• Joey Jarzynka

St. John's Postgame Quotes vs. Mercer


St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson

Opening statement…

“I continue to talk about the effort of our guys going out and trying to play defense the way we work on in practice every day. So it's good to see them bring their practice to the game and it started with our defense. We came out and played a half-court, man-to-man defense where we're pressuring, getting in the lanes and then that led to some opportunities on the fast break.

“I thought we did a good job of attacking offensively, as well as on defense. Then when you look at the final tally, we had some balanced scoring and had some guys come off the bench and gave us some quality minutes.

“Mercer, you have to give them credit, they wouldn't go away. We had a nice lead at half and they came out ... and took the fight to us. That's a thing we've got to really learn, how it is to keep our focus with the lead. We had a lead and I thought we kind of started playing to play. We have a saying: ‘there are those who play to play, we play to win.’ So our guys have to understand, [when you’re] playing to win, you don't look at the score you just keep playing basketball.

“But it was a good opening to get us started and now guys know how it feels to be out there with the officials, the fans, the popcorn popping. … It’s good to see them come out and try to establish defensively how we wanted to play. They shared the basketball.

On tonight’s game plan...

“I thought our guys took to the game plan and I thought they took Mercer out of what they wanted to do.”

On if tonight’s game went according to script...

“I thought defensively, we did some really good things, I really, really did. We shared the basketball, we got the right guys taking the shots at the right time and we got to the free throw line. We only had nine turnovers playing at that pace. When you play as many guys as we’re playing, all that does is add a little bit more value to your team because now you’re trying to create some depth. That’s what we have to do in this non-conference schedule, create some more depth.”

On defensive pressure tonight…

“One thing I’m married to is winning and I want to be unpredictable. With that being said, there may be some nights where we press, but most teams are going to be prepared for it. There will be times where we play a lot of zone, it just depends on how that particular game is going. Obviously, we want to bring the pressure and I thought we did, we brought it and I thought we were pretty good at it tonight.”

St. John’s Guard Mustapha Heron

On playing this style of basketball...

“It's fun. It's exciting. It's tough to play it, but it's way more fun to play in it than to play against it. Being somebody who's been on both sides of it, it’s more fun to play in it than against it.”

On takeaways from tonight’s performance...

“I think my takeaway is the same thing as every night. We’ve got a lot to work on. We got another game coming up Saturday. We’ve got another practice for the next two days. I think that they out-rebounded us in the beginning, probably throughout the whole game, so that’s something that we got to work on. That’s something that being a small team, I think we definitely have to focus on that and that's what we’ll focus on for the next couple of days and through the next couple of weeks.”

On playing in this new system…

“It was definitely good, but coach always stresses to us that it's just like practice. People may think that we’re out of control and stuff, but a lot of stuff we do is scripted. So we just kind of went out and we try to play the same way we play in practice.”

On how much work was put in to prepare for this season…

“There was a lot of work put in the whole summer. Our early morning conditioning throughout the fall, it was a whole lot of work that we had to put in, but there’s a lot more work to go, a lot of season left.”

On the performances from Josh Roberts, Marcellus Earlington and Greg Williams Jr…

“I think they have to be that way for us every night. I think Greg is starting to come along a little more coming off a back injury and stuff, so you'll start to see his role pick up and you'll start to see him more comfortable within everything on offense and defense. Josh, I've been high on Josh since he got here. He got a motor like nobody else in the country and Marcellus is one of the best spark plugs I've seen in a while. He plays hard. He’s gritty. He’s tough. So with those three, I’m glad to be going to war with them.”

St. John’s Forward Josh Roberts

On playing this style of basketball...

“I love it. It fits the way that I play. It fits us as a team and we do the things we need to do. We run it and we can do a lot out of it.”

On how his role has expanded this year...

“I just feel like I have to step up, do what I have to do, rebound the ball, catch jump balls, block shots, rebound, just all the things that I came here to do.”

Mercer Head Coach Greg Gary

On St. John’s...

“Coach [Mike] Anderson’s teams play hard. They play good defense, they’re physical and they’re going to make you earn everything they get. I thought they did a great job and knocking us from a physical standpoint out on the floor and getting in the passing lanes and turning turnovers into points, which we knew when they're that athletic and they play hard like that and get in the passing lanes and trap that that's their offense, is getting turnovers and being able to score. They had 30 points off of turnovers, that's a lot of turnovers. That's why the score was the way it was because of what they did really well.”

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