Postgame Quotes vs. Hiwassee - Dec. 10, 2013

Head Coach Will Wade
Thoughts on the game
“It’s obviously not our best performance.  We’re coming off exams, and hopefully we knocked the rust off tonight.  Z. Mason was really good, and I thought Casey Jones played well.  Outside of that, we really weren’t very good.  We have to hope this knocked the rust off and our exam break off of us.  We got to have a good next few days of preparation for Northern Kentucky on Sunday.  Outside of Z and Casey, it’s hard to find a lot of positives.”

On Chattanooga’s defense in the first half
“Our effort defensively was our most disappointing aspect of the first half.  Our effort was by far the worst part.  We couldn’t guard the ball, and we let the shooter free the whole half.  We stare at the ball which puts us in bad closeout situations.  We weren’t fundamentally sound.  We spent tons of time – a full practice – on our halfcourt defense.  We’ve invested a lot of time, and we aren’t getting a lot of return.  That was the lowlight of the first half.”

What he told his team at the half
“I was actually pretty calm at half.  I told them I hoped we knocked the rust off in the first half, and now we have to play and start doing what we do.  We were better in the second half.  I think they scored 11 points in about the first 11 minutes in the second half.  That was good and what we should do, but give Hiwassee credit.  They broke us down off the dribble, got us in over-help situations and found the open man.  They shared the ball and made the extra pass.  That gives their team a lot of confidence, and Howie Meadows saw a few baskets fall to begin the game.  He knocked a bunch of them in.  They played well against us.”

Thoughts on Z. Mason’s play
“Z wanted it.  We had mismatch in there, and we emptied our playbook of plays that go to him.  He made simple plays.  We were trying to over-dribble, over-penetrate and trying to do too much.  We were trying to beat people off of one move instead of multiple drives and moves.  He just kept it simple, and Casey did too.  Casey just drove it to the rim and had a bunch of offensive rebounds.  He had four in the first half and put them back up and in.  They played within themselves.  They played well.  I am not sure their effort was any better than anyone else’s, but I don’t know that it had much to do with effort.  I think it had more to do about being on edge, being sharp and mentally where we are supposed to be.”

On playing Ronrico White
“We were just trying to knock the cobwebs off of Ronrico.  We were planning to play him this game.  I don’t know the next time he will play, but we wanted to get him some experience in a game where there wasn’t much pressure.  We don’t want his first game of the season to be on a road game in the conference when we need him to play really well.  We will see how he feels and let him be the barometer for where we go from there.”

Casey Jones, sophomore, guard
Thoughts on the game

“I don’t know what it was about tonight.  It was just bad.  We didn’t come out as aggressive as we should have, and we just let people go past us.”

On what happened at the half
“We just went into the locker room and some people got mad.  It showed in the second half.  We got loose, and we cleared off some of that rust, like Coach Wade was saying.  We went out there and played harder as a team.”

What Coach Wade told his team during a first-half timeout
“He was mad at our effort.  We didn’t show a lot of effort, and I think that play was a free throw box-out that we gave up, and they put it back up.  We talk about that all the time in practice and we shouldn’t have let it happen.”

Z. Mason, senior, forward
On his performance

“I just wanted to be aggressive from the beginning.  A lot of props to Coach Wade because he had a lot of faith in me tonight.  He kept running plays to me and giving me the ball.  Luckily I was able to score it and give us the push we needed to get us over the top.  We were rusty in the first half, and we got things going in the second.  Our guys got focused even though we had some rough patches to begin.”

Thoughts on carrying the load against Hiwassee
“Coach pulled me to the side and told me I was going to have to continue to carry the load and try to get the team going tonight.  I have to continue to be a leader, push our guys to the best of their abilities and show them what they can do.  I just tried to be aggressive and put ourselves in a position to get and breather and push forward.”

On playing and practicing over the break
“This is the perfect time for our guys to get better – including myself.  It’s all basketball right now with classes and finals over.  It’s a good time to skyrocket our game and work in the gym.  There is a lot of free time for us to get better over the break.”

Thoughts on Ronrico White’s return
“I started cheering as soon as I looked up.  I didn’t even know he was going to play.  I just thought he was warming up with us to get back into a routine.  I am so glad he is back.  He has been working hard, rehabbing and has even started practicing.  I know he felt good to be back.  He has to be excited.”

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