Opening statement from La Salle Head Coach Dr. John Giannini
Well we clearly lost the game in the first half. We gave ourselves a chance in the second half. I think we cut it to six at one point and had a couple of shots to cut it down at one time five. Charlotte just out competed us in the first half. They did everything better in the first half. They dominated the first half. We were embarrassed by the way we played. We should be much better than that. I think we played much harder in the second half but it was just too little too late.
On if he was surprised by how Charlotte jumped on them early
You never expect to be down by 16. We did not expect to be down by a lot of points by the half. We know they're good. We expected them to be good but no we did not expect to be down by a lot.
On if their poor shooting was attributed to Charlotte's defense or their own lack of execution
Yeah that's a good question because they won both sides of the court. I think they defended better than us. Their defense was better than ours. They scored and we didn't. I'll give them credit on the defensive end. I think defense is effort and I don't think our effort was good enough in the first half. They were just much better than us on both ends. I think that most of that goes back to our defensive effort. You're going to have some ugly periods offensively throughout the course of a game, that's going to happen. But to not compete is not good.
Ramon Galloway on Charlotte's defense
I think it's just one of those nights. They're very long but we had a lot of open shots that we just missed, particularly myself, I just felt like I shot the ball terrible but my teammates kept telling me to shoot it. It was one of those nights where nothing was falling but give credit Charlotte's defense. They grabbed the rebounds and did not allow us to get second chance shots.
Q&A with Charlotte 49ers sophomore Pierria Henry
Henry on the team's defensive performance against La Salle
First, it was a great team effort. Our coaches did a great job with the game plan in how we wanted to guard their offense. We just came out with heart and executed. Our coaches won it. We got to trust and believe in the system and this is what happens [when we do.]
Henry on the slow start Charlotte had in the second half
We've kind of had trouble with that a lot this year, but we're going to do a lot better at it. We're young. We're still learning, every game is different. We just gotta realize that the game is not over. We gotta play 40 minutes of basketball. We have to figure out someway, somehow [to] find a way to stay energized and stay active.
Henry on the pressure the Explorers unleashed, leading to 21 49ers turnovers
They did a great job. I give a lot of respect to their defense. They played hard. They never gave up. It was a good learning experience for us. We can't let their defense rush our offense and [with] me being the point guard, I gotta learn that. I gotta learn to find a way to be a leader to find a way to tell my teammates to slow down and get the shots that we want. I remember in the offseason Coach Major, when we was watching film and stuff, helped me on my own game [with] decision making and I kind of got out of it this game. You live and learn. Ain't nothing perfect. I'll go back into the film room, get it together and we're going to come back strong.
Henry on how important getting the first conference win was
Very important. We don't mind being the underdog. It's nothing but motivation to us. We realize it is the new season. The 12-2 record looks good, feels good and gives us a lot of confidence but in the same token we understand that conference play is a lot different. It's a new season. We've got to put every non-conference game to the side and worry about what we got coming up next and just keep moving forward.
Just heart. Just that dogfight in them. Everybody on our team, I believe if you put them in the game that they're going to give us their all. Everybody will run through a wall for this program and it shows throughout the bench. For them two to just come in and [grab] great rebounds and [contribute] big time scoring, handling the ball, a lot of hands on defense. It's just a great team effort. They work hard. They worked hard in the offseason and it's coming to show.
Opening statement from Charlotte 49ers Head Coach Alan Major
Another typical A10 hard fought battle. [We have] a lot of respect for La Salle. We watched a lot of film on them coming into the game and we thought they were one of the more potent offensive teams we played all season. Their ability to shoot the 3-ball, it's a unique style almost like the Phoenix Suns when they had Nash and Shawn Marion and they kind of had a small ball deal and they shot a bunch of three's. We had some scoring balance which was great. Four guys in double figures and just a nice effort off the bench as well. That's life in this league. It's going to be a hard fought deal every night and it's good to get off to a good start.
