By René Reyes/DFP Staff
Q: What are your general thoughts on your team’s 70-53 loss to La Salle tonight?
“I was pleased with our effort for the most part. La Salle’s a very good team, very well coached, very talented team. I felt we played hard, and I’m happy with the effort. I thought we went through a span again where we failed to score and they went on a run. Again, we couldn’t muster up a run. We had some opportunities, especially early in the second half. Some shots hit the basket, tough shots. We just didn’t convert when we were trying to close the gap, and I thought that really hurt us. I was happy with the effort. I couldn’t have said that after the Bucknell game [back on Dec. 22].”
Q: You made some noticeable changes to your starting lineup by inserting sophomore guard Mike Terry Jr. and leaving senior co-captain Patrick Hazel on the bench. What went into your decision-making?
“I wanted to definitely recognize some of the effort that guys had provided in practice. I wanted those guys to get recognized. I just felt like that lineup was the one I felt deserved the most to be out there.”
Q: What was your overall impression of your team’s defensive performance?
“We were better defensively tonight. I thought their athletic ability allowed them to score just because they were a little bigger and stronger, so they were able to make some plays. But I was happy for the most part in our defense. I thought there were some opportunities we could have taken some charges and gotten to loose balls, some box-out situations where we didn’t do a great job boxing out. But they were less than they were on Thursday against Bucknell last week.”
Q: How much did those seven turnovers early on in the first half hurt your squad and disrupt its offensive flow?
“I thought [senior guard] Matt Griffin did a great job [at point guard]. We definitely had some turnovers when they made a run at us early in the game. We definitely turned it over. Their size and speed early in the game gave us some problems. After we regrouped, we were able to play.”
Q: Should we expect to see more out of redshirt freshman Malik Thomas after his 17-point, eight-rebound performance against the Explorers? How much of a vital piece is he going to be during America East Conference play now that he’s regaining his form after the foot injury he suffered in the preseason?
“He was playing really well before he got hurt. Certainly, his performance tonight, we just need another guy who can put it in the basket. He does a nice job of that. He actually rebounded the ball too tonight, which is huge for us.”
Q: On the flip side, senior guard Darryl Partin continued to struggle on the offensive end with only 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting. He’s taken a lot of shots lately and missed a good portion of them. What does he have to do to break out of this slump now that teams are keying on him more often?
“The big thing is playing with [sophomore guard] D.J. [Irving], he becomes such a huge part of people’s game plans. You take out a guy out who’s been scoring 15 a game and we really don’t have another guy who’s been consistent in terms of scoring it. It’s a lot easier to key on him and that’s been the big thing for him. He’s struggled a little bit. We’ve played very good teams in this span, and then you play them without D.J., that’s a lot to ask of Darryl to carry that burden. Teams have been really focusing on stopping him. I think tonight he got some clean looks that just didn’t go down for him, but I thought he had some really good looks that he usually makes. At some point, he’s gonna go on another run and play much better. I’d much rather see him do it next week [in conference play] than now. I’m sure he’ll break out.”
Q: What’s the latest injury update on Irving, who missed his second straight game with a concussion?
“Right now, we’re just gonna take it day-by-day and see how he’s feeling. He’s been doing a lot more lately. He’s been good. He hasn’t had any headaches, so that’s a positive and we’ll go from there and see how he’s doing.”