had about four in one possession on the offensive glass. So I think they ended up with nine. I think we got a little fatigued as the second half wore on. And I think our guys were battling and trying and competing, just fatigued.
Q. For both players, your team was able to get a six-point lead with about nine minutes to go and then suddenly it turned. Can you both talk about what DePaul did to turn that because it really seemed like you guys had DePaul on the ropes? At that point, you guys had come from, I think, nine down to go six up. Can each of you players talk about that critical stretch in the game and what DePaul did to turn it?
NAJI MARSHALL: I think basketball is a game of runs. Like you said, they was up nine, we were up six. Next thing you know we lose the lead. Coach said there, we were pretty tired. Crashed the offensive glass towards the second half. Like he said, we was tired. And we didn't execute our system on defense or offense. I think that's how the game changed.
ZACH FREEMANTLE: I would agree with that. We got the lead up and then we started missing a lot of shots. And they went on a run, took the lead back from us.
Q. Naji, how tough is it to come this close and come this far and leave this arena with that loss?
NAJI MARSHALL: Very, very tough. Like Coach Steele said, life gives you tough battles and it's all about how you battle the next one. Move on to the next one. We'll be back. This isn't the last Xavier. Hopefully this isn't the last for Xavier this season. But it's all about just getting back and hopefully next year when we come back we'll win the championship.
Q. Naji, there was obviously some speculation over an Instagram post you made. A lot of Xavier fans took that to mean that you might be done after this year. I wanted to give you the chance to kind of clarify and explain what you meant.
NAJI MARSHALL: It was the last home game of the season. That's why I said that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.