Coach Major on the 49ers defense holding the Explorers to 30 percent shooting
La Salle is a drive and kick team and when they're at their best is when they're really spraying the ball around and making you scramble. Our thing was if we could try to maybe take away the drive then they wouldn't get any kicks. I don't know how well we did at it but we always use a stat that if a guy has to take more shot attempts than he gets points then you probably did a solid job on him. I think Galloway had 29 shot attempts for 23 points. I think coming in we were right around 36 [or] 37 percent (49ers defensive FG percentage) and for this team to shoot 33 percent, I didn't think we'd be able to do that. I was hoping we could keep them around 40. They came in shooting 45 or 46 [percent.] I thought if we could keep them around 40 we'd have a chance to be successful. So for them to be at 33 I'm very happy with that.
Major on the miscues by Clark and Nickerson at the end of the first half and how the sloppy play went into the second half
I didn't use any disrespectful french or anything towards them. It was very strong encouragement to just make sure you're aware of the clock at the end of halves. When you have a young team, what happens is they learn at the expense of the competition. You practice those things at times but once you get to a game the thing is intensified and everything happens fast. I can't blow a whistle and stop it during a game like I can in practice. As they continue to get better they'll learn 'hey with 14 seconds to go, hold the ball and get the last shot of the first half.' The thing I like about that, unlike turnovers, I like the fact we get to use these situations to learn. I have to catch myself sometimes to realize the age of some of the guys that are out there and you expect them maybe to sometimes to make plays that are beyond their years and it may take a little time for that to happen but those are learning opportunities that we can take advantage of.
Major on if he felt his team was going for a knockout punch
That could happen with kids. You're at home. The crowd was tremendous. There's a ton of energy in the building. The intent to throw the ball ahead to a guy that was open was actually a great idea. What happens at the end of the half though is you'd like to get the last shot of the half so the other team doesn't have a chance to get another shot attempt. The idea of what he was trying to do [by] throwing the ball to a teammate who was open ahead of the action is a great idea, it's just the time, score, situation part that you figure into it. But again, those are great opportunities to learn from.
Coach Major on his offensive strategy for La Salle
We thought we'd see a lot of different defenses, which we did. We saw [a] full court press, half court trap, multiple guys running at the basketball, we saw 2-3 zone, we saw straight man-to-man, pressure, deny. But the idea was in general to just make sure to recognize and execute because you could see something different every third, fourth or fifth possession on the floor and don't let the change in the defense rattle you and make sure we maintain our kind of inside-out mentality no matter what defense we see. I thought guys did a pretty good job of that - especially when the zone went up - we were still trying to get the ball to the paint.
Major on Nickerson's aggressive play, especially in the second half
I feel bad for him. He got hurt before Lamar. [He] didn't play a lick in Alaska. Had a really bad ankle sprain, works his way back a little bit right before Christmas, plays well against Davidson, has a stretch there where he finishes up against Florida State then he gets bronchitis over Christmas break and missed another 10 days. That kind of knocked him flat. He's just now getting back from that. I say three cheers for E. Victor in terms of being able to fight back off a couple injuries and sickness deals and to have 13 points on three shot attempts, shot the free throw ball great and led us in assists. I'm very happy with the way he played.
Major on winning the first league game
It's important. You try to get as much momentum going as you can. I think it was another positive to be able to protect our home floor which is something that you'd like to do in this league as best you can, is hold serve at home. But [we have] a tremendous challenge this weekend. Rhode Island is probably being overlooked by a lot people. They're much much better than where they've been predicted. We'll have another tremendous challenge this weekend for sure. It's good to be off to a good start, especially with the students back in the building.
Major on why Henry was on the bench to start the second half
He had basically caught a muscle pull - nothing damaging - he just caught like a little cramp right during halftime. That's why he wasn't out, he was back just getting it stretched out when the guys were warming up to start the second half.
Major on not seeing La Salle again with the oddness of the schedule
It's an odd deal. You got one team that you're going to see twice. You're going to see some fantastic single one time matchups in this conference as this thing continues to play itself out. But yeah, it's very strange. I think as you go into that you always want to make sure that you really stick to your principles in terms of what you're doing because we only play somebody once you don't have that benefit of playing them a second time to see what you did wrong or well the first time. Again, good team win and very happy with the outcome.